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Summary: Nerdette is a weekly interview show that helps you unwind with fun conversations, inspiring ideas, and delightful recommendations. And join us on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month for the Nerdette Bookclub!

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  • Artist: Greta Johnsen
  • Copyright: Copyright 2015 Chicago Public Media


 Your Weekend Starts Here: Baby Busts, 'Black Buck' And The Collapse Of Capitalism? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:30:08

Nerdette is a weekly interview show that helps you unwind with fun conversations, inspiring ideas, and delightful recommendations. And join us on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month for the Nerdette Bookclub!

 Book Club: ‘The Space Between Worlds’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:58:19

In a lot of ways, The Space Between Worlds is a classic, action-packed sci-fi novel about a multiverse. But as our panelists explain, author Micaiah Johnson skillfully twists a lot of archetypical tropes into something wholly unique. Listen along as Greta discusses the book with Ramtin Arablouei, co-host of NPR’s Throughline podcast, and Northwestern University journalism lecturer Arionne Nettles. We also hear from many of you!

 A Nerdette Inauguration Special | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:26:38

This year's presidential inauguration managed to muster up as much pageantry as possible, given the circumstances. Despite the pandemic and concerns over national security, the United States saw another peaceful transition of power.  Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, was in attendance. She tells Nerdette host Greta Johnsen what it was like to see another woman make history with the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris. Plus, FANTI podcast hosts Tre'vell Anderson and Jarrett Hill unpack their complicated feelings about America in 2021.

 The 13th Month Of 2020 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:27:20

Everything keeps getting more intense! So we ask journalists Tricia Bobeda and Kristina Lopez how they're managing their news intake. Then, we talk to Glennon Doyle, author of several books, including Untamed, about why resolutions are not for her. And finally, we hear from some of you about what you've resolved to bring into 2021. Join us!

 Book Club: Micaiah Johnson On Her Debut Sci Fi Novel, ‘The Space Between Worlds’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:19:36

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. It’s an alternate-universe story about hundreds of different Earths slightly different from our own. It’s possible to “traverse” to other planets, but only if the traverser’s doppelganger is already dead. Enter Cara, our protagonist, whose impoverished and oppressed upbringing means she’s already dead on every planet except for eight of them. This is Micaiah Johnson’s first book, and it’s an ambitious one. In today’s episode, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen has a spoiler-free conversation with the author about the book’s themes and how Micaiah’s own life story intersects with Cara’s. Be sure to come back later this month for a spoiler-filled conversation about The Space Between Worlds. And don’t forget: we want to hear from you too! Record your thoughts about the novel and send an audio file to

 2021 Is A Mess. Here's How To Stay Positive | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:28:39

The first week of 2021 was rough. But, as advice columnists Daniel Lavery and Heather Havrilesky tell us, there's still room for optimism. Then we talk to Dr. Y. Joel Wong, a professor at Indiana University, about the very real science behind positive thinking (Yep, a number of studies show that people who keep gratitude journals are mentally and physically healthier than those who do not.) And finally, poet Ross Gay tells us about The Book of Delights, his collection of "essayettes." Turns out, the more you look for delight, the more it shows up for you. Which seems like a pretty delightful thing to bring into the new year. And speaking of things to bring into the new year, we'd love to know: What are your resolutions for 2021? What's your stance on resolutions in general? Record yourself on your phone, and send the audio file to, and you may hear yourself in next week’s episode.

 This Year Gave Us Some Good Stuff, Too | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:17:42

The year is almost over, which means top 10 lists are rolling in. But what’s it like to pick favorites in such an emotionally intense year? Greta talks with podcast expert Nick Quah, TV critic Margaret Lyons and Vocalo host Jill Hopkins about the best stuff this year. 

 Book Club: Tana French’s ‘The Searcher’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:36:56

Author Sarah Vowell and comedian Maeve Higgins visit the Nerdette Book Club for a spoiler-filled analysis of Tana French's plodding murder mystery, 'The Searcher.' Plus, we hear from you!

 This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain This Weekend Eating The Year's Best Holiday Cookie. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:30:22

You’ve made it through another week in the year 2020. Congratulations! Join Nerdette for a look back at the week in vaccines, virtual holiday parties and Greta’s new favorite ridiculous TV show, The Wilds, alongside TIME Magazine’s Eliana Dockterman and NPR’s Barrie Hardymon. Then we have an amazing conversation about your brain — yes, yours — and how tired it gets when you make it lug your body around all day. Lisa Feldman Barrett is the neuroscientist responsible for Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain, a lovely book of brain essays. She gives us one and a half lessons for free. And finally, what’s the best holiday cookie of 2020? Bon Appetit senior staff writer Alex Beggs tells us — OK fine, it’s this one — but she also gives us plenty of warnings (i.e. level of difficulty = 11). Join us!

 The Gift Of Dessa | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:24:44

Dessa is a rapper, a singer, an author, a poet, and a whiskey co-creator, among other things. She even participated in an “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”-type procedure in an attempt to remove memories from a painful relationship. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen talks to her about all of that, including her memoir, My Own Devices. We also listen to some of the amazing tracks on “Chime.”  This episode originally aired in 2019.

 Book Club: Tana French Talks About Her New Mystery Novel, ‘The Searcher’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:23:29

Our December Book Club pick is our first murder mystery! It's Tana French’s latest book, The Searcher. In it, a retired Chicago police officer moves to a small town in Western Ireland for a bit of peace and quiet, only to get drawn back into his old ways when a local boy asks for help solving the mystery of his brother’s disappearance. Today's episode is a spoiler-free conversation with Tana French. Check it out, check out The Searcher, then come back in two weeks for a panel discussion that breaks it all down. We want to hear from you too! Record your take on The Searcher and email the audio file to by Thursday, Dec. 17.

 Saved By The Bell, Seasonal Songs And Sprinkles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:32:09

Happy weekend! Now let Nerdette podcast get you ready for it. First we break down the week in disappearing monoliths, TV reboots and Spotify playlists with WBEZ’s Meha Ahmad and Mariah Woelfel. Then we talk with musician Andrew Bird about his new Christmas album. And finally, we take a walk through confectionary history with reporter Ashlie Stevens, who knows a few things about sprinkles. Join us!

 Happy Zoomsgiving From Nerdette To You | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:15:00

And from you to Nerdette! Despite [insert disaster of your choice], we’re still thankful for a lot of things in 2020. Like baked goods and game shows and the people we can still visit over the internet. We asked you to tell us about the stuff you’re grateful for right now and, obviously, you did not disappoint. Press play to listen. Us? We’re thankful for you. So hang in there, stay safe and have a happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Nerdette.

 Book Club: ‘The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:46

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. It’s about a girl from the 1700s whose curiosities and ambitions are bigger than the small town she lives in. When she finds a way to break free from the expectation to marry and settle down, she takes it without thinking twice. But what she thinks is an amazing chance to live unhindered is actually a deal with the devil, and a centuries-long curse. Listen along as Nerdette host Greta Johnsen discusses the book with cultural critic and nonfiction writer Eva Recinos and All The Books! podcast host Liberty Hardy. We also hear from many of you, who (with a few minor quibbles) all seemed to love this spellbinding story.

 Tweets, Sweets ... And A Convo About Animal Penises | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:24:36

Say what now?  We made it to another weekend! Now let us get you ready for it. First, we talk about the “news” of the week with Hari Kondabolu and W. Kamau Bell, comedians and hosts of the Politically Re-Active podcast.  Then we have a conversation you’ve all been waiting for: Emily Willingham tells us about her new book titled Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis. It’s wild! And last but not least, Yossy Arefi introduces us to the countertop staple we didn’t know we needed so badly: Snacking Cakes. Join us!


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