Chicago Public Media

Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.

Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.


United States


Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.






Take A Minute

We think you could use some joy and calm right now. So we’re taking a moment to take some deep breaths. Then, we’ll listen back to part of our delightful 2017 interview with Tom Hanks.


Book Club: ‘The City We Became’

What if cities were embodied in human beings? If The Bronx were a human, what would she be like? And why is xenophobia so toxic? Listen along as Nerdette host Greta Johnsen discusses 'The City We Became,' the new novel from Hugo-award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, along with WBEZ host Jenn White and Michi Trota, editor for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And then get ready for next month’s Book Club pick: The Vanishing Half, a new novel by Brit Bennett.


Video Games For Noobs

There are so many video game options that it can be hard to know where to begin. Which is why Nerdette host Greta Johnsen enlisted the assistance of Samantha Nelson, who writes about video games for The A.V. Club and Polygon. From simple task-oriented games to elaborate explorations, she’s got you covered. Plus, of course, we get plenty of recommendations from YOU.


What To Do With All That Anxiety

Greta talks with grief counselor Claire Bidwell Smith about how anxiety is part of grieving and how grieving is now part of everyday life. Plus what you can do with all those anxious thoughts.


Exercise: Come On! Let’s Do It!

Have you been exercising lately? No shame if you haven't! But ... personal trainer Sarah Gonsiorowski of The Lunge Ladies has some ideas to get your body moving. We also hear about some great apps and workout routines from YOU, our lovely listeners.


Book Club: A Not-Too-Spoilery Convo With Sci-Fi Author N.K. Jemisin

How does one deal with existential horror from beyond? That’s one question at the heart of The City We Became, a new novel from Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, in which New York City literally comes alive in order to fight off “creepy tentacle monster creatures." Nerdette's Greta Johnsen talked to Jemisin earlier this week about the novel, how all cities have personalities, and why she doesn’t describe racism with subtlety. AND in a couple weeks, we'll bring you a panel discussion...


TV You Gotta Watch

TV! We need it, you probably need it, and New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons has it! Lyons tells us about four great new TV shows — each of which fits into that “Just-feed-it-to-me-like grapes” model of show that we all so desperately crave right now. And of course, we field TV recommendations from listeners, too!


Should You Cut Your Own Hair?

When Nerdette listeners told us last week what they would have done with a warning before stay-at-home orders, haircuts were top of mind. But is an at-home haircut ever a good idea? Nerdette host Greta Johnsen asked her friend (and hair stylist) Julia Pishko for some tips.


What Was On Your Pre-Pandemic Wish List?

If you had a one-week pre-stay-at-home warning, what would you have done? This episode is filled with your pre-pandemic wish lists, from spending time with loved ones to buying nail polish to dancing your face off.


The Online Dating Scene

In the middle of a pandemic, dating might be the last thing on your mind. But some singles are feeling more isolated now than ever, and some of them want to do something about it. We talk with two dating experts — Bela Gandhi of Smart Dating Academy in Chicago and San Francisco-based dating coach Logan Ury — about the kinds of advice they’re giving their clients right now.


Book Club: ‘You Never Forget Your First’

Are you ready for a fresh look at George Washington and his many foul diseases? You've come to the right place! Nerdette host Greta Johnsen joins Lulu Miller, co-creator of NPR's Invisibilia podcast and author of Why Fish Don't Exist, to break down Alexis Coe’s new biography of George Washington, You Never Forget Your First. We also eat hoecakes and consider bloodletting. Plus, get ready for next month’s book club pick: The City We Became, a new fantasy novel by Hugo Award-winning author...


Music You Can Use-ic

There’s never a bad time to expand your musical horizons, and mid-pandemic is no exception. So we got ahold of Jill Hopkins, host of The Morning AMP at Vocalo, Chicago’s urban alternative radio station, to provide us with some positive listening. Nerdette listeners supplied the rest. Enjoy! (Need a list of the songs in this week's episode? Check it out right here.)


Book Club: Author Alexis Coe On George Washington

We’ve all heard the mythology around George Washington: He never told a lie! He had wooden teeth! There was a cherry tree that one time! But in her new biography, You Never Forget Your First, historian Alexis Coe revisits the origins of those myths and explores aspects of George Washington that may have been brushed over or misconstrued. Coe talked with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen about what surprised her most about our first president, the unfair portrayals of Washington’s mother, and why...


Podcasts To Help Cool Your Jets

We check in with podcast nerd Nick Quah to hear about some of the podcasts that can help you use your imagination, cook a meal and maybe even better yourself. And of course, we’ll get some pod recommendations from listeners, too! Here are the podcasts Nick mentions in this week’s episode: Home Cooking Personal Best Phoebe Reads a Mystery The Anthropocene Reviewed The Sound of Casual Violence Walking


Book Club: Emily St. John Mandel On ‘The Glass Hotel’

Imagine you’ve written a new book, your first in six years. And your last book? It was a novel about the aftermath of a deadly pandemic. That’s Emily St. John Mandel, author of the award-winning 2014 novel Station Eleven. Her new book — released on March 24 and titled The Glass Hotel — is decidedly different; she called it “a ghost story with a Ponzi scheme and container shipping.” We talk with Mandel about what it’s like to release a highly-anticipated novel during massive stay-at-home...


Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life: Movie Edition!

Let's all go to the lobby! But first, we check in with NPR film critic Bob Mondello about the best movies to watch right now. (Hint: he's not interested in pandemic movies like Contagion.) And of course, we’ll get some movie recommendations from listeners, too!


Book Club: ‘The Glass Hotel’

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. It’s just like a normal book club, except you don’t have to share your industrial-sized carton of Good & Plentys. The book on tap today is Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel. On one hand, it’s a novel about a 2008 Bernie Madoff-esque ponzi scheme. On the other hand, it’s a ghost story. For insights and analysis, follow along with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen and New York...


Ode to Pets!

Sure, lots of celebrities are hosting conversations and table reads on social media these days. But author and actor John Hodgman has been hanging out on Instagram Live for months already, interviewing random humans and their pets, in a show he calls … wait for it … “Get Your Pets.” Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks to Hodgman about why he thinks “Get Your Pets” is maybe, actually some of the most important work he’s done. Plus, we hear from you about some of the creatures keeping you...


All The Books You’ll Ever Need

A good book can get you through a lot of uncertainty. What’s better than diving into another world and staying there for hours and hours? In this episode, we’ll hear from a BUNCH of listeners about what’s getting you through these weird times. Plus, we’ll check in with Rebecca George, who owns Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago.


Get Your Stress Bake On

It’s a fair bet that stress baking is on the rise. (See what we did there?) So we thought it was time to check in with baker extraordinaire Shauna Sever, whose cookbook Midwest Made is full of amazing comfort foods. She has a recipe for the only banana bread you’ll ever need, and the name is true. And, of course, we hear from you! Your homework: We’d love to know what you’re reading these days. Are you doubling down on pandemic fiction? Dabbling in a presidential biography? Is your...