High Art and Low Chairs

Plus: a book’s journey from foreign lands to American shelves, and espionage



Take a crash course in Indie Publishing 101 with the founders of Restless Books; hear Scholar senior editor Bruce Falconer explain how John le Carré burned the bridge between genre and literary fiction; and learn from Witold Rybczynski how an iconic modern chair was inspired by an ant.

Mentioned in this episode:

• Bruce Falconer’s review of The Pigeon Tunnel
• Our list of 13 “Spooktacular” Books and Michael Dirda’s attempt to out-scare us with a list of his own
• An excerpt from How to Travel Without Seeing by Andrés Neuman, published by Restless Books, which offers a glimpse inside the surreal operations of Venezuela’s book industry
• An NPR segment on Witold Rybczynski’s new book about chairs, Now I Sit Me Down, including illustrations of the medieval backstool

Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

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Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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