Commentary airs on alternate Fridays; podcasts available anytime.

Marginalia is an on-air commentary and podcast hosted by KMUW's Beth Golay. Episodes feature author interviews, editorial commentary and other marginalia to enhance the reading experience.

Several of Beth's interviews are included each year in NPR's Book Concierge.

The Marginalia podcast is also available through Apple Podcasts and through Google Play.

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I would wager that for most of us, the only time we think about children's picture books is when we’re begged to read “just one more story.” But have you ever thought about what goes into creating a picture book? How do authors and illustrators come together? What is the secret to creating images and stories that keep children enchanted and their adult readers charmed?

Marginalia: Tom Clavin

Feb 8, 2019

As the legend of Wild Bill Hickok still grows, so do the myths, says author Tom Clavin. Which is why he set out to separate fact from fiction in his new book, Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier's First Gunfighter.

I recently spoke with Clavin about what he discovered.  Here’s our conversation:


Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier's First Gunfighter by Tom Clavin was published by St. Martin's Books.

Marginalia: Brad Meltzer

Jan 18, 2019

Here’s something you probably didn’t learn in history class: In the days leading up to the founding of our nation, there was a conspiracy to kill George Washington. Many historians are aware of this fact, but there’s not a lot of information to support it.

But that didn’t stop Brad Meltzer.

Clemency Burton-Hill is an award-winning violinist and renowned classical musical journalist who has written a book titled Year of Wonder. Burton-Hill believes that making time for engaged listening to one piece of classical music every day will bring on a healthier and happier mindset. Through this book she has created a 366-day field guide that she hopes will blow-up classical music as an elitist genre.

Peter Sagal is probably best known as the host of the NPR quiz show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me. But listeners might not know that Sagal is also an author — and a dedicated runner. KMUW's Beth Golay recently spoke with Sagal about his new book.

Studio 24

In this episode of Marginalia, I spoke via Skype with author Oyinkan Braithwaite at her home in Lagos, Nigeria. That’s also the setting of her debut novel, which has a spoiler of a title: My Sister, the Serial Killer. The sisters are Korede and Ayoola. Korede is older, and takes quite seriously her responsibility to protect her younger sister, even to the point of cleaning up after Ayoola’s nasty habit of killing her boyfriends.

I visited with Braithwaite just before the novel’s release. Here’s our conversation:


Marginalia: Marie Lu

Nov 9, 2018

With over 2 million books in print, Marie Lu is considered a rock star of young adult literature. Both of her Legend and Young Elites series have spent considerable time on bestsellers lists.

And now Wildcard, the second book in the Warcross/Wildcard duology has been published.

I recently caught up with Lu to talk about the new book, her work in gaming, and her experience immigrating to the United States. Here’s our conversation:

Wildcard by Marie Lu was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers.

Beowulf Sheehan Photography

Author Michael Connelly introduced readers to Detective Harry Bosch in 1992 with the publication of The Black Echo. Twenty-six years and 30-plus books later, detectives from two of Connelly's series are working together for the first time in Dark Sacred Night, including the man who's been there from the beginning.

Kurt Markus

Historian Hampton Sides has written a new book about the Battle at the Chosin Reservoir, an epic clash during the Korean conflict that he calls one of the greatest military survival stories of all time. On Desperate Ground explores the many adversaries facing the First Marine Division in November of 1950: hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers, an arrogant Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and extreme weather conditions.

Kit Noble

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick is not a stranger to the sea. But surprisingly, one of the main characters in his books--George Washington--was. But his prejudice against the sea, according to Philbrick, didn’t inhibit Washington’s naval genius.