Marginalia

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.

If you like this podcast, please consider leaving a rating or review.

In her political thriller Vox, author Christina Dalcher used her work in linguistics to inform the imagined society in which a political regime silenced women with word counters. And not just grown women, baby girls as young as three months were being fitted with these bracelet word counters on their small wrists.

Each female was allotted 100 words a day. The counters reset at midnight. And each infraction was met with negative reinforcement… an electrical charge.

Marginalia: Hank Green

Sep 25, 2018
Ashe Walker

For the last 11 years, Hank Green and his brother, John, have been making videos back and forth to each other on a YouTube channel called Vlogbrothers, which has over 3 million subscribers. 

Although Fruit of the Drunken Tree is fiction, it has its roots in author Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s real life. 

Marginalia: Vanessa Hua

Aug 31, 2018
Andria Lo

In her new novel, author Vanessa Hua uses an immigrant story to explore the definition of home and belonging, but it’s her use of setting that encourages the reader to look under the surface--or up beyond ground level--to recognize that every immigrant story is unique.

A River of Stars follows a young woman on her flight from China to the US, through the birth of her child, to her own quest of achieving the American Dream.

I recently spoke with Vanessa Hua about the book as well as her work as a journalist. Here's our conversation:

Marginalia: S. K. Perry

Aug 17, 2018
Naomi Woddis

Sarah Perry was longlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate in 2013, and her experience as a poet is evident in her debut novel, Let Me Be Like Water

Kate Christensen likes to write about what she knows. Her seventh novel, The Last Cruise, is told from three perspectives: a farmer in Maine, a violinist, and a chef. All three areas in which Christensen is knowledgeable. And that’s where the first-hand experience ends. Because in researching this book, Christensen is quick to admit, she’s never actually taken a cruise.

I spoke with Kate Christensen recently about the book and her unorthodox research methods. 

Here's our conversation:

And if you listened to the commentary on air, this is what you heard:

Gail Honeyman is from Scotland, but she was in the states recently on a book tour for the paperback release of her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Katie Williams has three books under her publishing belt--two books written for young adults and now one that falls into the general fiction category. But don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing "general” about it.

Tell the Machine Goodnight is slightly futuristic, but I’d hesitate to categorize it as science fiction. The characters, too, fight generalization. Their voices are unique and so are their experiences. The character development, the dialog, the writing--well… everything works. 

If you’ve been a Marginalia fan for a while, Rebecca Makkai’s is a voice you’ve heard before. She stopped by the studios in 2016 to talk about her book of short stories, Music for Wartime.

Makkai is also a novelist, and we spoke recently about her third novel, The Great Believers, which was released this past Tuesday. In The Great Believers, Makkai takes a look at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago.

theforecaster.net

When Peter Coviello was a young college professor, he fell in love, got married, and became a step parent. When that marriage fell apart, he suffered the heartbreak of that failed marriage but more profoundly--the heartbreak of potentially losing a connection with his step daughters. 

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