Open Stacks Podcast


On Open Stacks, the podcast from the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, we dig through our shelves, cracking open new books and old, and speak with writers, publishers, editors, booksellers, and readers.

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Read something great lately? Read it out loud to us!

December 1st, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks, the last of the fourth season, Mikki Kendall remembers a childhood at 57th Street Books and the reading that shapes her writing. We also hear from old friends Jack Cella and Colin McDonald, and from booksellers on the books they return to year after year.


Mikki Kendall is an author, activist, and cultural critic. She's the author of Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot, and ...

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November 9th, 2021


This time on Open Stacks, with Philip Leventhal, Elizabeth Branch Dyson, Paul Yamazaki, and Dan Wells, we ask what makes a book "serious." Booksellers Amélie, Annie, and Artemie share scholarly favorites.


We're releasing this episode during University Press Week 2021, the 10th annual celebration of these important institutions and the knowledge and culture they help to cultivate. 

Philip...

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October 28th, 2021


This time on Open Stacks: We explore the rabbit warren of the Co-op’s original location in the old Chicago Theological Seminary with manager emeritus Jack Cella and veteran bookseller Katy O’Brien Weintraub, then emerge from the underground with architect Margaret McCurry, who was integral in the creation of our new space in the sun. Paul Yamazaki...

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October 15th, 2021


On this episode, authors, publishers, editors and booksellers reflect on the value of their work, and what it takes to make a great bookstore thrive. Plus, an out-of-the-way reading list from our bookseller Mrittika: queer historical fiction... thrillers.


Dave Eggers is a novelist, founder of McSweeney's, and co-founder of 826 National. His latest novel, The Every, will initially available exclusively from independant bookstores like us (find out more about this special release...

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September 23rd, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks: a ghostly tour of the Co-op's Front Table, from the hauntings of American history to life (and death) advice from Spinoza.


For more on absence and presence, listen to this recent episode of Open Stacks featuring Daniel Heller-Roazen's Absentees and Susan Crane's Nothing Happened. And for more on the powers of history to trouble the present, listen to Leila Taylor, in...

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September 9th, 2021


This time on Open Stacks we hear from Philip Leventhal, editor at Columbia University Press and veteran Co-opian, about the history of the Front Table catalog, in its print and digital forms. Then we head to the Front Table (the actual table) for some recent titles on underground transformation.


Philip Leventhal is Senior Editor at Columbia University Press, acquiring titles in Journalism, Film and Media Studies, and Literary Studies. He also worked at the Co-op for many years, and was the managing editor of The Front Table, the Co-op's print catalog and newsletter. Last year we revived The Front Table...

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August 26th, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks with Katarzyna Bartoszyńska and Reuben Jonathan Miller, we trace paths between: academia and bookselling; Poland and Ireland; animal navigation and interpersonal knowledge; the inside and the outside of the American prison.


Katarzyna Bartoszyńska is an Assistant Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Ithaca College, and a former bookseller at the Seminary Co-op. She spoke with Alena about her first book, Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature...

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August 5th, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks, books from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow. In the middle of the Summer, a stack of Front Table books from the heart(s) of Winter.


Thanks to bookseller Joey for sharing a favorite passage from Roberto Bolaño's ...

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July 22nd, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks: a prismatic exploration of new releases at the Front Table, an editorial dialogue with Elizabeth Branch Dyson and Eve Ewing, and Ann Kjellberg on a life in publishing, Joseph Brodsky, and how serious books connect us to one another and the world.


Elizabeth Branch Dyson is Assistant Editorial Director and Executive Editor at The University of Chicago Press. She also appears on the first episode of this season of Open Stacks...

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July 8th, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks, a circle around the Co-op’s Front Table: from a post-war pioneer of Afrofuturism on Chicago’s South Side to the complex communal powers of games like spades, mahjong, and pickup soccer.


Thanks to Bryce Lucas for taking us on a tour of the Front Table this time. In this episode, you hear fragments of archival recordings of Sun Ra, including brief excerpts from his film Space is the Place and the track...

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