Visual Memories: Berthold Hoeckner, Leila Taylor & Adam Sonderberg

February 16th, 2020

On this episode of Open Stacks, Professor of Music Berthold Hoeckner spins a record of cultural memory made audible in films focused on the past, from Casablanca to Sleepless in Seattle in his book, Film, Music, Memory, as Leila Taylor turns over our shared, if buried, history of racism in Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul. Plus, looking back with Adam Sonderberg on his tenure at the Co-op and the books that struck a chord. 


Former Co-op Manager Adam Sonderberg joined us in his final hours at the helm to let his favorite books speak (mostly) for themselves. Check out his Front Table, and listen as we reminisce on Adam’s tenure at the Co-op, killing time with Kierkegaard, relishing disputed work, and coming to inhabit a world that books create. Speaking of which, for more on Constance Garnett (Adam's contentious translator of choice), whose prolific contributions helped give rise to Russian literature's popularity and influence in America, as well as "The Translation Wars," read this. Opinions on the subject? We'd love to hear from you. Write to us about your favorite translation of Anna Karenina and/or translator of Russian lit at


Berthold Hoeckner joined Daniel Morgan at the Co-op in January to discuss Film, Music, Memory, which tackles the question: how do the specificities of film as a medium shape cultural and individual memory? And what does a movie's soundtrack have to do with our lived experience of the world on- and off-screen?


Creative Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, self-described AfroGothicist, and author of Darkly, Leila Taylor (left) joined poet and Lit Editor of Chicago's New City Tara Betts last November at the Co-op to discuss our shared, if buried, cultural history and terror of racism in the streets of New York, the music of Billie Holiday, films from Jordan Peele's Get Out to the legendary Night of the Living Dead, whose breakout star Duane Jones went on to play Hess in the unjustly obscure Ganja and Hess, the most unsettling, psychadelically gorgeous vampire movie this side of Nosferatu. Like Berthold Hoeckner, Taylor reflects on readings of films that help us to see what cannot be verbalized.


This episode was produced by Elliot Ducree, Veronica Karlin, and Jackson Roach. It features music by Andrei Pohorelsky, Kevin MacLeod, Blue Dot Sessions, and johnny_ripper. Browse below the books we featured on this episode, and explore the Co-op's venerable Front Table no matter where you are by subscribing to our weekly email newsletter and visiting