Open Stacks Podcast

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Open Stacks is back! Download and subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts. 

Only have time for sample? Check out our season 4 teaser here. 

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 publishers, authors, and booksellers about the cultural value of their work. Available wherever you find your podcasts. Tune in and browse along with us. 

We'll be featuring listeners' voices throughout the season, and we'd love to hear from you! Share a notable passage with us, or respond to one of our occasional prompts. Find recording guidelines and a submission link here.

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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June 24th, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks, we celebrate the Co-op reopening its doors for in-person browsing – the first time since we closed 15 months ago. Browsers, booksellers, authors, and our own Clancey D'Isa and Bryce Lucas discuss the transfiguration of space, absence and presence, the "invisible" work of bookselling, and how reading needn't be a solo activity.


Thanks to bookseller Michelle for sharing a few thoughts on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManHave you read something recently (or over the last year) that moved you, that made you laugh, that you...

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June 8th, 2021


In this episode, Alena takes a tour around the Front Table, guided by Bryce Lucas, manager of 57th Street Books. Circling the table, they move from bald philosophy to the physics of crumpled paper, from an Icelandic fisheries museum to the shifting nature of observation itself.


Thanks to Sonja for sharing a memory of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Have a perspective to share? We'll be featuring listeners' voices throughout the season. This time: tell us about a book you loved on first reading, but hated the second time around – or vice versa. Share the story of your change in perspective, and your favorite (or least...

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May 25th, 2021


In this first episode of the fourth season, we sit down with Elizabeth Branch Dyson, assistant editorial director and executive editor at the University of Chicago Press, to hear how she approaches acquiring widely accessible books for an academic press. Bryce (manager of 57th Street Books) takes us on a tour around the Co-op's Front Table, checking out a few recent releases. We're then joined by poet, author, and publisher Haki Madhubuti, who talks to us about his journey through books, the founding of Third World Press, and the draw of the Front Table. Throughout, we...

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