A few months ago, I was interviewed for a podcast called Chapters, a show created and produced by historian Mary Mahoney and sociologist M.J. Taylor. If you are not familiar with it, here is a brief sketch, from the podcast’s site: “Chapters is a podcast that tells the stories of readers’ lives through the books that have meant the most to them.”
Being on this podcast and talking about something that has been so central to my life, indeed my development as a person, was a true delight. For a job, for pleasure, or for any other reason, many people spend a considerable amount of time reading. Those who consider themselves dedicated readers, those who read quite often or with great intensity, might accumulate vast libraries over the course of a lifetime. Yet few people really take stock of what the sum of these reading experiences and choices might mean. Even fewer have had the pleasure to talk with someone well versed in bibliotherapy (the idea that books can heal, like medicine) and book history more broadly. To be clear, that someone is Mary, who had the idea to start Chapters. As an interviewer, Mary pushes her guests to think about books from one’s past and what these “chapters” in one’s story reveal.
The author of this blog on a Christmas morning. This recorder and the set of books that came with it remains one of the best things I have ever been given.