100 episodes

Open Stacks brings you conversations with scholars, poets, novelists and activists on subjects as eclectic as the books on our shelves, from under-the-radar debates in the academy to pressing contemporary social issues, and from bestselling works of fiction to avant-garde poetics. Recorded live at Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Open Stacks invites listeners to sit in on the kind of candid discussions and lively debates made possible by the participation of readers in a public space, with the aim of expanding and encouraging a broader community of ideas. Turn up the volume, pull up a chair, and let's start a conversation.

Open Stacks The Seminary Co-op Bookstores & UChicago Podcast Network

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 59 Ratings

Open Stacks brings you conversations with scholars, poets, novelists and activists on subjects as eclectic as the books on our shelves, from under-the-radar debates in the academy to pressing contemporary social issues, and from bestselling works of fiction to avant-garde poetics. Recorded live at Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstores, Open Stacks invites listeners to sit in on the kind of candid discussions and lively debates made possible by the participation of readers in a public space, with the aim of expanding and encouraging a broader community of ideas. Turn up the volume, pull up a chair, and let's start a conversation.

    Havens for the Heterodox: Seminary Co-op Director Jeff Deutsch on Good Bookstores

    Havens for the Heterodox: Seminary Co-op Director Jeff Deutsch on Good Bookstores

    On this special episode of Open Stacks, we hear from Jeff Deutsch, the Director of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores. Jeff's book, In Praise of Good Bookstores, came out from Princeton University Press this Spring, and Jeff has been traveling the country visiting other independent bookstores to talk about it, and about the value of bookselling and bookstores in the 21st century. Jeff spoke at the Seminary Co-op with Ydalmi Noriega, a member of the Co-op's board of directors, and director of programs and community engagement at the Poetry Foundation. Find out more about the Co-op's mission and help these important spaces thrive.
    This episode was produced by Jackson Roach, hosted by Alena Jones, and features music by Andrei Pohorelsky and Daniel Birch.

    • 11 min
    Meeting Again: Mikki Kendall, Jack Cella, & Colin McDonald

    Meeting Again: Mikki Kendall, Jack Cella, & Colin McDonald

    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.
    For a list of books discussed, music credits, and directions for submitting your favorite passages, head to our website.

    • 22 min
    Curiosity Is a Skill: On Reading Seriously

    Curiosity Is a Skill: On Reading Seriously

    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 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. You can hear him on this episode from earlier in the season.
    Elizabeth Branch Dyson is Assistant Editorial Director and Executive Editor at The University of Chicago Press, acquiring titles in education, sociology, and music, especially jazz and blues studies. She's appeared a few times on this season of Open Stacks. 
    Paul Yamazaki is the principal buyer at City Lights, where he has worked for over 50 years. He has also appeared a few times on this season of Open Stacks, and will soon be publishing with Ode Books.
    Dan Wells is the founder of the publisher and bookstore Biblioasis. He also appeared on an earlier episode this season.
    Thanks to listener Marie for sharing a passage from My First Thirty Years by Gertrude Beasley. If you'd like to share a piece of great writing with us, send us a voice memo.
    This episode was hosted by Alena Jones and produced by Jackson Roach, and features music by Blue Dot Sessions, Los Amparito, Loyalty Freak Music, and Daniel Birch.
    Find a list of books discussed in this episode here.

    • 26 min
    A Cave with Windows: Bookstore as Building

    A Cave with Windows: Bookstore as Building

    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, legendary book buyer at City Lights in San Francisco, gestures toward a spatial theory of bookstores—how the shape of the room and the number of books on a shelf can encourage the symbiosis of reader and bookseller—and Co-op manager Bryce Lucas takes an ecological (and mycological) squint at the Front Table.
    Head to our website for music credits, a list of books, extra material, and directions for sending us your favorite passages from books.

    • 36 min
    At All Costs: Dave Eggers, Dan Wells, Ann Kjellberg, & Paul Yamazaki

    At All Costs: Dave Eggers, Dan Wells, Ann Kjellberg, & Paul Yamazaki

    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.
    For more from the voices you hear in this episode, a list of books mentioned, music credits, and instructions for sending us audio of yourself reading writing that you love, visit us here.

    • 15 min
    What's There and What's Not: A Visit to the Front Table

    What's There and What's Not: A Visit to the Front Table

    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 a list of books featured in this episode, music and production credits, and more, visit our website.

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
59 Ratings

59 Ratings

Jonnyfyve ,

Outstanding!

Finally a way to hear the amazing conversations happening at one of the world’s best independent book stores, the cultural gem, Sem Coop!

Hufjyjhvjhvjh ,

One of a kind bookstore

Continue doing what you doing. It is great.

Jxconno ,

So glad this exists

Just found out about this podcast after a visit to the bookstore. As a north side resident I'm so glad I can conveniently tune in to the great events seminary co-op bookstore is having.

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