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Open Stacks

On Open Stacks, we bring you conversations with scholars, poets, novelists and activists on books that surprise challenge delight and impress. Here, as in our stores, the most seasoned of readers can once again feel a sense of wonder in discovering a book.
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Now displaying: 2019
Nov 14, 2019

From the depths of Moby Dick to the light of something like poetry in author Etgar Keret’s new collection, Fly Already, we follow a line (or is it a fuse?) running between the past and present of contemporary literature on this episode of Open Stacks, featuring Etgar Keret, Jessica Laser, and Daniel Poppick.

This episode was produced by Veronica Karlin and Jackson Roach, and featured music by Kevin MacLeod, Gallery Six, Cursor Miner, Daniel Birch, and Andrei Pohorelsky.

Nov 5, 2019

It’s a long and winding road on this week’s Front Table from idea to book, career, and other forms of written livelihood.

This episode of the Front Table features the voices of the Co-op's Colin McDonald and Alena Jones. It was produced by Jackson Roach, and includes music by Kevin MacLeod, and very brief excerpts of "The Long and Winding Road" as performed by Aretha Franklin and the Langley Schools Music Project.

Oct 27, 2019

Award winning poet Ocean Vuong and journalist Rebecca Clarren turn a romantic and empiric lens on the art of fiction in their acclaimed debut novels, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Kickdown, both of which plunge new emotional depths of American experience on this episode of Open Stacks. 

Oct 22, 2019

Space is the place on this week’s Front Table with the Seminary Co-op's Colin and Alena looking up and down at a veritable galaxy of new books about our universe and multiverse.

Oct 6, 2019

A place like the Seminary Co-op is in some sense made of writing, but what can writing make? That question is at the center of conversations with Timothy Cresswell, Dani Shapiro and others on the first episode of the third season of Open Stacks.

Sep 27, 2019

As students return to campus in pursuit of degrees, the Co-op’s Colin and Alena come back to the Front Table in pursuit of knowledge in and beyond education, with a look at the higher costs and undervalues making college work... for some.

Sep 12, 2019

Feeling blue? You’re not alone. Join the Seminary Co-op’s Colin and Alena and for a spin around the Co-op’s colorful Front Table with recent and reissued works that help mythologize, reflect, and interact with the secret lives of color on this week’s Front Table podcast.

Aug 27, 2019

We may not be able to slow down our climate crisis, but we can take time to understand what’s happening and why with the help of new books about environmental peril in relation to philosophical anthropology, institutional racism, and a categorical lack of imagination; something you’ll never find on this week’s Front Table podcast.

Aug 13, 2019

What’s wrong with rudeness? The Seminary Co-op’s Colin and Alena turn to ancient ideas about etiquette and more for our ill-mannered age on this week’s Front Table. Tune in for “civilized” reading wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jul 30, 2019

Fresh off inventory, the Seminary Co-op’s Colin and Alena investigate the “impulse to accumulate” as qualitatively quantified in yet more new books on this week’s Front Table.

Jul 16, 2019

Since medieval times, if not before, writers like Francois Villon and St. Teresa of Avila have been showing us how writing about oneself is done. Or is it? The Co-op's Colin and Alena have a look at how far we’ve come on this week's Front Table, with a short stack of new memoirs long in the making.

Jun 20, 2019

Summer is here, which begs the question: What is a summer read, anyway? The Co-op's Alena and Colin find shade at the Front Table for a brief look and long view at what makes a quintessential (or potential) summer read.

Jun 9, 2019

Taking a line from Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths, we set out to read and re-imagine the Other on this week's episode of Open Stacks (our last before summer break), with Professor of Anthropology Robert Launay, who joins us in the stacks to help us think of others through the eyes of Savages, Romans, and Despots, and Palestinian American legal scholar and human rights attorney Noura Erakat on Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine. Plus, our booksellers share serendipitous discoveries while wandering (i.e., shelving) in the stacks.

Jun 5, 2019

We know that the most important things in the world are beyond measure,” writes Co-op Director Jeff Deutsch in his most recent annual letter to the Co-op community, “On Measure.” But in our over-quantified age, the urge to justify with numbers is all around us, literally. This week, we measure up to the Co-op’s Front Table for a look at new releases to help put us on the map.

May 26, 2019

How do you get to the end when there’s no where to get? Authors Evelyn Hampton and Amit Chaudhuri read and discuss fictions of anxiety, memory, autobiography, and impersonation, taking us there one sentence at a time. Booksellers Freddie and Joe chime in on Co-op staff favorites W.G. Sebald, Annie Dilliard, and more.

May 21, 2019

At times of uncertainty, books of anxiety abound, but the question of how to write the unknown is always in flux. Enter a state of incomprehension on this week’s Front Table, with books that can help us keep sight of our fears, from life after climate change to the Isle of Sky in Virgina Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.

May 12, 2019

What might 4th century BC philosopher Aristotle and 20th century celebrity chef Julia Child have to say to each other and to us? We’re in dialogue with renowned classicist Edith Hall, author of Aristotle's Way, and The New Yorker’s James Beard Award-winning roving food correspondent Helen Rosner on how ancient wisdom, practical advice, and a decided lack of elitism are key ingredients for eating and living well. Plus, a dash of good taste (and advice) in books our staff live by.

May 7, 2019

Spring is in the air and selections from the Co-op’s Moms, Dads, Grads & Kids 2019 Gift Guide (https://www.semcoop.com/category/moms-dads-grads) are on the Front Table for all of your spring season’s holidays and special occasions. Co-op Assistant Manager Alena Jones takes us in and beyond the guide for a reader’s look at MOTHERHOOD and other books expanding on our notions and misconceptions of mothering just in time for Mother’s Day.

Apr 28, 2019
Rock musician and professor Florence Dore attunes to static in her research on "resonant silences" surrounding censorship and race in modernist literature of the early 20th century and its recapitulation of institutional norms in her new book, Novel Sounds; Australian poet and philosopher Luke Fischer joins us just in time for Poetry Month to read and discuss A Personal History of Vision; and Co-op staff Mark Loeffler and Alena Jones help us see through the haze of jacket copy, otherwise known as "blurbs." 
Apr 23, 2019

Thanks for reading and listening with us on this week’s Front Table from the Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago. Browse each week’s Front Table and subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter at semcoop.com for more serious books for curious readers. "I greet you at the beginning of a great career." This, legend has it, was the first blurb, or brief book description, to appear in 1856 courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson in praise of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. This week, we cover the long and short of blurbs, calling out to us from the Co-op’s Front Table, with Seminary Co-op Assistant Manager Alena Jones.

Apr 14, 2019

Open Stacks returns with historian Pamela Toler on women for whom battle was not a metaphor, while positing the use of story in shaping shared history. Meanwhile, feminist-vegan advocate Carol J. Adams deconstructs the narrative surrounding hamburgers and other animal sourced foods and how eating, like reading, is always political. Plus, Co-op booksellers weigh in on the glut, guilt, and glory of biting off more than most readers can chew when it comes to ARCs (aka, advance reader copies).

Mar 26, 2019

Forgotten, no good, or simply on sale? Seminary Co-op Assistant Manager Alena Jones looks past the Front Table for books of great value: what remains (and why) when books of value get marked down. Browse each week's Front Table at semcoop.com.

Mar 17, 2019

From autobiography to music criticism, poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib walks the floor of the Seminary Co-op in conversation with the books that served as muses of his love letter to A Tribe Called Quest, Go Ahead in the Rain. Oral historian and civil rights activist Timuel D. Black, Jr. shares his long-awaited memoir, Sacred Ground.

Mar 12, 2019

This week, Seminary Co-op Assistant manager Alena Jones picks up the radical feminism of Andrea Dworkin and three new translations by women of classical works by men. Browse each week’s Front Table at semcoop.com.

Mar 4, 2019

Poet Eileen Myles joins us in the stacks to discuss writing EVOLUTION: their new collection of essays and poems, reading in good company, and "trying so hard to be in this world." Co-op Booksellers weigh in on the art and "gentle madness" of collecting books.

 

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