393: Jesmyn Ward, Matt Berninger, and Future Islands’ Pet-Friendly Playlist

(Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

Author Jesmyn Ward admits to some guilty pleasures… The threesome behind Future Islands DJs the ultimate “grill and chill” playlist – pets allowed… Director Theo Anthony remembers what it’s like to have Werner Herzog as your teacher… The National’s Matt Berninger explains the perks of being a rock star *and* a dad… Librarian Annie Spence bids goodbye to a classic of Russian literature… and more!

Future Islands DJ A Pet-Friendly Party Playlist (With Bonus Audio)


Future Islands is a Baltimore-based band that's known for synth-driven pop and dark lyrics. Back in 2014, Pitchfork named their song, "Seasons (Waiting On You)," the best of the year. They're on tour now supporting a new album called "The Far Field." Hear their playlist for pets and friends alike... and enjoy some bonus audio!

Jesmyn Ward Examines A Few Hard Truths About Race

Guest of Honor

Author Jesmyn Ward was raised in coastal Mississippi and she was the first in her family to go to college, which is where she started writing. Her second novel "Salvage the Bones,” informed by her experience enduring Hurricane Katrina, won the National Book Award. She talks to Brendan about what inspired her new novel, "Sing, Unburied, Sing," and more.

Matt Berninger Gets Honest About Encores and Etiquette


Each week you send us your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this week is Matt Berninger, the frontman for the band The National. This week, they're releasing their seventh and latest album called "Sleep Well Beast." Hear Matt share insights on the album, what it's like to write songs with his wife, and how he got fashion tips from a few members of the Bad Seeds.

A Quick Guide to Portuguese Drinking Culture

Main Course

So, while on vacation this summer, Rico spent a few days in the Portuguese city of Lisbon -- or as they call it "Lisboa." And to make sure everyone on the staff didn't totally resent his good fortune, he decided to do a little work while he was there. Listen as he learns all about the sour cherry liquor ginjinha and the salty snack tremoços.

Documentarian Theo Anthony Finds the Parallels Between Rats and Racism

Chattering Class

"Rat Film" takes Baltimore's longstanding rat control problem as a metaphor for other social ills, from institutional racism to economic inequality. It's an impressionistic, vaguely creepy mix of cinema verite and art film -- and it's earned its creator, Theo Anthony, comparisons to filmmakers like Werner Herzog. Hear Rico talk with Theo about how he got interested in rats, what he learned about what people's relationship to rats can reveal about themselves, and more.

A Librarian's Love Letters to Books (With Bonus Audio)


Annie Spence has spent much of her life lost in books-- first as a ravenous reader, and then, for the past ten years, as a librarian in the Midwest. Listen as she shares an excerpt from her new book, which collects dozens of letters she's written TO the books in her life.