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The Reading Culture

Simple Thing, Felt: Nina LaCour on Unwrapping a Moment

The Reading Culture
The Reading Culture
"I spend a lot of time trying to hope that I'll remember little things and how a certain simple thing felt. … Writing is one way of trying to capture that feeling, even if I'm fictionalizing it still.” - Nina LaCour

If Nina LaCour were a drink, she would be a cozy cup of tea. You’re not rushing to finish a conversation with Nina. Rather, you are spending time exploring the details. And that is exactly what we did in this episode.

The world moves fast. Usually faster than we’d like it to. But writing can gift us the ability to slow a moment down, to digest and analyze at a more intentional pace. For Nina LaCour, writing starts with observing the world around you, getting ready to break it down into words and unravel the meaning on a page.

As a new writer, Nina found it best to share those observations through young adult literature after falling in love with it in college. She has since written a picture book, “Mama, Mommy and Me in the Middle,” and returned to an adult novel she shelved early in her career (“Yerba Buena”). More recently, she released "The Apartment House on Poppy Hill," the sweetest chapter book.

Nina’s work is notably thoughtful and gentle. Her complex topics have resonated deeply with young readers and adults alike (including our own recent guest, Mark Oshiro). She’s best known for her novels such as “Hold Still,” "Everything Leads to You," and "We Are Okay," which received the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

In this episode, she shares her journey to falling in love with young adult literature and how Virginia Woolf helped her find the love of her life. She also explores writing's capacity to uncover the depth within every moment and discusses the importance of queer family representation in literature.


Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.


In her reading challenge, At the Intersection, Nina has curated a list of books at the intersection of queerness and family.

You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com/nina-lacour

This episode's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Faith Rice Mills, librarian at Nelda Sullivan Middle School in Pasadena, Texas. She tells us a heartwarming story to remind librarians of the importance of their work, even when that impact isn't obvious.


Chapter 1 - The Outsider…

Chapter 2 - …Becomes the Observer

Chapter 3 - Mrs. Dalloway

Chapter 4 - On Being Gentle

Chapter 5 - Bang Bang

Chapter 6 - At the Intersection

Chapter 7 - Beanstack Featured Librarian


Host: Jordan Lloyd Bookey
Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media

Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

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