Our 5 Favorite Sites for Great Bookish Videos


This past week, a 1950s video of Vladimir Nabokov sipping tea, discussing Lolita with Lionel Trilling, and just generally being his charmingly elitist self made the rounds. It reminded us that author videos don’t have to resemble the BookTV cliche of someone just droning on and on. It also got us thinking: What else is out there today? After the jump, we collect our five favorite sites for author videos.

1. Moby Lives Moby Lives is the place that first brought the Nabokov interview to our attention. It’s the house blog for indie publisher Melville House, and it has a gift for digging up dusty gems. Check out Pasolini and Ezra Pound cutting it up, rare footage of Mark Twain (and Mark Twain’s awesome ‘stache), Milan Kundera, and Mike Wallace butting heads with Ayn Rand.

2. BookSlut The video section of BookSlut, Jessa Crispin’s long-running book blog, is another great source. It got off to a running start in ’09, nabbing the likes of Neil Gaiman. The site’s video efforts have quieted down a bit since Crispin moved to Berlin, but we hope they’ll be back soon.

3. Granta This one is a perennial favorite, featuring everyone from Ngugi to Orhan Pamuk and Paul Auster. A more recent video features Daniel Alarcon discussing the book pirates of Peru.

4. The New York Times video archive A more comprehensive resource, the Times‘ archive features a plethora of boldfaced names: catch conversations with Updike, Morrison, Boyle, Irving, Moore, Doctorow and… Hulk Hogan? We guess even the Gray Lady couldn’t resist Hulkamania.

5. TED Last but not least is the marvelousness that is TED. For anyone not familiar, it’s a conference/nonprofit/website dedicated to spreading great ideas. The author section is robust, with lectures by CK Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, Edwidge Danticat, and Chimamanda Adichie, to name just a few. Click through, but be prepared to lose an afternoon.

Have other suggestions or links? Add them in the comments!