Host of The Spine, Gail Marie, at her desk

Dear listener,

You won't find another podcast like The Spine. I know, because I looked for one.

In 2015, I was tired of hearing writers answer the same interview questions on other podcasts. Questions like, How do you find inspiration for the ideas in your books and What is your writing process? What I wanted to hear, and what no interviewer was asking, was how these writers became readers. Because that's where their stories begin — they, more than most, have been changed by reading.

It turns out that writers love talking about their reading lives and that I love doing everything it takes to make a great podcast: scheduling interviews with their agent or publisher, researching the books they want to focus on, guiding the conversation, editing the audio, gathering the images necessary for the website and social media, uploading a new episode most Tuesdays, and sharing each episode.

Whether or not you have been changed by what you've read, whether you're a reader with a capital R or you get most of your books from grocery store aisle endcaps, or if you just like listening to great podcasts, please consider supporting The Spine.

How you can help

  1. Share The Spine with friends and family who love to read.
  2. Rate the podcast on iTunes (this helps more than you may realize!)
  3. Support The Spine with a donation.

By the way, when I say that books can change your life, I mean it. Books have changed my life many times, but here are two biggies:

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

In 1994, as a sophomore in college majoring in elementary education, I took my first philosophy class and read "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard. It's a nonfiction narrative in which she highlights a year that she spent exploring her neighborhood and asking some big questions. I read it with my jaw dropped, both because I'd never read anyone who writes as Dillard writes and because I'd never thought to ask the questions she asks. I wanted to ask more of them, so I changed my major to philosophy and never looked back.

The Maytrees book cover

In June 2007, on a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, celebrating 10 years of marriage to a man I met in college, I read Dillard's then-latest book, "The Maytrees." It's about a couple, the Maytrees, and their unconventional, decades-long relationship. After finishing the final page, I went back to the beginning and reread it. Right then. I knew I wouldn't see my eleventh anniversary, and I didn't. By May 2008, I was divorced (and heartbroken, but that's another story). She remains my most-admired, most re-read, absolute favorite writer.