Barrie Hardymon

Barrie Hardymon is the Senior Editor at NPR's Weekend Edition, and the lead editor for books. You can hear her on the radio talking everything from Middlemarch to middle grade novels, and she's also a frequent panelist on NPR's podcasts It's Been A Minute and Pop Culture Happy Hour. She went to Juilliard to study viola, ended up a cashier at the Strand, and finally got a degree from Johns Hopkins' Writing Seminars which qualified her solely for work in public radio. She lives and reads in Washington, DC.

It's either a perfect or a perfectly terrifying time for Lauren Tarshis's I Survived books, a series of historical fiction that follows one kid as he or she finds themselves in mortal danger at the center of an event — like the Great Chicago Fires of 1871. But as she points out — at least you know the ending. "Some kid who hasn't read it goes, 'But does he, you know, but he died in the first chapter!' Because I leave them on a cliffhanger, and I say, well, you know what would have been a really bad name for my series? I Died.

How old was I when I discovered Judith Krantz? The joke works best when the retort is, "not old enough," because heaven help us, her books are filthy. But the truth is, when I picked up Mistral's Daughter at 16 and then tore through every other available novel, I was exactly the right age. Her books were brimming with minute detail about every single thing I was curious about, but couldn't possibly amass any firsthand knowledge of at the time: fashion, style, sex, New York, Paris, powerful people and very good restaurants. And not just a little!

Judith Viorst — the author of the iconic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day — has shelves full of children's books to her name, but she's also a prolific poet, and she has a new book of poetry out now, called Nearing 90. Even though, as she jokes, "I'm only a girl of 88."