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Joseph Osmundson joins Eric Newman to discuss his new collection of essays, Virology. A professor of microbiology at NYU, Osmundson is a critic, essayist, and co-host of the Food4Thot podcast. Part memoir, part COVID diary, part journey into questions of risk, identity, and modern culture, Virology loosely explores what queer thought and experience can help us see and understand about viruses, and what a close look at viruses can help us understand about ourselves and our relation to others and the world. Two major pandemics saturate the book — the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and ’90s, and the COVID-19 pandemic of the past several years. By looking at how queerness, risk, and social bonds intersect with moments of peak medical crisis, Joe considers how pandemics have challenged and changed us and what new worlds we can build out of that experience.

Also, Ruth Wilson Gilmore returns to recommend six books, which, taken together, renew her faith in “human internationalism from below”: Laleh Khalili’s Sinews of War and Trade, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, Toni Cade Bambara’s Those Bones Are Not My Child, Vron Ware’s Return of a Native, Julius S. Scott’s The Common Wind, and As If She Were Free, edited by Erica L Ball, Tatiana Seijas, and Terri L Snyder.