tv Book Discussion on Because of Sex CSPAN April 23, 2016 3:00pm-3:46pm EDT
i am happy to sign books for those who would like to buy one upstairs. thank you so much. .. chair of military theory of the marine corps university will discuss his idead on how to defeat isis at the heritage foundation in washington, dc. then on tuesday, we'll be at the mark twain house in hartford, connecticut, talking about the friendship between mark twain and secretary of state john hay. ons in, service employees international union vice president david ralph will discuss strategies to empurr workers and increase their
becames at the center for american progress in washington, dc. and next sunday, we'll be live with will hey goode on in department. awe of of biograph's offed a tam clayton powell, sammy davis, and thurgood marshal. that's a look at author programs booktv is covering this week. many of these events are open to the public. loor for them to ear on booktv on c-span2. >> thank you so much for coming. i am overwhelmed by this turnout, and overwhelmed by the response. think facebook was created for moments like this because i have heard from so many people who i haven't been in touch with. it's been truly an amazing experience. i also wanted to -- for those in
the cloud who are not my friends and family and don't know what this book is about, if you were lured here by the title, thinking you would have a titillating evening, i just thought i'd disabuse you of that now. we'll be talking about oppression and patriarch can i. y -- patriarchy for 45 minutes. and finally i wanted to thank clara for being here. she has been a champion of my project phenomenon when it wasn't anywhere close -- from when it wasn't anywhere close to being between the pages or the covers, and i frankly have been a huge fan since i burst into tears on amtrak really -- it was an ugly cry. reading a very pivotal part of her book and i moved me so much and was a model for me in writing this book, trying to bring human voices to these landmark cases. so, i'm just thrilled that she
is the one sitting with me here tonight. so thank you for coming. we'll start the show. this is going to be me asking questions and then i want everyone here to make sure you get your questionsy. first of all, jillian, i finished the back the other night. i read earlier versions of it but finished it last night, and it is the most powerful chronicle of the last 50 years of the integration of the work force, and all of these women, none of whom regular people have heard of, are amazing heroines. the rosa parks of women's rights and it's just a remarkable job what you have done. so, i wanted to start with why did you write this book? how did you decide to dedicate years of your life, i'd like to know how many to chronicling 10
of these cases and it -- the brevity is amazing because this should be 5,000 pages long, and that's the hardest part, condensing -- how well you condensed each story. >> i think the idea really came to me when i was working at a women's organization, two or three jobs ago. we were thinking about the 50th anniversary of titlen 7:00 which was in 2014, and how we would commemorate it. title vii is the section of the 1964 civil rights act that bans discrimination because of sex, and i was working as an employment lawyer representing women, and so it was sort of my bread and butter, anytime a client came in i would think about one of the cases that had been decided under title vii and think whether her situation fell within its parameters. so, i started thinking, okay, a great celebration would be to bring these women to new york and have some sort of event with
them. then i started thinking about, i would just like to meet them and talk to them and hear about how their cases dime be and how they came to be these brand names in my field. so that was the kernel of the idea. i will tell a quick anecdote to explain how i knew i had been hooked in order to be able to try to get an agent and a deal i had to have an actual suspect that meant i had to meet with somebody. managed to talk to an actual person, and i flew to nashville and met with teresa harris, the subject of chapter eight, and the second of the two sexual harass canment cases in the book and i met with her and her lawyer, irwin veinic, who had no reason to take any time to meet with me. they didn't know me. but she was so warm and open and told me about very difficult times in her life, and told me this one an neck dote about in
the -- anecdote in the mittle of the sexual hard racks. case her harasser asked her to have a drink, and she met him, along with someone else. at that moment irwin turned to her and said, you what? that is an absolute no-no when you're two weeks from trial to meet with your harasser without your lawyer present. the said well i thought maybe i could settle the case. so she met with him and immediately when he heard how much money she wanted, which was not much, went into a fit and he was ruin her and she found strength and anger inside of her and she said, you listen to mitchell don't care how long it takes i'm going to do -- give everything i got for this. i'm talking sandra fucking deo -- day o'connor.
in the end of the an neck ticket, when she told me that story, realized in her case, which was a unanimous case, that established that you didn't have to have a nervous breakdown to have a claim for sexual harassment, that the author of the opinion was sandra day o'connor. and i was hooked then. i knew i had to tell the stories and made me have goose bumps. >> how long did it take? what was your journey? >> well, my editor is sitting in the front row so she would tell you the journey was longer than it should have been. but it was a little over a year between the time i began research and submitted the manuscript, and then there was a rough cut.
that's what my contract provided. i breached the contract a couple times. i started by doing a lot of travel traveling and interviewing folks, people, to almost a one -- a couple folks who turned me down but overall, people were wonderful, welcomed me into their homes. i sat and had a lovely fruit plate that sheila waite prepared for me, and terry fouts, was involved in a couple of the cases, had me stay overnight in his beautiful home in madison, never met her before. she started out to be wonderful. so i did a lot of traveling initially and then sat down to write with a few trips sprinkled in here and there in the writing process. >> and you must have had thousands and thousands of court documents to pour over as well. >> it's great that most documents these days are
computerized or digitized; so, i could go to the library of congress and was able to get the entire court docket from all of the supreme court cases. some of the old ever ones were not available and i had to look through books at the library of congress, and, yeah, i -- for some of the women were no longer alive, primary moment, ida phillip in the first chapter, who was turned down for a job on the assembly line at martin marietta in 1968 because she had daughter who was three years old and they wouldn't hire women with children. she passed away in 1985 and she -- irinterviewed three of her kids and they directed me to the courthouse in orlando where some of her powers were on display because that where her trial was or her case was heard.
so her letters to lbj, chills the way they chapter begins-was actually there in the courthouse. and then a couple of occasions involved unions representing women, and most of the women i couldn't contact so i relied a lot on the lawyers and been drummond, for the third chapter, the unfair pension contribution case, that was from early '70s and he had all the case files. so all the women who led the movement to challenge this policy, i found their notes in his file, and pictures they had send him. so that was making the people come alive who i couldn't meet. >> tell me all about which cases really grabbed you the most. you favorites. pick favorites. >> this is on tv, right? why don't i say the one that grabbed me the most first,
besides -- the prebook process -- i think the second chapter, kim rawlins, juan of the first people i interviewed, and i knew i was really off to the races. when i went to montgomery and met wither in a hotel room there, and she had grownup montgomery, very studious, shy, she told me her neighbors would sometimes expect -- express surprise her parented had three children because she stayed inside so much. but when she went to college, she fell in love with this kind of burgeoning field which at the time was in development called correctional psychology, which is basically psychologists who worked with inmates and studied relationships between inmates and guards, and she just fell in love with it. the way she put it was she said
it just was like a box was ticked inside of me, and montgomery in -- she was in college in tuscaloosa, but in 1970, for a petite little blonde woman to want to go and work in these prisons is something she knew her parents wouldn't understand. anyway, she was just an amazing person to talk to, and so much serendipity the way she found her attorney was she had -- while she was in college she had tried to be a prison guard, which is what she wanted to do, and was told she weighed too much -- weighed too. she was five pounds below the weight minimum. she was tall enough. she was 5'3" but five pounds too light. kind of like a dream come true.
you can gain five pounds. but the arbitrariness of it pissed me off, she said, and got her boyfriend to drive her to -- the eeoc office and she filed a charge, and nothing happened and she took a job washing hair at a kut above, in montgomery, and one day a young lawyer from the southern poverty law center came in to get her hair wash sped she started chatting with the shampoo girl, and found out about -- shat she'd been turned out for not meeting the weight requirement, and she said, come into my office. i want to talk to you. so that kind of serendipity, and also someone who was so committed to despite what every woman, her entire family and the world around her was telling was an appropriate job for her, she
was mad, and so that was really inspiring. >> that case was very important because it struck down having specific requirements for -- can you explain that? >> right. the supreme court ruled unanimously that height and weight restrictions have a disproportionate discriminatory impact on women. and already had been decided that disproportionate impact on race was illegal, but this ruled that these -- unless an employer can justify these kinds of restrictions as necessary to do the job -- and alabama couldn't do that. they had no records, neverted the height-weight requirements, whether they correlated to any sort of better prison guards. adjust thought bigger was scarier and better. so unless an employer can make out that kind of a link between the requirement and the job, it's invalidated.
so anytime you see a woman firefighter or cop or construction worker or lots of other women doing historically male dominated jobs, they have kim robinson to thank. >> that was an example of the early blue collar breakthroughs and then you also have a really good example of price waterhouse, of a different kind of discrimination on a white collar, more psychological level. >> about a decade after the restrictions on women and employment had been struck down, and yet this case involved a very similar theme, which is a woman who is not conforming to how people think she is supposed to act or look or be. so ann hopkins was very accomplished, very bright, on a track to become partner at price waterhouse in the late 80s in the washington area in the government services group.
she worked on contracts from the state department, all around the world. she brought in contracts that far exceeded when she went up for partner the 87 other people who also were going up for partner. she had unanimous support her department going forward for partnership, and she was denied as she was told it was based on reviews she had gotten from the current partners and she said things like overcompensates for being a woman. macho. >> the rode a motorcycle. >> she did ride a motorcycle. she was a little macho. let's be honest. but she was -- rode the bike. so my favorite of the suggestions was that she needs a course at charm school, and then
she went to the man who was her mentor, who was her biggest supporter, and he kind of echoed -- she said what die have to do to make partner? he said walk more femininely, talk more femininely, style your hair or, wear makeup and jewelry. she sued and she and her determined lawyers doug sureon and doug miller -- brought the case and enlisted a social psychologist which in the early '80s was very new. now it's very common in current litigation in fact it's so common there's backlash against it being used but they enlist eaved social psychologist who was able to present information to the trial judge, who was the son of a psychologist so he got it, explaining that sex stereotypes have a very powerful effect on how you interpret behavior and mannerisms from people around you, and if they conform to those expectations
you like them. if they don't conform to them, you kind of aren't that comfortable with them. so she wasn't confirm to how a woman was supposed to act, and that was a huge victory when the court found in her favor because they were saying it's just as bad to rejection somebody for being the wrong kind of woman as it is to reject her for just being a woman. and that case has had actually incredibly new, vibrant life, not only helping women like ann hopkins, who also was the first person ever to get a federal court to award her partnership as her remedy. so, she was one of the lucky ones in the cases in the book that we talked about. but it's had a new life in the litigation of discrimination cases on behalf of lgbt, especially t, transgender
workers, the idea that your gender identity -- your not presenting the way man is supposed to present or the way a woman is supposed to be brent. a man is not supposed to be in a dress. has had a great deal offices and appellate courts found it is sex discrimination to discriminate on the basis gender identity. slower to come along for lgb but my organization and a lot of others are working on that. and the eeoc which enforces title vii has taken the putting that lgbt discrimination is encompassed within the sex provision for that reason. >> i wonder how senator smith -- he definitely is rolling in his grave right enough. >> he was trying to help million who might be disadvantaged. if black woman were protected -- if you didn't have sex, it was only race in the statute. so i'm sure he wasn't thinking about white women who were
dressing in men's clothes. and transitioning to becoming men. probably not. but that's the point is that the law has been expanded far beyond what is was -- it was bare bones and sex and up to the courts to decide what it meant, and price waterhouse says that is what it needs. >> next was pregnancy. not that it's over, but those cases were really groundbreaking and important. can you telephone -- tell us about that? >> you have a statute about men and women being equal in the workplace, and you're dealing with a very real physical difference between men and women. what is equality look like? does it mean treating men and women exactly the same, men and pregnant women exactly the same, as if pregnancy weren't in the picture or does it mean taking
account of pregnancy? and that's caused at one point a very serious rift in the feminist community. that's covered in chapter five. but in the early years after title vii was enacted. the eeoc did not know what to do about pregnancy. there were so confused. finally in 1972 they issued a guidance -- the law was enacted in 1964. they issued a guidance in 1972 saying firing someone because she is pregnant is illegal. erasing her seniority while she is she is on leave having a baby is illegal. the supreme court had a decision about that. those kinds of punitive measures. another case about a woman who was a teacher who -- her school district enacted a rule that after the third or fourth month of pregnancy, the teacher had to be out of the classroom because
she had to be on leave, couldn't by near the kids. so those kinds of restrictions were struck down, but where the court got gummed up is when it came to things like should pregnant will be able to participate equally in a paid disability leave program, that they have in place for everybody. so the guy who is out for a while getting cancer treatment, the woman who is out for a while having her baby, he was getting a paycheck and she wasn't. that was at general electric. and that went up to the supreme court and the court found in general electric's favor. it wasn't automatically sex discrimination because there were plenty of women who never got pregnant. this is a distinction between pregnant and nonpregnant persons. so, the backlash was swift and
congress enacted the pregnancy discrimination act in 1978. the general eek decision was in 1976. the pda definitely cleared things up to an extent, but the two cases in the book about pregnancy -- well, three cases in the book about pregnancy are all after the pda. so didn't quite clear everything up. >> one of them is johnson controls, at least in my reading, looked as if the company was using pregnancy as a way of -- and potential pregnancy for any woman as a way of just getting women out of the work force. seemed to me like it was part of a backlash that was going on because they were forced because 0 of affirmative action to hire these women who they really didn't want there and then they found a loophole in the late 1980s employers were enact can
fetal protection policies, claiming that their fearing for the well-being of their female moneyee' future children and most specifically their fetuses, and as you say, there wasn't the same movement in industries that were dominated by women, where if you had a field protection policy that said unless you can prove you're infertile you have to get out of the dangerous part of the job, which was relegating you to a less remunerative job, like janitor or something like that. so, or working on the assembly line was quite lucrative. these distinctions were not put in place in lots of hazardous fields for women, laundries, women actually worked a lot in the electronics industry.
we know today about nail salons and hair salons. lots of toxic environments are female dominated and no one was looking to get those women off the front lines. but in these male-dominated fields where women lad not been fired for years, in 1970 under the carter department of labor and eeoc there was a lot of enforcement for the companies saying you have to start getting women on the assembly rights and you can't exclude them. then in the 80s we had a different administration, different president, suddenly these fetal protection policies started being put forward. so in the johnson controls case there were 275 women who worked in the company and practically all of them were pushed out of their assembly line jobs by the policy. some of them got sterilized so they could keep their jobs. but some of them just accepted the -- i read one news article about the whole thing where a
woman had been moved from a job working on the assembly line to actually cleaning the masks of the men she used to work with. which i thought was especially -- not bittersweet, just bitter. in johnson controls the outcome was the court, including dish with concurrence by, who any, justice scalia unanimously held this was unlawful and you couldn't say that only women have to be protected out of their wages. the evidence actually showed that men's reproductive capacities were as harmed or were more in dangered by expose sure to lead and the court said these decision beside taking risks on the job are for women and their doctors to make, not for employers to maersk even if the motivation is benevolent. that's a case that i -- a form are job i represented
firefighters and people who did really dangerous work and i more than once had to write a letter explaining the supreme court said that actually you can't, when you fine out a woman is pregnant, delegate her to a desk job because she is not at the point where she is not physically able to work. that's why the younger ups case is an interesting one to include and ends the book with, which is a bookends to johnson controls, johnson croyles is about saying a woman's biology went be used against lower to keep her out of well-paying men jobs but ups the flip side of that. you have someone in a job that involves heavy lifting, driving a delivery truck, and her doctor gives her restrictions, and says for the duration of your pregnancy, which is not forever, pretty short, but seemed to throw employers for a big loop. we would like you to not be doing a lot of heavy lifting,
and even though the company had three different categories of workers to whom it would grant desk jobs and other kinds of light duty, including people who lost their driver's license for drunk driving. >> that was the most infuriating. the dui guys were fine. >> the pregnancy discrimination act says a pregnant woman has to be treated as someone similar in their ability or inability to work, and say someone who lost their license due to drunk driving was entitled to better treatment was really frankly what i think made the case a good one to take to the court because it was so head-shakingly outrageous. other restrictions employers say are imposed. we only give light duty you to people injured on the job. so you're not similar enough to that person because you got pregnant -- we hope you got pregnant off the job. >> you're not getting pregnant
on the job. so the way that case came out was it was a victory for peggy but actually left some question mark about just how many people on the work -- who are similar -- just how many similar people have to be treed more favorably for the pregnant woman to be entitled to the court -- the court specifically rejected the idea that as long as you refer to one person in accounting who had a special kind of seat or got more breaks or something, unless they rejected the idea that just one was enough. so still rough to be sorted out by more peggy youngs and more litigants what exactly the test this. but pregnancy is -- i think pregnancy and motherhood are the thorniest questions still of any in the book, still facing women today, and there's social
sciences documented a motherhood penalty. they're paid less, hired less, men get a bump when they have kids. women it's just the opposite. so, anyway, it's -- talk about a continuing life, that case, certainly not the last we have heard of the issue. >> and sexual harassment, last but not least. there are two main cases that you cover, the first one martin v. vinson, the first sexual harassment case which was the -- was able to sue and be -- tell us about that and then harris versus forklift. >> right. really a harrowing case and she is the one plaintiff who did not speak to me and never explained why. she just didn't respond to a lot
of messages. i can surmise it was such a painful case and so pro longed and process afterwards that -- a horrible chapter she wanted to -- no pun intended -- she wanted to leave behind. so that research was done primarily through talking to the various lawyers who worked with her, news articles that she gave interviews for, and court documents, transcripts of depositions used at the trial. but she was -- she work as a bank in northeast washington. she was 19 years old. came from very broken home, and her supervisor, sidney taylor, was very fatherly figure and took very good care of her for a while, helped her out with represent and so forth, and -- with rent and so forth, and then one night told her, i gave you this job, i can take it away and threatened to kill her. the abuse continued for three years.
she had sex with him 40 to 50 times. including on the vault floor at the bank, and it just was torture, really, one of the lawyers involved in the case described it as sexual slavery, and so she finally was divorcing her husband from whom she had been estranged for a while, seeing a divorce lawyer and started crying. victor you, who i was able to speak to, who -- victoria ludwig say, ill know, divorce is sad. hope you'll be okay. she say, analysis not it. it's happening at work. when she poured forth -- up until that time sexual harassment had been dismissed as a personal kind of digression, the personal inclination of the harasser. basically you can't blame a guy for trying kind of approach of the judges, and it was no female judge at that time. >> what year?
>> this is in the early '80s she went -- she start working at the bank in 1979 so this is like '82, and so people were losing these cases. the only time people could win these cases is if they kacy it wassedsed a van made and it was buffed some something tangible happened. fired or not promoted. if it hurt their wallets courts were more able to see it as discrimination. but this environmental issue, the idea that someone was just complimenting you and making you uncomfortable, maybe touching you, asking you out repeatedly, one of those times where the paradigm for discrimination was primarily race in their minds and thought of it as -- animus based event, and why aren't you happy? very hard for that switch to be turned.
finally with michelle vinson's case selection happened to come across a very progressive d.c. circuit with some civil rights who sat on im, who got it, including katherine mckinnon's father, bill the way, and they got it and issued positive rulings. the dissenters were robert bork and antonin scalia. >> and ken starr. [laughter] >> and -- so, the supreme court ultimately decided -- this is absolutely revolutionary -- was that a hostile environment affects the terms, conditions and privileges of employment, which is the statutory language, just as much as losing money does, and that was the issue with michelle vinson, she had advanced at the bank and the bank never contested she was an
excellent employee and the assistant manager which is what she was promoted to. so the bank said nothing ever happened to her that was negative in her pocketbook so how can we be held liable? and then that was extraordinary, although i think a lot of people didn't absorb because the anita hill hearings were five years after that. >> so this is '86 by the time it got the supreme court. >> yes, and then got remanded back to the trial court and dragged on for another at least five years, and finally she settled. but then -- i moon i think the anita hill, clarence thomas hearings changed the discussion about sexual harassment. it wasn't until that -- the discussion really started. and then the teresa harris case, very briefly, it was also a hostile work environment case. she was a manager in a rental -- equipment rental company, and was harassed by the owner of the
company, who did a lot of -- i mean, all i can think of is dabny coleman in "nine to five." he literally would drop pencils on the floor and ask women to pick it up and turn the air conditioning down so it was cold in the office to see what happened to women's breasts. just gross. i had a quarter down here in my pocket, can you get it out for me, teresa? yuck. anyway, she finally couldn't take it anymore. she quit. and she found an attorney to take the case, who knew about -- and the big issue was, this is a horrible case. we can all agree that the standard that was created there was the harassment severe enough --ite is criminal. >> exactly. >> so the standard created in this one was enough to be severe and pervasive enough to create an abusive working environment. well, duh. of course that happened.
but here in teresa harris' case she went home at night and drank too much and yelled at her kids and cried in her office but she kept doing her job and she kept doing it well, and so she didn't out wardly look like she was suffering so when you have someone like that who doesn't appear to be suffering, and is functional, have you crossed the line into illegality? so the big takeaway from her case that was so significant, because imagine that the line had been kept at the michelle vinson point, right? then to have a sexual harassment case you had to be physically assaulted and the awful illegal or criminal sphere. so, theresa harris case is significants because the court said, no, title vii comes into play before someone has a nervous breakdown. that's what they said in the decision. and by that point there were two women on the court, sandra day o'connor and right -- ruth bader
begins burg, and the standard -- made it mushy and lawyerly, it would be considered abusive -- severe, pervasive enough to be considered abusive to a reasonable person by an objective standard, reasonable person. so, that has resulted in a lot of scrutiny about complainants, they're really rome, are they thin-skinned but was revolutionary that you don't have to necessarily be touched. you don't necessarily have to endure three years of abuse to be able to claim you have had your rights violated. >> peggy pill -- we're getting the signal. >> i can't remember what the signal means. out of time? >> time for questions. does anyone have any? [inaudible question] -- >> advocates and women's rights
advocates and all these cases. today people have the impression all these cases were brought by white women and it's not true at all. if you could speak to that a little bit. >> sure. the question is about the intersection between racial justice advocates and women's rights advocates in bringing these cases and who were thesewoman who brought the cases. i think it's fair to say next early years of title vii there was an uneasy relationship between racial justice advocates and women's advocates and competition kind of for air time, really, competition to get to the supreme court and start making good law under title 7. so the ida foltz case, the first case that is the most -- pointed example of this, because she was white woman who went to a white lawyer, actually, in jacksonville, and he said -- in orlando -- excuse me -- no,
jacksonville, sorry him said don't think there's anything there she thought i bet an african-american lawyer, negro lawyer, i bet he would under how to bring a case like this. so she ended up with a young guy, reese marshal, who had been apprenticing at the naacp with the defense fund in new york and had come down to florida to continue apprenticing to get more experience, and he completely -- was completely on board, sound of blind to the racial aspect but as the case was progressing he kept trying to interest big-time groups in new york, like the naacp legal desk fund, and she said he couldn't get any traction. finally when the case had been granted certiorari bay the supreme court that the lawyers started saying, wait a minute, there are black women, too. the sex provision applies to them as well.
and they got onboard and started realizing that if you're excluding a subset of women like mothers of young children, that it was almost, first of all, black women were disproportionately in the workforce with young children second of all almost an endless list of plus factors. what if it was race plus -- we won't hire any black people who are right-handed. we won't hire any black people who don't have a driver's license, and excluding all of these subsets of protected classes, you got the race discrimination lawyers finally interested in thinking of this as something we have to do something about. but it's always been a little of tension because race discrimination is about black-white equality and there has always been this sense that some differences between men and women are okay to tolerate. there's even a provision in the
law allowing for certain jobs to be designated for men only or women only and very narrow circumstances. that exception doesn't exist. it hasn't always been an easy relationship but i think it's improved over the years, certainly is better now, and the phillips case was very helpful to women who live at the intersection of -- older women who can't show that younger people were treated badly but an older woman can have a claim, or an african-american woman, even if all the white woman in the workplace were being treated poorly, she still has a title vii claim. >> one more question. sorry. >> i wonder if you would speak a bit about what cases are kicking around at the circuit court level in this area of the law that could potentially be game-changers. >> the question is about cases
pending in the circuit courts that might be game-changers as they go up to possibly the supreme court. i'm not -- the area that i think is probably most likely to percolate up is not another pregnancy case, then this issue of lgbt coverage. there's been either mixed decisions at the district court level, not a lot of appellate court rulings but they have -- as the eeoc is starting to bring more litigation -- last week they filed their first two cases allege that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination so there's a lot of activity in that area. that's, i think -- and just the one other thing i'll mention. there's been a couple of bad supreme court rulings on the issue of liability for sexual harassment, which you have to show for it, and i think there are a lot of decisions being made under the new standard that
are kind of all over the place, and so that's what -- not the only thing that will make the supreme court look at an issue but general he when there's a lot of disagreement among the circuits. >> thank you, gillian, for writing this book. >> thank you. [applause] >> remember to buy multiple books. you can always find a friend who might want one. thank you. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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