We'd like to thank our listeners Matthew Ballou and Jason Ahuja, who suggested this week's book. The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake was first published in 1983, a few years after Pancake committed suicide at the age of 26. We discuss the way Pancake writes about his home state of West Virginia, and our sadness that he didn't live to extend the promise of these early stories.
37 minutes in, we recap the biggest deals of the NBA trade deadline. From there we're moved to lament the lonesome fate of the center in today's NBA. From Houston going all small-ball all the time, to Philly gaslighting Joel Embiid, to rebounding savant Andre Drummond being traded for a bag of popcorn, there's never been a worse time to be seven feet tall.
Next up, the 1990s and Donna Tartt's The Secret History.
Today we discuss Sula, Toni Morrison's 1973 follow-up to her debut novel The Bluest Eye, before pivoting at the 50 minute mark to talk about some of the things we've found most surprising about this NBA season, including the shockingly fun Oklahoma City Thunder, the frisky Memphis Grizzlies, and the better-than-expected Los Angeles Lakers.
Join us next time as we read -- by request! -- The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake, our selection from the 1980s.
We'd like to extend a big thanks to listener Jeff Schroeck, who suggested we pick up Coover's 1968 fantasy-baseball fantasia as our selection from the 1960s. It was weird and smart and provoked a wide array of thoughts about postmodernism (both as a literary movement and as an operating condition of the second half of the twentieth century and beyond), which we tried to explore and examine in this episode. (Book suggestions are always welcome, by the way. If you too would like to hear us fundamentally misunderstand and make unsupportable claims about a book you dearly admire, please don't hesitate to email us or tweet at Adam with your titles!)
At the one hour mark, we go over some trades that might shore up the rosters of the best teams in the league, to mark the start of the race to the trade deadline.
Apologies to audiophiles out there: due to a badly placed microphone, Jesse sounds a bit distant and room tone-y. We fixed it for the NBA chat.
Next up: the 1970s, and Toni Morrison's Sula.
We tarry cheerfully in the obscure and creepy corridors of Shirley Jackson's late novels, sites of psychic ambiguity and authorial (and architectural!) precision. Then, at the 46 minute mark, we assess the credibility of various trends of the young NBA season, as well as use the phrase "round into form" countless times.
Next up, the postmodern 60s, and Robert Coover's orthographically complex (at least in title) novel The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Join us!
Here at long last is the second half of our recent podstravaganza, featuring Charles Chace and all of our misguided pre-season predictions. Feast your ears on all the things we were wrong about! Thanks to Charles for coming in (and bringing his fancy microphone and shock mount to boot.) We hope to have him back in later on in the season when we can further revel in our collective wrongness.
Next up on the book side: the 1950s, and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
Recorded as part of a three-hour podstravaganza earlier this week, here's our discussion of Malcolm Lowry's daunting, forbidding, and rewarding 1947 novel. The rest of the podcast, in which we preview the newborn NBA season with our friend Charles Chace, is still being edited and will be released soon. Going forward on the books side, we have finally made it past the shoals of Modernism! Next up is the 1950s, and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
For our 1930s episode, situated as it is between Mrs. Dalloway in the 1920s and Under the Volcano in the 40s, we decided to linger in the shadow of Modernism awhile longer. But rather than read an emblematic novel from the decade, we wanted instead to think about Modernism's impact on poetry. Where did it come from, in what ways did it break with traditional poetic forms, and to what extent can its effects still be felt on poetry today? We were lucky to be joined by the poet and academic Emma Catherine Perry, who previously came on the podcast to discuss Claudia Rankine's Citizen, and who graciously acted as our guide through this dense thicket.
Some of the poems that come up in the course of this conversation include:
Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
The Cantos of Ezra Pound
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser
Paterson by William Carlos Williams
On Being Numerous by George Poppen
It was a fascinating and illuminating experience, and we are immensely grateful to Emma for the opportunity to talk about these poems in depth. Next up: the return in a few weeks of the NBA regular season and Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano.
On today's show, we mostly take turns reading passages that moved us from Virginia Woolf's tremendous novel about London in the wake of the great war, since there's nothing we could say that the book doesn't convey more artfully. At the 33 minute mark, we are joined by David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, to talk about his newest project, MARSHAWN LYNCH: A HISTORY, a documentary film that explores the significance of Marshawn Lynch's refusal to talk to the media. The film, assembled from hundreds of video clips, argues for Lynch's silence as a protest against a racist society and sports-media complex that nevertheless profits off black bodies. For more information about the film, or to find out when it might screen in your area, go to https://www.lynch-a-history.com/. We are grateful to David for coming on the podcast.
We staked out opposite corners of the ring for this one: Adam holding firm to the notion that the narrator is the world's most gullible dolt; Jesse convinced that the narrator is a psycho killer whose reality grows more unstable with every just-remembered detail. Who won? The truth is neither of us. In the end we were rope-a-doped into inarticulacy by Ford's bottomless backstory and untraceable character motivations. One tender mercy to cherish: we dispensed with basketball talk this week, since neither of us cares a whit about USA Basketball.
Next time we jump ahead to the 1920s, with Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.
We've made it to the nineteen aughts, the terminus of our journey into the past, and we've chosen a book that beautifully captures that first decade of the twentieth century. Wharton's 1905 novel stands as an all-time great, drawing on tendencies of the nineteenth century novel but gesturing toward the future of the novel as well. Given that we're in an absolute dead spot on the NBA calendar, we basically just shoot the shit for ten minutes or so, starting around the hour mark. The highlight of this chat is each of us trying to name three athletes in another sport (baseball for Adam and football for Jesse). Enjoy?
Next time, we'll be discussing Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier. Also, buy Adam's book!: https://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Neversink-Adam-OFallon-Price/dp/1947793349