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20 minutes | Mar 17, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 29 - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark & What Makes One "The Crème de la Crème"
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark is our latest read, and our last read before we take a few weeks off for spring break. One of us loved this book, and one of us really and truly did not, and that’s what makes for a fun book club chat! Miss Brody is a progressive teacher at a rather formal and traditional girls’ school, who’s girls (the Brodie set) are being groomed to be the “crème de la crème. “ She’s in her prime, she’s got two lovers on the faculty, she’s influencing young minds. It’s a story of love, hate, manipulation, and betrayal on several levels. It’s dark, witty, funny…or just plain awful. Depending on who you ask. If you read this book, we’d love to know which side you come down on! Find us on IG and let us know! We’re @75reads .
23 minutes | Mar 3, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 28 - On Having No Head by Douglas Harding & What If We Didn't Have An Eight Inch Ball
One day in the early 1940s Douglas Harding, an English architect, was hiking in the Himalayas when he had a shocking realization…he had no head. He realized that we can’t see what he called the eight inch ball on the top of our body, except by looking at a photo or a reflection in a mirror. If we cannot see ourselves the way other people see us, how do we know who we are? At the moment he realized this, all sense of time past and future fell away. He forgot his name, gender, even what type of animal he was. All the traditional markers of identity ceased to exist. In Buddhist terms, Harding is describing nondualism, a mature state of consciousness in which the self is transcended. Harding says the eight inch “ball” on the top of his body doesn’t contain, but is all that is on offer. Chew on that, if you will. With us. As you listen to episode 28. Join our Bowie book club community on IG: https://www.instagram.com/75reads/
32 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 27 - Silence by John Cage & Why There Is Always Sound
Silence by John Cage is a collection of lectures and stories. Some are written in vertical columns. Some have, let’s call it interesting, spacing. And some, as Cage will tell you, have piano accompaniments, street noises, and the like. There was a lecture where he gave himself one minute to tell each story. So if the story had three lines, he had to stretch it. If a story was long, he’d have to talk fast to fit it into a minute. There’s a lecture called What Are We Doing? It’s actually three lectures sharing the same space on the page, written in vertical columns, one part in regular print, one part in bold print, and one part in italics. Mind blowing. Even more mind blowing, thinking about what silence actually is. And does it even exist? Is sound a constant? Is it different for each individual based on surroundings, personal history, location of the individual to the sound, etc? And mushrooms. John Cage had a thing for mushrooms. There were short stories and anecdotes peppered throughout the book, and they were all delightful. This is a book that any type of artist can appreciate. Also, do yourself a favor and go online and find a video of John Cage’s 4’33. Trust us.
30 minutes | Feb 4, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 26 - Strange People by Frank Edwards & Is "Freak" Really The Right Word?
A “monkey girl”, sleepless people (one named David Jones - not our David Jones), water diviners, an author who was a channeled spirit, psychic detectives, and so many more “Strange People”. This collection of stories relayed by Frank Edwards will entertain, will make you wonder, and will sometimes tug at your heart. Perhaps the most heart wrenching story, and the story with the biggest Bowie connection, is that of Joseph Merrick, the so-called Elephant Boy. Bowie played this character beautifully on Broadway in 1980. In subsequent books, Frank Edwards tackled the subject of UFOs. In the 1960s, Bowie went UFO-spotting quite often. With a fondness for “freaks” and the paranormal, Frank Edwards seems a logical author to have made Bowie’s list. On the pod, we're sharing some of the stand out stories from this fun, and strange, read.
28 minutes | Jan 21, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 25 - The Divided Self by R.D. Laing & Why This Book Seemed Personal
To start with, Laing states that the basic purpose of this book is to make madness, and the process of going mad, comprehensible. The full title is The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness. Okay, what’s the definition of existentialism? It’s a philosophical movement that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for making meaningful, authentic choices in a universe seen as purposeless or irrational. What did this all mean to Bowie? We do know that his brother was schizophrenic. And, we go into that in more detail in this episode. Laing’s approach to understanding the schizophrenic is one of understanding a human being, who’s world is his reality, a reality just as valid as yours or ours. We agreed that if we were trying to understand a friend or family member who was schizophrenic, this would be the book to read. That said, it is a lot to take in. So, if you’re reading along with the book club but haven’t completed the book yet, dive into the podcast anyway. It won’t spoil the book, and it just might give you another angle from which to view it. Maybe even one close to Bowie’s.
31 minutes | Jan 7, 2020
Bowie, Ep. 24 - All The Emperor's Horses by David Kidd, aka Peking Story
If you follow us on Twitter you know that we’re reviewing All The Emperor’s Horses in one episode. And you know that this read is also found under the title Peking Story, which is the newer version with a chapter added at the end, which was written years after the original story was told. Intrigued? You should be! The Emperor’s Horses is the story of a young American teaching and studying in China. He marries into the aristocratic Yu family, and into the family mansion and gardens, which are characters in this book just as much as any of the people written about here. The year is 1949, and Peking has just surrendered to the Communist army. Our author, David Kidd, marries Aimee Yu in a rushed ceremony, which is charmingly and humorously written, and we follow along as the Yu family fortune, and ancient China’s culture and civilization are dismantled. This book is funny and heartbreaking, and will give you an understanding of how devastating it was to watch a 4,000 year old empire and all its tradition and beauty crumble. David Kidd had a certain Bowie-like flair for style, both in his appearance and in his art. His observations and descriptions of people (and what they wore) and places are wonderful! This was, on multiple levels, a beautiful read.
22 minutes | Oct 22, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 23 - Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse & Why Two Ways of Thinking Aren't Better Than One
We typically split our reads in half and record two episodes per book here on the pod, but Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse was such a quick read that we felt one episode would do the job. The story is in the title, Billy is a liar. He’s a 19 year old who is living at home with his parents and grandmother, working at a job he hates, dreaming of being a comedy writer. Even though this book was published in 1959, it sounds like your typical kid of today. But, the thing that sets Billy apart is that he just can’t tell the truth. To anyone. About anything. And eventually, he gets found out. He finds his own life so mundane and so miserable that he escapes to a world he’s created in his mind, and he does so quite often. He even has two types of thinking, once that’s factual and one that’s pure fantasy. Will Billy finally be true to his family? Will he finally be true to either of his fiancés? Will he finally be true to the girl he loves (not a fiancé, by the way)? Will he finally be true to himself? Listen to the pod, and find out! Oh! And April found a brilliant Bowie song to pair with this book! It’s perfect! And we are almost certain that Bowie had this book in mind when he wrote it. What song, you ask? Have a listen, and let us know what you think! ………………………………………………… P.S. As Halloween approaches, suddenly Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve all come in rapid succession. This is our last episode of the year! Thank you so much for listening and being a part of our book club. We are having so much fun making our way through Bowie’s reading list, and we hope you are too! We’ll be back with a new episode featuring All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd on January 7th! Until then, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
21 minutes | Oct 8, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 22 - The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, Part 2 & Why The Prince Is Really A Serval
We’re wrapping up The Leopard, so you may wonder, “What the heck is that animal in the photo? It doesn’t look like a leopard.” You would be correct! It is, in fact, not a leopard. It is a serval. A much smaller feline, it is the symbol on the Tomasi di Lampedusa coat of arms. One of the serval’s few North African ranges is near Lampedusa. And, servals were (not very commonly) owned by some Sicillians as exotic pets. But, we suppose that in English, “The Serval” might not have sold as many books as “The Leopard”. So, there you have it! At any rate, the second half of this novel is quite interesting in that it kills off the main character, The Prince, with a chapter left to go. It is one of the most beautiful descriptions of dying we have ever read. Really. We both felt a bit of whiplash with how quickly things that were introduced in such painstaking detail in the first three quarters of the book were wrapped up in the last two or three chapters, but wrapped up they were. Neat and tidy. And the ending. Well, it was magical and sad and everything you’d want it to be. So, without further ado, join us as we journey to the final days, and beyond, of The Serval. What are your thoughts on The Leopard? Love it or hate it? Tweet at us and find us on IG: @75reads.
29 minutes | Sep 24, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 21 - The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, Part 1 & Why the Prince is Swoon-worthy
The Leopard, by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, is an historical fiction novel centered around Prince Fabrizio (the leopard) and a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy in 1860 that is threatened by the forces of democracy and revolution. One of us swooned over The Leopard, and one of us chuckled, but by the end of the first half we were both looking forward to the rest of the book. Listen to find out why! (Oh, and here’s a fun tid bit: The title of the book in Italian did not actually translate to “The Leopard” in english. We’ll tell you what cat originally had the title role in the next episode!) Did this book make you swoon? Tweet at us and find us on IG: @75reads.
27 minutes | Sep 10, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 20 - On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Part 2 & Why Your Feelings About Sal and Dean Might Change Over Time
We’re wrapping up our journey with Sal and the gang with the second half of On The Road by Jack Kerouac. And we are a house divided. One of us liked it, one of us not so much. There were some beautiful life lessons, mostly learned by watching the supporting characters, the jazz musicians and the people encountered on the Mexico trip. Did we continue to see Bowie in the book? Mmmm, not really. Does the book hold up today? Well, geographically yes. But, if you are in a different phase in life than you were when you first read this book, probably in your early twenties, you may have a different emotional experience with it now. We did! And if you are currently a young 20something, how is On The Road grabbing you? Is it inspiring you to get on the road, or making you want to hunker down in front of your screen of choice? Listen and let us know which camp you’re in! Do you dig this book, or do you not? Tweet at us and find us on IG: @75reads.
24 minutes | Aug 27, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 19 - On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Part 1 & Why Bowie Might Be A Dean
We’re going On The Road with Bowie as we read Jack Kerouac’s classic. And in some very specific instances, we did feel we were seeing a Bowie connection in one of the characters. For us, in the first part of the book, it was Dean, and we'll tell you why. Did you see it, too?? And we imagined another friend of Bowie’s as we traveled through the pages of this book, as well. We’ve also taken the liberty of suggesting a few songs that might accompany you on Sal’s journey. Take a listen and share your thoughts with us on the ol’ Twitter, won’t you? We're at @75reads on the socials.
33 minutes | Aug 13, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 18 - The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, Part 2 & Why We're Living in the 1950s
We’re wrapping up The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, and yes, there are more case studies. Loads of them. And they’re actually quite interesting, but to inject a little fun into the second half of our discussion, we’ve decided to try something new. We’re playing a little game called, “Is This Still True Today?” If you play along, tweet us some of your answers and let’s discuss! You can find us on Twitter and Insta @75reads.
31 minutes | Jul 30, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 17 - The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, Part 1 and Why We Are Johnny
We’re diving in to The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, an examination of how our thoughts and feelings are manipulated by advertisers and media. The book was first published in 1957 and is chock-full of case studies that took place in the 1950s. Yes, it’s dated. And yes, some of the phrasing makes us want to punch the author in the face, but the book does show how the manipulation of the American consumer began. The book cites studies that will make you laugh and make you angry at the same time. Join us as we, two American consumers if there ever were any, break it down. Twitter and Insta: @75reads
26 minutes | Jul 16, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 16 - A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno, Part 2 & Why Our Way Isn't The Only Way
We’re wrapping up A Grave For A Dolphin discussing some of the most beautiful and heart wrenching love stories we’ve come across. There’s the tale of young Hassib who is the most tragic character in a true love story we have ever read. From the book: “I had always thought that ‘to love to distraction’ was an idiomatic expression: an unlettered ragamuffin fourteen years old had taught me that it can also literally be true.” And there’s the story of the relationship of Camara and Shambowa…and a dolphin. So magical! Part two is filled with love and loss and lessons which could benefit us all. We highly recommend tracking down this hard to find book! And whether you have been able to do so, or not, you can absolutely listen to this episode and have a little bit of the magic rub off on you! Tell us what you think of this beautiful book on Twitter or IG. We're @75reads.
27 minutes | Jul 2, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 15 - A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno, Part 1 & Why We Should Talk To The Animals
Ten year old Alberto Denti di Pirajno met a man at a retirement party he attended with his mother who was celebrating fifty years of making Punchinello’s noses. Fifty years at this job. Making puppet noses day in and day out. Unimaginable! The author thinks perhaps this was partially at the root of his wander lust. Alberto grew up to become a doctor, and the material for A Grave For A Dolphin came from his experience as a doctor and an administrator in Italy’s former African colonies. The themes for this collection of stories are children, animals, and magic. There is the healing of a young boy by a witch doctor, a python hunt, a drunken parrot, the ape and the baboon, the wonderful tale of A Sermon For Wart-hogs, and so much more! These beautifully told stories made us question our perception of nature and animals, and our relationship to them. It really does seem that in the western world we close our eyes to the magic that’s happening all around us. No more. Open your minds and your hearts and join us on this mystical journey! Want to add to the conversation? Find us @75reads on Twitter and Insta.
36 minutes | Jun 18, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 14 - Room At The Top by John Braine, Part 2 & Why We Still Love Joe
We continue riding on Joe’s emotional rollercoaster. There’s true love. There’s loss. There are affairs and fights. And, some of the things that Joe says has us wondering if maybe we hate him. But, he knows who he is. He calls himself out on his flaws. He’s human. So maybe we still love him a little bit. One thing we’re both sure of is that we absolutely, positively love this book. We cannot recommend it enough! Listen to the episode to hear why! Twitter: @75reads IG: @75reads
29 minutes | Jun 4, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 13 - Room At The Top by John Braine, Part 1 & Why The Thin White Duke Is Everywhere
Okay, we know we said that our previous read was our favorite yet. Let’s just say that Room At The Top is our favorite fiction book on the list thus far. And a Bowie character clearly comes to mind while reading this book! Clearly. We see him in several of the characters actually, especially the protagonist, Joe. Which Bowie persona do we see? The Thin White Duke. He's everywhere in this book. Would love to know if you agree. Tweet and let us know: @75reads
36 minutes | May 21, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 12 - The Outsider by Colin Wilson, Part 2 & Why We Think Bowie Was Not An Outsider
What can we say? This is our favorite book, yet! By the end of The Outsider, we felt as though we could almost see Bowie’s thought process as he read it. In part two of the book, we were introduced to more Outsiders, some of whom seemed to have it a little more together than the Outsiders from the first half of the book. And we formed an opinion about what type of Outsider we think Bowie might have been. Our conclusion was definitely unexpected! For links to socials and our complete reading list: www.75reads.com
35 minutes | May 7, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 11 - The Outsider by Colin Wilson, Part 1 & Why This Book Is The Most Bowie Thus Far
At first we didn’t get it, then we got it…in a big way. There are bits of this book that feel very Bowie. In so many interviews, we can see that part of his genius was that he was always searching. So are the various types of Outsiders described in this book. Which type of Outsider was Bowie? Was he, in fact, an Outsider? Are you? Join us as we begin to figure it all out. www.75reads.com
35 minutes | Apr 23, 2019
Bowie, Ep. 10, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Part 2 & Why We Are No Longer Charmed
If you listened to our last episode you know that, while we knew ol’ Humbert Humbert was a horrible human being, we still found him humorous and quite sharp. Well friends, in part two H.H. has lost his charm. We see him for what he is, an incredibly cruel, horribly narcissistic pedophile. Of course, one of the best death scenes ever written occurs at the end of this book. It alone makes part two worth the read. Join us as we wrap up Lolita, and let us know if you felt the way we felt about the second half of this book!
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