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54 minutes | Sep 4, 2020
11. W, or The Memory of Childhood / Trust Exercise.
Michael struggles with an unconventional mashup of holocaust memoir and sports-based dystopia in Georges Perec’s W, or The Memory of Childhood, while Emily is captivated by the sexual politics of Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, yet frustrated by its open-ended narrative. They talk about trauma, memory, age gaps in dating, and visualizing the things you read.Show Notes.Georges Perec: W, or The Memory of Childhood.Susan Choi: Trust Exercise.If you enjoy this podcast and are able to, please consider supporting us (and our network) on Patreon. Thanks!
64 minutes | Nov 28, 2019
10. The Innocents / French Exit.
Michael is captivated by the brutality and isolation of pre-modern Newfoundland in Michael Crummey’s The Innocents, while Emily delights in the “tragedy of manners” and the woes of bored rich people fallen on hard times in Patrick deWitt’s French Exit. They talk about puberty, death, forgiveness, the neuroses of the wealthy, and how to be friends in the 21st century.Show Notes.Michael Crummey: The Innocents.Patrick deWitt: French Exit.Michael's bodybuilding routine (his show happened!).Support Dear Reader on Patreon and chat with us about books on our members-only Slack!
49 minutes | Oct 17, 2019
9. My Sister, the Serial Killer / Middlemarch.
Michael posits that George Eliot’s Middlemarch (“the most Victorian of Victorian novels”) is the anti-Atlas Shrugged, while Emily considers just how much thicker blood is than water with Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer. They talk about sibling bonds, literary awards, adolescent reading habits, and trying to be a good person.Show Notes.Oyinkan Braithwaite: My Sister, the Serial Killer.George Eliot: Middlemarch.The Spouter-Inn’s episode on Middlemarch and bonus episode with Michael!Brittany Runs a Marathon [trailer].Virginia Woolf: Orlando.Megan Gail Coles: Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.Michael discusses Megan Gail Coles’s novel in episode 7.Michael Crummey: The Innocents.Support Dear Reader on Patreon and chat about books with us in a members-only Slack!
46 minutes | Aug 26, 2019
8. Carrying the Fire / City of Girls.
Michael joins his name-twin on the greatest adventure undertaken by humankind and finds him companionable, warm, and wise in Carrying the Fire, while Emily breaks down the walls of the “chick lit” ghetto to revel in City of Girls, a surprising story of feminine sexual liberation. They talk about utopian projects, the curse of popularity, non-traditional chosen families, and the value of blending the sciences and the humanities.Show Notes.Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins.City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner.Dear Columbia, Michael Collins’s short personal reflection on Columbia, the command module he piloted in orbit around the moon.Michael Collins narrates a Google Doodle for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission.Support Dear Reader on Patreon.
62 minutes | Jul 13, 2019
7. Blindness / Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.
Emily strongly recommends an encounter with the disorienting bleakness and collapse of Nobel Laureate José Saramago’s Blindness, while Michael strongly recommends an encounter with the soul-wracking cruelty and violence of Megan Gail Coles’s Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. They talk about a relentless duty of care forced on women, social breakdowns, Portugal, misogyny, and vulnerability. Show Notes.Blindness by José Saramago.Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles.The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.Michael’s essay At the Back of the Closet.Agnes Ayer’s ABCs of Amazing Women by Jenny Higgins.Support Dear Reader on Patreon and chat about books with us on a members-only Slack.
61 minutes | May 31, 2019
6. Newfoundland Portfolio / Convenience Store Woman.
Michael thinks about history and community through reading Newfoundland Portfolio, a collection of obituaries by J.M. Sullivan, while Emily considers the abnormality of the hypernormal and different ways of being happy in Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman. They talk about Newfoundland, independent bookstores, summer reading, the service industry, and problematic attitudes toward low-prestige jobs.Show Notes.Newfoundland Portfolio: A History in Portraits by J.M. Sullivan. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Lanier Phillips, the African-American sailor who was rescued from a shipwreck by Newfoundlanders in the 1940s. Our twitter account You can support Dear Reader on Patreon and access bonus bits, a members-only Slack group, and more!
62 minutes | Apr 30, 2019
5. An Artist of the Floating World / The House of the Spirits.
Michael picks at the banality of evil portrayed in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World, while Emily desperately wants to finish Isabel Allende’s enchanting work of magical realism, The House of the Spirits, but is prevented from it by living on a windswept rock in the North Atlantic. They talk about art that depicts difficult and unpleasant things, spoilers, moral culpability, second-guessing your tastes, and history repeating itself.Show Notes.An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.
56 minutes | Mar 30, 2019
4. Kid Gloves / The Thin Place.
Emily thinks the world would be a better place if everyone read Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel account of her difficult pregnancy, Kid Gloves, while Michael rhapsodizes about experiments in empathy and postmodern mysticism spurred on by Kathryn Davis’s The Thin Place. They talk about myths and misconceptions of pregnancy, pain, sex ed, medieval mysticism, and whether reading teaches empathy.Show Notes.Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley.The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis.The Dollop’s “Childbirth in America” podcast (in part about twilight sleep).Lucy Knisley’s Instagram.Judy Blume by Amanda Palmer.
44 minutes | Feb 26, 2019
3. literally show me a healthy person / The Wife.
Michael found the formal experiments and wild content of Darcie Wilder’s literally show me a healthy person to be compelling but not without knots, while Emily enjoys the nuance of Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Wife. They talk about delayed adolescence, the unacknowledged genius of the wives of ‘great’ men, representation and appropriation, and the twitter aesthetic. Also, Dear Reader observes Michael’s birthday!Show Notes.literally show me a healthy person by Darcie Wilder.The Wife by Meg Wolitzer.Transcription by Kate Atkinson.
42 minutes | Feb 1, 2019
2. The Penelopiad / Circe / The Lonesome Bodybuilder.
Emily found Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad to be a missed opportunity, especially when compared to Madeline Miller’s Circe, while Michael was delighted by Yukiko Motoya’s unsettling and strange short stories in The Lonesome Bodybuilder. They talk about the characters on the margins of great stories, what book to bring to the hospital, adaptating the classics, and what to do with novellas. Emily’s new baby (hooray!) makes a brief cameo. Show Notes.The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.Circe by Madeline Miller.The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya.The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.Persuasion by Jane Austen.Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.Middlemarch by George Eliot.
60 minutes | Jan 17, 2019
1. How to Be Famous / Chrono Trigger.
Emily found Caitlin Moran’s How to Be Famous to be both hilarious and politically necessary. Michael went on a 16-bit nostalgia binge with Michael P. Williams’s Chrono Trigger. They talk about bad sex in the #metoo era, the art of translation, persistence in the face of catastrophe, and burning out on reading.Show Notes.How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran.Chrono Trigger by Michael P. Williams.Persuasion by Jane Austen.The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
1 minutes | Jan 10, 2019
0. Coming Soon.
Dear Reader is a podcast by two old friends. When they were young, Emily and Michael were total bookworms who bonded over a love of literature. Now, two babies and an abandoned PhD later, both of them find it sometimes difficult to get into reading the way they used to. Every episode, Emily and Michael will catch up with each other by asking: read anything interesting lately?
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