3 minutes | Mar 10, 2020
We're starting a new adventure, a monthly Big Book Club Podcast... http://bigbookclubarlington.libsyn.com/
29 minutes | Sep 15, 2019
Bonus Moby-Dick episode: Interview with Richard King, author of "Ahab's Rolling Sea"
As a special post-Moby-Dick bonus, Jennie and Megan previewed the new book, "Ahab's Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick," and interviewed author Richard King by phone from his home in Mystic, Connecticut. Rich's book does a great job of putting Moby-Dick in context, with lots of maps and photos. And for anyone who might fear that King's style would take after his subject matter, the writing is is compelling and accessible, and we suspect that it may become required reading for anyone tackling Moby-Dick in the future... Rich mentions the website "Melville's Marginalia" during the podcast. Palate cleansers: Rich - "Fortunate Son" by Walter Mosley Jennie - Gavin & Stacey - British tv show, watching on Hulu Megan - "Three Women" by Lisa Tadeo
34 minutes | Aug 22, 2019
And so we come to the conclusion of our voyage... was the destination worth the ride? Opinions vary... Palate cleansers: Pete - "What We Do In The Shadows" - available on DVD Jennie - "The Business of Bees" from Bloomberg Podcasts and "Blown Away" glassblowing show Megan - "Cover-Up" podcast from People, "The Drop Out" podcast from ABC Radio, and "Hot Dog Girl" by Jennifer Dugan Alex - "Ghost Map: the story of London's deadliest epidemic-- and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world"
26 minutes | Aug 13, 2019
Ahab Turns Up the Insanity
The gang's all back in town again! In this week's discussion of chapters 102-121, we contemplate biblical history and prophecy, and Megan solves the meaning of Moby-Dick once again. Want to listen to an early version of The Pacific, from the Moby-Dick musical? Visit Dave Malloy's website. Read a review of the Moby-Dick performance Megan attended. Palate cleansers- Jennie - Derry Girls on Netflix Pete - 16 Bit Bar and Arcade (sadly, not local) Megan - "Say Nothing: a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland" by Patrick Radden Keefe Alex - "A Reaper at the Gates" by Sabaa Tahir
25 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
Whale Bones Are Not Made of Ivory
This week, half of Arlington is on vacation, so Jennie and Pete set sail on their own. The two cover chapters 87-101, discussing the unpleasant topics (racism, whale slaughter) and the absurd (Stubb's nose, the ineptness of whale ship captains.) And with no co-hosts, there's no one to stop them from making references to The Simpsons but also no one to correct Pete when he calls whale bone "ivory" repeatedly. Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright Palate cleansers - Jennie - Derry Girls on Netflix Lore Olympus Pete - The Terror on Hulu (though based on a book)
29 minutes | Jul 23, 2019
Stuck in the Doldrums with Melville
In chapters 71-86, no amount of action could keep us from feeling sedated by the seemingly endless chapters on phrenology... Although maybe all of Moby-Dick would improve if read like a jazz poem? Chapter 79: The Prairie - read like an experimental jazz poem by the Mob-Dick Big Read project Before Dave Malloy's new musical Moby-Dick makes its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in December, the American Museum of Natural History will present staged excerpts from the production. "Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick" by Richard J. King - publication date October 2019 Palate cleansers - Jennie - "Cinnamon and Gunpowder: a Novel" by Eli Brown Pete - "Midsommar" (Still in theaters) and "Hereditary" Megan - Moonrise - The Washington Post’s podcast on the history of the space race, and "Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void" by Mary Roach Alex - "Breach" by W.L. Goodwater and the BMA exhibit "Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott" Sparknotes on Instagram and Twitter
23 minutes | Jul 18, 2019
Whaling: Not for the faint of heart
This week we tackled the most action packed reading yet, chapters 60-70, in which we encountered bloody whale killing, racial stereotyping, and ugly power structures. Palate cleansers: Megan - "Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nuter, Witch" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman Jennie - "Sixth The Musical" Alex - "Somewhere Only We Know" by Maureen Goo Pete - "The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris" by Mark Honigsbaum and "Circe" by Madeline Miller
21 minutes | Jul 10, 2019
Herman "Not Suble" Melville
In discussing chapters 42-59, we mentioned "The Card Turner," a YA novel by Louis Sachar. Also, giant squid are scary, Fedallah's whaleboat crew are eerie, and and Melville is not subtle. Palate cleansers: Jennie - "Ayesha At Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin and "The Lady and the Highwayman" by Sarah M. Eden Alex - "Storm of Locusts" by Rebecca Roanhorse Pete - "Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions From a Writing Life" by Kim Addonizio
23 minutes | Jun 25, 2019
To read all of Melville's Cetology, or to skip that chapter...
Who got the gold star for reading all about whale-fish, including the footnotes? Who is actually caught up on the reading? Who thinks Ahab is headed for a reconning of, well, mythic proportions? And who is ready to read something completely different this week? We referenced: "I''ll Make a Man Out of You" from the Disney musical, Mulan. On the tv show Friends, couple Ross and Rachel "take a break," and then have a fight about what it meant to "take a break" after Ross slept with another woman during the break. Palate cleansers Megan - "Queenie" by Candice Carty-Williams and "Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: a novel" by Sonali Dev Pete - "Convenience Store Woman" by Sayaka Murata Jennie - "I Love You So Mochi" by Sarah Kuhn and "Dear Los Angeles: the city in diaries and letters 1542 to 2018" edited by David Kipen Alex - "Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating" by Christina Lauren
25 minutes | Jun 18, 2019
Our Cast Is Introduced, and We are Underwhelmed...
180 pages in, and we've barely left port... This week we discussed knowing that we're reading a "Big Book," and therefore expecting more drama out of Ahab as character. We also wondered whether, if we'd read Moby-Dick when it first was published, would we have been bored out of our minds by this point? Books we reference: "A History of the World in Six Glasses" by Tom Standage "Banana: the Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World" by Dan Koeppel Palate cleansers: Megan - "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover Pete - Watched the film "Burning" based on the Haruki Murakami short story "Barn Burning," which is based on the William Faulkner short story "Barn Burning." Jennie - This Land podcast and Galavant TV show Alex - Apollo 11: Beyond the Moon podcast and the Apollo 11 documentary film
25 minutes | Jun 11, 2019
Who exactly is this Ishmael guy?
This week we realize that running off to sea and adopting a nome-de-mer is usually a sign that you're trying to escape from something... PSA: You can learn pirate in the Mango Languages app, free with your library card. Palate cleansers: Megan - Lore Olympus web comic Pete - "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett Jennie - "Comrade Detective" comedy TV show on Amazon Prime and "Chuck Norris vs. Communism" documentary Alex - "Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster" by Svetlana Aleksievich
19 minutes | Jun 4, 2019
Prologue: So What Do We Know About Moby-Dick?
We're ready to set sail with plenty of whale puns... Don't have your book yet? The Library has unlimited copies in eBook and eAudiobook. Or you could listen to the Moby-Dick Big Read podcast produced by the Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth. And don't forget to join the What the Whale! Facebook group before Sunday night's online discussion at 8 p.m. Palate cleansers: Jennie - "Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland" by Patrick Radden Keefe Pete - "Emergency Contact" by Mary H. K. Choi Megan - "Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy" by Tiffany Schmidt Alex - "Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About the World" by Tim Marshall
34 minutes | Mar 26, 2019
And So We Come to the End... with MANY FEELINGS
For our final week of Middlemarch we were joined by guest host Heather, who loves soup with pasta, baseball of all kinds, as well as the work of Charles Dickens. Missing Middlemarch? We have a book list for you! Thanks to Gale for getting it started. Things we plan to read after Middlemarch: Heather - Ron Chernow's biography of "Grant and Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves" Megan - "The Royal Runaway" by Lindsay Emory Pete - Is all Avengers Endgame all the time
26 minutes | Mar 19, 2019
"Eliot's Greek Chorus"
This week we were joined by return-guest host Gale, who we happened to find out loves horror books and films. Palate cleansers - Gale - "In a Dark, Dark Wood" by Ruth Ware Pete - "Chamber Music: Wu-Tang and America (in 36 pieces)" by Will Ashon Gale - "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster Alex - "Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit" by Amy Stewart
31 minutes | Mar 12, 2019
"It's the Ides of March, Lydgate!"
This week we were joined by guest host Elisia, who loves fountain pens and board games. This week's notes include: Pi Day, celebrated on March 14, which corresponds with 3.14 The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. The Romans did not number days of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. Palate cleansers - Pete - Captain Marvel and More reading list Elisia - "Binti" by Nnedi Okorafor Alex - "The Sun is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon and "Pride" by Ibi Zoboi
16 minutes | Mar 5, 2019
Game of Books 3: The Library Book
A Big Book Club mini episode about Arlington Reads Signature Author Susan Orlean's "The Library Book." References include: Susan Orlean appeared on episode 158 of the Lady Lady podcast "Adaptation," based on Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" "Life's Swell" - Susan Orlean's 1998 article about girls surfing in Maui is now available from Outsideonline.com. The article was the basis for the film "Blue Crush." Films about young women pursuing their dream sport: Blue Crush (2002) - surfing Bend it Like Beckham (2002) - soccer Whip It (2009) - roller derby A History of the American Public Library - created for CityLab by Ariel Aberg-Riger Women's Work online exhibit, section on Arlington Libraries - from the Center for Local History at the Arlington Public Library
25 minutes | Feb 28, 2019
"Bad Pairings and Bad Politics"
This week we were joined by guest host Vicky, who loves dogs (she has 3) and books. We discussed: The 1834 Poor Law, which ensured that the poor were housed in workhouses, clothed and fed. Children who entered the workhouse would receive some schooling. In return for this care, all workhouse paupers would have to work for several hours each day. - UK National Archives Italians with white mice - In the 1820s/1830s Italian men were wandering the streets of London & other cities as organ grinders, accompanied by boys with trained monkeys and mice who performed tricks. - Literature Network Forums Palate cleansers: Vicky - "Joe Gould's Teeth" by Jill Leopore Megan - Black Klansman film and the book "Black Klansman: race, hate, and the undercover investigation of a lifetime" by Ron Stallworth; "Sociable: a Novel" by Rebecca Harrington; "Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger" by Soraya Chemaly Pete - "Black Leopard Red Wolf" by Marlon James Alex - is between books and was bereft of anything to share this week, but will come back next time having found lots of new things to read.
32 minutes | Feb 19, 2019
This week we were joined by guest host Brit, who loves Halloween and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. We discussed: 19 Old Fashioned Compliments We Should Bring Back - Bustle The origins of Whig and Tory - The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica The London Corresponding Society and the Treasonable Practices Act and the Seditious Meetings Act of 1795 - the English Historical Fiction Authors blog Palate cleansers: Brit - "Wyrd Sisters: Discworld book 6" by Terry Pratchet Pete - The Umbrella Academy on Netflix based on the graphic novel "The Umbrella Academy" by Gerard Way Megan - "New Erotica for Feminists" and "Always Never Yours" Alex - Alyssa Cole's Reluctant Royals novels and the 2008 film Penelope
33 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
This week we were joined by Gale, our first guest host. We had a great discussion covering lustful eyes, the invention of stethoscopes, Edith Wharton, reform bills and more. Shownotes: Gale mentions authors Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton and William Makepeace Thackeray ("Vanity Fair") as favorites. The stethoscope was invented in France in 1816 by René Laennec, so Lydgate's stethoscope would have been a relatively new tool - from Wikipedia. The Reform Bill of 1832 (the first of 4) primarily served to transfer voting privileges from the small boroughs controlled by the nobility and gentry to the heavily populated industrial towns. - from Encyclopaedia Britannica Vicars and Curate and Livings, Oh My! - and explanation of how "livings" work for the clergy, the relationship between vicars and curates, and what their duties actually were. - from the blog English Historical Fiction Authors Edith Wharton references: "The Age of Innocence" film "The Buccaneers" - About five wealthy American girls denied entry into New York Society because their parents' money is too new. At the suggestion of their clever governess, the girls sail to London, where they marry lords, earls, and dukes who find their beauty charming—and their wealth extremely useful. "The Custom and the Country" Palate cleansers Megan - "I Owe You One" by Sophie Kinsella Pete - "Make Your Bed: little things that can change your life... and maybe the world" by William H McRaven Gale - True Detective season 3 Alex - Marvel's Runaways
9 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
Game of Books 2: Marie Kondo mini episode
A Big Book Club mini episode about Marie Kondo and what she actually said. While recording our January 15 "Ides of Middlemarch" episode, Megan's palate cleansers included the Netflix show, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." Pete mentioned a rumor that's been floating around social media about what Marie Kondo says about books.... and Jennie had a lot to say in order to set the record straight about "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."