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The Book XChange Podcast
126 minutes | Jan 23, 2022
Episode 43: And Now for Something a Little Different: The BXC 2022 Kick-Off Show
After a 33-day hiatus, which felt really long for us if not for our listeners, the BXC brothers return and finally kick off 2022 with a looser, less structured episode filled with a little of this and that. First, in response to a suggestion from a listener, we share what books we gifted each other for Christmas at the end of last year (and why). Second, we kick around the idea of setting "resolutions" for the upcoming year in reading, and share a few of the ones we made for ourselves. And finally (there's a reason we titled this episode "something a little different") we cross over to another medium entirely and offer short reviews of two excellent, recent movies adapted from literary works: 'The Tragedy of MacBeth' and 'The Green Knight.' Hope you enjoy this grab bag of an episode, and we're looking forward to continuing "the great conversation" with you all through 2022 and beyond... MUSIC BY VOIDZ PANDA, YOUNG WOLF BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome,' Mary Beard - 'Transcendent Kingdom,' Yaa Gyasi - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Bleak House,' Charles Dickens - 'The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,' Dan Egan - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: CHRISTMAS XCHANGE PICKS - Jude gave to John: 'Perchance to Dream,' Charles Beaumont; 'The Sea Trilogy,' Rachel Carson - John gave to Jude: 'Paradise,' Abdulrazak Gurnah; 'The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo,' Tom Reiss - THE BXC TWINS' READING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2022 - Jude: Listed first 12 books to read in 2022; read 3 BIG books from his shelf; read 2 "Collected Stories" volumes from major fiction writers; read 3 biographies - John: continue spiritual reading and vacillating between fiction and non-fiction; read more books about the natural world in 2022 - THE BXC TWINS' SURPRISE MOVIE REVIEWS/RECOMMENDATIONS: 'The Green Knight,' directed by David Lowery, based on the anonymously-written medieval epic poem - 'The Tragedy of MacBeth,' directed by Joel Coen, based on the play by William Shakespeare - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 44 is once again... TBD! (Sorry folks, we will get back on track with teasing upcoming episodes very soon)
114 minutes | Dec 19, 2021
Episode 42: The BXC's Best Books of 2021
For our final episode of 2021, we decide to broaden out a personal tradition and share it with listeners... we each share our 10 favorite reading experiences of the year, and discuss why these books made a lasting mark on us. Our choices are not at all limited to books that came out in 2021, but could be any book of any genre from any year. These books were "buried in our heads like a stinger" (to borrow from Flannery O'Connor) and just would not let go, no matter what else we might have consumed. We want to offer a sincere THANK YOU to anyone who chose to spend some of their valuable time listening to us blather on about books this year... we do not take your listening for granted, and while the twinly conversation would go on regardless, it has been humbling and heartening to receive all of your positive feedback about the show. We wish you all a very happy and restorative holiday season, and we'll be talking to you again in 2022! MUSIC BY YOUNG WOLF, VOIDZ PANDA BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'White Line Fever,' Lemmy Kilmister (w/ Janiss Garza) - 'A Prayer for the Dying,' Jack Higgins - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Barkskins,' Annie Proulx - 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,' Anonymous, trans. by W. S. Merwin Books/Writers discussed in this episode: JUDE's BEST BOOKS OF 2021 - 1. 'Extraterrestrial,' Avi Loeb - 2. 'Walking with Ghosts,' Gabriel Byrne - 3. 'The Songlines,' Bruce Chatwin - 4. 'The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allen Poe and the Forging of American Science,' John Tresch - 5. 'The Five Wounds,' Kristin Valdez Quade - 6. 'Klara and the Sun,' Kazuo Ishiguro - 7. 'Challenger: A Major Malfunction - A True Story of Politics, Greed and the Wrong Stuff,' Malcolm McConnell - 8. 'Night Boat to Tangier,' Kevin Barry - 9. 'Solar Bones," Mike McCormack - 10. 'Close Range: Wyoming Stories,' Annie Proulx - JOHN's BEST BOOKS OF 2021 - 1. 'Via Negativa,' Daniel Hornsby - 2. 'The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World,' Wade Davis - 3. 'Exhalation: Stories,' Ted Chiang - 4. 'Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet,' Maël Renouard - 5. 'The Mission: A True Story,' David W. Brown - 6. 'Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2,' Annie Proulx - 7. 'The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Vol. 1,' Ed. by James D. Jenkins & Ryan Cagle - 8. 'Cockfighter,' Charles Willeford - 9. 'Interior States: Essays,' Meghan O'Gieblyn - 10. 'Barkskins,' Annie Proulx - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 43... TBD!
113 minutes | Dec 5, 2021
Episode 41: WORLD WAR II
For episode 41 (commemorating, in part, the 80th anniversary of the United States' entry into the war in December 1941), the Book XChange brothers take on a subject that's as broad and wide-reaching as the conflict itself: World War II. As always, we aim here to provide some recommendations of books that aren't widely discussed and read, as well as cover some of the acknowledged classics. It's a huge subject and we did our best to cover a wide variety of titles that might speak to a broad expanse of interests. Thanks for listening! MUSIC BY YOUNG WOLF, VOIDZ PANDA BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Interior States' Meghan O'Gieblyn - TBD - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Every Man Dies Alone,' Hans Fallada - 'Lemmy: White Line Fever,' by Lemmy Kilmister & Janiss Garza - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Every Man Dies Alone,' Hans Fallada - 'Slaughterhouse Five,' - Kurt Vonnegut - The short story "Telemachus," 'The Book of Aron,' and 'Paper Doll,' Jim Shepard - 'Battle Cry' and 'Mila-18,' Leon Uris - 'The Eagle Has Landed,' Jack Higgins - 'Priestblock 25487,' Jean Bernard - 'Advent of the Heart,' Fr. Alfred Delp - 'Suite Francaise,' Irene Nemirovsky - 'Manhattan Beach,' Jennifer Egan - 'Symphony for the City of the Dead,' Matthew Tobin Anderson - 'Hiroshima,' John Hersey - 'The Sea and Poison,' Shusaku Endo - 'Band of Brothers,' Stephen E. Ambrose - 'Memoirs of the Second World War,' Sir Winston Churchill - 'The Moon is Down,' John Steinbeck - 'The Naked and the Dead,' Norman Mailer - 'The Thin Red Line,' James Jones - 'Truman,' David McCullough - 'The Good War: An Oral History of World War II,' Studs Terkel - 'The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich,' William L. Shirer - 'Byline: Ernest Hemingway,' Ernest Hemingway - 'The End of the Affair,' Graham Greene - 'General of the Army,' Ed Cray - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 42 will feature Jude and John's Top 10 Books of 2021 - not necessarily books released in that year, but the ten reads that impacted and impressed us the most. We'll go through our individual lists and discuss why these titles stood out for us. What were your favorite reads in this past year?? Be sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
113 minutes | Nov 14, 2021
(SPECIAL) Episode 40: TIME O'CLOCK - Interview with writer Jude Joseph Lovell
Calling all adventurous and open minded readers - join us for a special episode of the BXC podcast, in which we turn the lens on ourselves a bit and interview one-half of your favorite literary-minded twins. Jude Joseph Lovell (or is it Foster Mullins?), co-host of this show and author of 12 books, has just launched a brand new mind-bending, time-twisting mystery tale named TIME O'CLOCK, and we have an exclusive interview all about it right here. It's a two-part discussion, with part 1 discussing the book and its influences (including a reading from the author) but not giving any plot points away... and part 2 diving more into "spoilers" and unpacking the many layers of this wild, fun literary puzzle. We had a fascinating discussion touching on detective fiction, cop shows, "breaking the fourth wall," horror fiction, stories-within-stories, surreal art, talking dogs and the challenge of writing memorable, entertaining fiction. There's something for everybody in this strange concoction of an episode, folks - so we urge you to dive in, support independent fiction writing and listen/download wherever your find your podcasts! **TIME O'CLOCK (by Foster Mullins) is available for purchase right now on Amazon, please give it a look!!** *ALL MUSIC THIS EPISODE BY VOIDZ PANDA BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'In the Spirit of Ronald E. McNair, Astronaut - An American Hero,' Carl McNair with H. Michael Brewer - 'Hell of a Book,' Jason Mott - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Band of Brothers,' Stephen E. Ambrose - 'The Seventh Cross,' Anna Seghers - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Time O'Clock' by Foster Mullins Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 41 will hearken back to the year 1941 - while paying late tribute to our nation's Veterans - and feature some of our favorite and most recommended books having to do with "The Big One," World War II.
124 minutes | Oct 30, 2021
Episode 39: Criminal Minds
McGruff the Crime Dog guests hosts in Episode 39 of the Book XCh... well OK, maybe not (and yes, we just dated ourselves - but those who know, know!). This time out, your humble hosts/book-hungry twins take a bite out of the vast buffet of books that explore crime, both real and imagined. We delve into classic mysteries, true crime reportage, historical novels with unexplained murders at their center, pulp detective fiction, harrowing accounts of real-life urban crime, and some of the most heinous and traumatic events in American history (think JFK, Watergate and 9/11). Together, Jude and John dare to delve into the criminal mind and discuss just what it is that makes reading about the dark side of humanity so unnervingly, but undeniably, compelling. (And don't miss a very special and FUN interview coming up in a few weeks, for Episode 40!!) Thanks for listening everyone. MUSIC BY YOUNG WOLF, VOIDZ PANDA BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Songlines,' Bruce Chatwin - 'Billy Summers,' Stephen King - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Foundation,' Isaac Asimov - 'The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Vol. 1,' Ed. by James D. Jenkins & Ryan Cagle Books/Writers discussed in this episode: THE FACTORY SERIES by Derek Raymond (He Died with His Eyes Open, The Devil's Home on Leave, How the Dead Live, I Was Dora Suarez, Dead Man Upright) - 'The Name of the Rose,' - Umberto Eco - 'An Instance of the Fingerpost,' Iain Pears - The crime fiction of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and P. D. James - 'In Cold Blood,' Truman Capote - 'Murders in the Rue Morgue (story),' Edgar Allen Poe - 'The Gangs of New York,' Herbert Asbury - 'The Lighthouse,' P. D. James - 'Classic Crimes,' William Roughead - '2666,' Robert Bolaño - 'All the President's Men,' - Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein - 'Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK,' Gerald Posner - 'Oswald's Tale,' Norman Mailer - 'The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,' Lawrence Wright - 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' David Grann - 'Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic,' - Sam Quinones - 'Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets,' David Simon - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 40 will be a BXC SPECIAL - an interview with our very own Jude Joseph Lovell, about his brand new time-twisting, mind-bending, noirish mystery thriller 'Time O'Clock.' (Available for order now on Amazon) We will discuss the book, the influences that went into writing it, and the delights of twisty, dream-like, rule-breaking fiction.
91 minutes | Oct 9, 2021
Episode 38: The BXC Review of "Leave the World Behind" by Rumaan Alam
For the fifth time, the Book XChange podcast dedicates an entire episode to discuss a single book - in this case, one recommended to us by a BXC listener. 'Leave the World Behind' is a bestselling thriller written by Rumaan Alam - one that has been widely read and discussed, nominated for the National Book Award, and was also recently snapped up by NetFlix to be developed into a film. It's a novel that feels almost like a compendium of modern anxieties and fears, touching on issues such as racial relations, environmental concerns, geopolitical fears, parenting in a crisis, effective masculinity, our dependence on technology/connectivity (and what it may be doing to us), and above all, our obligation to our fellow human beings. But do all these intriguing touch points and hot buttons mean that the book itself is a satisfying reading experience that we both enthusiastically recommend? Sorry folks, you're going to have to listen to this one to find out... and we hope you do! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Selected Non-Fictions,' Jorge Luis Borges - TBD - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: An undisclosed novel - 'The Meeting at Telgte,' Gunter Gräss - 'The Songlines,' Bruce Chatwin - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Leave the World Behind' by Rumaan Alam - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: TBD!!
109 minutes | Sep 26, 2021
Episode 37: Hidden Gems
For this edition of everyone's favorite biweekly literary podcasts, your Book XChange hosts present some "deep cuts" from their own personal bookshelves. The idea with our "Hidden Gems" episode is to offer some "of the beaten path" recommendations of books - from all genres, fiction and non-fiction - that might intrigue our listeners and/or give them something new to try. As readers Jude and John both get a lot of satisfaction from discovering the work of a writer we may have never heard of before, or dusting off a long-forgotten novel or book that might provide some hidden insights for people living today. We hope that listeners can find something of interest in this adventurous and eclectic discussion... if nothing else, no one can accuse the BXC boys of narrow reading! Your meal is hot and waiting on the table folks... dig in!! [NOTE: Very special shout-out to listeners HW and KC for their recent contributions and feedback offered to the show. We appreciate you very much, and every other listener to the BXC!] MUSIC: Young Wolf, Voidz Panda BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,' Jose Saramago - TBD - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: Undisclosed - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'At the End of the Santa Fe Trail,' Sister Blandina Segale - 'A Month in the Country,' - J. L. Carr - 'Fear,' Gabriel Chevalier - 'The Bookshop,' Penelope Fitzgerald - 'The Old Boys,' William Trevor - 'Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920's,' Frederick Lewis Allen - Books of history by Christopher Dawson - Books of history by Barbara Tuchman - 'The Meeting at Telgte,' Günter Grass - 'Gould's Book of Fish,' Richard Flanagan - 'The Songlines,' Bruce Chatwin - 'You Know When the Men Are Gone,' Siobhan Fallon - 'A Hero for the People,' Arthur Powers - Short stories by Tim Gautreaux, J. F. Powers and Breece D'J Pancake - 'The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto,' Kenji Nakagami - 'Red Dust: A Path Through China,' Ma Jian - 'The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy,' Michael McCarthy - 'Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet,' Maël Renouard - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 38 will be an in-depth review of a novel recommended by a BXC listener: 'Leave the World Behind' by Rumaan Alam... this is recent and "buzzy" novel that presents a vaguely apocalyptic scenario and how it is handled by two well-off couples who end up together in a lush vacation home in a rural area of Long Island.
116 minutes | Sep 12, 2021
Episode 36: The BXC Goes West (Part 1)
Jude and John grab a rifle, a pony, and go ridin' out into the bloody "evening redness in the west" in Episode 36 of the Book XChange podcast. The subject of "the American west in literature" is about as vast, wide open and intimidating as the very landscape itself, so we decided it may take not one, but TWO episodes to do it justice. In this first part, we tackle "Western novels" - which of course is a term that can encompass a wide variety of books and writers. We talk of course about the well known, somewhat hackneyed symbols, cliches and archetypes that can populate the genre - but also cover a number of books that seek to satirize, analyze and subvert these tropes. We cover authors both legendary and lesser known, male and female, and try to articulate what makes the American west such mythic, mysterious, and at times malicious terrain. In a second part (which we will save until a later date), we will look not at novels but at non-fiction books that examine the history, mythos and allure of the land stretching beyond the Mississippi River... yeehaw!! MUSIC: John Williams, Young Wolf, Voidz Panda BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Warlock,' Oakley Hall - 'How to Think: A Survival Guide for A World at Odds,' Alan Jacobs - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Red Storm Rising,' Tom Clancy - TBD - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Blood Meridian,' 'The Border Trilogy,' 'No Country For Old Men,' Cormac McCarthy - 'The Virginian,' Owen Wister - Various works of James Fennimore Cooper - 'The Ox-Bow Incident,' Walter Van Tilburg Clark - 'Giant,' Edna Ferber - The 'Lonesome Dove' tetralogy of Larry McMurtry - 'Train Dreams,' Denis Johnson - 'To A God Unknown,' John Steinbeck - 'Death Comes for the Archbishop,' and other works by Willa Cather - The Wyoming stories of Annie Proulx - 'News of the World,' Paulette Jiles - 'The Sisters Brothers,' Patrick deWitt - The Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn mysteries of Tony Hillerman - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: For Episode 37, the Book XChange brothers will go to bat for lesser known and obscure books that we feel deserve to be read, discussed and shared. Any and all genres qualify - we're going to scour our shelves for some of the very best books we've read that are well under the radar for most folks. Here's hoping you'll find some undiscovered gems with us, next time...
113 minutes | Aug 29, 2021
Episode 35: GO BIG... or Go Home!
In this episode the BookXChange looks at the experience of reading BIG, meaty, epic-length books... books that might function well as doorstops, should you have a need for one. We dive into whether the experience of reading big books (fiction or non-fiction) is at all different from reading shorter ones; whether a reader needs to "prepare" more mentally or otherwise to take on a large tome; what the experience is like in being immersed into a story or subject that goes on for hundreds of pages; and of course, what are some of the best (and worst) experiences we've had reading longer books. Most readers can talk about the "epic" books they've loved, hated or tried their best to finish... this is the episode where your fearless (at least on paper!) literary twins roll up their sleeves and make the case for "going big or going home" when it comes to reading. BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Giving Up the Ghost,' Hilary Mantel - 'The Ox-Bow Incident,' Walter van Tilburg Clark - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2,' Annie Proulx - 'Warlock,' Oakley Hall - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'The Pillars of the Earth,' Ken Follett - 'Red Storm Rising,' Tom Clancy - 'Winter's Tale,' 'Freddy and Fredericka,' Mark Helprin - 'Weaveworld,' 'The Great and Secret Show,' 'Imajica,' Clive Barker - 'The Talisman,' Stephen King and Peter Straub - 'Koko,' Peter Straub - 'Tree of Smoke,' Denis Johnson - 'Middlemarch,' George Eliot - 'Skippy Dies,' Paul Murray - 'Barkskins,' Annie Proulx - Various works by Dickens, Tolstoy, Hugo - 'John Adams,' 'Truman,' 'The Path Between the Seas,' David McCullough - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: "The BXC Goes West"... on our next episode, the brothers will dive into books that have to do with the American West and all of its well-worn mythology... from classic Western novels, to more modern takes on the genre, to books that explore the landscape and history of the Western half of the United States... grab your rifle and pony and get ready to saddle up!
112 minutes | Aug 14, 2021
Episode 34: The BXC Review of "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
The fourth in our podcast's regular series of "deep dives" into books that, for whatever reason, have the popularity, subject matter or complexity to justify an extended discussion. This time we tackle one of the more popular novels in the past several decades, a book that has struck a nerve with a great many American readers in particular, and was loudly championed by none other than Mr. Stephen King: John Irving's 1989 bestseller 'A Prayer for Owen Meany.' It's a book that certainly manages to cram quite a lot into its hefty 600-page length, and certainly has its admirers as well as its detractors. On which side will your twin hosts ultimately find themselves in this debate; how did the diminutive, prophetic titular character strike them; and what are some of the enduring merits and/or flaws of this widely read novel? Episode 34 leaves no stone unturned to try and wring some meaning out of the enigmatic seventh novel by Mr. Irving, previously best known for titles such as 'The World According to Garp' and 'The Cider House Rules.' BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science,' John Tresch - 'The Abstainer,' Ian McGuire - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Book of Margery Kempe,' Margery Kempe - 'Time O'Clock,' Foster Mullins - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' by John Irving Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: "Go Big or Go Home" - in our next discussion we will talk about "big books" - books that aren't afraid to go to great lengths (literally) to entertain, inform and risk possibly infuriating their readers. Why do some books decide to "go big," is it true that weighty tomes aren't quite as popular now as they once used to be, and of course... what are some of our favorites, and why?
135 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
Episode 33 1/3: Our Favorite Books about Music
No matter where you're from, no matter what your race, culture, creed or ancestry is – your life has been touched and shaped by music in some form or fashion. Musical expression is part of what makes us human, and the mysterious joy and emotion we experience when listening to and making music is an endlessly fascinating subject. The Book XChange brothers list and discuss their favorite books about music in Episode 34 - they might be novels, musicians' memoirs, biographies, appreciations or short stories... there's something for everyone in this jamboree of a show. Glad to have each and every one of our listeners along for the ride! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'A Prayer for Owen Meany,' John Irving - TBD - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'A Prayer for Owen Meany,' John Irving - The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science,' John Tresch - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'The Land Where the Blues Began,' Alan Lomax - 'Chronicles: Volume 1,' Bob Dylan - '33 1/3 Series: Master of Reality,' John Darnielle - 'Amsterdam,' Ian McEwan - 'How Music Works,' David Byrne - 'Born to Run,' Bruce Springsteen - 'The Commitments,' Roddy Doyle - 'Sonny's Blues' (short story), James Baldwin - 'Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta,' Chuck Klosterman - 'Random Samples: Demystifying the Magic Music of Rush,' Jude Joseph Lovell - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 34 will be our first "BXC Review" episode since March, this time taking on the polarizing late 80's John Irving novel, 'A Prayer for Owen Meany.' Join us for a deep dive into a novel that has been both lauded and derided with equal vehemence over the years...
108 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
Episode 32: Freedom
Recorded one day after the United States of America's 245th birthday, the latest episode of the Book XChange podcast takes advantage of the Independence Day vibes to consider the gifts and responsibilities of FREEDOM. And not just American freedom either, but "freedom" as it pertains to all members of the human family. We discuss and recommend books that have something to teach, say, remind, provoke, or inspire about the ideal of freedom. From classic autobiographies and political treatises, to novels, to philosophical ruminations on art and individual expression – this episode looks at what it means to consider, value, protect and fight for freedom. We hope listeners will appreciate whatever freedoms they are blessed to enjoy, and maybe hear some interesting reading recommendations along the way. Happy 4th of July to our American listeners, and a huge thank you as always to all of you, no matter where you're from! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Borstal Boy,' Brendan Behan - 'A Prayer for Owen Meany,' John Irving - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet,' Maël Renouard - TBD - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era,' James M. McPherson - 'Long Walk to Freedom,' Nelson Mandela - 'The Underground Railroad,' Colson Whitehead - It Can't Happen Here,' Sinclair Lewis - 'Les Misérables,' Victor Hugo - 'Parting the Waters' (and the 'America in the King Years' trilogy), Taylor Branch - 'You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto,' Jaron Lanier - 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself,' Frederick Douglass - 'A Star Called Henry,' Roddy Doyle - 'Common Sense,' Thomas Paine Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 33 1/3 (get it?) will cover... books that are somehow about music! Join us next time for a symphony of recommendations of great books either written by musicians, or about the magic and mystery of music in some way.
115 minutes | Jun 20, 2021
Episode 31: "The Intimidators" (Books We're Afraid To Take On)
Readers around the world... admit it. We all have them. Those big, complicated, intimidating books that glare at us from our shelves, almost with an air of defiance, just daring us to take them down, dust them off, and you know... actually READ them. But for whatever reason, we haven't been able to get up the guts to do so... well, welcome to episode 31 of the Book XChange podcast, wherein America's favorite twin book nerds accept the challenge... not to read these books, you understand! Let's not get hasty. Merely to discuss those books that have to this point intimidated us enough to keep gathering dust on our shelves, rather than actually be cracked open. Why are Jude and John reluctant to take on some books, and which ones continue to deter them? Which ones have YOU yet to crack open? Come on, you know there's a list. We're sharing ours this time around, and trying to convince each other (or deter each other, as the case may be) to answer the call. This episode was brought to you by the color... YELLOW. BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Chronicles,' Bob Dylan - 'Extraterrestrial,' Avi Loeb - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Tree of Man,' Patrick White - 'Machines in the Head: Selected Stories,' Anna Kavan - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: The 'Game of Thrones' series, George R. R. Martin - The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer - The work of Jane Austen and Henry James - 'War and Peace,' Leo Tolstoy - 'The Silmarillion,' J. R. R. Tolkien - 'City of God,' Augustine of Hippo - 'The Gulag Archipelago,' Alexander Solzhenitsyn - 'Bleak House,' Charles Dickens - The work of William T. Vollman - 'My Struggle,' Karl Ove Knaussgard - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Roughly aligning with the 4th of July weekend in the U.S., the Book XChange brothers will talk about books that somehow deal with freedom and independence - not just from the American perspective, but as a human ideal.
111 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Episode 30: Animal Kingdom
The Book XChange goes on safari for this, the 30th episode of the show... and discuss favorite or notable books that feature, or are about, animals. Once we got going on this topic, we realized how deep a rabbit hole (shout out to Richard Adams!) it is. Which makes sense, because if there's one thing that unites peoples of all times, places and cultures, it's a love for/fascination with our animal friends. There's a reason they are featured so heavily in our myths, cosmologies, religions and artistic efforts. How much do they really understand about us? Do animals have consciousness? culture? souls? values? How much do we really understand about them? From famous epics that pit man against beast to road novels with non-human companions - as well as non-fiction classics that aim to deepen our knowledge and appreciation for other species - this episode takes all of these fascinating topics on and more. Even fantastical creatures get their due... we're looking forward to having our listeners join us for this epic sojourn into the Animal Kingdom. Enjoy! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Tree of Man,' Patrick White - TBD - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy,' Jane Leavy - 'Solar Bones,' Mike McCormack - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Moby Dick,' Herman Melville - 'Last Chance to See,' Douglas Adams - 'Travels with Charley,' John Steinbeck - 'Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel,' Carl Safina - 'The Whale Rider,' Witi Imihaera - The 'Game of Thrones' series, George R. R. Martin - 'The Peregrin,' J. A. Baker - 'The Soul of An Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness,' Sy Montgomery - 'Grief is the Thing With Feathers,' Max Porter - The 'Chronicles of Narnia' series, C. S. Lewis - 'Watership Down,' Richard Adams - The 'Dun Cow' books, Walter Wangerin - 'H is for Hawk,' Helen Macdonald - 'Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia,' Dennis Covington - 'Platero y Yo,' Juan Ramon Jimenez - 'Animal Farm,' George Orwell - 'The Dialogue of the Dogs,' - Miguel de Cervantes - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: "Books We're Intimidated By" - the brothers discuss which books they've long thought about reading, but for whatever reason have lacked the courage or motivation to take on... an entire episode on books we HAVEN'T read? Yep, that's right... should be different, anyway!
113 minutes | May 17, 2021
Episode 29: Spoiler Alert! (Our Favorite Endings in Literature)
Be warned! By definition, every single book discussed in this episode of the Book XChange podcast is going to be utterly spoiled... Jude and John discuss some of their favorite all-time endings in literature, and why we feel they've made such a lasting imprint on our memories. There are many ways to end a story: wicked twists in the plot, notes of ambiguity and mystery, group hugs of happiness, or shocking, tragic losses. But for most readers there are those books that linger in the mind because of the way the author "stuck the landing," bringing all of the elements of his/her tale together in a uniquely satisfying - or sometimes, maddenly unsatisfying, but memorable! - close. We came up with a long list of interesting choices for this discussion, so much so that it could easily spawn a second episode to continue the theme in the future. What book endings linger in your mind? Now you can email the show at email@example.com to share your recommendations, observations, criticisms, or whatever you'd like! Thanks as always for listening. -J & J BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering,' Makoto Fujimura - 'Avoid the Day: A New Nonfiction in Two Movements,' Jay Kirk - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Heart of the Matter,' Graham Greene - 'The New Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein: Expanded Universe,' Robert A. Heinlein - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: John 21: 20-25 - Matthew 28:18-20 - 'The Trial,' Franz Kafka - 'Mariette in Ecstasy,' Ron Hansen - 'Silence,' Shusaku Endo - 'The Grapes of Wrath,' John Steinbeck - 'The Lord of the Rings trilogy ("The Scouring of the Shire,"), J. R. R. Tolkien - 'The Road,' Cormac McCarthy - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: "Animal Kingdom" - books featuring or about animals
126 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
(SPECIAL) Episode 28: Celebrating Year One; Books About Twins
In this special celebratory episode, your twin hosts Jude and John Lovell reflect back on the first year of the Book XChange podcast: what it's meant to us, and what we hope to continue to do with it going forward. And in a nod to the unique "hook" of our show, that is, identical twins reflecting on books and reading... we tackle books that feature, or are in some way about, twins and the phenomenon of "twinhood." Good twins, evil twins, estranged or missing or lost twins, damaged twins, "midnight twins"... there are so many great myths, novels and plays that explore the compelling and fascinating nature of this mysterious bond. We bring our own personal perspective of having lived for 50+ years as genetic duplicates to these books and stories, and unpack what each of them get right, exaggerate, and even illuminate for those who lead what you might quite accurately call "a double life." Whether you are a twin, a parent of twins, are related to a set or know some in your circle of friends/associates, this episode may have you thinking about their lived experience in a different way. A very special thank you to all of you who have ever listened to the show since April of 2020! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Shadowbahn,' Steve Erickson - 'Cornell Woolrich Omnibus: Rear Window & Other Stories; I Married A Dead Man; Waltz Into Darkness,' Cornell Woolrich - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'A History of the World in 100 Objects,' Neil MacGregor - 'Summer Lightning and Other Stories,' Olive Senior - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'The Comedy of Errors,' William Shakespeare - 'Midnight's Children,' Salman Rushdie - 'East of Eden,' John Steinbeck - 'The Bridge of San Luis Rey,' Thornton Wilder - 'The Other,' Thomas Tryon - 'The Dark Half,' Stephen King - 'One and the Same: My Life As an Identical Twin and What I've Learned about Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular,' Abigail Pogrebin - 'Twins: And What They Tell Us About Who We Are,' Lawrence Wright - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: "Spoiler Alert" - on Episode 29, we plan to discuss our favorite book endings! Should be a fun one...
123 minutes | Apr 11, 2021
Episode 27: Hemingway
The recently-premiered new PBS documentary "Hemingway" (from the renowned filmmaking team of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick) provided the BXC brothers with the perfect excuse to dive back into the short fiction of one of America's most celebrated and influential writers. Because the film centers on Hemingway's stories rather than his novels, John and Jude choose four of "Papa's" most famous tales, unpack them and examine how they exhibit his most impressive, intriguing and challenging qualities as a writer. Along the way we also get into some biographical details, our personal responses to Hemingway's work and how they may have changed over the years, and discuss and debate what made him both an admirable talent and a complex, tragic human being. It's all things Hemingway on Episode 27 of the XChange... we hope you'll jump on board and join us for a wild, bumpy ride through some exotic locations and pretty dark tunnels. BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE: What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Drowned World,' J. G. Ballard - 'Ready Player Two,' Ernest Cline - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Life of Graham Green, Volume II: 1939-1955,' Norman Sherry - TBD - Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway discussed in this episode: "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber" - "Hills Like White Elephants" - "Big Two-Hearted River (Parts 1 & 2)" - "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Celebrating the first anniversary of the podcast (thank you listeners!), Jude and John decide to link back to the genesis/unique 'hook' of our show to kick around books (both fiction and non-fiction) about twins.
107 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Episode 26: The BXC Review of "Via Negativa" by Daniel Hornsby
Episode #26 delivers the third of an occasional series of in-depth reviews of books that have caught our attention (for whatever reason) and we feel are worth extended discussion and recommendation. This time, it's another debut novel, from Memphis-based (but Indiana-born) writer Daniel Hornsby. "Via Negativa" is a fascinating, spiritually rich hybrid of road novel, revenge tale and spiritual quest - steeped in Catholic history and tradition, but also in some of the strange, kitschy, roadside Americana that anyone who has traveled cross-country through this broad-shouldered land will recognize. As the homeless mendicant Fr. Dan wrestles with several morally complex, heart-breaking decisions and mistakes of his priesthood, he may also be bringing to light some of the most thorny and important questions that face the Catholic Church in the third millennium. Jude and I find a lot of quirky humor, pathos, and genuine spiritual insight to consider during this fascinating and fun discussion. BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Labyrinth of Solitude,' Octavio Paz - 'The Drowned World,' J. G. Ballard - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Life of Graham Green, Volume II: 1939-1955," Norman Sherry - 'The Hemingway Stories: As Featured in the Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS,' Ernest Hemingway - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Via Negativa' by Daniel Hornsby Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Examining the short stories of Ernest Hemingway, in conjunction with the forthcoming PBS documentary on Hemingway by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (premiers April 5 in the U.S.)
95 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Episode 25: 'Story Like You Mean It' with Dr. Dennis Rebelo (Interview)
The BXC co-hosts welcome a very special guest to the program for a fascinating and wide-ranging interview: Dr. Dennis Rebelo, professor, national speaker, career coach, mentor to CEOs and entrepreneurs and family man. Dr. Rebelo is about to release a brand new book that he has been researching and writing for the past decade, 'Story Like You Mean It: How to Build and Use Your Personal Narrative to Illustrate Who You Really Are.' Jude, John and "Dr. D" get deep into why it's important to know and understand your own personal narrative; storytelling as a path towards personal growth and transformation; mining your own life experiences to prepare for "high stakes moments;" the effects of social media on self-understanding; and more. This conversation was a rich experience for us and we hope our listeners will enjoy this "XChange" of ideas, and spread the word about this enlightening and engaging book! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Tyll: A Novel,' Daniel Kehlmann - 'My Lost Mexico: The Making of a Novel,' James Michener - What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy," Michael McCarthy - 'The Relive Box and Other Stories,' T. C. Boyle - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Story Like You Mean It: How to Build and Use Your Personal Narrative to Illustrate Who You Really Are,' Dr. Dennis Rebelo (INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR) **Available for pre-order on Amazon now, available widely on March 16** Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: Episode 26 will be our third "BXC Review" episode, where we take a deeper dive into one particular book... in this case, it's Daniel Hornsby's debut novel 'Via Negativa'
110 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Episode 24: Thriller!
The tension is palpable in Episode 24 of the BXC podcast, as we discuss some of our favorite books and writers that might fall under the broad category of "Thriller." Every reader loves a story that keeps your posterior nailed to the chair and your fingers flipping pages, almost automatically, to find out what happens next. Jude and John talk about what makes a thriller, how the term is really more of a broad category vs. a genre, and serve up plenty of examples of "unputdownable" books. This is an episode sure to generate a multitude of opinions and plenty of discussion... and we've love to hear from our listeners about their examples of books that kept them riveted! As usual, thanks for listening, wherever you are located... and keep reading! BOOKS DISCUSSED/MENTIONED/RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE What John is currently reading/plans to read next: 'Look at Me," Jennifer Egan - 'Sweeney Astray: A Version from the Irish,' Seamus Heaney (trans.) - What Jude is currently reading/plans to read next: 'The Five Wounds,' Kirsten Valdez Quade - 'Via Negativa,' Daniel Hornsby - Books/Writers discussed in this episode: 'Sphere,' 'Jurassic Park,' Michael Crichton - 'Final Flight,' Stephen Koontz - 'The Eagle Has Landed,' Jack Higgins - 'No Country for Old Men,' Cormac McCarthy - The novels of John Le Carré - The novels of Tom Clancy - 'The Quiet American,' 'The Third Man,' Graham Greene - 'Underground,' Haruki Murakami - 'And Then There Were None,' Agatha Christie - Various short stories of Daphne du Maurier - The novels of Patricia Highsmith - 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' David Grann - 'Endurance,' Alfred Lansing - 'DeliverMe,' Jude Joseph Lovell - Planned next episode of the Book XChange podcast: A special episode coming up! The Book XChange welcomes Dr. Dennis Rebelo to the podcast, as we discuss his forthcoming new book 'Story Like You Mean It' (March 16, available for pre-order now on Amazon)
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