Category Archives: Podcast

I NEEDED A PRETEXT TO READ BOOKS, episode three

It’s been two months since my last podcast (the end of school is like that), but I talked to Mark Athitakis, one of the world’s leading experts on Midwestern literature, about David Foster Wallace’s tragically unfinished novel The Pale King.

This episode was going to be a discussion of Suzan-Lori Parks’s work with the coolest person I know, but the coolest person I know had to do some traveling and won’t be back till July.

You can read an excerpt from Mark’s excellent The New Midwest here, and you can buy the book here. It’s a much-needed corrective to the idea that Midwestern literature means only prairies and white people.

I NEEDED A PRETEXT TO READ BOOKS, episode two

I talk about Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond (2016) with the excellent Barbara McClay. Subscribe to her tinyletter here, and here are the two essays of hers that I mention on the show:

What’s Love Got to Do With It
Everyday Barbara Pym

If you’d like to read more about the novel after listening to us discuss it—what do I mean “if”? Of course you will—Barbara is working on a piece about it which I’ll try to remember to link it here when it’s published. In the meantime, there’s a fine overview by Jia Tolentino here.

I NEEDED A PRETEXT TO READ BOOKS, episode one

Adam Petty and I discuss William H. Gass’s difficult classic The Tunnel in the first, incredibly-badly-recorded episode of my new podcast I Needed a Pretext to Read Books.