Jun 14, 2010
In this episode, we read some listener email, talk about the 50th anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird, and recommend two great new books that are just out: The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst, and Blind Descent by James Tabor.
We start this episode with two listener emails. Richard thanks us for recommending Stoner, and responds to our inquiry about novels with nontraditional reading structures. Richard suggests that we take a look at the novels of David Markson, who recently passed away. Richard suggests that we start with The Last Novel, Reader's Block, Vanishing Point, or This Is Not a Novel.
Katherine wrote in to correct Michael's pronunciation of a name in his recent recommendation of Operation Mincemeat. "Cholmondeley", it turns out, is actually pronounced "Chumley." Katherine goes on to say:
"As I was writing the above, I remembered a limerick Willard Espy included in one of his wonderful compilations on language, probably Words at Play. He noted several English names that were not pronounced as written, one of which was Cholmondeley and another Beauchamp, or "Beechum." Then he wrote:
A naughty young fellow named Beauchamp
Said: "These jelly tarts--how can I reauchamp?
To my parents I'd go
But they always say no,
No matter how much I beseauchamp."
The English language can be endless fun, especially in rhyme."
Thanks to Richard and Katherine for taking the time to write in. We encourage all of our listeners to contact us at any time, using any of the methods in our About/Contact Us page.
July 11th, 2010 is the 50th Anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird.
Both Michael and I are hoping to listen to the audiobook, which is read by Sissy Spacek. Harper Collins has a website set up for all information regarding the 50th anniversary. They also just released Scout, Atticus and Boo by Mary McDonagh Murphy, which is a compliation of essays from well-known writers and celebrities about the effect that To Kill A Mockingbird had on their lives.
There are many events around the US to celebrate the anniversary. A full schedule is at http://tokillamockingbird50year.com.
I love, but cannot coherently explain, The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst. In this novel, main character Octavia Frost attempts to reconcile with her estranged son Milo, a rock star who has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Much of the story is told through summaries of Octavia's successful novels, with newly-rewritten endings that make up her next novel. It sounds confusing, but the reading experience is not. And to add an additional layer of interest, author Carolyn Parkhurst has also created an author website for her novelist-character Octavia, where you can see book jackets, read a Q&A, and experience Octavia in a new way.
Michael talks about Blind Descent by James Tabor about two men who each believe that he has discovered the deepest cave in the world. It's not a book for the claustrophobic, but if you're a fan of Shadow Divers, you'll love the adventure elements of this book. If you've ever wondered about the various ways you could die in a super-cave, this book is for you -- turn immediately to chapter 4!