Sarah and Chris discuss NW, Zadie Smith's sprawling tale of the London working class. It's a re-read for both co-hosts, and they loved it just as much the second time through. Join in and see if you agree!
In the wake of Denis Johnson's passing, Chris and Sarah discuss Jesus' Son, the author's bleak yet beautiful collection of stories centered around the desperation of addiction. We also delve into why short stories are frequently so melancholy, and Chris briefly makes an embarrassingly mistaken reference to the Velvet Underground. Join us!
Ruth Rendell is known as a crime novelist, but in A Sight for Sore Eyes she stretches the genre's trappings into a taut and thrilling class-infused generational novel. Join Chris and Sarah as they get sucked into Rendell's bleak but utterly captivating world.
With Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale soon to reach a larger audience than ever thanks to a television adaptation, we decided to take on the novel for the Idle Book Club—Chris for the first time, and Sarah for the second. It's a masterful imagining of a modern dystopia, and it remains just as relevant as ever.
Shusako Endo's Silence is a classic of modern Japanese literature, a reflection on faith and humanity that is sweeping and ambitious as well as intensely personal. Inspired to read it after watching Martin Scorsese's recent film adaptation, Sarah and Chris do their best to reckon with this complex novel.
If you've never read Wuthering Heights, it probably isn't what you expected. And if you haven't read it since high school, it's worth revisiting this unusual novel of obsession and revenge. Rereader Sarah and first-time reader Chris hash out their reactions to Emily Bronte's classic!
Chris Kraus' I Love Dick is an experimental novel that blurs the line between fiction and memoir. In the years since its release, it has experienced a resurgence of popularity culminating in a recent Amazon TV adaptation. Join Sarah and Chris as they discuss whether they...loved it.
What DO we talk about when we talk about love? Whatever it is, from Raymond Carver's point of view, it's not very rosy. Join Sarah and Chris as they discuss this classic collection of particularly short stories. Sorry for the delay!
The Idle Book Club tackles Sarah's favorite author, the prolific and award-winning short story writer Alice Munro. It's no surprise that Sarah loved this collection, Runaway, but does Chris? You'll have to listen to find out. (Spoilers: yes.)
This month, Sarah and Chris discuss Viet Thanh Nguyen's ambitious and bleakly comic debut novel, The Sympathizer. The story of a Vietnamese communist sympathizer among his fellow refugees in the United States, the book is a scorching examination of inside and outside perspectives on the Vietnam War and its reverberations. Next month: Runaway by Alice Munro!
This month, the Idle Book Club discusses Helen Oyeyemi's Mr. Fox, a 2011 book that blurs the line between novel and short story collection. Join us, as Sarah offers her reactions and Chris offers his confusion! For next month, we'll be reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, followed by Runaway by Alice Munro.
Chris and Sarah have their first Philip K. Dick experience (in book form, anyway) with The Man in the High Castle, an ambitious and bleak alternate history novel depicting a world in which the Axis powers were victorious. Join us for an enthusiastic discussion!
Everything I Never Told You is another story in the "mysteriously dead girl" genre—so how does it stack up? Sarah and Chris discuss the story's themes of racism, family interconnectedness, and empathy. Next month: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Something sinister and tragic is at play in an English countryside boarding school, and we're going to spoil it all. Join Chris and Sarah for their discussion of Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. This one had a great forum thread too, so be sure to stop by!
Chris and Sarah stop into the studio for an impromptu podcast in honor of Umberto Eco, the Italian semiotician and author of esoteric novels including The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. Eco passed away just days ago, and we felt it was appropriate to pay our respects—and share some choice quotes and personal experiences. Join us!
The first full episode of the new Idle Book Club season tackles Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, a novel depicting two surprising sides of a marriage—and Sarah and Chris frequently found themselves at odds as well. This battle of the sexes was endorsed by President Obama.
The Idle Book Club is back! After a two-year hiatus, we're ready to start discussing books again each month, with one returning host and one new one. This episode, we announce our first book: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Then, to get back in the swing of things, we share our thoughts on two other books we've recently read: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Join us!
After a scheduling hiccup (snafu? derailment? disaster?) the guys are back to bring you their summer reading selections. On offer this month: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John le Carre, Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.