Book 348: In Youth Is Pleasure & I Left My Grandfather’s House – Denton Welch

Welch, Denton - In Youth is Pleasure & I Left My Grandfather's HouseThe publisher, Open Road Integrated Media, reached out to me with this book as I’d previously read Jane Bowles’ Two Serious Ladies, and she is even mentioned in this work.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant at first as Bowles’ work was very well written but I just didn’t like the characters. Thankfully, Welch’s characters were a bit more accessible for me. This is two shorter stories (Amazon link) so I’ve separated my response into two parts. The publisher provided a copy of this book and I received no compensation for my honest opinion.

The one over-arching them the two pieces have in common is the idea of sexuality, specifically homosexuality, before it was commonly talked about and/or accepted. I tried (aka did a brief google search) to find out about Welch’s sexuality, but again this was a long time ago before our out and proud mantras of today. Welch died young, he was only 33, and there is only speculation outside of his written works which in today’s society seem pretty explicit. Regardless, I enjoyed both of these snippets of the past for completely different reasons.

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CRWM #05: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion

CRWM05In the longest episode yet I talk with one of my roommates, Mike, about two VERY long books Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the first two novels of the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

I’m sad I had to cut out as much as I did (including a great aside about Doctor Who), but I think you’ll enjoy this one. We talk about science fiction and religion, technology and the fear of Artificial intelligence and even delve briefly into religion and philosophy, and what all of these mean for the future of society. (We’re so smart!)

I did use this episode as a weird transition episode. You’ll start to see hints of what I’m working into the next episode from my “podcast class,” but  because this was recorded well before I did that class there are no actual transitions, I hadn’t recorded actual transitions yet, just the page turning sounds.

Download it here: CRWM #05 (Right click and “save as.”) Or, better yet, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!

Other books we talked about:

I was able to do a lot more editing wise so hopefully the sound quality is a bit better than usual! I’m also mulling over a few more changes, like starting with the guest reading as the intro and then going into the discussion, but I’m not sure.

As usual, if you have any thoughts or ideas feel free to comment or email me at podcast@geoffwhaley.com!

Book 339: Emma – Jane Austen

Austen, Jane - EmmaFor book two of our Jane Austen Book Club, my friends and I decided to conquer Emma (Amazon link). It has always been my least favorite of the six and reading Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education both confirmed that and helped me get around this problem. His talking about Emma and it’s belief in the importance of every day trivialities, as well as Margaret Drabble’s excellent introduction led me to think about the book differently.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still boring as anything in most points, but Austen wrote it this way. According tot Drabble, Austen wrote this novel in such excruciating detail in direct response to the detractors of her previously published novel Mansfield Park, which I love. Drabble says, “This is domestic realism almost with a vengeance.” (xix) AND it is! The hyper focus on every detail, the incredibly limited scope of setting, characters and even conversation topics is overwhelmingly mundane. It is an assault on the senses, and as a fellow JABC member said “i’m diagnosing myself with ’emma-induced narcolepsy.'” (Thanks Dalton!)

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Book 337: Crome Yellow – Aldous Huxley

Huxley, Aldous - Crome YellowMy friend Nick gave this to me to read ages ago and I’ve finally gotten around to it. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but the further I read the more I enjoyed the story (Amazon link). Coming in at under 200 pages, I was pleasantly surprised at how much Huxley fit into the novel without overwhelming the sense of lackadaisical whimsy of the people.

I am incredibly glad I read the foreword though, because I don’t think I would’ve understood this was a satirical novel of the British upper-class. I probably would’ve happily read it and thought, “wow these people are petty and ridiculous,” and then thought nothing more of it. It reminded me a lot of the various upper-class dioramas I’ve read from Jane Austen to Cécil David-Weill’s The Suitors, which is what Huxley was going for in his social criticism.

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CRWM #04: Twilight

CRWM04The highly anticipated (perhaps the only anticipated episode ever) of Come Read With Me has arrived!

In case you hadn’t heard, I read the infamous Twilight Saga last year. It took her more than five years, but my oldest friend finally wore me down and I read it for the podcast. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and it even made it on to my best books of the year list last year, mostly for the story and not the writing. UGH. We honestly could’ve talked even longer about the rest of the series, but as you’ll see I hadn’t quite finished the second novel when we recorded.

Download it here: CRWM #04 (Right click and “save as.”)

As a special bonus there are two bloopers on this episode, one at the beginning and one at the end! I hope you enjoy it! I’m making plans to record episode five, but still need to find additional locals for the next few episodes.