notagonist

Homegoing

Posted on

After a long hiatus, Novel Ideas has returned with an episode about Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Ignore anything we say about timing in this episode as we recorded it back in March. I’d apologize, but by now you’ve been burned so many times by our erratic schedule that you would probably assume that I don’t mean it. In this episode we talk about strong characterization, elements of storytelling, the impact of the past, and history. We also discuss our lack of qualification to discuss this book, rehash the badness of slavery (we’ll stop when you guys finally get it), grudgingly reference Light in August (about which no more needs to be said), and get really uncomfortable trying to discuss racial issues despite being a pair of white idiots.

The music bump is “The Long Way Home” by Joshua Redman.

Homegoing – A Book Without Happy Endings

Our recommendations: It’s probably been too long since we read this to assign a realistic numerical rating, but it’s the kind of book that you read and think that everyone should read it regardless of their level of enjoyment. So I guess 10/10 for relevance and 0/10 if you hate it on principle because we’re telling you that you have to read it.

Advertisements

Wuthering Heights

Posted on

Welcome to a very special episode of Novel Ideas. This week we join the Minerva podcast network. If you found us through Minerva Magazine, we’re pleased to have you! A quick word of warning: this podcast contains some adult language, so if that concerns you, consider this fair warning. Our spoiler policy generally doesn’t matter as much for classics, but you should also be aware that we spoil anything and everything because we want to be able to discuss everything in the book in detail.

For this episode we read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, a classic love story that might not be either of those things. We discuss those points as well as 19th century literary devices, the dangers of passion, Victorian values, and (of course) feminism. We also examine why it isn’t okay to hang puppies, weird hate auras, modern adaptations, and the questionable biology surrounding Victorian pregnancy.

The music bump is “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush, which is apparently sung from the point of view of Cathy’s ghost.

95 – Wuthering Heights – Hanging Puppy Love

Our ratings: All of the characters are terrible people, but at least it isn’t very fun to watch them interact.

Ben: 3/10. I didn’t enjoy reading it even a little bit. One extra point subtracted for having multiple instances of puppy hanging.

Gabs: 3.5/10. An extra half point awarded for demonstrating the healing power of reading.

And Then There Were None

Posted on

We’re back! We have returned from our own fake murder to finish doing justice to evildoers and to record this podcast about Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This is a whodunnit about mystery, murder, and politically correct modifications of the title. Okay, the book isn’t actually about that last part, but there is a bit of a history there. Fair warning, before you click this first link, you may want to make sure no one will wander by and see it out of context. Borderline NSFW. Anyhoo, the book was first published as this, then this, and for the US edition, this. In the episode, we discuss the mystery genre, vigilante justice, anti-semitism, and class issues. We also talk about 1930’s futurism, bad qualities in a judge, PC modifications, and what the Stephen King version of this story might look like.

The music bump is the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme that the book uses as scaffolding for murder. Which probably should have been the title, but I didn’t think of the phrase until just now. Oh well.

And Then There Were None – People Who Only Kill Dillholes

Recommendations:

Kind of lukewarm. We may have a subtle and inherent bias against mystery novels.

Gabs: 6.5/10 Tightly plotted and readable but without the extra oomph I need for a mystery to stand out.

Ben: 6/10 Probably originated many of the obvious tropes within, so I won’t hold that against it. Too easy to read to recommend against it.