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Wuthering Heights

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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.

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Never Let Me Go

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Novel Ideas returns with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is speculative fiction, or dare we say, science fiction? It is a work that raises a lot of questions, questions that we mostly don’t have answers for. Listen to the episode for our thoughts on subtlety, discrimination, sex, and possible themes. Or if you prefer, listen for our discussions of the stiff upper lip, elephant triggered bullying, silly YA adaptations, and the drama llama.

The music bump is the title track, “Never Let Me Go” by Judy Bridgewater.

Never Let Me Go – Hopes and Dreams and Clone Souls

Recommendations:

An interesting book with a lot of conversation points, and a compelling read despite nothing happening in the traditional sense of the word.

Ben: 7.5/10 One point for each of my favorite organs.

Gabs: 7.5/10 One point for each of Ben’s organs to be transplanted in the future.

Ben: Do I get a say in this?

The Awakening

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Novel Ideas returns at a strange interval with The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Our apologies for our odd posting schedule as of late, Ben’s day job leads to a rather turbulent schedule between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so editing and posting episodes tends to get pushed back. We’re hoping to at least be able to post on Mondays through the start of the new year. I guess we’ll see. At any rate, check out this week’s episode where we discuss marriage, feminism, the rejection of societal norms, and the adult readability of classics. We also talk about space penises, Victorian titillation, the romantic death trope, and why children are boring.

The music bump this week is Frederic Chopin’s Nocture opus 15, number 3 in G Minor, also subtitled “Solitude” for its possibly awakening Edna’s…. awakening, I guess.

The Awakening – Who Gives a Hell About Kissing

Recommendations:

Ben: 6/10 I liked it more than not and provides some food for thought, though I didn’t find it especially compelling.

Gabs: 8/10 Minus two for the ending.

Love in the Time of Cholera

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After a week off, your favorite intrepid, book-loving, podcasting siblings have returned. This time to examine Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This book is an examination of love, Colombian style. Probably. The author won’t really tell anyone for certain. In our discussion we cover the difficulties of translating literature, magical realism, love, honor, sex, and strong women. And cholera, though not nearly as much as you would expect from the title. Not to mention the fact that every character in this novel is crazy.

We also made a major update to our schedule yesterday, filling it up through the end of August. We’re going on a bestsellers kick, so most of what is on the schedule has been on the NY Times bestseller list for several weeks. Be sure to check it out if you want to read along with us.

This week’s music bump is Toto’s “Hold the Line,” because… Toto. Oh yeah, and it kind of describes Florentino Ariza to an almost uncanny degree.

17 – Love in the Time of Cholera – Extreme Personalities

The Scarlet Letter

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This week in Novel Ideas, we discuss a classic of guilt and shame. Were I to deliver this explanation in the style of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the next two thousand words would describe the feel the paper, the alignment of the typesetting, the quality of the ink, and the deeply emotional cover. And then maybe I’d say something about the content, but it would be a bad idea to get your hopes up on that account. Unlike Hawthorne, we like content, so we discuss the characters, the prose, the wisdom of exposing yourself as a witch to your Puritan neighbors, demon-elf children, the difficulties in adapting this story for film, and, of course, feminism.

The music bump is Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in G minor, K. 108. It was chosen because if ol’ Dom was your pen pal, he would send you Scarlatti Letters.

15 – The Scarlet Letter – Let Us Fling Mud At Them