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Tough love for literature


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Episode 183: Spring Fling, Lydia Davis (“Break It Down”)

Hello, listeners! It’s the last week of our spring season, in which we’ve been reading stories about various types of flings. For this final installment, we’re discussing the Lydia Davis story “Break It Down,” from her collection of the same name. In the story, a man tries to calculate the literal cost of a love affair, though that accounting is really just a vehicle for considering the ways even a short-lived relationship–especially a short-lived relationship?–can leave lasting psychic marks.

Here’s a picture of the author, along with a quite lovely cat.

Also this week, we wrap up our discussion of literary affairs by looking at romances between writers that were actually successful. Thanks to this Lit Hub piece, by Emily Temple, for providing us lots of discussion fodder.

We’ve also got a final installment of dating advice for writers, plus some literary quotes that may (or may not) help you get that special someone into the sack.

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, by clicking on the player below. Or download the mp3 file. Or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another installment.

Stream Episode 183:

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Thanks for listening!


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Summer of Love: Frederick Barthelme, “Shopgirls”

It’s September, the temperature is dropping dramatically (at least here in our little pocket of the world), and the kids are back in school. Which means we’ve reached the end of the road for the Summer of Love. It’s been a good run, but all good things eventually come to an end. Please join us for one final refreshing dip in the ocean, one more ice cream cone, one more dance, one more stroll down the boardwalk of love.

For the final Summer of Love episode, we’re discussing Frederick Barthelme’s “Shopgirls” (which you can read for free at that link). We talk about dirty realism, the second person, and why you’re such a weird creep.

We also talk this week about that kid at Duke who won’t read Fun Home because of boobies, and we offer some hot takes on Kim Davis.

As always, we’re happy to hear what you think about the stuff we talked about this week. You can email us directly, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. Also: we’re on Facebook, and gradually getting better about posting studio pics and links and such. So come visit us over there, like our page, etc. etc.

You can stream today’s episode by clicking on the little player thingy below, or download the mp3 file to play on your favorite device. Or visit us in the iTunes store, or wherever you normally get your podcasts, where you can download back episodes and subscribe (for free) so that you never miss another weekly installment.

Stream Summer of Love #6:

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