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Tough love for literature


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Episode 192: Summer of Selfies, Gaute Heivoll (Before I Burn)

This week we’re continuing our discussion of literary “selfies” with this novel by Gaute Heivoll, which is about a string of arsons in 1970s Norway, though it’s also about the writer who is haunted by those fires, even years later, enough to write a book about them. Though it’s categorized as a novel, it seems clear the book’s main character is closely aligned with Heivoll himself.

In the second half of the show, we talk about the phenomenon of the Mary Sue in fan fiction, and in the larger world of pop culture. Is it a useful term to describe stories in which writers create characters who are too-perfect versions of themselves? Or is it merely cover for men to offer misogynistic critiques of female characters?

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. You can also find us in the iTunes store, or in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 192:

Download Episode 192 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!

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Episode 191: Summer of Selfies, Jennifer Lundun (“Evidence, in Track Changes”)

This week we continue our discussion of literary “selfies” with a piece by Jennifer Lundun that appeared recently in Diagram, called “Evidence, in Track Changes”). The piece includes an essay written by Lundun, plus margin notes added by her mother and Lundun herself. The original essay was published in the journal River Teeth, Lundun explains. But after some back and forth with her mother over details in the piece–as well as their relationship more generally, which was fractured when her mother left while Lundun was still a girl–she decided to publish this modified, inter-textual piece.

We talk about what makes an experiment like this feel organic, rather than gimmicky, and what sorts of writing lessons that line might offer. Also, plenty of our usual foolishness, including some discussion of trends that (like selfies) might stick around and become more or less accepted, another installment of Millennial M0m3nt, and for some reason a digression into the relative merits of Three Musketeers and its #ThrowShine hashtag. What do you expect from us, high-minded literary talk?

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. You can also find us in the iTunes store, or in just about any app you might use to listen to podcasts.

If you like the show, you can subscribe to our Patreon, which helps offset our costs and allows us to keep doing the podcast each week. In exchange for $5, you’ll also get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we discuss the wide world of romance novels.

Stream Episode 191:

Download Episode 191 (right-click, save-as)

Thanks for listening!