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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.

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Summer of Love: Lorrie Moore, “How to be an Other Woman

This week, we’re revisiting a story from Lorrie Moore’s debut collection, Self-Help. We try to pin down what it is we find so charming about Moore’s writing voice, and why we both consistently teach her stories. We also debate the relative ethics of adultery, and give advice to a listener who has concerns about an impending wedding.

Also, Mike explores another love song, this one with some tenuous personal connections, and Tom explores whether it’s possible for your pet to love you back.

Dog-lovers will be happy to read about a study of dogs’ brain activity in response to seeing their owners (and also this story). Here’s a somewhat inspiring, if depressing, list of 6 famously loyal dogs. And, if you have database access, this article is a pretty interesting exploration of the motivations for pet ownership.

We should note that we recorded this episode before we found out we’d won a 2015 Philadelphia Geek Award. You can see some photos of the event, and the two of us in tuxes, at our Facebook page. Thanks so much to the award sponsors, and to the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia, for hosting the swanky event.

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.

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.


Download Summer of Love #4 (right-click, save-as)