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Tough love for literature

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Episode 241: Summer of Spouses, John Bayley (and Iris Murdoch)

This week we’re returning to our Summer of Spouses season to discuss John Bayley’s Elegy for Iris, a memoir about his marriage to Iris Murdoch, written while she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Both of us had heard good things about the book, and were eager to check it out. We’d also read a number of articles about Bayley’s and Murdoch’s sex life–which seems to come up nearly any time someone discusses their marriage–and so were curious about how the book might treat that subject.

In the second half of the show, we talk about the way spouses can support (or not support) their writer spouses, and how having a supportive spouse can make a huge–and often unacknowledged–difference in a writer’s life. This article from The Atlantic (which we discuss briefly) delves into a number of contemporary examples. We also go to Yahoo Answers to see what kinds of problems people need help with in their marriages. This week, those problems include a husband who eats too much quiche, and one who’s a little too into the single mom next door.

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, please consider subscribing 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 explore some of the weirder reaches of the literary universe: Amish mysteries, caveman romances, end-times thrillers and more!

Stream Episode 241:

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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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