• AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: podcast


    In our second podcast, we go back to our bookshelves again (or maybe put on our ipods, or maybe even just look at the back of the book).

    Then we take a deep dive into Darin Strauss’ memoir, Half a Life, which leads to a hot debate about the current challenges of nonfiction.

    Finally, Tod tries to stump Julia and Rider by reading things from the internet in the voice of a substandard poet.

    If you haven’t finished the book yet, don’t fret– you can revisit the episode any time. And there are no major spoilers– Half a Life is a meditative book so it’s more about style than plot, anyway.

    Feel free to leave your reaction to the book in our comments, or tweet us @LiteraryDisco.

    Happy listening,
    Literary Disco



8 Responses to Episode 2: Half a Life & Poet Voice

  • Chris Caulder wrote on April 10, 2012 at 1:50 //

    Still some audio quality problems with your podcast, guys… Tod’s level is too hot, there was a flanger/phase issue with Julia’s side… especially during talking about Blume’s books… and lastly, Rider sounds like he’s far away in another room.

    Positives though– thanks for discussing Judy Blume! Her books may have a more loyal following with young girls and women of all ages, but her stories are totally focused on REAL teens going through real problems. This isn’t Twilight, here… this is back when this country wasn’t as boneheaded and slutty… just a better world, with problems worth having. Rider, you mentioned you never read her, but I highly recommend you at least read Iggie’s House, Blubber (about girls who bully), and Forever, which is just an awesome story about first, true love. Additionally, you should check out Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, which is an awesome story.

    So yeah, I hope you guys work out the audio issues… by the way, how are you recording and editing this podcast? Through Skype or more professionally? I’m definitely curious as to how you guys are doing a 3-person nationwide podcast.

    The shallow segment was hilarious. 🙂

    Keep up the great work, guys. You’re off to a good start.

    -Chris Caulder

  • Alex wrote on April 10, 2012 at 2:12 //

    Definitely full of humor. Laughed pretty much the whole first segment. Rider reminds me of how I rant when a detail bothers me (aka the author’s photos) and I can’t stop talking about how much it bothers me. Just couldn’t stop laughing.

    Hate to say this but I am not a reader and don’t really intend to be but the three of you are very entertaining to listen to. I enjoy your opinions and indulge myself in listening to your vocabulary. I’ll definitely keep tuning in to future podcasts.

    P.S. The first poet voice reminds me so much as a slower speaking, more paused version of Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper. LOVE THE POET VOICE !!!!

  • Laura wrote on April 10, 2012 at 2:20 //

    This was a great listen. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I still enjoyed the discussion.

    I too wish, sometimes anyway, that authors’ portraits not be on copies of books, for slightly different reasons. To this day I regret looking at the back of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends when I was six. I remember he was making a really scary facial expression in his portrait… I loved those poems (and still do) but that guy’s face terrified me when I was little! Since then I’ve seen lots of pictures of him that are not menacing, but that image still remains burned into my mind!

  • A wrote on April 23, 2012 at 3:26 //

    You guys are amusing. Rider is a brilliant actor and writer.

  • Jayne wrote on April 23, 2012 at 10:58 //

    Comment in three parts (in the spirit of the podcast)

    Tod, I listen to music when I write, or rather, when I should be writing. I’ve always liked story songs though, the sadder the better. Do you know Squeeze’s Labelled with Love? It’s a (not very) jaunty ditty about an old lady and alcoholism. I’d sing it but would never sound as good as Julia’s rendition of Lucky. Thankfully this is a comment, and imagination is marvellous. *clears throat* ‘She moved home alone without friends or relations, lived in a world full of age reservation, on moth-beaten armchairs she’d say that she’d sod all, the friends who had left her to drink from the bottle’. Yup, it’s a keeper. Julia – Judy Blume! I’m excited for you. Hope the event goes well. I remember also being completely perplexed by that period belt thing. But do say thanks to her for the book Tiger Eyes. It was a book I found when I needed it most, and I’ll never forget how much it helped me. Rider, thinking more upon author pics, there are some that totally look like who I imagined. Say Stephen King – he always looked like he wrote horror, perhaps more so after the accident *she says really, really quietly* and Jackie Collins looked glossy and um, knowledgeable.

    Half a Life. Not read this but I really enjoyed the discussion on it. I felt sorry for the author, the weight of living for two sounds like something he’ll sadly never lift, and the fact that the book chases echoes probably completely reflects his life. But with these books about trauma (torture porn? misery lit?) the main thing that goes through my mind is that not every book gets published, so there must be tons out there that were turned down because their suffering wasn’t in some awful way marketable enough. The idea that someone had a traumatic time and then their life story is rejected is just so doubly painful that I can’t go near any of those books.

    Poet voice. Oh, that’s funny. They do sound like poems. I would totally accept I was in the presence of A Poet. 🙂

  • Alicia wrote on May 3, 2012 at 5:51 //

    I’d heard the This American Life from Darin Strauss when it aired originally, and hadn’t realized this was on the same topic. I loved that despite not reading the book, I was able to appreciate the discussion of his story based on the TAL episode – his tone when telling the story seemed akin to how his memoir was discussed.
    Also, if you haven’t heard Amanda Palmer’s song about Judy Blume…well…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGGxxGKvJmg

  • Rebecca wrote on October 30, 2012 at 8:31 //

    Long story short, I am just getting around to listening to your podcasts at the moment and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for this one as I was just in the middle of Half a Life and hurried to finish it so I could listen to the ‘cast. While my version didn’t include all the ‘bonus features’ that your books seem to have, I found it interesting that you seemed really focused on that aspect of the book layout. I found it interesting that because of all the ‘bonus features’, it seemed to distract from the rest of the book. I am so the same way and maybe if my book had included them all, I would have felt more of the same way. But since my copy just ended, I felt like, okay, so that just happened, the end.

    PS. also loved that Julia was the only one in the group to “quote” Britney Spears “Lucky” at the start of the podcast. Such a girl! I was totally singing along:-)