You don’t get an airport named after you for making friends. That and other life lessons await in episode 41, where the boys discuss the ways non-fiction reading fits into a fiction writer’s regimen. After discussing Erin Stalcup’s fresh, compelling story “With Strangers,” they also talk about the different ways writers try to hurl themselves over a high jump bar (metaphorically, mainly) and why sometimes, when you order a burger, you don’t really want a burger.
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- Erin Stalcup’s “With Strangers” is online at H_NGM_AN, and the interview Brian read with her can be found over at the Kenyon Review.
- Technically, Erin Stalcup is the first repeat author on WITTScast. Her story “Population 51, Elevation 15” was part of Freight Stories #8, which the boys read way back on episode 5.
- Ben’s ultimate fate in Oswego may come to resemble an Annie Proulx story.
- Jon recently read Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Roth Unbound, about fiction’s preeminent monk/painter/masturbation enthusiast.
- Roxanne Gay and Jess Walter break the mold of the short story mold without losing its heart.
- Questioning the purpose of writing? Don’t feel like hanging up Christmas lights? You might want to ask yourself a few questions.
- In the realm of non-fiction, Ben’s been watching empires crumble in Ian Morris’ Why the West Rules — For Now and planting the seeds for possible new ones with The Best American Science and Nature Writing.
- Jon has been brushing up on his history and biography, reading both James Srodes’ Allen Dulles and Stephen Kenzer’s The Brothers, about Allen, John Foster, and propaganda posing as Broadway musicals.
- While he digs books about macro topics like storytelling (try Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World), Brian also goes micro with his non-fiction. In recent years, he’s loved books about the history of dueling (Gentlemen’s Blood by Barbara Holland) and jetpacks (Jetpack Dreams by Mac Montandon).
- While immersing himself in fiction’s past with Wuthering Heights, Jon also considers possible innovation in its future (sparked by this Mazda commercial about high jumpers).