Monthly Archives: September 2014

Episode 61: The Emerald Isle

This week we welcome Brian back from his trip to Ireland. After he fills us in on all the pubs and literary adventures (as well as a few Irish writers we should be reading), we hear progress updates from Ben and Jon. Then it’s on to Annie Proulx’s “Tits-up in a Ditch.”

Reading Discussed

Episode 60: All We Ask Is Perfection

Writers are a tough audience. As Jon says, “All I want is a book that’s perfect.” We want to read entertaining fiction written with passion, inspiration, intensity, and heart, in fresh sentences and about compelling characters. We wouldn’t mind writing one of those books, too… just as soon as the muse gets around to inspiring us. In the meantime, the guys discuss how Don DeLillo’s “Midnight in Dostoevsky” measures up against that standard.

Reading Discussed

  • We’re going to milk the New Yorker archives just as long as they’re free. You’ll find Don DeLillo’s “Midnight in Dostoevsky” there.
  • As summer wanes, the WITTScasters’ writing is going slowly. Jon is busy hustling The Whiskey Baron, Brian is selling one house, buying another, and taking a trip to Ireland, and Ben’s just slacking.
  • But there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with goofing off as a writer, if you ask Richard Ford.
  • Maybe before Brian and his bride-to-be skip off to the emerald isle, he can find time to submit an entry to the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.
  • It didn’t meet Jon’s definition of “perfect,” but Still Life, the first book in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, wasn’t bad.
  • The most satisfying book Jon has read recently is Jonathan Franzen’s The Twenty-Seventh City — imaginative, with ordinary-yet-compelling characters and tension built right into the syntax!
  • If you’re looking to get started with DeLillo, why not start with Underworld, and if you’re gonna read Underworld, you’ll have to start with the amazing prologue, which was also published independently as the novella Pafko at the Wall. That might be as good as ol’ Don gets.
  • As any middle-aged NBA fan will tell you, Ilgauskas is from Lithuania.

Episode 59: Hysterical Realism

Remember the year 2000? It was more than just the start of the Willenium. It’s the year that James Wood’s now-canonical essay on “hysterical realism” was published. So dust off your AOL CDs and join the WITTScasters for a discussion of what gives characters life on the page and why an intricately connected plot might hurt your novel. Plus, Jon gets religion.

Reading Discussed