243 Keeping Secrets! Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, and the CIA (with Lara Prescott)


Author Lara Prescott joins Jacke to talk about her novel The Secrets We Kept, which is based on the incredible but true story of the CIA’s efforts to use a novel (Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago) as part of its Cold War battle against the Soviet Union.

LARA PRESCOTT is the author of The Secrets We Kept, an instant New York Times bestseller and a Hello Sunshine x Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick. The Secrets We Kept has been translated into 30 languages and will be adapted for film by The Ink Factory and Marc Platt Productions.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

242 William Faulkner | Dry September


The fourth part of a three-part episode run! Jacke takes the advice of a listener and adds William Faulkner’s “Dry September” (1931) to the Baldwin-Faulkner consideration. NOTE FOR LISTENERS: This story (and our discussion of it) contains disturbing references to sexual violence, racial slurs, and race-based hate crimes. Please exercise discretion in listening or playing for others.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

241 Literary Battle Royal 2 – The Cold War (U.S. vs. U.S.S.R.)

Sputnik! Cuba! Glasnost and perestroika! In this follow-up to the very popular England vs. France literary battle royal, Jacke and Mike choose up sides and imagine the Cold War being fought by each nation’s greatest authors. Enjoy!

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Sweeter Vermouth” and “Bad Ideas” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

240 More Thoreau | Experiencing Nature (with Nina Shengold)


“We can never get enough of nature,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in 1854. “I suppose that what in other men is religion is in me love of nature.” A century and a half later, author Nina Shengold left her desk behind for her own journey into the natural world, following a plan to walk along the Ashokan Reservoir in upstate New York every day for a year. When she returned home after each outing she recorded her observations; her book Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days was the result. In this episode, she joins Jacke to talk about the differences between her book and Thoreau’s Walden, the writers who inspired her, and how the experience of writing about the outside world each day affected her, giving her a better understanding of both the person she was and the person she wanted to be.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Piano Between” and “And Awaken” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

239 Henry David Thoreau | On Civil Disobedience

In July of 1846, Henry David Thoreau took a break from his two-year experiment of living in the woods to return to town, where he bumped into a tax collector who promptly had him arrested. For six years, Thoreau had refused to pay his poll tax, believing that the money was being used to perpetuate a pair of unjust acts: the institution of slavery and the Mexican-American War, an imperialist venture that threatened to spread slavery to new territory. Thoreau had been an abolitionist all his life, yet slavery persisted, and he believed it was time to do more than just vote. His experience in jail, and the speech he later gave about the experience, became one of the most influential political tracts ever written, with thinkers and activists from Tolstoy to Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr. citing it as central to their own efforts to combat injustice.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Adding the Sun” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

237 Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (with Amanda Stern)

In the autumn of 1902, a young man attending a German military school wrote to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke to ask him for some advice. Rilke responded, and the two struck up a correspondence that has become one of the great moments in the history of literature. For more than a century, Rilke’s advice, conveyed in ten letters and published as Letters to a Young Poet, has helped readers find answers to questions about literature, creativity, and the nature of existence. In this episode, Jacke is joined by author and literary impresario Amanda Stern for a conversation about her literary career, the struggles she had growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder, and the impact that Letters to a Young Poet had on her.

RAINER MARIA RILKE (1875-1926) was a German modernist poet whose innovative approach to poetry, expressed in poems like “The Panther,” “Torso of an Archaic Apollo,” and the collections Sonnets to Orpheus and The Duino Elegies, made him a leader in a style of poetry called “existential materialism” and a profound influence on subsequent generations of poets.

AMANDA STERN is a native New Yorker, a novelist, a children’s book author, and the host of the podcast Bookable. For years, she was the organizer of The Happy Ending music and literary reading series, which encouraged writers to take risks on stage. Her memoir Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life has been called “a creative feat and existential service of the highest caliber.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Credits:

“Running Fanfare” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Photo of Amanda Stern by Jon Pack

236 Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman 3

What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to love and be loved? What sacrifices do we make in order to bring about happiness? And how can we do any of this if we’re uncertain about the nature of reality? In this episode, we conclude our look at Alice Munro’s classic novella, “The Love of a Good Woman.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Allemande Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

235 Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman 2

Think about your life: Have you always gotten what you wanted? Have you LET yourself be happy? Have you kept secrets – from others, or even yourself? In this episode, Jacke returns to the great Canadian writer Alice Munro for Part Two of her novella-length masterpiece, “The Love of a Good Woman.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Running Fanfare” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

234 Alice Munro | The Love of a Good Woman

“She is our Chekhov,” said Cynthia Ozick, “and she is going to outlast most of her contemporaries.” Ozick was talking about the great Alice Munro, the Canadian writer whose short stories about ordinary women and men have garnered every literary prize imaginable. In this episode, the first of three Alice Munro Week special episodes, Jacke introduces Part One of Munro’s masterpiece of a novella, “The Love of a Good Woman.”

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Et Voila” and “Long Stroll” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

233 CS Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was an Irish-born writer who spent most of his adult life in Oxford and Cambridge, studying, teaching, enjoying the company of friends (including J.R.R. Tolkien) – and also writing some of the most widely read and influential books of his era. He wrote some works of scholarship, as might be expected of an Oxbridge professor, but it was as a Christian apologist and a writer of fiction – in particular as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia – that he became most widely known. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Lewis’s life and works, which included (among many others) The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, and of course, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and its sequels.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Monkeys Spinning Monkeys” and “Piano Between” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/