The History of Literature #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.

The History of Literature #141 – Kurt Vonnegut (with Mike Palindrome)

vonnegut

 
“The year was 2081,” the story begins, “and everyone was finally equal.” In this episode of the History of Literature, Jacke and Mike take a look at Kurt Vonnegut’s classic short story, “Harrison Bergeron.” In this 1961 story, Vonnegut imagines a world of the perfectly average, where no one is allowed to be too great – until a hero named Harrison Bergeron comes along. Along the way, we discuss Vonnegut’s life and works, what we think the story means, and Mike’s own attempt to limit himself in order to better function in society. SPOILER ALERT: THERE ARE NO SPOILERS! This episode is completely self-contained. We read the short story, so there’s no need to run out and read it on your own first (unless you want to).

For another self-contained episode on a classic twentieth-century short story, try Episode 139 – “A Hunger Artist” by Franz Kafka.

For more about short stories in general, try Episode 57 – Borges, Munro, Davis, Barthelme – All About Short Stories (and Long Ones Too).

Kurt Vonnegut makes a cameo appearance in Episode 101 Writers at Work (you’ll never guess his surprising avocation).

And for another high school favorite, try Episode 119 – The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literatureor historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or via our new Twitter handle, @thejackewilson.

History of Literature #76 – Darkness and the Power of Literature: News from North Korea (with Terry Hong)

northkorea

For 70 years, the people of North Korea have lived through a totalitarian nightmare – and those of us in the outside world have had little access to their experience. How have generations of oppression and terror affected the psychology of everyday people? How do they feel about their situation? What are their hopes? What are their dreams? How do they think, and how do they live? Like so much else about North Korea, these questions were shrouded in darkness…until now. Terry Hong, reader extraordinaire and the curator of the website Bookdragon, joins us to talk about an astonishing new development: the publication of short stories by North Korea’s first dissident writer.Play

Works Discussed:

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea, by “Bandi” (preorder only until March 7, 2017)

Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea, by Jang Jin-sung

Recommended Books about North Korea:

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee

A Kim Jong-il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee

Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

On Twitter, you can follow Jacke Wilson at his handle @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literature SC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“Dragon and Toast” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.