For years, we’ve enjoyed talking to writers about the books they love best. In this “best of” episode, we go deep into the archive for three of our favorites: Jim Shepard and his youthful discovery of Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Margot Livesey and her love for Ford Madox Ford’s modernist classic The Good Soldier; and Charles Baxter telling us about his love for the poetry of James Wright. Enjoy!
Still recovering from his immersion in Sigmund Freud, Jacke looks instead to one of the world’s great literary cities: Odessa. More than 300 writers have lived in, traveled through, and/or written about Ukraine’s “pearl of the Black Sea” – what did they find so compelling? And what did they write about afterwards? PLUS we continue our conversation with Scottish novelist Margot Livesey, who has been reading Boswell’s Life of Johnson, generally considered one of the greatest biographies ever written (and one of Jacke’s favorite books).
Love is all around! On podcasts as well as holidays… In this episode, Jacke talks to USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews about her love for the Victorian era and how that fueled her latest work, the historical romance The Siren of Sussex, in which an ambitious equestrienne teams up with a devastatingly handsome half-Indian dressmaker to take London society by storm – unless their professional plans are thwarted by their amorous propensities toward one another. Jacke also checks in with friend of the show Margot Livesey about her first reading of the classic biography Life of Johnson by her fellow Scot, James Boswell – does it still hold up? And finally, Jacke throws a bone to love’s wretched dogs, who might find some company in the misery of ancient Rome’s Catullus, whose love for “Lesbia” placed him on the knife edge between self-loathing and despair.
Writing about the Scottish-born novelist Margot Livesey, the author Alice Sebold remarked, “Every novel of Margot Livesey’s is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery.”
How has Margot Livesey managed to create this suspense in novel after novel, including in contemporary classics such as The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, and her most recent work, Mercury? Host Jacke Wilson is joined by the author for a conversation about her readerly passions and writerly inspirations, including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.