The History of Literature #129 – Great Sports Novels (Where Are They!?)

LOGO-COVERS

 

Every year, the Super Bowl draws over 100 million viewers in the U.S. alone, and the Olympics and World Cup will be watched by billions around the world. Movies and television shows about sports are too numerous to count. But where are the novels? Mike Palindrome and special guest Reagan Sova (author of Tiger Island, a novel about sports) join host Jacke Wilson to talk about the world of sports in literature – and attempt to determine why sports are so underrepresented in adult literary fiction.

Works discussed include: Underworld by Don DeLillo, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) by W.P. Kinsella, Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Natural by Bernard Malamud, Beowulf, The Shortest Poem in the English Language by Muhammad Ali, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley, Rabbit, Run by John Updike, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow, The Sportswriter by Richard Ford.

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The History of Literature #100 – The Greatest Books with Numbers in the Title

It’s here! Episode 100! Special guest Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporters Club, returns for a numbers-based theme: what are the greatest works of literature with numbers in the title? Authors discussed include Thomas Pynchon, Dr. Seuss, Alexandre Dumas, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Agatha Christie, Joseph Heller, Charles Dickens, V.S. Naipaul, Arthur Conan Doyle, Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut, John Dos Passos, Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, John Buchan, Roberto Bolano, William Shakespeare, J.D. Salinger, Pablo Neruda, John Berryman, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.

Show Notes:  Continue reading

History of Literature Podcast #63 – Books I Have Loved (with Charles Baxter)

charlesbaxter

In this special episode, the revered American author Charles Baxter joins Jacke to discuss some of his favorite books, including works by Anton Chekhov, Saul Bellow, James Wright, and Paula Fox.

“Charles Baxter’s stories have reminded me of how broad and deep and shining a story can be, and I am grateful.” — Alice Munro 

CHARLES BAXTER is the author of the novels The Feast of Love(nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collectionsGryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, andHarmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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Works Discussed:

Collected Poems by James Wright

Herzog, Henderson the Rain King, and Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow

Desperate Characters and The Widow’s Children by Paula Fox

Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov

Show Notes: 

We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! 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.

Music Credits:

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

“Sweet Vermouth” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

A Contest! Tell Me Your Favorite First Line and Win a Free Book

Here we go! We’ve spent enough time agonizing over whether Literature Is Dying. Let’s put that on hold for now. Instead, let’s celebrate the greatest geniuses and most powerful books we can imagine. And let’s do that by focusing on the Greatest First Lines of all time.

What’s the criteria for a great first line? It’s up to you! It could be the line that inspired you in some way, the one you admire, the one that intrigued you, the one that pulled you into a narrative, or simply the one that kicked off what turned out to be your favorite book of all time.

Those are the rules for you: there are no real rules. Just your favorite first line. (Yes, it can be more than one sentence if that’s the best way to make your case..)

And here are the rules for me: I will select one lucky winner (or maybe a few) to receive a free book from me, Jacke Wilson. And no, it’s not one of my books (available now!), but a book of your choice.

How do you enter? You have four options.

Option #1: You can send me an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. Pretty easy! I will keep all your personal information private, of course.

Option #2: You can leave a comment below. Just type in your favorite first line(s). Simple!

Option #3 (preferred). Call the Jacke Wilson hotline and leave a message with the answering service. Why is this preferred? Why will these entries have a slight advantage over the others?  Because I will actually get to hear your voice reading your favorite line. How cool is that!

Look, I’m a sentimental sort of person. I try not to be, but I am. And I think there’s something beautiful about a person’s voice when he or she is saying something out of unselfish enthusiasm. Sharing a favorite first line for no other reason than because it was your favorite – well, that counts. Please do call – I will appreciate it!

I might also use the clip on my podcast as I discuss the contest and its results. But don’t worry, I don’t see your number or name or anything like that. I just get to listen to the message. This is to help us all celebrate literature and to possibly win a free book. No strings, I promise.

The number to call is

1-361-4WILSON
(1-361-494-5766)

Just call me up, tell me the book and author (if you want), your first name (if you want), and the first lines (if you want – but really, why would you be calling if you didn’t want to do at least that? Well, maybe you have some other idea. But it’s your phone call, so do whatever you want!)

For option #4 (also preferred), there is no phone required. All you do is visit the page below – there are no gimmicks or signups, I promise. All you do is click a button and record a message. (You do need to have a microphone, but the built-in one in your computer or phone or tablet should work fine.)

Leave Jacke A Message

You get 90 seconds to identify the book and/or yourself (if you want etc.) and read your favorite first line. I’ve tried this out and it works great. Again, this is a preferred method because I get to hear your voice. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to do, so rich and expressive. I can’t wait to listen.

I’m not going to contact you in any way unless you’re the winner. I’ll be sending you the free book of your choice via Amazon. If you prefer not to use Amazon, we’ll work something else out.

Okay, there you go. Four good options. Let’s hear some favorites!

Onward and upward!

Writers Laughing: Leo Tolstoy

Okay, so it’s not the barbaric yawp of a Seamus Heaney, or the dazzling beauty of Zora Neale Hurston, or the transformative shot of Flannery O’Connor taking in the Amana Colonies. But this is Leo Tolstoy! Born in 1828! We’re lucky to have what we have.

And it is mesmerizing. The laughter – you’ll need to look carefully – is around five and a half minutes in. I’d recommend starting at the beginning, but if you’re pressed for time, start there and watch for a minute or so. You’ll get the spirit of the man.

Did you see the part where he drinks the little glass of water? I love that part.

This short video from the BBC is another must-watch:

What a great man. I could watch these all day. Happy Birthday, Big Fella.