Dear Reader

7. Blindness / Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.

Emily strongly recommends an encounter with the disorienting bleakness and collapse of Nobel Laureate José Saramago’s Blindness, while Michael strongly recommends an encounter with the soul-wracking cruelty and violence of Megan Gail Coles’s Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. They talk about a relentless duty of care forced on women, social breakdowns, Portugal, misogyny, and vulnerability.  

Show Notes.

Blindness by José Saramago.

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

Michael’s essay At the Back of the Closet.

Agnes Ayer’s ABCs of Amazing Women by Jenny Higgins.

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6. Newfoundland Portfolio / Convenience Store Woman.

Michael thinks about history and community through reading Newfoundland Portfolio, a collection of obituaries by J.M. Sullivan, while Emily considers the abnormality of the hypernormal and different ways of being happy in Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman. They talk about Newfoundland, independent bookstores, summer reading, the service industry, and problematic attitudes toward low-prestige jobs.

Show Notes.

Newfoundland Portfolio: A History in Portraits by J.M. Sullivan.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

Lanier Phillips, the African-American sailor who was rescued from a shipwreck by Newfoundlanders in the 1940s.

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5. An Artist of the Floating World / The House of the Spirits.

Michael picks at the banality of evil portrayed in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World, while Emily desperately wants to finish Isabel Allende’s enchanting work of magical realism, The House of the Spirits, but is prevented from it by living on a windswept rock in the North Atlantic. They talk about art that depicts difficult and unpleasant things, spoilers, moral culpability, second-guessing your tastes, and history repeating itself.

Show Notes.

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.

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4. Kid Gloves / The Thin Place.

Emily thinks the world would be a better place if everyone read Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel account of her difficult pregnancy, Kid Gloves, while Michael rhapsodizes about experiments in empathy and postmodern mysticism spurred on by Kathryn Davis’s The Thin Place. They talk about myths and misconceptions of pregnancy, pain, sex ed, medieval mysticism, and whether reading teaches empathy.

Show Notes.

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley.

The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis.

The Dollop’s “Childbirth in America” podcast (in part about twilight sleep).

Lucy Knisley’s Instagram.

Judy Blume by Amanda Palmer.

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Links for stuff on Amazon.

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