46 episodes

The unofficial podcast of literary misfits everywhere who want to engage with books of "substance" (i.e. serious, respected, heavy, philosophical, classic), or at least considered such.

Books of Some Substance B.O.S.S.

    • Books

The unofficial podcast of literary misfits everywhere who want to engage with books of "substance" (i.e. serious, respected, heavy, philosophical, classic), or at least considered such.

    46 - Turpitude Dude: Vladimir Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading

    46 - Turpitude Dude: Vladimir Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading

    Drama! Comedy! Opacity! Turpitude! All are up for grabs in Vladimir Nabokov’s holiday classic, Invitation to a Beheading. Listen in as Nathan, David, and Nick try to figure out just what exactly is going on in Nabokov’s oft-overlooked gem that may or may not be about: personal exile, political exile, gnosticism, or the inability to get a good night’s sleep. Just don’t call it Kafka-esque (even though it’s definitely Kafka-esque).

    • 44 min
    45 - The Substance of Influence: Ross Farrar of Ceremony on Saul Bellow

    45 - The Substance of Influence: Ross Farrar of Ceremony on Saul Bellow

    In this edition of The Substance of Influence Nick chats with Ross Farrar, vocalist of the Northern California punk band Ceremony, about the connections between the band’s latest record In the Spirit World Now and the classic Saul Bellow novel Humboldt’s Gift.  Listen in as we discuss the similarities between Bellow’s blend of rough intellectualism and the literary underpinnings of punk music, why poetry should just tell you what it is, and the psychological impact of being on a Megabus for over ten hours. Additionally, convincing arguments are presented for why you should stop being a square, yo.

    • 51 min
    44 - The Substance of Influence: Catherine Flynn on James Joyce

    44 - The Substance of Influence: Catherine Flynn on James Joyce

    In this edition of The Substance of Influence, Nick chats with University of California-Berkeley English Professor Catherine Flynn about her new book, James Joyce and the Matter of Paris.  Listen in for discussion on the (un)romantic Paris of yesteryear, the sources of all those cool modernist moves, and why Joyce’s fiction is, um, a bit smelly. 
    In other news, members of the B.O.S.S. reading group in San Francisco are now terrified about the potentially impending selection (read: assignment) of Finnegans Wake.  Our deepest apologies in advance.

    • 28 min
    43 - Watt the Hell?: Samuel Beckett's Watt

    43 - Watt the Hell?: Samuel Beckett's Watt

    In this installment of the Books of Some Substance podcast, Nick is joined by University of California-Berkeley English Professor Catherine Flynn to dissect the endless permutations of Samuel Beckett’s oft-overlooked Watt. Is there meaning behind Sam’s lists upon lists upon lists? Is this a reality more real than realism itself? And will there be an opportunity for Nick to —most predictably — use the term “post-post-post modern”?
    To language, we raise our glass, and descend into the Schopenhauerian darkness . . . but with a few delightful aphorisms destined for refrigerator magnets along the way.

    • 44 min
    42 - Didi Up Before You Gogo: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

    42 - Didi Up Before You Gogo: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

    You may be thinking: If I had a dollar for every time I felt like I was just sitting in the waiting room of life—except that the room was an open field with a single tree in it and my best bud just wouldn’t keep his boots on—I’d be rich!  Or in a hit Samuel Beckett play.  Whether it is about morality or acceptance or the morality of acceptance, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot resonates indefinitely.  Listen in as David, Nick, and the recently returned Nathan talk it through, possibly existentially navel-gazing in the process.

    • 39 min
    41 - The Substance of Influence with Caleb Michael Sarvis

    41 - The Substance of Influence with Caleb Michael Sarvis

    [Update (8/12/19): After recording and releasing this podcast, it has come to our attention that Sarvis has been barred from teaching in Florida public schools following allegations he engaged in inappropriate communications with students on social media.  We in no way condone this alleged behavior.  This episode will remain available and those that choose to listen may do so at their discretion.]
    In this edition of The Substance of Influence, David and Nick speak with Caleb Michael Sarvis, managing editor of Bridge Eight Press and author of the short story collection Dead Aquarium or (i don’t have the stamina for that kind of faith) available from Mastodon Publishing.  They discuss the lasting impact of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, the perks of interpreting the past as fiction, and, of course, all those damn nutria down in Florida.
    Check out Caleb’s work here and follow him on Twitter.

    • 30 min

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