10 episodes

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People is a podcast hosted by the Man Booker Prize-winning and internationally bestselling author Marlon James and his editor, Jake Morrissey, Executive Editor at Riverhead Books. In each episode, Marlon and Jake talk about authors—specifically dead authors. Authors they like. Authors they hate. Great books, terrible books, and books they love that you’d never expect them to. As a writer and an editor, Marlon and Jake have read thousands of books between them, and they’re not shy in expressing their opinions about them. Sometimes they’ll agree, sometimes they won’t, but in every episode, they’ll tell you what they think— uncensored and with no holds barred. (That’s why the authors have to be dead.) So, listen along to hear about the spectacularly good, the hilariously bad, and the brutally honest.

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People Marlon James & Jake Morrissey

    • Books
    • 4.8 • 23 Ratings

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People is a podcast hosted by the Man Booker Prize-winning and internationally bestselling author Marlon James and his editor, Jake Morrissey, Executive Editor at Riverhead Books. In each episode, Marlon and Jake talk about authors—specifically dead authors. Authors they like. Authors they hate. Great books, terrible books, and books they love that you’d never expect them to. As a writer and an editor, Marlon and Jake have read thousands of books between them, and they’re not shy in expressing their opinions about them. Sometimes they’ll agree, sometimes they won’t, but in every episode, they’ll tell you what they think— uncensored and with no holds barred. (That’s why the authors have to be dead.) So, listen along to hear about the spectacularly good, the hilariously bad, and the brutally honest.

    Goodbye for Now, but We'll Be Back!

    Goodbye for Now, but We'll Be Back!

    As Marlon and Jake wrap up Season 1 of Reading Dead People, they take a moment to reflect on what they've learned and what dead books and authors they want to discuss when they return for season two. So Marlon and Jake will be on a hiatus--they have some reading to do!--but fear not, they will be back soon to discuss the good, the bad and the everything in between. Until then, go read some dead people!!

    • 9 min
    Questions, Questions

    Questions, Questions

    This week Marlon and Jake answer some of the questions that listeners have asked. What dead author or book did they initially hate but have come around to love? What is the best book by the worst dead author? And who is the most annoying character by a dead author? (Spoiler alert: Heathcliff. Obviously.) Along the way Jake confesses a lack of enthusiasm for William Faulkner and, yes, Virginia Woolf, while Marlon bemoans the insufferably boring Thomas Hardy and makes a plug for the poetic darkness of Shakespeare’s Richard III.  Their shared hatred of A Tale of Two Cities is back and stronger than ever. Will Jake re-read Absalom, Absalom!? Will Marlon let go of his Edith Wharton grudge? Should we take relationship advice from Jane Austen? Was D.H. Lawrence the 20th Century’s bridesmaid but never its bride?  Has the “Great Pirate Novel” been written? Tune in to learn the answers to these essential questions and so much more!

    Select titles discussed in this episode:

    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
    The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
    Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
    Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
    Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
    The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
    Emma by Jane Austen
    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
    Persuasion by Jane Austen
    A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
    Harvey by Mary Chase
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
    QB VII by Leon Uris
    Airport by Arthur Hailey
    The White Witch of Rosehall by Herbert G. de Lisser
    The Black Sun by Lance Horner
    Richard III by William Shakespeare
    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
    Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
    Pericles by William Shakespeare
    The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
    Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
    This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
    The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West
    Stoner by John Williams
    The Pearl by John Steinbeck
    The Ambassadors by Henry James
    Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Márquez
    Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

    • 46 min
    Trashy Novels To Die For

    Trashy Novels To Die For

    This week Marlon and Jake dive into one of life’s great guilty pleasures: the trashy novel. Do such books provide intellectual stimulation or lessons on morality? Of course not. Nevertheless, Marlon and Jake extol the virtues of these irresistibly low-brow novels that they can’t get enough of, in the process asking: What makes a novel trashy and what makes it literary? If a book holds up a mirror to society, can it qualify as trash? What are the differences between trashy novels for women and trashy novels for men? From Peyton Place to Valley of the Dolls to the Falconhurst novels, Marlon and Jake get real about the wonderfully salacious plots, the ridiculously named characters, the gay subtexts, the surprising pathos, and all the sex. SO. MUCH. SEX. So literary snobs, be warned. For the rest of us, tune in to celebrate dead authors who have given us the gift of a shamelessly good read.

    Select titles discussed in this episode:


    The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins
    The Falconhurst Series by Lance Horner, Kyle Onstott, and Ashley
    Carter
    Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
    The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
    Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
    Shogun by James Clavell
    The Executioner Series by Don Pendleton
    The Godfather by Mario Puzo
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    The Bad Seed by William March
    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

    • 37 min
    Movies Made From Books by Dead People

    Movies Made From Books by Dead People

    Marlon and Jake put on their Hollywood sunglasses as they discuss the films adapted from books by dead people. What makes a good movie adaptation? What translates from the page to the screen and what most definitely does not? Jake admits that The Exorcist is the most shocking novel and movie he’s ever encountered, and Marlon celebrates the unparalleled brilliance of Die Hard—which yes, was adapted from a novel, and which yes, Marlon has actually read. Jake (yet again) offends Marlon with his disdain for all things Hobbit and Marlon points to Angela’s Ashes as an example of the phenomenon of the “well-made bad movie.”  From the atrocious attempts to bring The Great Gatsby to the big screen to the unfortunate existence of Ewan McGregor’s American Pastoral, Marlon and Jake explore great books that were made into less-than-great films as well as bad books that made excellent movies. How did the messiness of Mario Puzo’s storytelling and prose make the perfection that is The Godfather films? How did an angry-animal thriller like Jaws become a horror movie classic? From The Princess Bride to A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon and Jake debate what goes into a terrific – and a lousy – film adaptation. So grab your popcorn and Jujubes and settle back for one wild cinematic ride.

    Select titles mentioned in this episode:


    The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    American Pastoral by Philip Roth
    Beloved by Toni Morrison
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
    The Grifters by Jim Thompson
    The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien
    Jaws by Peter Benchley
    The Godfather by Mario Puzo
    The Princess Bride by William Goldman
    A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
    Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith
    Watership Down by Richard Adams
    Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
    The Sicilian by Mario Puzo

    • 40 min
    Memoir and Autobiography

    Memoir and Autobiography

    This week Marlon and Jake delve into the very real lives of very dead writers. From Gore Vidal to Frank McCourt, Ulysses S. Grant to Gabriel García Márquez, they discuss how memory compares to history and whether the trustworthiness of a memoir really matters if the book is a compelling read. Their discussion about WASPy realism leads them to debate whether John Cheever or John Updike is the better writer, and Marlon poses the scandalous question of whether Jane Austen lacked passion (gasp!). Whether they're talking about philandering playwrights or humorous newspaper columnists, Marlon and Jake prove that truth really can be stranger than fiction.

    Select titles mentioned in this episode:


    Personal Memoirs by Ulysses Grant
    Palimpsest by Gore Vidal
    The Night of the Gun by David Carr
    Act One by Moss Hart
    Once in a Lifetime by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
    The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez
    Rabbit Series (Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit
    At Rest) by John Updike
    The Maples Stories by John Updike
    The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    At Wit’s End by Erma Bombeck
    If Life is a Bowl of Cherries by Erma Bombeck

    • 36 min
    Myths, Legends and Fables

    Myths, Legends and Fables

    This week Marlon and Jake go back in time-way, way back-and revisit the myths and legends that have terrified and tantalized us for centuries. Gods and monsters. The powerful and the petty. The shape-shifting and the rampantly naked. From ancient Greece and Africa to Jamaica and Ireland, Marlon and Jake explore the world's myths and legends-how they persist and how we absorb, sanitize and subvert them. Whether it's Jason and the Golden Fleece, the trickster Anansi, or the non-consenting kiss in Sleeping Beauty, Marlon and Jake get real about fairy tales and folklore. And for all Black Leopard, Red Wolf fans, tune in to learn more about which of these traditions influenced Marlon's epic fantasy and how he's turning the wicked witch trope on its head in the trilogy's next novel!

    Select titles mentioned in this episode:


    The Greek Myths
    The Labors of Hercules
    Jason and the Golden Fleece
    Daedelus and Icarus
    Bullfinch's Mythology
    African Myths of Origin
    Anansi the Spider
    Apep and Ra
    Black Heart Man
    Rolling Calf
    Sukuyan
    The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
    Snow White
    Rapunzel
    Sleeping Beauty
    Hansel and Gretel
    The Twelve Dancing Princesses
    The Little Mermaid
    The Little Match Girl
    Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
    Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by William Butler Yeats

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

lilbean_sodapop ,

A delight!!

This is the only podcast I’ve really made an effort to keep up with - it’s like being at a book club with the two most well read and extremely opinionated buddies you’ll ever have. I love how they have such different taste and come at their discussions both from the editorial and the literary side - as well as through good storytelling! Even when I disagree, I find myself laughing. These two are the bookish friends you wish you had!

FarNorth23 ,

Podcast perfection

This is the reading podcast I’ve been waiting for! Marlon and Jake are fun to listen to and I love that they’re not talking about the cutting edge of literature but about the classics and books that have been around for a while. They’re reading in my wheelhouse and I eagerly await Season Two!

jess2424ica ,

New favourite podcast!

Is it Monday yet? New episodes of this podcast have made it my new favourite day of the week. Marlon and Jake are absolutely hilarious (even when they hate on some of my favourite books) and I love their dynamic. This is a must-listen for any book nerd!

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