Ep.84; America in Books…

This fortnight on the Readers, Simon and Thomas discuss America in literature. After looking at the Man Booker changes in the previous episode which means that lovely Americans and all authors who write in English are eligible, and with Thomas being from the United States, they thought it was time to talk American books.

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7 thoughts on “Ep.84; America in Books…

  1. Oooooo, thinking about Southern Gothic – would love to see a list of those. Would Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fall into that category? It is actually nonfiction that reads like fiction (think In Cold Blood). It was at the top of the bestselling charts back in the 90’s for seems like a few years running. Anyway, Simon, for some reason I think you would enjoy it – takes place in Atlanta if my memory doesn’t fail.
    Will be looking forward to your “lists of 10” next time. Enjoyed this!

  2. Simon have you ever read any of the work by Joyce Carol Oates. There’s a certain gothic sensibility that permeates most of her work and she can go from writing mysteries/suspense to realism to horror.

    If you’re looking for southern gothic Flannery O’Conner and William Faulkner are the obvious names.

    Incidentally my top 10 American authors would be

    Shirley Jackson
    Flannery O’Connor
    Kurt Vonnegut
    Joyce Carol Oates
    Annie Proulx
    Tobias Wolff
    John Crowley
    Russell Banks
    Steven Millhauser.

    Anyway great episode guys. Looking forward to next week.

  3. The novels of the American novelist Richard Yates seem to be incredibly popular right now, especially his two greatest books, “The Easter Parade” and “Revolutionary Road”. If you are interested in great American obscure books, I recommend Zelda Fitzgerald’s only novel, “Save Me the Waltz”. I also recommend “The Shutter of Snow” by Emily Holmes Coleman, a fictionalized account of the author’s committal to an insane asylum in the 1930s. I also recommend the books of Dawn Powell. In my opinion one of the greatest American books is “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles. I agree that “Peyton Place” is unjustly ignored. It is lurid, trashy, and a lot of fun to read. When I bought a copy at a charity book sale, an older lady told me how she had to hide her copy in the garage so her mother wouldn’t find it!

  4. Pingback: Great American Novels… | Savidge Reads

  5. While I don’t think her writing is “gothic”, one of my favorite Southern authors these days is Joshilyn Jackson. I would love for Simon to give her a read and perhaps discuss on a future podcast. Her novel, Backseat Saints, is, in my opinion, a fantastic read. I also very much enjoyed The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. Mrs. Jackson narrates her own audiobooks as well, and it is surely a treat to hear the author give voice to her own characters. One other suggestion is The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue. Set in New Orleans, this is a Southern novel through and through, and with a touch of the supernatural, it ranks up there as one of my all time favorites. I hope you get a chance to give these a try. Thanks! And p.s., your podcasts ROCK! 🙂

  6. @Tim, I have had a lot of Dawn Powells for several years but haven’t managed to read any of them yet. One of these days I must change that. I read and liked the Sheltering Sky quite a bit.

    @Angie, I’m glad you are enjoying The Readers. I love the title Backseat Saints.

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