A Meeting of the Ears: Literary Podcasts

Two things I’m good at when it comes to books: Buying them (and letting them pile up on my bookshelf where I stare at them thinking I should really get to reading all of those once I’m finished rereading this book I’ve already read three times…) and listening to podcasts about them. Podcasts are an escape for me. And if I can escape into a world of literature nerds, that’s all I really need out of most evenings and weekend mornings. SO. Let’s get to the list. It’s short. But…it’s sweet.

  • Overdue: Described as a podcast that delves into “the books you’ve been meaning to read,” I think it’s safe to say that hosts Andrew and Craig are some of my favorite podcast hosts I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I’m on a serious Overdue binge right now which might actually prevent me from going ahead and reading the books for myself because I’m too busy listening to these two talk about them. Seriously, give it a listen.
  • Literary Disco: For the rare percentage of people who watched Boy Meets World thinking I wish Shawn Hunter hosted a literary podcast…Well, you’re in luck. Hosts Rider Strong, Julia Pistell, and Tod Goldberg (all with Bennington College MFA roots, but you can read how they all technically met here) dive into books, essays, and stories in a way that The Rumpus describes as “a comfortable balance of high and low culture”. This one’s also a podcast I’ve been known to binge-listen. (Binge-hear? Binge-podcast? Binge-listen-to?)
  • Literary Punk: I am all about this. The name, the premise, the vibe. All of it. Self-described as “Reading the weird beauty, the radical influence, the punkness of great literary texts,” I stumbled upon this podcast while prepping for a book club read of Ursula K. LeGuin’s THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. I have to admit I’m still new to this podcast, so I can’t tell if it’s binge-worthy or not yet. But still. It’s got the word PUNK in the name. So why not give it a go?
  • NYTimes Book Review: An ~oldie but a goodie~, this is the book podcast I go for when I want to listen in on thorough and intelligent conversations about authors, books, and publishing trends without feeling like a complete idiot. Rather, it feels like I’ve just learned A LOT. While I was big into this podcast when Sam Tanenhaus was host a few years back, the amazing Pamela Paul has stepped in and is equally as thorough and educational.

As always, now I want to hear from YOU. Are you a podcast freak like I am? Tell me all about it and throw some of your favorites my way. I’m all ears. (Get it? All ears…?)


Sundays Should Feel Like…

…your favorite book paired with your favorite drink. Like you’ve been lying in a hammock all day and now your hair’s a little lighter and your cheeks a little redder. Like you’ve successfully prepped your work meals for the days ahead. Like you have an unlimited budget for books and tea.

It should definitely NOT feel like a cold and gloomy Monday is about to happen (in April?!)

But that’s the reality for some of us. Messy hair, foggy brain Sundays happen. They just do! So while I figure out what I’m packing for work this week while also wondering what to wear for the next five days, I’m taking comfort in future personal projects, potential weekend adventures, and the sunny, 60-degree weather that’s coming my way on Wednesday. Until then, well, let’s just push through this particularly weird Sunday feeling and read on, eat on, and breathe on. I’ve been listening to the podcast Literary Disco all day and it’s 100% helping. You should too!

So happy Sunday. Hope yours is decent. Better than decent. Maybe even great!

(As always, tell me what you’re reading/eating/listening to/enjoying!)




Eat like a Holden Caulfield: Swiss Cheese Sandwich and Malted Milk

Do you want to know something embarrassing? I mean something really embarrassing? It took me approximately 24 years to finally get around to reading The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger is probably living in a cabin in the woods crying about this, right?

Probably not.

Still, I regret not reading this book when I was a teenager. What would I have thought about Holden? Would I be annoyed, amused, confused, or in love? This is a book to read during each stage of your life if you’re interested in seeing how your perceptions and opinions have developed. When I read Catcher this past year, I was amused by Holden Caulfield. I could definitely sense the obnoxious millennial hipster vibe in him, but here’s the thing — he’s just a 17 year old living in the early 1950’s and WERE THERE EVEN HIPSTERS BACK THEN?! Did Salinger know there would be a bunch of 20-somethings walking around Brooklyn in the year 2014 acting and looking like Holden?! It’s fascinating, really.


Okay, okay, okay. Onto the food. That’s why we’re all here, right? Looking through old notes I took while reading the book, I had the following jotted down: “No food mentions so far…Holden just tries to buy drinks (alcoholic) a lot, but ends up with a coke. Bad steak mentioned in the dining hall in the beginning. I don’t want to cook steak though so let’s just ignore that.” However, I finally struck gold on page 107 of my old 75cent copy of this novel. That’s Chapter 15 for the rest of you. Holden sits down in a sandwich bar and decides to have a breakfast of orange juice, bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee. Food! That’s food! But as much as I love making breakfast food, I decided to go with Holden’s typical meal that he describes shortly after. He says, ”When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield”. Gold! Pure gold! I can make a swiss cheese sandwich. I can totally do that. In fact, I can so totally do that and even bake the bread myself. And throw in cucumbers and ketchup. I can even pour a glass of milk. (Not malted milk, because what even is that? The 1950’s were weird.)

So, I now present you with the swiss cheese sandwich and milk I prepared in order to recreate this typical Holden Caulfield meal for you all. You can do this too. It’s so easy, I promise. I used this bread recipe, and the rest is easy as pie — or, a swiss sandwich. Although looking back on this now, I really should have used a recipe for RYE bread, huh?


Grab a copy of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and see for yourself how you’ll like it. Sure, it’s over-hyped. But there’s always a reason for over-hyped books, and I’m always curious about how I’ll react to such phenomenons. If you’ve already read it, tell me what you thought. If you’ve read it multiple times, tell me how your opinion of the book changed throughout the years.

If you want more to read, check out Salinger, the recent biography on the man himself, as well as My Salinger Year, a fascinating memoir by his old assistant Joanna Rakoff. Both are highly recommended and reviewed. That’s always a good sign, I’m told.

I’d love to hear your comments on Salinger, Holden Caulfield, and the Catcher in the Rye below. And please, feel free to leave book suggestions for the next post on Devour Your Books!

Enjoy the week ahead, and don’t be a phony.