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Tech It: Literary Listens

March 29, 2006, 12:00 am

Podcasts for bookworms.

Whether you missed the Lannan's most recent Readings and Conversations lecture, or just want to hear it again, the spectacular series has added podcasts of the most recent event, with Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman, and is working to add recordings of past lectures. Hedges' timely discussion of the Iraq war with Democracy Now's Goodman is certainly worth a second listen.

Sarah Vowell brings humor to the most morbid and boring subjects. Who would have thought that hearing two women discuss the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley would be so fun? Vowell, who has several books under her belt, is a frequent contributor to This American Life and various NPR outlets, as well as a frequent guest of Conan O'Brien. She doesn't bring history alive while discussing Assassination Vacation, but does make it damn funny.

Some people like their fiction footnoted. For those people, there is David Foster Wallace, who it turns out interviews much like he writes-with points and sub points, sometimes even proving that he's smarter than himself-while discussing his book of essays Consider the Lobster. Another episode features Mary Gaitskill-once slated to be part of that ultra-hip young '80s literary crowd-whose new book Veronica has not only been praised, but has lived up to the perceived hype, though Gaitskill herself denies it.

Joan Didion has influenced the way writers write so much that she's almost becomes a cliché herself. Three Slate Magazine contributors discuss her memoir of loss The Year of Magical Thinking. The discussion proves Didion's relevance and reiterates the controversy her writing has brought about for years.


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