Literary Disco show

Literary Disco

Summary: Writers talk about reading. Hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong.

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 Episode 15: The Libertine | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3365

In this episode, we discuss autographs, first editions, mermaids, and more. Then, we read the Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys– a play! Do we make it through? Do we discuss the nature of excess, or does Tod complain the whole time? Only one way to find out… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 14: Mixtape | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3023

Playlist, schmaylist. We’re calling this a mixtape: one poem, one short story, and one essay get dissected in this episode. Mary Karr’s “Suicide’s Note,” Eric Puchner’s “The Cooler Me,” and Joe Meno’s “Happiness Will Be Yours.” And of course, a knock-down drag-out argument over comic strips, more discussion of what makes a great audiobook, and frauds. Check it! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 13: Moby Duck | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3102

Rubber Ducky, you’re the one– you make bathtime lots of fun– until you disintegrate into the ocean and kill the very nature you purport to stand for. Tod, Rider, and Julia discuss Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn. The crew also debates reading while feverish, video games as literary experiences, and aging audio book voice actors. Finally, Julia introduces Tod and Rider to the incredible prose of George Eliot– or is it Julia herself?– in a brand-new installment of Klassics Korner with Two K’s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 12: Story Songs! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3351

It’s time to get back to school and, because we’re grown-ups now, we assigned ourselves some easy homework. Tod attempts to convince Julia & Rider that “Story Songs” are a legitimate literary genre, only to offer up sappy songs about serendipitous taxis. Julia and Rider try somewhat harder, but not much. The only thing that saves them from this silly episode is a bookshelf revisit in which they each read something great. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 11: Winnie the Pooh & The House on Pooh Corner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3304

Deep in the hundred acre woods, three writers argue over the particular pathetic nature of Eeyore. Join us this week as we welcome friend and Barnes & Noble “Discover New Writers” pick Stephen Dau, whose novel “The Book of Jonas” turns out to not be about Jonas brothers at all. We read his book and also the Winnie-the-Pooh books, which Steve reads to his daughter every afternoon. Also, Tod points us to an article about music then and now, Rider gets comical, and Julia waxes on about olde timey NYC and the pretentious things Rider used to read there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 10: When You Reach Me | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3097

This week we are joined by Youth Services Librarian, Erika Jelinek. Erika’s here to address Rider’s concerns (expressed oh-so-mildly in Episode 5) about the quality of today’s Young Adult Literature. In defense, she offers Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me. A coming-of-age novel with a time travel twist. The disco-teers discuss this fantastic book and the state of children’s literature in general. But first, our Book Club Revisit includes Tod talking Olympics (and, surprise surprise, avoiding books all together), Julia drinking whiskey, and Rider heading to the Russian snow for summer reading. And yes, The Cutting Edge is mentioned yet again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 9: Tiny Beautiful Things | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2842

So you think you don’t cry. Well, we challenge you to listen to our discussion of the Beat Generation, how the media reports school shootings, how accurately we remember our cousins, and, of course, Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things” and then read the books we’ve discussed. Who knows what will happen? Your heart might grow two sizes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 8: Train Dreams | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3769

Episode 8: We begin with a Bookshelf Revisit, in which Tod discovers a pulp gem, Julia goes Sherlock crazy, and Rider is hyperbolic as usual. Then we discuss the novella Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. We end with Judging a Book By Its Cover, wherein Tod is a genius and yet still doesn’t know where (or what) Thailand is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 7: A Separate Peace | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3121

Somehow, Rider has never read this classic. We correct that. We also discuss the various terrors of boarding school, books from our shelves, and which parts of Crime and Punishment Tod completely made up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 6: Treasure Island!!! and Poet Voice | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3368

Hello all, Hey, it’s new episode day! This week we welcome Mark Haskell-Smith, author of the hilarious Heart of Dankness, who shares Sarah Levine’s brilliant picaresque novel Treasure Island. We loved it. We also share some really good stuff from our bookshelves about being a starving, boxing circus freak who lives under a bridge. (Or at least, if we combined all of our recommendations into one book, that’s what it would be about. Someone write this!) And finally, Tod once again tries to stump Rider and Julia on what’s a real poem and what’s just Tod reading stuff in a ridiculous poet-y voice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 5: Above the Factory | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3247

Evening, readers! Here we have Episode 5: Above the Factory. Read, listen, mull it over, throw your listening device across the room in frustration… whatever floats your boat. We also introduce a new bookish game: Judging a Book by Its Cover. We read first sentences from famous (or semi-famous) works, and then make educated guesses about the contents of the novels. Are you ready to play? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 4: The Chairs are Where the People Go | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2654

Hi, everyone! Here’s Episode 4. Sorry for the delay. We were having technical difficulties, so here’s a tried-and-true MP3 for your listening pleasure. — Friends, family, loved ones of all sorts: if you were to organize a room for a lecture, where might you put the chairs? If you were to teach people how to play charades, what would you tell them? Are messenger bags relevant to this discussion at all? Kathryn Borel discusses “The Chairs Are Where the People Go,” with Tod, Rider, and Julia, who do not agree on its quality. Ready for a showdown? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 3: Sweet Valley High & Klassics Korner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2166

Today, we get silly. We discuss the various merits and demerits of Sweet Valley High. We revisit the classics, but upon Julia’s insistence, we give it the stupid name “Classics Corner– with two K’s!” See, that makes it friendly and approachable… right? Let us know what you think in the comments, and please enjoy! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 2: Half a Life & Poet Voice | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3091

In our second podcast, we go back to our bookshelves again (or maybe put on our ipods, or maybe even just look at the back of the book). Then we take a deep dive into Darin Strauss’ memoir, Half a Life, which leads to a hot debate about the current challenges of nonfiction. Finally, Tod tries to stump Julia and Rider by reading things from the internet in the voice of a substandard poet. If you haven’t finished the book yet, don’t fret– you can revisit the episode any time. And there are no major spoilers– Half a Life is a meditative book so it’s more about style than plot, anyway. Feel free to leave your reaction to the book in our comments, or tweet us @LiteraryDisco. Happy listening, Literary Disco Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

 Episode 1: Bookshelf Revisit & Bright’s Passage | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2280

The long-awaited first episode of Literary Disco has arrived! We begin by revisiting our bookshelves and recommending some of our favorites (or, in Rider’s case, weird books from the teen years) to each other. Then we get to the meat and potatoes of the episode: Bright’s Passage. We react, we question, we banter, we express enthusiasm for talking horses. If you haven’t finished the book yet, don’t fret– you can revisit the episode any time. And there are no major spoilers. We mostly speak about style and character in this episode, not plot. Feel free to leave your reaction to the book in our comments, or tweet us @LiteraryDisco. Happy listening, Literary Disco Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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