episode 14: Jonathan Russell Clark swims in books

Book critic Jonathan Russell Clark talked with us about the satisfaction he finds in writing criticism, his inspirations and the capriciousness of what hooks him in books. We also talk collecting books (and how they become the most hated objects in the house), unintentional manifestos, handling reader feedback, bridging the gap between older critics and the current literary and digital landscapes, and the way nobody ever takes a book recommendation.

Books we mentioned

It – Stephen King
Dark Tower Series – Stephen King
But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past – Chuck Klosterman
The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
Against the Day – Thomas Pynchon
The Vegetarian – Han Kang
Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams – M.J. Simpson
2666 – Roberto Bolaño
The Savage Detectives – Roberto Bolaño
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
An Oasis of Horror in a Desert of Boredom – Jonathan Russell Clark
A Book of American Martyrs – Joyce Carol Oates
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Submission – Michel Houellebecq


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