Since September 2021, my favorite podcast has only released two episodes. There have been periodic promises of more, one-minute teasers that would pop up in the podcast feed and get my hopes up. But then months would go by with nothing.
Until yesterday. Yesterday morning, I opened my podcast app to select something to listen to on the drive to work, and there they were: Marlon and Jake Read Dead People.
Marlon is the Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James, and Jake is Jake Morrissey, his editor. Theirs is a bookish podcast with a twist: they only discuss books by authors who are safely dead.
Their conversations are like eavesdropping on your two smartest and funniest friends talking books. They’re erudite and quick-witted, with no pretension whatsoever. Their conversations range over hundreds of years of literature, both the great and the not-so-great. There is plenty of talk about the classics–and they talk in a way that brings these books to life, makes them feel vital and necessary to read. And there is also plenty of talk about the 1960s and 1970s pulpy blockbusters that I remember seeing on my grandmother’s bookshelves.
They typically discuss a range of titles in each episode, but because they read so carefully and thoroughly, the talk also runs deep. Certain titles come up again and again, especially for Marlon. I’m eventually going to reread Sula and Wide Sargasso Sea and We Have Always Lived at the Castle, simply because he keeps reminding me about them.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, the newest episode isn’t going to become a favorite, so if you’re interested in trying out the podcast, I’d recommend starting with an earlier episode. Maybe Books We Wish We Had Written or Literary Grudge Match.
If you’re a podcast listener, I’d love to know your favorite podcast.
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