Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People

Marlon James & Jake Morrissey

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People is a podcast hosted by the Man Booker Prize-winning and internationally bestselling author Marlon James and his editor, Jake Morrissey, Executive Editor at Riverhead Books. In each episode, Marlon and Jake talk about authors—specifically dead authors. Authors they like. Authors they hate. Great books, terrible books, and books they love that you’d never expect them to. As a writer and an editor, Marlon and Jake have read thousands of books between them, and they’re not shy in expressing their opinions about them. Sometimes they’ll agree, sometimes they won’t, but in every episode, they’ll tell you what they think— uncensored and with no holds barred. (That’s why the authors have to be dead.) So, listen along to hear about the spectacularly good, the hilariously bad, and the brutally honest.

23 episodios

  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Dead Authors Through History


    Prepare for what might be Marlon & Jake’s most controversial hot takes yet, as they travel back through the last four hundred years to decide which dead authors from each century stand the test of time and which can be left to gather dust on the shelf.  Where do they fall on Paradise Lost?  Who triumphs in the battle of the poets v. novelists of the 18th century? How much has the 1930s Hollywood studio system shaped classic stories?  Which of them stans Huckleberry Finn, and who thinks it might be overrated?  Marlon & Jake answer these questions and more as they discuss the timeless work of the freaky, the rebellious and the groundbreaking. From Mary Shelley to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Paul Laurence Dunbar to Daphne du Maurier—with a healthy dose of Alexander Pope-dissing—tune in to find out where you stand with their picks. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki ShikibuThe Adventures of Amir Hamza by Ghalib Lakhnavi and Abdullah BilgramiParadise Lost by John MiltonThe Faerie Queene by Edmund SpenserThe Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer The Provoked Wife by John VanbrughFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyMathilda by Mary ShelleyThe Last Man by Mary ShelleyThe Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann RadcliffeNorthanger Abbey by Jane AustenThe Complete Poems of William BlakeRobinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeMoll Flanders by Daniel DefoePamela by Samuel RichardsonBleak House by Charles DickensNana by Émile ZolaGerminal by Émile ZolaAdventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark TwainThe Complete Poems of Paul Laurence DunbarI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouThe Awakening by Kate Chopin“The Story of an Hour” by Kate ChopinA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan DoyleForest of A Thousand Daemons by D.O. FagunwaCane by Jean ToomerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonBarracoon by Zora Neale HurstonOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezThe Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel García MárquezThings Fall Apart by Chinua AchebeArrow of God by Chinua AchebeNo Longer at Ease by Chinua AchebeThe Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyRebecca by Daphne du MaurierA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Books to Gift


    This week Marlon & Jake discuss the books by dead authors they give as gifts and the very important decision-making that goes into that selection. Whether it’s for a younger, skeptical or pretentious reader, they share the unintentionally comedic and surprisingly engaging books they choose to bestow upon their loved ones. Middlemarch by George Eliot The Long Ships by Frans G. BengtssonTai-Pan by James ClavellThe Godfather by Mario PuzoHarriet the Spy by Louise FitzhughKidnapped by Robert Louis StevensonThe Water-Babies by Charles KingsleyTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonThe Black Arrow by Robert Louis StevensonThe Gold-Bug by Edgar Allan PoeThe Radiance of the King by Camara LayeHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradDon Quixote by Miguel de CervantesThe Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue TownsendLord of the Flies by William GoldingAnimal Farm by George OrwellNineteen Eighty-Four by George OrwellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. LewisThe History of Jamaica by Edward LongNicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. MassieOne Thousand and One Nights The Death of King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory Oreo by Fran RossThe Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece D’J PancakeThe Tale of Genji by Murasaki ShikibuLes Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 
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    Our Favorite Characters


    This week Marlon & Jake discuss memorable characters from books by dead authors—who they love, who they despise and everything in between. What exactly makes a character great?  Who would they invite to their literary dinner party and why?  From Elmore Leonard’s Raylan to Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March, Lady Macbeth to Auntie Mame—tune in to hear which fictional personalities would get a seat at the table, who would be banished forever, and who Marlon and Jake would simply ignore. David Copperfield by Charles DickensWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëOliver Twist by Charles DickensThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeLittle Dorrit by Charles DickensCrime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoevskyThe Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia HighsmithAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezSong of Solomon by Toni MorrisonBleak House by Charles DickensThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonPronto by Elmore LeonardLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottSula by Toni MorrisonLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezThe Parker novels by Richard StarkMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) by Dante AlighieriThe Merchant of Venice by William ShakespeareAuntie Mame by Patrick DennisTinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le CarréThe Palliser novels by Anthony TrollopeHamlet by William ShakespeareKing Lear by William ShakespeareThe Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor HugoMoby-Dick by Herman MelvilleThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensGreat Expectations by Charles DickensThe House of Mirth by Edith WhartonMadame Bovary by Gustave FlaubertLolita by Vladimir NabokovThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasThe Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. LewisCharlotte’s Web by E. B. WhiteThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumStuart Little by E.B. White
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Literary Grudge Match


    Marlon and Jake take on literary giants in a grudge match for the ages. This time it's Charles Dickens vs. Anthony Trollope and Louisa May Alcott vs. Laura Ingalls Wilder in a no-holds-barred royal rumble. The two of them pull no punches, whether they're talking about racism or Edith Wharton's snobbery, colonialism or Hugh Grant's hair. So get ready to cheer on your favorite dead author and literary warrior as Marlon and Jake go mano a mano in a street fight you've definitely never come across before.Select titles mentioned in this episode:The Palliser Novels by Anthony TrollopeThe Warden by Anthony TrollopeA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensBleak House by Charles DickensGreat Expectations by Charles DickensLittle Dorrit by Charles DickensThe Old Curiosity Shop by Charles DickensDavid Copperfield by Charles DickensLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderLorna Doone by R. D. BlackmoreOliver Twist by Charles DickensMaurice by E. M. ForsterStuart Little by E.B. WhiteThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckEast of Eden by John SteinbeckTravels with Charley by John SteinbeckThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldNick Adams Stories by Ernest HemingwayThe Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest HemingwayInvisible Cities by Italo Calvino
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    Books We Wish We had Written


    Literary speculation abounds as Marlon and Jake reveal which books they wish they had written and which they think would have been better if they’d been written by someone completely different. Listen in as they explore the questions you never knew you needed answers to. Would The Confessions of Nat Turner have been better if Zora Neale Hurston had written it? Who could have written a funnier Ulysses? Were members of the Bloomsbury Group actually total bores? And perhaps most important: Does Marlon’s mom still have his Tom Jones fan-fiction and if so, how much is Jake willing to pay for it? Tune in for all this and more, including a lively discussion about plays that are as enjoyable to read as they are to see on stage. (And spoiler: Jake is not a fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)Select title discussed:Tom Jones by Henry Fielding Dubliners by James JoyceTai-Pan by James ClavellWide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysBefore Night Falls by Reinaldo ArenasThe Quiet American by Graham GreeneA Bend in the River by V.S. NaipaulAirships by Barry Hannah Joseph Andrews by Henry fieldingPamela by Samuel RichardsonThe Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace ThackerayShōgun by James Clavell Trent's Last Case by E. C. BentleyThe Moonstone by Wilkie Collins The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins Middlemarch by George EliotA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Obscene Bird of Night by José DonosoThe Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron Barracoon by Zora Neale HurstonTerrorist by John UpdikeJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëA Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf Ulysses by James Joyce Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt Orlando by Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway by Virginia WoolfThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-WestThe Age of Innocence by Edith WhartonHouse of Mirth by Edith WhartonHighland Fling by Nancy MitfordHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradDon Quixote by Miguel de CervantesThe Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare The Two Gentleman of Verona by William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night’s Dream by William ShakespeareAs You Like It by William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareAn Ideal Husband by Oscar WildeHis Girl Friday by Charles Lederer (screenplay), adapted from The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (play)Sleuth by Anthony Shaffer Amadeus by Peter Shaffer Endgame by Samuel Beckett 
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Gateway Books


    Marlon and Jake share their "gateway" books by dead authors, the first books they read that that turned them on—or off—the rest of an author's work. From John Steinbeck to Dorothy Parker, Umberto Eco to Norman Mailer, Ayn Rand to Carson McCullers, Marlon and Jake don't hold back in discussing the imprints, footprints, and thumbprints these books left on them. They also ponder the long-lasting consequences of the high school lit class, whether a gateway book can be assigned, and the enduring power of dullness in a novel, no matter the century.  Listen for this and more, including what Marlon and Jake think of The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara, edited by one Toni Morrison.  The Pearl by John SteinbeckThe Red Pony by John SteinbeckCannery Row by John SteinbeckEast of Eden by John SteinbeckGrapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckEthan Frome by Edith WhartonThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryMrs. Caliban by Rachel IngallsThe Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullersSula by Toni MorrisonFor Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake ShangeNight of January 16th by Ayn RandThe Fountainhead Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandA Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le GuinOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezChronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García MárquezNews of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezThe Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García MárquezEnough Rope by Dorothy ParkerThe collected poetry of Dorothy ParkerThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoFoucault’s Pendulum by Umberto EcoThe Island of the Day Before by Umberto EcoIn the hand of Dante by Nicholas ToschesAncient Evenings by Norman MailerLady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. LawrenceMiami and the Siege of Chicago by Norman MailerHarlot’s Ghost by Norman MailerAn American Dream by Norman MailerWhy Are We In Vietnam? by Norman MailerThe Executioner’s Song by Norman MailerLook Back in Anger by John OsborneLoot by Joe OrtonWhat the Butler Saw by joe OrtonSaturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe"The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" by Alan SillitoeAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyJude the Obscure by Thomas HardyTess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas hardyThe Return of the Native by Thomas hardyAlready Dead by Denis JohnsonThe Salt Eaters by Toni Cade BambaraThe Lesson by Toni Cade BambaraGorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Best Last Books


    In this episode Marlon and Jake ponder the tricky question of the last books by authors who’ve … um … left this mortal coil. Which last books are actually worth reading? (Not many, it turns out.) From Roberto Bolaño to Penelope Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath to Eudora Welty, Marlon and Jake discuss how an author's last book compares to their previous ones, how success and age changed how and what they wrote, and the wistfulness that comes when some last books are actually good and you wonder what the authors might have written next, if, you know, they hadn't died. Tune in for this and more, including Marlon and Jake’s surprising thoughts on James Thurber's humorous memoir, My Life and Hard Times.Select titles discussed:Maurice by E. M. ForsterGo Set a Watchman by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeNorthanger Abbey by Jane AustenPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley JacksonWide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysThe Blue Flower by Penelope FitzgeraldLolita by Vladimir NabokovThe Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño2666 by Roberto BolañoExercises in Style by Raymond QueneauA Room with a View by E. M. ForsterPassage to India by E. M. ForsterSomething Happened by Joseph HellerThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathAfter Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean RhysOne Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora WeltyThe Robber Bridegroom by Eudora WeltyThe Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty“Where is the Voice Coming From?” by Eudora WeltyMy Life and Hard Times by James ThurberTypee by Herman MelvilleWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyUncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher StoweThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark TwainWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Our Second Favorite Books by Dead Authors


    We've heard them rave about their favorites and rant about their least favorites, but Marlon and Jake reveal in this episode their second favorite books by dead authors: the books they love that are the runners-up to the #1 spots in their hearts. From Amos Tutuola to Gabriel García Márquez to John le Carré and more, Marlon and Jake explore why one's favorite book by an author might not always be their best book, what separates an intellectual vs. an emotional response to a book, and the importance of being a promiscuous reader. (That’s right, promiscuous.) And what is the next book by a dead author Marlon and Jake will be reading together for the first time? Tune in to find out!Select Titles Discussed:Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareA House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. NaipaulDarkness Visible by William GoldingLord of the Flies by William GoldingShardik by Richard AdamsWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos TutuolaMy Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos TutuolaOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García MárquezUnder the Volcano by Malcolm LowryShōgun by James ClavellAirport by Arthur HaileyThe Moneychangers by Arthur HaileyThe Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John le CarréTinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le CarréThe Honorable Schoolboy by John le CarréSmiley’s People by John le CarréA Perfect Spy by John le CarréPersuasion by Jane AustenPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenSula by Toni MorrisonSong of Solomon by Toni MorrisonPnin by Vladimir NabokovThe House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneMiddlemarch by George EliotTom Jones by Henry FieldingGreat Expectations by Charles DickensBleak House by Charles DickensBarchester Towers by Anthony TrollopeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBlood on the Forge by William AttawayMy Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Good Books By Terrible People


    Marlon & Jake weigh in on the age-old “artist versus art” debate, as they examine good books by problematic dead authors, as well as the bad and sometimes problematic books by great dead authors.  From Flannery O’Conner to Roald Dahl,  Vladimir Nabokov to the surprisingly challenging Charles Dickens, Marlon & Jake explore the thorny questions surrounding the books worth fighting for and the ones worth fighting over. How exactly do we define terrible books?  Is there a statute of limitations on being offensive? Can we enjoy a book at the same time that we recognize its failures?  Do people and ideas ever evolve beyond books?  And what does it mean to have the freedom to choose what to read? Tune in for a provocative, nuanced conversation that might just make you rethink, revisit, or totally let go when it comes to your own reading of dead authors.Selected works discussedCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellEverything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’ConnorHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradBear and His Daughter by Robert StoneThe Breast by Philip RothI Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom WolfeLolita by Vladimir NabokovPnin by Vladimir NabokovMoby Dick by Herman MelvilleSong of Solomon by Toni MorrisonThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark TwainSlapstick by Kurt VonnegutWelcome to the Monkey House by Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutThe Mountain Lion by Jean StaffordThe Turner Diaries by William Luther PierceTarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice BurroughsJohn Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice BurroughsAnd the writing of:Charles DickensKnut HamsunJack LondonHP LovecraftWilliam S. BurroughsNorman MailerEnid Blyton
  • Marlon and Jake Read Dead People podcast

    Short Novels and Novellas


    Marlon and Jake talk short books they love, syllabus staples to skip (Hemingway die-hards, consider yourselves warned), and their first-ever real-time joint read, Blood on the Forge by William Attaway.  What does Marlon consider the closest thing to a perfect novel?  Tune in to find out!Sula by Toni MorrisonWide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysMrs. Caliban by Rachel IngallsMiguel Street by V.S. NaipaulWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley JacksonTurn of the Screw by Henry JamesSong of Solomon by Toni MorrisonThe Aspern Papers by Henry JamesThe Ambassadors by Henry JamesPassing by Nella LarsenInvisible Cities by Italo CalvinoIf on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo CalvinoAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayThe Quiet American by Graham GreeneThe Lover by Marguerite Duras1984 by George OrwellBlood on the Forge by William Attaway

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