A spirited triumvirate of tale-tellers does a sort of drive-time radio show that Brian Lamb would envy. The disco of the title? This podcast is “where books come to dance.” (There’s also some tongue-in-cheek explication about the Fortensky-Taylor style marriage of high-low in the title, but it really is the dancing.) Literary Disco is constructed especially not to be two things its founders saw ruining other book chat–snooty or shallow. And it’s successfully neither. It’s probably due the casting, which rather than being a selection by executives looking at demographic charts, comes by virtue of the three hosts being genuine friends–and honest antagonists. Sort of like the way people form (non boy) bands.
The hosts are Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong (yes, the actor and director, and yes, his real name). They’re all accomplished storytellers, but what’s more important here is that they’re judicious, yet thankfully broad readers. As a result, the graphic novel is at home right next to Chinua Achebe. Stephen King and E.B. White pop up. (Two rather different Mainers, you’d think.) There’s always something new. And funny. Sometimes the three play roulette and grab books randomly from the shelves, a metaphor that extends to the whole enterprise–you never know what you’ll get. It’s refreshingly not a platform for the big publishers to position their darlings. We especially like an episode featuring Ron Currie Jr.’s novel, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, where they consider the book’s, um, masculinity. Or as they write in the intro: What makes a book manly, anyway? And why is Rider quoting Legends of the Fall? The words “trope” and “deconstruction” figure prominently. Most episodes do leave those words out, you should know. Literary Disco is worth a listen, especially if you actually like reading more than having read.