reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 7

In November’s podcast, we discuss Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. We talk about pantheism and God-searching in the woods. We also have some fun and read one star reviews from Goodreads.

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 6

In this month’s Halloween Spooktacular, we talk about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: the 1818 Text. We discuss science fiction, horror, and organic chemistry as well as Percy Shelley’s gifted heart.

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 5

Radiant Child is a 2016 picture book by author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe.  It is a biography of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) whose work first appeared in NYC in the late 1970s.  In this month’s discussion, we talk about picturebooks as a form and the lives and work of both Basquiat and Steptoe, which overlap in several ways. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers & john Paul jaramillo episode 4

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

John Paul Jaramillo and Deborah Brothers sit for a 40 minute discussion of 2022’s novel Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. The August “Reading Books Together” podcast discusses young people and reading, historical fiction and Colorado history. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos–a novel, and Carlos Montoya–a novel.

reading books together:  a podcast with deborah brothers & john paul jaramillo–episode 1 may 2022

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

For their first foray into book review podcasts, Deborah Brothers and John Paul Jaramillo feature the 2021 novel by Canadian-American author Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness. They discuss aspects of postmodernism metafiction, Buddhism, and bildungsroman.  

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

quick review/recommendation–consider this: moments in my writing life after which everything was different (2020)

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Chuck Palahniuk’s new book might be one of the most down to earth texts on the craft of writing. And I’ve long admired Palahniuk and his craft of writing–his fiction and his non-fiction. And back in the day when I started teaching fiction, I started using his lessons from litreactor.net and his compiled 36 Writing Craft Essays by Chuck Palahniuk. I used them in my classes and for my own education on craft. Reading his work in those days led me to Amy Hempel and Tom Spanbauer. (The book is dedicated to Tom Spanbauer by the way.) I very much enjoyed his take on the pretentiousness of heavy lit and how-to workshops and texts. His criticisms made me think of my own thoughts on the Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway text I use in my classes and how I feel the text doesn’t quite communicate with my intro to fiction students. There are so many lit references I don’t think they can swim with–the examples and lessons the text brings seem very heavy. That book seems good on paper for intro to fiction and I used that since my grad school days in courses. Palahniuk’s work on the other hand references films and television in a way I believe the Burroway craft text and others like it do not. And I enjoyed learning more about Palahniuk’s growing up and family life only hinted at in other essays. This may be a book when out in paperback I can bring into my classroom for a more practical way of teaching literary minimalism and writing process.

quick note–twin peaks, juan rulfo and spirit world voices

41kI1Ika+jL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_After a long semester of teaching I found some time to indulge in studying the novella Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo. I’ve been an admirer of Rulfo’s career and this book reads as a tremendous progression from his short stories I was introduced to in his book The Burning Plain. What I found in this work is a complex, surreal story of a long abandoned town, Comala, and the stories from the ghosts of the townspeople. The book masterfully shifts from third person omniscient narration to first person narration. The book is filled with ghosts and spirit guides revealing their traumatic stories to the visiting narrator, Juan Preciado. We learn all about the dead city’s heritage from the ghosts of the past. In fact the sometimes narrator and his life aren’t very important to the story and this narrator only acts as a relayer–intermediary really–of spirits and voices from Comala. It’s been a few days and after much thinking and re-thinking on some of the motifs I think the book is simply about voices associated with place and a town dealing with generations of tragedy and grief–how objects and buildings can stand as totems for past traumatic events. How pain and suffering from the most horrible of moral offenses–murder, rape and incest–can stand at the center of entire town’s spiritual demise. The ghosts I found to be eccentric and odd yet always memorable. In fact, the book reminded me of Twin Peaks–David Lynch and Mark Frost’s masterpiece from the 1990’s. The narrator travels to Comala the way Agent Cooper travels to Twin Peaks to find answers about loss and death. From passage to passage I am wondering if the voices are real or  from a spirit world.

twin_peaks_fire_walk_with_me_ver1Recently I rewatched David Lynch’s Fire Walk with Me and I am finding so many similarities between Rulfo and Lynch. We have a small town holding onto psychic pain and suffering as well as intense secrets associated with the death of several young women. The film is filled with flawed and inept investigators who though despite being clever and observant cannot seem to crack the code to the murders as well as the spirit voices guiding them. The “lodge” mythology from the film and the television show are very different but the film has a cosmic and supernatural context I find so similar in the so-called magical realism work of Rulfo.

PS: Excited to see Twin Peaks return next year.

the house of order now available on kindle and smashwords

available now on kindlesmashwords

Jaramillo - Cover - Final.inddThe House of Order–stories, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

2013 International Latino Book Award Finalist–The Mariposa Award–Best First Book–Fiction

Latino Stories.com 2013 Top Ten “New” Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)

amy hempel reading

41CsdbeUzCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The power of the Internet brought me this mp3 of Amy Hempel reading “The Harvest” and suddenly I know what we’re listening to in class tomorrow.

Amy Hempel — “I moved through the days like a severed head that finishes a sentence.”

film recommendation: world’s greatest dad

WorldsgreatestdadThis film is from 2009 and from director Bobcat Goldthwait. I missed it because of a limited release. I most admired Robin Williams playing a frustrated writer and teacher in this dark comedy. Love the scenes in poetry class.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was ending up alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”