Episode 21 – Nerdy’s Booky Book Corner (Annotated)
Hi, I’m Craig The Intern, and they make me transcribe these every week. Everything’s going great so far! Do you like to read books? Most people do. My attention span is too short for them, but I’m glad you like them!
The Guest: Stewart P. Miller from Columbus, Ohio
Stew’s knowledge of Beyoncé songs is terrible. Fact. But he’s back by apparent popular demand to talk about literature and books. Will we get Matt’s glib synopsis of Catcher in the Rye again? Let’s find out!
Everyone loves books, but Mack likes book collections more than the actual books themselves, though he’s read a lot of the classics as well as some weird stuff. Stew is trying to read every classic novel he’s ever heard of, and is on War and Peace right now, having read The Old Man and the Sea in German. Matt wants his super power to be reading, if he ever gets one. His top three are Crime and Punishment, Don Quixote, The Stand, and Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad. That’s actually four. Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Normal would be #5.
Stew loves Frankenstein. But his favorite is Animal Farm, which he read at a time when he thought every book had a happy ending (Oops!). This was eighth grade, and it finally clicked when he started studying communist Russia. Matt hasn’t read it, but he quotes Poe from memory. Mack digs The Outsiders, but he’s a huge J.D. Salinger fan (Picasso’s his favorite painter).
Stew recalls reading Dante’s Inferno beside a fire. The pages did not burn. Mack brings up Catcher in the Rye, and YES! Matt does the glib take again. They discuss fanfic sequels to it. Matt prefers Hemingway because Hemingway is such a dick. Mack gets into a debate with him about how Bukowski can be descriptive without using adjectives, since they are inherently descriptive. They decide it must be adverbs.
Can happy people make good art? Matt used to think not, but his mind is changing, as he thinks it just might be an excuse to get drunk. Mack says the head of an artist is very loud sometimes, and you just have to dull it. They marvel at Kafka writing just for himself, and never having any of it seen until after he died; and Picasso, who lived a long time despite being bitter.
Hunter S. Thompson? Stew has never read him. Matt likes him. Mack is just starting.
Thompson leads to Depp. Depp leads to Grindelwald. Grindelwald… leads to Harry Potter. Matt and Stew will have two-hour conversations about Harry Potter sometimes. They talk about patronuses for a bit, and then other young adult stuff, which nobody seems to have read. Twitter has put people off certain writers, including Orson Scott Card and Brett Easton Ellis, though everyone agrees Stephen King is cool.
On the subject of multi-part fantasy books, Stew started Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy not realizing it was a series. He hates when that happens, but Matt likes it. They talk Hardy Boys, Goosebumps, and Encyclopedia Brown. And everyone cheated in Choose Your Own Adventure books. Matt’s the only one who’s familiar with His Dark Materials.
Worst books? Stew picks Lolita, even though he thinks it’s well-written. Matt calls out Chuck Palahniuk, with whom he’s been disappointed lately, hoping he’ll get back on track and become one of his faves again. Matt changes topics back to authors he likes and talks Anne Rice and Joe Hill. Mack brings back the hate, saying the Bronte sisters are the opposite of tickling your balls.
Shakespeare shows promise, according to Stew. Mack thinks As Good as It Gets is a Shakespeare play title. They tend to favor the cross-dressing comedies, though Matt has much love for Macbeth.
Kurt Vonnegut’s appeal is discussed, and Matt quotes Poe from memory again. Stew is up to the challenge. Matt reveals that Poe invented the detective novel, and reveals that Poe wanted to sell romantic poetry, but the horror stuff is what sold. The Stephen King love is strong again, and they all beg him to come on the show.
Finally Mack discusses his own book, Junior, which was basically fictionalized journal excerpts mixed with poems and sayings. He likes it and is super-proud of it, but calls it “very juvenile” now. Stew is mentioned in the dedications, which he’s still proud of. As they wrap up, they all make the bold challenge of one another to write a book starting the moment the show’s off the air. We’ll see next week how that goes… maybe.
15:42-18:10 – Mack’s story of buying Hemingway’s Movable Feast right after he moved to Paris, and how it strangely mirrored his life.
26:45-27:30 – Matt describes Hunter Thompson’s suicide.
28:00 Everyone impersonates Johnny Depp.
45:09-46:36 Why Stew won’t read another Dickens, and how he’s the opposite of Hemingway.
50:00-52:50 Matt explains the curse of Macbeth, and Mack reveals why actors say “Break a leg.”
Just so you are never, ever, called out on this question like Stew, here is Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”
His Dark Materials is indeed a fantasy trilogy about killing God. You could watch The Golden Compass to get a taste, but it’s probably best to wait for the BBC miniseries that will adapt all the books instead of just the first one.
This is the cover of Mack’s book. You can buy it here.
This is the synopsis on Amazon:
Junior would like to get a few things off his chest.
He does not know how to write a book. (Except [maybe] for this one.) He does not like books with introductions. (So this book has six of them.) His therapist says he has issues with closure. (Granted, this book has seven endings.) This is not a novel. (Everything in it is entirely true — except for the large portions that are completely fictional.) And finally, Junior has no issues with his father. (Nope, really, not a single one.)
In a dizzying kaleidoscope of words and images, actor and writer Macauley [sic] Culkin takes readers on a twisted tour to the darkest corners of his fertile imagination. Part memoir, part rant, part comedic tour de force, Junior is full of the hard-won wisdom of Culkin’s quest to come to terms with the awesome pressures of childhood mega-stardom and family dysfunction. He understands that “having fun and being happy are two totally different things,” yet at the same time he warns, “the end of the world is coming — and I’m going to have unfinished business.” Searingly honest and brain-teasingly inventive, Junior is breathtaking proof that Culkin has found his own utterly original voice.
This is what As Good as it Gets actually is:
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Images: Flcikr.com/Tom Page, Miramax