Feed on

Bouncing back refreshed and rejuvenated from their Moving House hiatus, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond launch into an almost inevitable post-move discussion about books, hoarding books, culling books, having enough books to fill a garage and too many to ever read in one lifetime, whether any of this should possibly be seen as A Problem Which Must Be Remedied, and how digital books might save the world, or at least their storage-related sanity. Just saying.

They then, with much girding of loins, move on to tackle the two books up for discussion this month: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (beginning at 14:15) and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (43.25). Kirstyn warns about the dangers of broken noses while Ian references this interview with David Foster Wallace by Charlie Rose.

Infinite Jest and House of Leaves

If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:25:15 for some brief final remarks.

There will be another brief break in April while Ian and his lovely Jules bring their second child into the world, but The Writer and the Critic will be back again in May. Promise! For that episode, Ian has recommended Some Kind of Fairytale by Graham Joyce, while Kirstyn has chosen Feed by M.T. Anderson. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!


This last episode of The Writer and the Critic for 2012 sees your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, sink their teeth into non-fiction. But first they give a friendly shout-out to the brand spanking new podcast from Sean Wright, Adventures of a Bookonaut -- to which you should all go and listen right now -- as well as the entertainingly erudite Ambling Along the Acqueduct blog. (Kirstyn's brand spanking new novel, Perfections, might also garner a wee mention.) The duo then become embroiled in a debate about critics and authors and whether one person can or even should wear both hats, as well as whether or not critics need to take the feelings of authors into consideration -- regardless of what kind of spiffy headwear either of them might be donning at the time.

The books up for discussion this month are Evaporating Genres, a collection of essays by Gary K. Wolfe (beginning 35:20), and James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, a biography by Julie Phillips (1:03:50). This thoughtful essay by Jonathan McCalmont is mentioned and, in the spirit of Alice Sheldon, Ian promises to begin writing Letters of Appreciation to authors whose work he has enjoyed. We will follow him up on this next year!

Evaporating Genres and James Tiptree Jr

There are no real spoilers here but if you have skipped ahead, then please tune back in at 1:39:50 for some closing remarks and (belated) holiday well-wishes.

And now for the sad news ... The Writer and the Critic is on hiatus for a couple of months and won't be back until March 2013. The good news is that will give you plenty of time to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Hopefully it will give Kirstyn and Ian plenty of time as well!

Thanks to everyone who listened to The Writer and the Critic during 2012. Ian and Kirstyn love you all to bits and look forward to talking at you a whole lot more in 2013!


This month on The Writer and Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, are delighted to bring you Part the Second of their special eBook Extravaganza. Wasting absolutely no time on formalities, the duo roll up their sleeves and get straight into the discussion of their listener-chosen titles.

The books on the table for this episode are: The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III (at 2:15) the mark), The Silence of Medair by Andrea K Höst (42:30) and Paintwork by Tim Maughan (1:08:30).  During the discussion, Ian mentions an article on "Writing About Rape" that Jim Hines wrote for Apex Magazine back in January 2012. While this isn't available online, Jim Hines has written two similar pieces which can be found on his blog, along with other useful resources on the subject.

The Black God's War, The Silence of Medair, and Paintwork

If you've skipped forward to avoid spoilers, please tune back in at 1:33:35 for a thoughtful discussion of self-publishing, reading in general and concluding remarks about the last two episodes.

Changing gears, next month will see the first non-fiction edition of The Writer and the Critic. Ian has recommended Evaporating Genres, a collection of essays by Gary K. Wolfe, while Kirstyn has picked James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, a biography by Julie Phillips. Read ahead and join in the non-fictional fun!


This month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, present Part the First of their special eBook Extravaganza! Yes, that's right ... unable to condense the discussion of six books into less than three hours, they have wisely decided to split the podcast into two episodes. You're welcome, listeners.

After some brief introductory remarks, Kirstyn and Ian jump straight into the dissection of the first three books up on the block: Angelfall by Susan Ee (at the 3:20 mark), Anticopernicus by Adam Roberts (32.15) and The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer (1:01:20). Along the way, Kirstyn recommends this series of philosophical reviews of Anticopernicus by Rich Puchalsky for further reading, while Ian notes a discussion of difficulty in fiction by Adam Roberts, which was in turn inspired by a 2009 essay by John Lanchester. Sarah Diemer's thoughtful explanation of why she chose to self-publish her books can be found here.

Angelfall, Anticopernicus, The Dark Wife

For those who've been skipping ahead to avoid spoilers, you can tune back in around 1:30:20 for a very quick wrap-up.

Next month, in Part the Second of the eBook Extravaganza, Ian and Kirstyn will discuss the last three books as chosen by listeners:

They'd love to hear your feedback on all the eBooks they've discussed!


This month brings the first fresh recording of The Writer and the Critic since the massive  pre-record-a-thon back in June. Yours hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, welcome themselves back into the slightly rusty saddle with a brief catch-up on what they did during their break ... which seems to have been a whole bunch of extracurricular reading and podcasting! Kirstyn confesses to the reading slump in which she currently finds herself bemired, while managing to provide a a handle of capsule reviews along the way. Ian discusses his short story ennui as well as taking the opportunity to plug episodes of Last Short Story and the Martian Drive-In Podcast in which he appeared. Podcast floozy, thy name is Mond.

The books tabled for dissection this month are Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (beginning around 21:40) and Osama by Lavie Tidhar (at 1:06:10). There are many, many spoilers, including detailed discussions of both endings. Be warned! For supplemental listening, Ian and Kirstyn both highly recommend this episode of Galactic Chat in which Sean Wright interviews Kate Forsyth about the research and writing of Bitter Greens.

Bitter Greens and Osama

If you've skipped ahead, please back around the 1:53:00 mark -- yes, it's another loooooong podcast -- for some final remarks and listener feedback.

Next month is the special Writer and Critic eBook Extravaganza! Ian and Kirstyn will endeavour to read and discuss the following six -- yes, SIX -- originally self-published eBooks as recommended by their listeners:

Unlike other books featured on the podcast, Ian and Kirstyn will also be commenting on the format, practical readability and publication standards of these six titles in the context of a broader discussion of e-publishing -- and they have given each other permission to abandon any book they find a struggle for whatever reason. Join them for what should be a most entertaining, engaging and edifying episode!


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