Novel Conversations

Novel Conversations

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We’re like Cliffnotes for your ears! Novel Conv…
“East of Eden” by John Steinbeck
Oct 24 • 37 min
“East of Eden” tells the tale of the Trask and Hamilton families, who live in the scenic Salinas Valley at the end of World War I. Scott and Ildi Rich, join host, Frank Lavallo, to discuss the riveting juxtaposition of the poor immigrants and wealthy land…
“To Have and Have Not” by Ernest Hemingway
Oct 22 • 37 min
“To Have and Have Not” tells the tale of the Depression-era Florida Keys. Featuring Harry Morgan, a “Have Not,” who charters his boat to the wealthy “Haves” of the world, this story shows what happens when hard times pressure a man into a life of crime.…
“The Moon is Down” by John Steinbeck
Oct 10 • 37 min
“The Moon is Down” tells the tale of port town that exports coal until it is overrun by an invading army. The mayor of the town struggles to keep control as the occupiers force him to serve as their puppet. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott &…
“Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen
Oct 3 • 37 min
“Northanger Abbey” tells the story of Catherine Morland, a young girl whose imagination is fueled by her love of gothic novels. As Catherine travels to old home with friends, she struggles to discern reality in the midst of her Romantic fancies. Listen as…
“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
Sep 27 • 37 min
In “Atlas Shrugged,” business owners begin mysteriously disappearing after the government places too many extreme restrictions. Ayn Rand uses this political dystopian novel to explore the relationship between capitalism and government. Listen as Frank…
“Tortilla Flat” by John Steinbeck
Sep 19 • 37 min
Through “Tortilla Flat,” Steinbeck portrays a small band of vagabond friends enjoying life and wine in the days after the end of World War I. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Tortilla…
“Arrowsmith” by Sinclair Lewis
Sep 19 • 37 min
Through “Arrowsmith,” Lewis tells the story of a bright and scientifically minded, Martin Arrowsmith, as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick &…
“Persuasion” by Jane Austen
Sep 19 • 37 min
Through “Persuasion,” Austen explores the plight of impoverished gentility in Regency England, creating a relatable story about rekindling lost romance. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and…
“Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
May 16 • 38 min
“Mansfield Park” tells the story of Fanny Price, a young girl whose overburdened and impoverished family sends her to live in the household of her wealthy aunt and uncle at the age of ten. As Fanny grows up, she must learn how to cope with the hypocrisy…
“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
May 9 • 38 min
The Grapes of Wrath centers around a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and bank foreclosures with hints of a hopeful future beyond the Dust Bowl. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and…
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway
May 2 • 38 min
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” tells the story of a young American soldier and his tumultuous task of blowing up a bridge while fighting against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a…
“Emma” by Jane Austen
Apr 25 • 38 min
Through Emma, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women in Regency England, creating a lively comedy of manners highlighting the dangers of meddling in other people’s lives. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht &…
“Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis
Apr 18 • 38 min
“Babbitt” follows a midwestern man and his strife with the vacuity of middle-class life and the social pressure toward conformity. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Babbitt.” Then…
“Animal Farm” by George Orwell
Apr 11 • 37 min
“Animal Farm” tells the tale of oppressed farm animals who revolt against their human dictators and grapple with the powers of corruption that ensue from their newfound freedom. It is often interpreted as a reflection of Soviet Russia. Listen as Frank…
“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
Apr 11 • 38 min
“Lord of the Flies” focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Lord of…
“The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
Apr 5 • 37 min
“The Sun Also Rises” follows a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and…
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
Jun 6, 2017 • 37 min
“Of Mice and Men,” tells the story of two migrant farm hands during the Great Depression, one of whom struggles to overcome mental and physical difficulties. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the…
“The House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton
May 30, 2017 • 37 min
In “The House of Mirth,” an aging, single woman realizes the corrupt nature of the upper classes of society. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “The House of Mirth.”
“Darkness at Noon” by Arthur Koestler
May 23, 2017 • 37 min
In “Darkness at Noon,” a once-communist leader awaits sentencing from his own beloved “party” in prison. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “Darkness at Noon.”
“White Fang” by Jack London
May 16, 2017 • 37 min
In “White Fang,” a young pup called White Fang explores his wolf and dog natures, choosing between the call of man and the call of the wild. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “White…
“Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis
May 9, 2017 • 37 min
Elmer Gantry is a satire that follows Elmer Gantry, a poor Kansas man who is encouraged to become a preacher and pursue success. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “Elmer Gantry.”…
“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole
May 2, 2017 • 37 min
A Confederacy of Dunces follows the life and misadventures of Ignatius Jacques Riley, whom Walker Percy described as a “slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one.” Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts…
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway
Apr 25, 2017 • 36 min
“A Farewell to Arms” follows the life and war experiences of Frederic Henry, an American Lieutenant serving in the Italian campaign during World War I, as well as his passionate love affair with nurse Catherine Barkley. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts…
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Apr 18, 2017 • 37 min
In “Pride and Prejudice,” we follow the lives of the Bennet family in 19th century England, and with 5 unwed daughters, Mrs. Bennet has only one thing on her mind: marriage. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht and Patricia Fernberg,…
“How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn
Nov 3, 2016 • 37 min
In “How Green Was My Valley,” Huw Morgan reflects on his life growing up in a coal mining town in a valley in Wales. His memories range everywhere from coal union disputes to the romances of various siblings. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Joan…
“Sense & Sensibility” by Jane Austen
Oct 31, 2016 • 36 min
“Sense and Sensibility” is the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their different experiences of life and loss. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht and Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the…
“Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck
Oct 13, 2016 • 37 min
In “Cannery Row,” a group of kind-hearted miscreants struggle in their attempts to throw a surprise party for their role model. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “Cannery Row” Then stay…
“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
Oct 4, 2016 • 37 min
A summary and exploration of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel about the role of human nature in a technological society. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “Brave New World.”…
“Anthem” by Ayn Rand
Sep 19, 2016 • 36 min
In “Anthem,” a streetsweeper uses extreme measures after learning the true nature of his collectivist, dystopian society. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novella, “Anthem.” Then stay…
“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
Sep 6, 2016 • 37 min
“Little Women” chronicles the transition of four sisters from children into women. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht and Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “Little Women.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes…
“The Pearl” by John Steinbeck
Aug 22, 2016 • 37 min
In this novella, a man finds a pearl in his attempt to provide for his sick son, but greed and corruption play a hand in the outcome of his success. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novella,…
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Aug 4, 2016 • 37 min
In “The Great Gatsby,” a veteran uses elaborate measures in his attempt to recapture the past and the love he once knew. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “The Great Gatsby.” Then stay…
“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
Aug 4, 2016 • 37 min
In “The Old Man and the Sea,” An older Cuban fisherman, Santiago, has an epic struggle with a giant marlin fish in the Gulf Stream. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel, “The Old Man and the…
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry
Aug 4, 2016 • 36 min
In “The Giver,” a young boy named Jonas discovers that the seemingly perfect society in which he lives contains big and dark secrets when he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan…