show episodes
 
Once regarded as a cult book in the 1960s by the Flower Power generation, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse remains even today a simple and fresh tale of a man's spiritual quest. Penned by a deeply spiritual German author, Siddhartha explores multiple themes of enlightenment, thinking beyond set rules, love and humanity. Siddhartha is a young contemporary of the spiritual master Gautam Buddha who lived in India at some time during the 4th century BC. The story has striking parallels to Buddha's own ...
 
Welcome to your new favourite book club. If you enjoy deep dives into the greatest books ever written, you will love Hardcore Literature. Provocative poems, evocative epics, and life-changing literary analyses. We don’t just read the great books - we live them. Together we’ll suck the marrow out of Shakespeare, Homer, and Tolstoy. We’ll relish the most moving art ever committed to the page and stage from every age. Join us on the reading adventure of a lifetime.
 
Have you ever read a novel, short story, poem, or narrative and then found yourself wondering about it's creator, their backstory, and what type of person could construct the piece of literature in your hands? ​Well, I know I have.​Being an avid book worm and all around knowledge-seeking nerd, I discovered one of my favorite things to do after completing either a series or a book that made me question life, reality, or morality as a whole, was to figure out who it was that crafted such a wor ...
 
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show series
 
A wish-fulfilment fantasy for pubescent boys of all ages, or a subtle disquisition on the ethics of a sorcerous world? John Milius' Conan the Barbarian (1982) manages to be both, although one may be easy to overlook. In this episode, JF and Phil leave the heights of Hesse's The Glass Bead Game with a headlong dive to the trash stratum. Their wager:…
 
Bay Area musician Taylor Vick of Boy Scouts joins the podcast this episode to share her love for George Saunders’ The Tenth of December. Listen in as Taylor and Nick talk about the book’s use of absurdist mechanisms to move the reader, the connections between Saunders’ work and Boy Scouts, and their own attempts to explore new areas of art, despite…
 
In the current "attention economy," which has resulted in plummeting literacy rates and the almost wanton neglect of various cultural practices, what significance does culture even have? Why seek to preserve something our age has decided doesn't have to exist? Perhaps Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game can be read as an answer to those questions. …
 
JF and Phil have been talking about doing a show on The Glass Bead Game since Weird Studies' earliest beginnings. It is a science-fiction novel that alights on some of the key ideas that run through the podcast: the dichotomy of work and play, the limits and affordances of institutional life, the obscure boundary where certainty gives way to myster…
 
If you're enjoying the Hardcore Literature Show, there are two ways you can show your support and ensure it continues: 1. Please leave a quick review on iTunes. 2. Join in the fun over at the Hardcore Literature Book Club: patreon.com/hardcoreliterature Thank you so much. Happy listening and reading! - Benjamin…
 
Modern skeptics pride themselves on being immune to unreason. They present themselves as defenders of rationality, civilization, and good sense against what Freud famously called the "black mud-tide of occultism." But what if skepticism was more implicated in the phenomena it aims to banish than it might appear to be? What if no one could debunk an…
 
In this episode, friend of the podcast and book club Eric Heiman joins David and Nathan to talk about W.G. Sebald's Rings of Saturn. The three get into the melancholic depiction of entropy eating away so much of human life, the sense of historical vertigo, and the (un)fictionality of the novel. Join the three as they discuss the style, form, and su…
 
Joy Williams' third novel, Breaking and Entering, is the story of lovers who break into strangers' homes and live their lives for a time before moving on. First published in 1988, it is a book impossible to describe, a work of singular vision and sensibilty that is as infectious in its weird effect as it is unforgettable for the quality of its pros…
 
In this episode, Weird Studies turns meta, reflecting on the peculiar medium that is podcasting, and how it has shaped the Weird Studies project itself. JF and Phil provide a glimpse into what it feels like to create the show from the inside, where each recording session is like a journey into an unknown Zone. The conversation also occasions sojour…
 
Aatif Rashid, author of the novel Portrait of Sebastian Khan, joins the podcast to profess his love for Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. The one with, like, a million volumes? The one that’s jam-packed with the subtleties of human interactions, relationships, and communications (or lack thereof)? The one that you saw on all of those “…
 
Ah yes, Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. You probably read it in high school or college as a young seeker of truth, but have you read it later in life? Do the messages change after you too have gone out into the world and been both drawn to and broken by its sweet, empty promises? And most importantly, have you been pronouncing Siddhartha properly all t…
 
The Twin Peaks mythos has been with Weird Studies from the very beginning, and it is only fitting that it should have a return. In this episode, Phil and JF are joined by Tamler Sommers, co-host of the podcast Very Bad Wizards to discuss Fire Walk with Me, the prequel film to the original Twin Peaks series. Paradoxically, David Lynch’s work both ne…
 
It is said that for several days after the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the spring of 1967, you could have driven from one U.S. coast to the other without ever going out of range of a local radio broadcast of the album. Sgt. Pepper was, in a sense, the first global musical event -- comparable to other sixties game-changers su…
 
If you're enjoying the Hardcore Literature Show, there are two ways you can show your support and ensure it continues: 1. Please leave a quick review on iTunes. 2. Join in the fun over at the Hardcore Literature Book Club: patreon.com/hardcoreliterature Thank you so much. Happy listening and reading! - Benjamin…
 
Continuing their series on the tarot, Phil and JF discuss the card nobody wants to see in a reading – The Tower. Featuring lightning bolts, plumes of ominous smoke, and figures plummeting from the windows, the Tower’s meaning at first glance seems clear: “pride comes before a fall,” as the old adage goes. But as JF and Phil delve into the details, …
 
Down with Napoleon! Long live Mother Russia! Ole Kutuzov and the gang aren’t the only winners here. Anyone who has read through the entirety of War and Peace — David, Nathan, and Nick now counting themselves as part of the club — knows that Tolstoy’s masterpiece and its ruminations on free will, history, and tragedy of both micro and macro proporti…
 
"What was he doing, the great god Pan, down in the reeds by the river?" With this question, the Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning opens her famous poem "A Musical Instrument," which explores nature's troubling embrace of savagery and beauty. It seems that Pan always raises questions: What is he doing? What does he want? Where will he appear…
 
Novelist Mark Haber joins the podcast to talk about one of his underdogs: Santiago Gamboa and his excellent novel Necropolis. Necropolis is a novel full of narratives, soaked in storytelling, and driven by a cast of colorful characters seeking some kind of redemption. Mark and David dive into the novel's plots and craft, and Mark touches upon his o…
 
In modern physics as in Western theology, darkness and shadows have a purely negative existence. They are merely the absence of light. In mythology and art, however, light and darkness are enjoy a kind of Manichaean equality. Each exists in its own right and lays claim to one half of the Real. In this episode, JF and Phil delve into the luxuriant g…
 
Musician Ned Russin of Title Fight and Glitterer joins the podcast to share his love for Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station and to also chat about his own latest creations: Glitterer’s new record Life Is Not a Lesson and his first published novel Horizontal Rust. It’s an all-encompassing conversation on experience, reality, and authenticity — …
 
Central to the tradition of cosmic horror is the suggestion that the ultimate truth about our universe is at once knowable and unthinkable, such that one learns it only at the cost of one's sanity and soul. John Carpenter is one of a handful of horror directors to have successfully ported this idea from literature to cinema. This episode is an atte…
 
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