Daniel Handler, best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events and his accordion work with Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, reads a chapter from his novel Adverbs, which made Dave Eggers describe Handler as "something like an American Nabakov". An excerpt from another chapter, Immediately, is available courtesy of the New York Times. Handler's first adult novel, the nightmarishly satirical The Basic Eight (think the movie Heathers with a less reliable a narrator), is also well worth a read (excerpt from Google Books).
The Designated Mourner (2002); a radio adaptation of Andre Gregory's 2000 revival of the Wallace Shawn play, starring Shawn, Deborah Eisenberg, and Larry Pine.
A Canticle for Leibowitz (1981, NPR); an audio adaptation of Walter Miller's 1960 history of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz in the centuries after the Flame Deluge. [more inside]
Stuck on a train for an hour every day and sick of sudoku? Hands love to knit but the brain gets bored? Riding out the recession as a streetcorner sign-twirler? Or maybe you've just got a burning desire for "cultural conversation of the depth you demand." If so, then Metafilter's own Colin Marshall has got what you need at the Marketplace of Ideas. [more inside]
A discussion on BBC Radio 4 of Robert Burton's 17th-century compendium The Anatomy Of Melancholy. Examining the medical, literary, political, and religious influences of this enormous work, as well as how it contributed to those same fields over its many years of revisions and continuing popularity. Not exactly thorough (how could it be?) but an interesting listen.
The David Foster Wallace Audio Project, a still-growing collection of interviews, radio profiles, and readings (including staged ones of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men).
The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
Stanford Italian literature professor Robert Harrison does a conversational show on KZSU, the university radio station, called Entitled Opinions (on Life and Literature), which is also distributed as one of the most fascinating, engaging podcasts in any possible universe. Choicest topics include mimetic desire, Proust, the inflationary universe, 1910, American writers in Paris and the history of the book.
Here are four classic short stories by John Collier in four different forms: the original text of his famous "Thus I Refute Beelzy"; a 1947 radio script for "Evening Primrose"; a radio version of "Back for Christmas", starring Peter Lorre; and Patton Oswalt's interpretation of "The Chaser."
Now that low wattage radio might be available to all, I had an idea for a station (this could be radio, or it could be shoutcast on the web). How about feeding a voice synthesizer reams of text from the Gutenburg Project? You'd have all the great works of literature broadcast in a "books on tape" sort of format. It'd be free (less the time to program) and educational for all. Does anyone know of any good speech synthesis programs? From the ones I've tried out, I get the feeling that no one wants to hear Stephen Hawking read Mark Twain's classics all day long.