Asides from collecting books to my ever growing To Read pile, my other obsession is listening to podcasts.This started during a low period in my life when I didn’t have much energy to read anything (much less blog about it) but still wanted to receive something interesting into my spirit and so my love affair with podcasts began eventually leading me to start my own. But that’s not why we’re here!
Most of the podcasts I regularly listen to tend to focused on issues such as race, feminism and pop culture and are pretty much all US based, so I was delighted to discover some UK based podcasters discussing the same issues but from a Black British perspective. In particular the Mostly Lit podcast (part of a series of podcasts produced by the Shout Out Network.
Mostly Lit, as the name would suggest, discusses literature but also it’s intersection with popular culture and life as Black British millennials. I’ve only listened to a few podcasts so far and got to say I’m really impressed. That’s not to say I thought I wouldn’t be, but more that I’m absolutely loving the presentation of the show, the always lively discussions between the two presenters Alex Reads and Reckless Rai, and their guests. Also, the fact that they discuss a wide range of literature and add their own unique perspective on it – Reckless Rai’s rather brutal take down of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in one episode had me in stitches while I was listening at work. And despite having never read the novel myself, I couldn’t quite disagree with her (admittedly this could change should I ever read it). But most of all I love that I’m being invited to think and look at novels I’ve read in a new way or to simply go back and revisit a long forgotten read. Or most importantly, pick up a book that I’ve not read or thought to read before.
My favourite episode so far has been Novels of Protest which discussed Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Native Son by Richard Wright. Though I haven’t read Invisible Man, I have read Native Son and listening to the discussion around the two central and very different characters of both novels made me want to go out and grab copies to read. It also brought back memories of hating Native Son when I first read it with a passion, because to be honest Bigger Thomas is not the most likeable or sympathetic of characters. Bearing in mind that I read it at a time when I thought that all central characters had to be sympathetic and if they weren’t then what was the point, I wondered if I would feel the same way about the novel now. I suspect I would but perhaps not for the same reasons. Similarly, I wanted to read Invisible Man because I was now really curious to see the differences between the two books.
I can’t recommend this podcast enough especially if you love a good debate about literature and culture. It’s funny and entertaining but best of all, it will challenge as well as inspire you to think about literature from differing perspectives. Which just makes it awesome, so go listen to it now!