Jay Got to mute your mic there Phil, can’t have you laughing. All right, here we go. Under the Harkonnens, maintenance and salaries were held to 14 percent, with reinvestment and growth factors accounted for, including a CHOAM percentage and military costs, our profit margin will be reduced to a very narrow six or seven percent. Unless my Lord wishes to adopt Harkonnen methods.
Phil Welcome to Dog-eared and Cracked, where one of us recommends a book to the other, and then we discuss. Sometimes we open with an incomprehensible quote.
Jay I’m Jay.
Phil And I’m Phil, and this week our much-awaited episode on Dune, the 1965 book by Frank Herbert. I’m just laughing because I was listening to Jay read that quote at the start and remembering how, when I was reading one of the Dune books, I thought, “Every page has sentences that are incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t read any of this before!” And before we get into our discussion, I just want to say we do have some changes we’re going to make to the podcast. We think you’re going to love them, so stick around till the end of the show to learn more about them.
Jay All right. And before we get into this discussion, this conversation about Dune, just a quick reminder you can find transcripts at dogearedandcracked.ca, and there’s also a blog on that website. And if you’d want to let us know how we’re doing, drop a comment either on the website or on our Facebook page. We are also on Twitter as well. And you can actually listen to our podcast directly on Facebook now, apparently. I haven’t, haven’t tried it myself, but I am assured by the Facebook folks that we are there.
Phil Excellent. So, Dune.
Jay just going to jump right in there, Phil. I’m hoping your pick wasn’t just some kind of crass commercialism where you’ve sold out Dog-eared and Cracked, and this is something where we take advantage of the publicity around Dune and hope that people are kind of searching through Spotify for Dune and come across our podcast, which is actually genius marketing, I might add, so good for you. But assuming we haven’t sold out, I will actually compliment you as well. This feels like we’ve gone from picking books that are obscure and unavailable in print anymore, and we’ve kind of moved from that to picking books that actually have mainstream commercial success and movie tie-ins as well. So is that why you wanted me to to read the book? Is it because it’s in the theatres?
Phil Well, I mean, that was part of it, but it was a small part. It was just, I was… So here’s here’s my background with Dune. it’s been around for, you know, more than 50 years. It’s, I think, the best-selling science fiction novel of all time, and it’s had a few ups and downs. So, when we were teenagers, it was around the time the David Lynch movie came out. Everyone was reading Dune. I didn’t read it. You didn’t read it. I started to hear about this new movie adaptation, and I really liked Denis Villeneuve. And then by coincidence, Sara got me the graphic novel adaptation of Dune last Christmas. And Callum, one of my kids, said, “That’s really good, but don’t read it until you’ve read the book.” So I thought, OK, you know, I’ll read the book. And, you know, I was kind of slogging my way through it, I think I’d read like a third or maybe a half, and I was thinking something better happen soon. Like, I don’t know if I’m going to continue with this thing. And then I realized that the release date of the film was coming up and I thought, OK, well, this would this would tie in nicely. So that was, you know, that was definitely a part of it, but not the major part. And, and essentially, like Jay, you know, I respect your your take on books, and I was reading this thing and I kept thinking of, you know, something my father in law had said when we saw Apocalypse Now Redux, which was like, the basically the director’s cut by Francis Ford Coppola. So we went to see it at the Oxford Cinema, and it’s like long and sprawling. And when it ended, you know, Kent turned to me and he said, “So what do you think, Phil? Great work of art or piece of shit?”
Jay Here’s a fun fact, fun fact about Frank Herbert. He did not like Iron Maiden or even that particular genre of music, so we can stop this podcast right now.
Phil How did you pick that up?
Jay He apparently — and I remember saying to you once that there was an an Iron Maiden song called “To Tame a Land” and it’s on their Peace of Mind album. And I remember saying to you, because I never knew — I was listening to the lyrics, and I was like, hey, this is about Dune, because they’re talking about a planet of sand, and I think they even call it Arrakis at one point. Apparently, they wanted to call the song Dune, and they actually reached out to his publishers. And that was his response. Specifically, that he did not… he had a distaste for that genre of music. And he said no. So they had, that’s why they ended up calling it “To Tame a Land.” So Frank Herbert, he was married three times. I feel like that’s a bit of a consistent with these books that we pick. Who else was…
Phil Was it Philip K. Dick?
Jay Yeah. He was married three times as well.
Phil At least.
Jay Yeah, yeah. OK. All right. Evidently, one of his wives was a full-time advertisement writer, an ad executive so that gave him time to effectively shut himself up in his room for the six years it took to write Dune. He was actually like the Colonel Sanders of writing. I don’t know if you know this story or not. So, Dune got rejected by 20 publishers before someone finally picked it up in 1965. And you know who picked it up? Have you heard this story?
Jay It was the the guys who published the Chilton repair manuals.
Phil Oh yes. Yes, yes.
Jay In fact, even better. So they pick it up and it, and it sold really, really slowly. So slowly that the Chilton editor who actually picked it up was fired over his decision to publish Dune. So they talk about how this Sterling Lanier was, has been vindicated by history, although I still feel he probably didn’t get a cut out of it. But that’s great. I remember those Chilton car repair manuals.
Phil You can get them from the library,
Jay You and your libraries. Jesus, man, enough about the libraries. So, what’s this book about? Ostensibly, it’s about sand. No, really. It’s about sand. It’s a political struggle between three different factions. And behind that is sand – lots of sand. it’s a novel about tiny, almost insignificant human beings trying to scratch out an existence in an inhospitable environment. But it’s also a novel about world, literally world powers. And what I found fascinating about reading it — again, you kind of remind yourself as you’re reading that when it was published was well before Star Trek, before Star Wars. It’s a science fiction novel that’s trying very hard not to be a science fiction novel. Do you know what I mean?
Phil Yes, I think that’s the case for a lot of science fiction novels.
Jay Well, this one, though, he makes a very great point in saying that there’s no artificial intelligence, there’s no robots because they’ve all been outlawed. So he creates this universe where, and we’ll get into this with the book, because there’s a bit of conflict there, but the idea is that technology has kind of been outlawed, and he’s trying to create a science fiction novel set in the future where there is really no advancements in science.
Phil I think that’s probably the best explanation of what it’s about that I’ve ever heard, because I’ve struggled to try to define it for people. I mean, so, I had this feeling when I finished it of like, What the hell did I just read? Part of, a lot of the time, I just, I just wanted to get through, through it. But then I kind of hit this spot, and I can’t tell you exactly where it was, but about two-thirds of the way through, where all of a sudden I was like – he had me, and I felt like I bought into it, and I was like, this guy has this incredible, sprawling vision, and it’s kind of a mess the way he’s written it, but I just, I… Part of me was like, I want to go back and start again. But that seemed too daunting. And so I just kept going. I’ve read like the first four. I was about to start the fifth one recently and then I thought, I need a break. I have to read something else. So was it an easy read for you or was it a slog for you as well?
Jay It didn’t grab me. I didn’t find it uninteresting to read. It didn’t grab me, though. And part of it was because I think I was reading it at the wrong time in history. So, if I read this in 1965, before Star Wars, before The Matrix, before any of those really became mainstream, I wondered if it would be different. Maybe not, because it’s like he’s using this age-old construct, right? This template where it’s the average Joe child or young man, and he becomes the reluctant hero and he ends up with powers that he never understood that he would have in the beginning. So he’s kind of trying to riff off of that. But the problem is — and this is where, I don’t know, and this is where I also found it hard to relate to the character. So, the main character in this book is, his name’s Paul, and Paul is the son of a duke, and he is landing on this, on this desert planet because his father has been forced to to move there effectively and take control of the the spice. Cultivation of spice. So it’s spice mining, if you want to call it that, and the spice is important to everybody on every planet. And so here’s Paul, and the problem I found with trying to relate to him is he’s not your average Joe kid. He’s been trained by at least three different individuals in everything from art to military history to to actual physical training. So he’s already this hardened warrior at the age of 15. So he’s not your typical 15-year-old worried about trying to meet the girl of his dreams or keeping his acne at bay. He’s, he’s kind of already like a, you know, you know, 30-something in the body of a 15-year-old who’s seen as the new messiah that he’s going to be the saviour for an entire population of this planet. Then, of course, he dreams about Chani, and Chani is this girl that appears in his dreams before he’s even left the planet or gone to the planet. When he’s there, he meets Chani and ends up with Chani and she’s another, I guess, teenager. So to answer your question, I would say it’s not difficult reading. It’s dense but accessible.
Phil Well, well, that brings me to a question, actually, because when I was reading this at at a certain point, I was like, I’m never going to get through it because I have to keep stopping to look stuff up because I don’t understand what’s going on. So, it’s interesting. I read, I read N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season recently, which is the first in her Broken Earth trilogy of books. I don’t know if you’ve heard of those…
Jay Was it about gardening.? Broken Earth?
Phil No, no. It’s another SF series.
Jay That’d be a great title for a book on gardening. Broken Earth.
Phil But it struck me reading the broke… reading The Fifth Season that Jemisin like, does this incredible job of world-building where you don’t quite know what’s going on for a bit, but but she gives you enough that you can figure it out without it being distracting from the novel. Whereas with Herbert like, he’ll mention CHOAM repeatedly and OK, he does say right at the start briefly what it is in passing, but like, that’s still at a point in the book where you’re trying to just figure out what the hell’s going on. So, you know, I remember thinking, what? What’s CHOAM? Like, it was in that quote you read at the start, there’s CHOAM and there’s the mentats, and I’m like, I can’t wait to see what CHOAM actually stands for, and then it’s Combine. Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles and I’m like, what the hell? And the mentats, I didn’t figure out until about two thirds of the way through the book that they’re — I thought they were robots. But then I realized they were like humans who have like AI-like computational skills since computers aren’t allowed. And there’s the whole question of the spice, which he called the spice sometimes and sometimes he called it melange, and sometimes he called it the spice melange. And I was like, so are these different aspects of the same thing? But no. They’re just all the same thing but he’s using different names. So for a while, I kept going, I kept going to Wikipedia. I was going to, like, the different fan sites, and then I thought, I’m never going to get through this. And then again my son was like, just let it wash over you. Like, don’t try to figure it all out, just just go. And so once I did that, it made, it made a big difference to me because I didn’t catch everything, but it also made the reading more enjoyable. I thought, I’m not going to worry about who Counts so-and-so is, do you know what I mean? How, how did you approach that stuff? Did you want to know as you were reading it? Or were you like more successful than me and…
Jay I figured, I was OK with the CHOAM, because I just understood it was a business. I remember reading somewhere that good science fiction books have to balance between explaining every concept to the reader and just immersing them in this new world, which I think is kind of where Frank Herbert was leaning towards. He was he was going with the immersion. And, you know, and Herbert actually did, I thought he did a good job with it. And then where he didn’t feel it necessary to explain every single thing and treat the reader like, kind of like it was an instruction manual that they’re reading. The reason why I would say it was dense and where I found it a bit plodding was he just went on a lot, a lot about everything in the history – and there’s a little too much history. And then really, and we’re going to we’ll get right into this at some point, I know, but where he really started to lose me was actually in the I don’t know how to describe them, except maybe psychedelic ramblings.
Phil Uh, yeah. Well, I was going to say you wanted to talk about psychedelics. So, so…
Jay Yeah, yeah. So there’s some things in there that that don’t really make a lot of sense. To me, they’re almost like devices. And yet, you know, you try and read along. And so, for example, the water of life, you know, they all end up drinking this water life, which I’m assuming… In a lot of this spice is narcotic properties, and that’s fine. But he started to lose me a little bit with… Jessica is pregnant with the Duke’s second child, even though the Duke has by now been assassinated and Jessica, and Jessica and Paul are on the run at that point. Still pregnant and carrying her child, she takes part in a ceremony which you know for our listeners, if you haven’t read Dune, let’s just say she drinks some magic potion to prove something or other. At this point I’m just reading to get through it. And of course, when she does that, she ends up impacting her unborn child, who later is born and is a daughter named Alia. But regardless, Alia is born, and she ends up as a small toddler with the brain and the verbal capacity of a 78-year-old genius.
Phil She remembers all her ancestors’ experiences as though they’re her own.
Jay Right, right. Yes. Sorry, that’s a yawn, I’m trying to, trying to disguise. This is where the book started to really lose me because it’s just too much, and that’s what I found about it. Anyway, do you want to talk about the Bene Gesserit?
Phil No, no. Let’s stick with the spice for a minute. So the spice. So the spice has many different functions. I don’t know. The Spice does a lot of work in Dune, right? Because without the spice, interstellar travel is impossible. The spacing guild use the spice for — we don’t know how, but it’s essential for interstellar travel. It also extends people’s lives so you live longer if you take the spice.
Jay I think when he wrote the book, definitely spice was considered a metaphor for oil, because that was a big, big deal back then. His sense of climate change was prescient. And this idea that, you know, the environment was – living with the environment rather than harvesting its resources. The thing about the spice, just to close off with that, is that he really I think he went too far with it. So as a resource that could be used to fuel spaceships or power homes made sense. But then when he bestowed this psychedelic property on it, to me, that’s kind of where it really went off. And again, I know I’m harping on this, but that’s kind of where the the book really went off for me.
Phil So this is when Paul starts to have visions of the past and the future. Right?
Jay He was even having those before, I think. And then the exposure to this, the spice for him starts to accentuate these powers. It’s actually kind of a neat way of thinking about being able to predict the future. They basically say that he’ll see different versions of the future, which are all possibly true. One of them will come true, so it’s kind of a different way to look at that.
Phil Well, I mean, again, see, I did like the political intrigue because you have the Harkonnens, who are this family who have controlled the spice. They’re they’re the leaders, they’re the rulers of Arrakis. So then the emperor orders them to leave and replaces them with the Atreides, which is Paul’s family. But he’s really setting them up to fail, right? Because he’s — and then that’s going to throw everything into turmoil. And so you have all… I mean, I kind of liked in the book, you have these, it’s like this multipolar kind of world of like the Harkonnens and like the great houses — the Harkonnens and Atreides are great houses. And then there’s the guilds. And then there’s the Bene Gesserit, which are kind of like power behind the throne type people. And. You know, I did, I did, I did like the idea of this order of women who have these, you know, this timeline they work on, that’s like thousands and thousands of years that’s ostensibly for the betterment of humanity, but is also kind of creepy because they’re doing so much manipulation behind the scenes and who also, I mean, the — Star Wars draws on this in so many ways. Like I remember texting Callum at one point, and I was like, wait, so the Bene Gesserit are the Jedi? Because they do the equivalent of like the Jedi mind trick. You know, they can, they use something called.
Jay The voice.
Phil The voice, yeah.
Jay Yeah. And Paul was trained in voice,.
Phil So I thought they were interesting. There is a, I don’t think I’ll read it, but there is a prequel that’s devoted to them. But I think I think the last, the fifth and sixth books from what I understand, Heretics of Dune and Chapter House Dune have much more to do with the Bene Gesserit, and I’m sure I’ll get around to them at some point.
Phil All right. So the Denis Villeneuve film, it only covers a little more than half of the book. I saw it twice. I saw it once in IMAX, and then I saw it again in a regular theatre. So, so the film like Denis Villeneuve, the director of the film, said, I found an interview with him from about six years ago where he said I’d really like to do an adaptation of Dune, but I don’t think they’re going to let me have the rights.
Jay Really? Okay.
Phil And, and he later said that, you know what he was really trying to do with this film was capture the excitement that he felt as a 14-year-old when he was reading Dune. And I think making any film about this is very challenging. Like, I was reading, I was reading a review by one guy who said he’s read the book a dozen times, and he said a film needs to try to satisfy people like him and those who have, like, no idea.
Jay The movie did do a pretty good job, I believe, of of explaining things, which is the other difficulty too when you’re doing adaption, right? Adaptations. And I noticed a few scenes, a couple of scenes in the movie where I think they synthesized a few sections in the book so that it would work better, and so that people watching the film would understand what was happening.
Phil Have you heard of Jodorowsky’s Dune?
Phil So, Alejandro Jodorowsky is this kind of Chilean filmmaker who has a cult following and there’s a, he was, he was hired in the 70s to make a version of Dune. And there is a documentary about his film, which was never made, but which if you get a chance, you should watch it. It used to be on Netflix. It’s not anymore, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. And Jodorowsky had this incredible vision. He’d he’d signed up Salvador Dali as one of the characters and Mick Jagger.
Jay Oh, wow.
Phil And his son was supposed to play Paul, and he actually put his son through three years of eight hours a day of martial arts training to prepare for the role. He basically treated his son like he was Paul, and his son is interviewed in the film about what he thought of this experience. One of the things that’s interesting — and this ties into what you were talking about earlier — is that a lot of the people who worked on Jodorowsky’s Dune, so that film never got made. But a lot of those people went on to work on Star Wars and Alien and a whole bunch of other science fiction films that kind of set the tone for science fiction in movies for the next few decades. And so even though it was never made, it was actually incredibly influential in in in in the world of Hollywood science fiction. Somewhat in the same way that the book is on, well, I mean, there’s really obvious, you know, you can just imagine, like George Lucas reading this thing, you know, you’ve got your desert planet, OK, you’ve got two suns on Tatooine and you’ve got two moons on Arrakis, you know, like, yeah, yeah.
Jay Yeah, yeah.
Phil I don’t have an answer to this, but like, what is the enduring appeal of this book? It’s a hard book. You know, it’s it’s difficult to define. And yet it has been on the bestseller lists several times, like decades apart, right? Like, people keep coming back to it. And it’s not just people like us who are reading it out of nostalgia, I don’t think, because it’s had like several bumps, right? Like what, what is the appeal of this thing? Why does it keep…
Jay It reminds me of another book. Um, it’s Stephen Hawking, he wrote The Brief History of Time. Have you come across that book?
Phil Yeah, I read it kind of back when everybody was reading it, but I don’t, I could not retain much of it.
Jay Right. So apparently it’s sold 10 million copies. And in 2001, the New York Times critic Paul Grey estimated that of every 100 people who bought it, only three actually finished it.
Jay And I have a copy as well, and I understand kind of where he’s going with that, because it’s one of those books where it’s deceiving. It’s everything you think, it’s a simplification, or it’s purported to be a simplification of the universe. And I kind of wonder if if Dune is a little bit like that. It’s something where it’s kind of like, what was the other book that was big I’m thinking about? We all have these books that have come across, like there was the um, The Secret,.
Phil Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jay The Prophecy or The Celestine prophecy. These books all kind of come in, and there… and the other thing too is this is before social media and a lot of this, you know, so it had 20, 30, 20, 30 years to kind of get going as a book and develop that word of mouth, which I think is how books just seem to get shared differently. So I don’t know the answer either. I don’t know. I think a lot of it is just well-founded hype, possibly no different as well than your good friend there, Karl Ove Knausgard and his My Struggle series, right? So here’s, a here’s someone who wrote — and that book has been published, again, probably there’s millions of copies of that as well. And I almost wonder if it has, part of it, too, is this idea that there’s there’s six books here, so the reader is going well, there’s got to be something here because there’s six volumes. So there’s probably a good story and there’s probably a good reason they’ve all been published. I don’t know. In terms of it’s incomprehensibility, there’s another book I actually read that this reminded me of a little bit and Dune isn’t really, I would not describe it as incomprehensible compared to, in particular to Neuromancer. I don’t know if you know that one at all.
Phil Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jay William Gibson wrote it. And it’s the kind of book where you literally either read it twice, and have to read it twice because they explain things after they’ve already happened. And if you… There’s sections there where they don’t explain exactly what’s happening, and there’s no way literally to understand what’s happening until you read later that, oh so-and-so had that, has the power of illusion. And he created this, so the monster wasn’t there or something. Anyway, I ended up having to read that book, and you’re asking me about Dune and looking things up with Neuromancer. I enjoyed it, but I literally had to follow along with an audio, um, video or YouTube that actually described what was happening.
Phil So does that mean you’re not reading the rest of the trilogy?
Jay Oh, is Neuromancer a trilogy? Yeah, it’s oh, I think I knew that. What were the other books?
Phil It’s Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.
Jay Mona Lisa Overdrive. That’s right. Yeah, I remember that now. I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know the answer to your question, Phil. It’s it’s definitely—Dune, it’s one of those books that I guarantee you will just continue to be around,
Phil S, so is it time to rate and review?
Phil I think so. I think this would be a great time. A scale of one to five or if you prefer…
Jay I tried doing a scale of one to three last time and we fought over that so…
Phil I was going to say, if you prefer, we can use your three-part scale, which I’m trying to remember.
Phil My one to five is is is, you know, five means you’re ready to try the spice essence or the water of life. And and one is you’d rather be out in the desert of Arrakis without a stillsuit, than have to read Dune again.
Jay Now you’re going to have to explain what a stillsuit is Phil.
Phil Yes, a stillsuit. Well, there is all kinds of interesting technology in Dune, and even if it’s not AI technology. So stillsuit is—people wear it out in the desert and it is, it’s, it recycles moisture from the body so that nothing is lost, so that when you sweat, that moisture is, is is absorbed and filtered and then you can drink it.
Jay Yeah, there’s some, there’s some neat things there. One one other thing I want to ask you about. We don’t get into it, but the one technology that they seem to use all the time are these levitators or risers. That’s right. So they basically allow lights to float. They help the obese baron basically move around because they they provide him with basically levitation.
Phil The suspensors.
Jay I didn’t understand how those weren’t considered technology, at any rate.
Phil I think he thought through some of the technology in an interesting way. Like there’s no use of guns because they wear these, they wear these kind of shields. But if a bullet hits the shield, it creates such a catastrophic explosion that everyone would be killed. So that’s why they wind up using knives instead. You know, anyway, I just thought it was it was interesting how he like, you know, it was just like, OK, this is going to be a world where they fight with knives, like he actually comes up with an explanation for how come they’ve got spaceships, but they’re fighting with knives.
Jay Yeah, yeah. So how would I rate it? You know, I always try and think, is this something you would resonate with our listeners? You know, has it, has it aged well? Is it timeless? Like, you’d asked about why has it continued to be so popular. Because it’s a book that really doesn’t have, you know, a connection with our modern-day lives. There is a nice reflection, though, of trying to survive in environments that are hostile, which is which I think is would be interesting if someone today reading it. The other thing, too, is I’m not sure, like, would I have rated it more highly if it was a shorter book. You know the length of it. You know, if he had condensed it, I guarantee you if he condensed it into something — so what, what do we say it is? 600 pages? it’s no, more like 800. call it 800 pages. If he’d put it down to a four-to-five-hundred page book, I definitely would have rated it higher. Because it’s — just there’s too many, it’s almost like my enjoyment became diluted, you know, so accordingly, my score is going to have to be diluted as well. So I would say, you know, if I use my old scoring system of, you know, dismal, middling or exceptional, I would say it’s somewhere between a middling and an exceptional. So it’s a midceptional, you know?
Phil So you’ve got a three-part thing, but now you’re going to add more to turn it into five anyway.
Jay Yeah, that’s right. It’s an exceptling. It’s an exceptling. All right. so score one to five. Oh, I’ll give it a four. I mean, it was it was a solid book. I would have read it more highly if it had been shorter, because that’s, it’s just time I’m not getting back. How would you rate it, Phil?
Phil Well, first I’m, I’m, I have to say you have surprised me again, because I was expecting you to come out just like “I hated this thing. Why did you make me read it?” At one point I think you referred to it as “the book that might break the podcast.” And so I was, you know, I’m also going to rate it a four, and I think it’s kind of interesting because I can — I think I could reel off a whole bunch of things about it that I did not like or that were frustrating or irritating. And yet somehow. It it did capture my imagination. It did, it did have that sense of like… You know, for all of its kind of excesses and confusing aspects and so on, it has a certain element of like I am, I’m impressed with this guy for creating this world and I’m willing to just — once I gave up my expectation of trying to understand everything, and I’m just like, I’m willing to just, I mean, I’ve said this actually before with some other books too, I think, like, I’m willing to just follow along to wherever you’re taking me here and I’m good with it. Now I will say I did read God Emperor of Dune, which is the fourth book in the series, which takes place three and a half thousand years later. And that one I definitely do not recommend. I was, I was talking to Callum, and I said, “You know, so much of it is about Leto’s Golden Path, and I still don’t even understand what it is.” And he said, “Oh, you mean the 50-page monologues didn’t, didn’t help you understand that?” So it’s like if you took like the worst aspects of Dune and concentrated them into one book that’s that’s like God Emperor of Dune. So, so I’m not like completely — I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m not completely uncritical of this project, but… And I was also. I was also shocked at how it ended, because it just kind of ends. But it’s clearly like the film, you know you’re supposed to go read the second one. By the way, if you do read the second one, it’s very short.
Jay I’m tempted.
Phil It’s probably worth reading.
Jay I’m getting to be like you now, there’s a lot of different books I want to read. Speaking of which, should we talk about our strategic planning?
Phil Yes, all right. We teased at the start.
Jay Yeah, that’s right. There was no whiteboard, folks, but we did actually go through and come up with some ideas. One of the things that I think I’ve struggled with on this podcast is the fiction non-fiction. We won’t necessarily be alternating, and I think where we decided is we’re just going to pick books that we really like and kind of go from there. Look, I really enjoyed the Masters of Doom. The Library Book wasn’t terrible, but a lot of the other ones, I just kind of, they’re not really my genre. But we did kind of agree. I think we discovered that there’s a few genres that we’re going to start trying to get into like crime. But more of the, what’s that genre called, the noir… Anyway, things like the Raymond Chandler novels, and maybe even classics as well, because I think we both enjoyed, I know Jane Eyre was your pick. But that was an interesting one to do, and I think it appealed to some of our listeners as well.
Phil I feel I think we have a lot of classics we missed, like I often think like, oh, here’s this book that, you know, obviously, it’s like incredibly well known, well known, I’ve never read it. You know, let’s go see what that’s about.
Jay Yeah, like actually one I am going to pick at some point is going to be Lord of the Flies. And I know that we were supposed to read that in high school, um, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I don’t know how I passed, but I did not read it. So I really want to reread that one—and another one, too, I’ve been watching a lot of James Bond movies, and I’d actually like to do an old Ian Fleming novel at some point.
Phil Yeah, yeah.
Jay Just to see how that holds up, and we can even compare it to one of the films. Something like a Dr. No or…
Phil Yeah, I think the way—where we see this is just as different streams, like kind of themes that will run through the podcasts kind of like noir fiction, pulp fiction, classics we missed, and a kind of “Does it hold up” stream. And so we won’t necessarily alternate, but these are recurring themes that we’ll we’ll stick with. So my question to you is, you have suggested a non-fiction book for the next episode. Are we sticking with that?
Jay You know what? I I don’t know, actually. So what I did pick, and and I have to admit, I have not read the book, but it was a recommendation of Aitan, and he has not steered me wrong yet, so The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, and it’s about a about a man who spends, basically tries to live according to the tenets of the Bible. It’s a humorous book. It’s not supposed to be serious, kind of like where the somebody spends 30 days only eating McDonald’s, that kind of kind of experiment, social experiment.
Phil I think, I think we should discuss it and then and then go from there. He he tries to take the Bible literally, um, for a year, and he does it with a light touch.
Jay Hey, before we, before we close out here, Phil, we did get some feedback from a listener. Can I read that off to our listeners, please?
Jay So we had some feedback from Bruce G. He says, Bruce says, “Just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed your podcasts. It’s helped me reconnect with reading, and I’m always looking for a good book suggestions. I finished reading Fool last week and listened to your podcast of it. I’m sort of in in the middle of you guys, but I had a laugh at how long it took Phil to get motivated to read it. True story. A colleague, maybe 15 years ago, gave me a copy of The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. Funny thing though, I’ve never gravitated to it. In fact, it’s still on my bookshelf unread. Maybe one day I’ll get to it. Anyways, hoping all is well with you both through these unusual times.” Well, thank you, Bruce. We appreciate the feedback.
Phil I’d forgotten how much I disliked Fool. I think I have it in the pile of books I’m planning to get rid of.
Phil All right. Well, I’m glad. I’m glad you read Dune. I’m glad we got to talk about it, and we’ll see you next time.
Jay Yeah, see you again.