Master student Pooja Ramakrishnan stumbled across Overdue, a podcast discussing the books that you ‘should’ have read by now.
On 6th March, the literary world celebrated the birth anniversary of the legendary Latin American author, Gabriel García Márquez (Gabo) who wrote one of my favorite novels: 100 Years of Solitude. The book’s prime feature is its regard of the very ordinary as magical and parallel, an impassive attitude towards the extraordinary. This ironic tone launched an entire genre that we know today as ‘magical realism’.
Many shy away from reading it
Despite being a stellar work of fiction, many shy away from reading it. This is true not just for Gabo but even for most of the older classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Ulysses, Anna Karenina… etc. I admit I am equally guilty of having postponed several old classics for newer tomes. The Japanese even have an artistic word for it: tsundoku, literally meaning a pile to read.
Hence, my curiosity was piqued when I stumbled across Overdue, a podcast discussing the books that you ‘should’ have read by now. Unlike books, I believe podcasts are an acquired taste. They are also often unromantic and impersonal. Despite this, I was sufficiently intrigued and started to tune into the dialogue between Andrew Cunningham and Craig Getting, the two creators of the show as I cycled to university or as I did house chores. Gradually, I was driven by their conversation to return to books I had abandoned. Additionally, many of the episodes allowed me to revisit my favorite novels from years ago.
The podcast invites you to think without becoming too serious
It must be noted that Overdue does not aim to hold a candle to other critical literary reviews. It is relaxed and peppered with a lot of personal anecdotes which sometimes compromise the way it is structured. Cunningham and Getting are neither poets but nor are they averse to the beauty of literature. Yet, they successfully manage to distill some of history’s impenetrable novels into a casual conversation.
Although this podcast may not replace the experience of reading a book, it certainly invites you to think about the elements that make up a masterpiece without becoming too serious. In my opinion, if you want an unpretentious take on some of literature’s solemn pieces, this is definitely for you. Conversely, if books are a deeply involving and emotional escapade for you, then this podcast might be a tad too glib for your liking.
Either way, to read or not to read will always be the question.
Pooja Ramakrishnan is studying MSc Environmental Engineering and has recently joined the Delta team as their book and podcast pundit. A science student during the day and a poet by night, she balances the two with her curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.