Novel Conversations

Novel Conversations

We're like Cliffnotes for your ears! Novel Conversations is a podcast summarizing the world’s greatest works of classic literature: in 35 minutes you get the whole story from cover to cover. In each episode, Frank Lavallo hosts two readers, and the three of them give their reactions to the story and read their favorite passages along the way. Each episode features Endnotes by Ted Schwartz, a segment with interesting facts about the author. It is an original podcast produced, edited, recorded & published by The Front Porch People. New season Summer '18.... Show More

Episodes

"East of Eden" tells the tale of the Trask and Hamilton families, who live in the scenic Salinas Valley at the end of World War I. Scott and Ildi Rich, join host, Frank Lavallo, to discuss the riveting juxtaposition of the poor immigrants and wealthy land owners of Steinbeck's masterpiece. // Hello, Novel Conversations friends! We skipped the Endnotes with Ted Schwartz this episode, devoting more time to storytelling. Let us know h... Read more

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October 24, 2018 37 min

"East of Eden" tells the tale of the Trask and Hamilton families, who live in the scenic Salinas Valley at the end of World War I. Scott and Ildi Rich, join host, Frank Lavallo, to discuss the riveting juxtaposition of the poor immigrants and wealthy land owners of Steinbeck's masterpiece. // Hello, Novel Conversations friends! We skipped the Endnotes with Ted Schwartz this episode, devoting more time to storytelling. Let us know h... Read more

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"To Have and Have Not" tells the tale of the Depression-era Florida Keys. Featuring Harry Morgan, a "Have Not," who charters his boat to the wealthy "Haves" of the world, this story shows what happens when hard times pressure a man into a life of crime.  Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “To Have and Have Not.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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October 10, 2018 37 min

"The Moon is Down" tells the tale of port town that exports coal until it is overrun by an invading army. The mayor of the town struggles to keep control as the occupiers force him to serve as their puppet. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “The Moon is Down.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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October 3, 2018 37 min

"Northanger Abbey" tells the story of Catherine Morland, a young girl whose imagination is fueled by her love of gothic novels. As Catherine travels to old home with friends, she struggles to discern reality in the midst of her Romantic fancies. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Northanger Abbey.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz. Read more

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September 27, 2018 37 min

In "Atlas Shrugged," business owners begin mysteriously disappearing after the government places too many extreme restrictions. Ayn Rand uses this political dystopian novel to explore the relationship between capitalism and government. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, "Atlas Shrugged." Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz for some interesting facts... Read more

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September 19, 2018 37 min

Through "Persuasion," Austen explores the plight of impoverished gentility in Regency England, creating a relatable story about rekindling lost romance. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Persuasion.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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September 19, 2018 37 min

Through "Tortilla Flat," Steinbeck portrays a small band of vagabond friends enjoying life and wine in the days after the end of World War I. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Tortilla Flat.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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September 19, 2018 37 min

Through "Arrowsmith," Lewis tells the story of a bright and scientifically minded, Martin Arrowsmith, as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick & Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Arrowsmith.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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"Mansfield Park" tells the story of Fanny Price, a young girl whose overburdened and impoverished family sends her to live in the household of her wealthy aunt and uncle at the age of ten. As Fanny grows up, she must learn how to cope with the hypocrisy of wealthy socialites as she searches for a husband. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Pat and Jennifer, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Mansfield Park.” Then stay t... Read more

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The Grapes of Wrath centers around a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and bank foreclosures with hints of a hopeful future beyond the Dust Bowl. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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"For Whom The Bell Tolls" tells the story of a young American soldier and his tumultuous task of blowing up a bridge while fighting against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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April 25, 2018 38 min

Through Emma, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women in Regency England, creating a lively comedy of manners highlighting the dangers of meddling in other people’s lives. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Emma.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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April 18, 2018 38 min

"Babbitt" follows a midwestern man and his strife with the vacuity of middle-class life and the social pressure toward conformity. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Babbitt.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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"Animal Farm" tells the tale of oppressed farm animals who revolt against their human dictators and grapple with the powers of corruption that ensue from their newfound freedom. It is often interpreted as a reflection of Soviet Russia. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Animal Farm.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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"Lord of the Flies" focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel “Lord of the Flies.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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"The Sun Also Rises" follows a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel “The Sun Also Rises.” Then stay tuned for Endnotes with Ted Schwartz.

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June 6, 2017 37 min

"Of Mice and Men," tells the story of two migrant farm hands during the Great Depression, one of whom struggles to overcome mental and physical difficulties. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott & Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the novel.

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In "The House of Mirth," an aging, single woman realizes the corrupt nature of the upper classes of society. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht & Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel, "The House of Mirth."

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In "Darkness at Noon," a once-communist leader awaits sentencing from his own beloved "party" in prison. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Patrick and Joan Andrews, for a summary and discussion of the novel, "Darkness at Noon."

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