The Book Report: Episode 38: When Your Favorite Author Lets You Down

February 26, 2016 | 5 books mentioned 2

Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike talk about how it feels when your favorite authors let you down.

covercoverDiscussed in this episode: Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten, Number9Dream, and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, denial, grief, bargaining, the Rabbit Angstrom books, Roger’s Version and The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, Radio On: A Listener’s Diary by Sarah Vowell, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip RothJonathan Safran Foer.

Not discussed in this episode: Alice Munro’s disappointing short story collection, The Cottage by, I Don’t Know, Let’s Say, the Pond or Something.

The Book Report is everyone's favorite weekly, literary show. Hosted by Janet Potter and Michael Schaub.


  1. I recently finished reading Black Swan Green. The whole time I was reading it I was wondering a) Why did he write this? b) Why did he publish it? Of course, we will never really know. But I sort of got into it: the bullying, the conflict he felt when his parents divorced. Then the ending was so bad.
    I think you discussed a good point for readers. I did not hate your episode.
    I also think, though, that if I were a published author and my readers saw me as a friend, I would be happy about that.

  2. I also thought Slade House by David Mitchell wasn’t that good. I read a review that said it is basically an author writing his own fanfiction, and in a way it is. I think sometimes works disappoint readers when authors try to copy a successful model (like the sequels to Dune, or Lawrence Durrell writing the Avignon Quintet after the Alexandria Quartet) but it doesn’t work, because they’re copies and not as original or inspired.

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