Cover art for podcast Novel Conversations

Novel Conversations

58 EpisodesProduced by Evergreen PodcastsWebsite

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. If CliffsNotes had an audio-bestfriend, it would be us! Each episode, Frank Lavallo hosts two readers, and the three of them share their reactions… read more

58 Episodes | 2016 - 2020

“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” by Mark Twain

December 1st, 2020

36:21

One of the greatest satires in American literature, Twain's novel shares how Hank Morgan, a skilled mechanic in a nineteenth-century New England arms factory, is struck on the head during a quarrel and awakens to find …

“The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy” by Laurence Sterne

November 17th, 2020

34:05

A novel published in nine volumes, this extraordinary work of literature details the accounts of the four comical mishaps which shaped the course of …

“The Tenth Man” by Graham Greene

November 3rd, 2020

37:32

During World War II, a group of men are held prisoner by the Germans, who determine that three of them must die. This is the story of how one of those men trades his wealth for his life - and lives to pay for his act in …

“The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell

October 20th, 2020

32:49

The Sparrow tells the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who leads a scientific mission to an off-planet world, Rakhat, and the risky and courageous attempt to make first contact with …

“Advise and Consent” by Allen Drury

October 6th, 2020

36:34

Advise and Consent is the dramatic 1959 political fiction novel that explores the United States Senate confirmation of controversial Secretary of …

“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells

September 22nd, 2020

44:24

The story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the “Father of Science Fiction.” The Time Machine sends a …

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

September 8th, 2020

40:06

Ray Bradbury’s famed novel is set in a dystopian society that burns books in order to control dangerous ideas and unhappy concepts. The novel tells …

Novel Conversations Season 6 Blooper Reel

June 30th, 2020

4:23

Another epic outtake reel featuring Host, Frank Lavallo, and Readers, Elizabeth Flood, Phil Setnik, Peter Toomey & Katie Smith as they blunder and fumble during the making of Novel Conversations Season 6. Enjoy!

“Till We Have Faces” by C. S. Lewis

June 16th, 2020

32:40

The original story of Cupid and Psyche, told in the 2nd century AD, was believed by Lewis to be illogical and problematic. As a result, he developed …

“Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

June 2nd, 2020

36:07

Mrs. Dalloway covers one day from morning to night in one woman’s life. Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class housewife, walks through her London neighborhood to prepare for the party she will host that evening. The …

“The Red Pony” by John Steinbeck

May 19th, 2020

34:14

Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and the demands of a rancher's life. This four part novella centers …

“Jude the Obscure” by Thomas Hardy

May 5th, 2020

29:39
Thomas Hardy's last finished novel, Jude the Obscure, tells the story of Jude Fawley, a working-class man who dreams of becoming a scholar, and of …

“The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

April 21st, 2020

34:03
Set in 17th century Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, the novel tells the story of Hester Prynne who conceives a daughter through an affair and then …

“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut

April 7th, 2020

36:00
Slaughterhouse-Five follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim as he finds himself “unstuck in time”. The book is centered around his time as …

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

March 24th, 2020

35:58
The story of Huck Finn is about a fun-loving risk-taker youth and his adventures on the Mississippi River with a runaway slave named Jim. A blossoming friendship ensues on their freedom seeking voyage and beyond. …

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

March 10th, 2020

33:03
This classic tale is about a youthful trickster, Tom Sawyer and his adventures in the antebellum south. From treasure hunting and playing pirates to …

Novel Conversations Season 5 Blooper Reel

August 27th, 2019

3:03
Enjoy this “irrevocably” humorous compilation of outtakes featuring amusing mistakes and mishaps from Host, Frank Lavallo and Readers: Elizabeth Flood, Phil Setnik, Peter Toomey, & Katie Smith, which occurred during …

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

August 20th, 2019

35:44
This early 19th century novel tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Unbeknownst to the obsessed scientist, the creature is …

“Parnassus on Wheels” by Christopher Morley

August 13th, 2019

31:34
This old-fashioned, sweet novella is about Helen, a governess turned adventurer, who hops on a traveling book-selling wagon as a way to escape the …

“The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain

August 6th, 2019

41:18
Twain's last completed novel, published when he was 61 years old, recounts the life of Joan of Arc through a fictional character (invented by Mark …

“White Fang” by Jack London

July 30th, 2019

34:35
Plot: This adventure story details White Fang's journey to domestication in Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories during the 1890s Klondike …

“Main Street” by Sinclair Lewis

July 23rd, 2019

39:36
Plot: Main Street relates to the life and struggles of Carol Milford Kennicott in the provincial town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, as she comes into …

“Candide” by Voltaire

July 16th, 2019

35:51
Plot: Candide, a simple man, is thrust into a world of chaos as he experiences the horrors of war, poverty, the maliciousness of man, and the hypocrisy of the church. His tutor, Doctor Pangloss, attempts to teach him …

“Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert

July 9th, 2019

32:14
Plot: In nineteenth-century France, the daughter of a country squire Emma, marries a dull country doctor, Charles Bovary. To escape boredom, she …

“The Prince and the Pauper” by Mark Twain

July 2nd, 2019

37:40
Plot: A poor boy named Tom Canty and the Prince of Wales exchange identities, and the events that follow, force the pair to experience each other's …

"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

October 24th, 2018

37:57
"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 …

"To Have and Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway

October 22nd, 2018

38:40
"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 …

"The Moon is Down" by John Steinbeck

October 10th, 2018

38:28
"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 …

"Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen

October 3rd, 2018

38:25
"Northanger Abbey" tells the story of Catherine Morland, a young girl whose imagination is fueled by her love of gothic novels. As Catherine travels …

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand

September 27th, 2018

38:12
In "Atlas Shrugged," business owners begin mysteriously disappearing after the government places too many extreme restrictions. Ayn Rand uses this …

"Tortilla Flat" by John Steinbeck

September 19th, 2018

38:31
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 …

"Arrowsmith" by Sinclair Lewis

September 19th, 2018

38:34
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 …

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen

September 19th, 2018

38:30
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 & …

“Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen

May 16th, 2018

39:03
"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 …

"The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck

May 9th, 2018

39:14
The Grapes of Wrath centers around a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and bank …

"For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway

May 2nd, 2018

39:01
"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 …

"Emma" by Jane Austen

April 25th, 2018

38:55
Through Emma, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women in Regency England, creating a lively comedy of manners highlighting the …

"Babbitt" by Sinclair Lewis

April 18th, 2018

39:16
"Babbitt" follows a midwestern man and his strife with the vacuity of middle-class life and the social pressure toward conformity. Listen as Frank …

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell

April 11th, 2018

38:39
"Animal Farm" tells the tale of oppressed farm animals who revolt against their human dictators and grapple with the powers of corruption that ensue …

"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

April 11th, 2018

38:46
"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 …

"The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway

April 5th, 2018

38:21
"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 …

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

June 6th, 2017

38:04
"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 …

"The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton

May 30th, 2017

37:59
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 …

"Darkness at Noon" by Arthur Koestler

May 23rd, 2017

38:18
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, …

"Elmer Gantry" by Sinclair Lewis

May 9th, 2017

38:00
Elmer Gantry is a satire that follows Elmer Gantry, a poor Kansas man who is encouraged to become a preacher and pursue success. Listen as Frank …

"A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole

May 2nd, 2017

37:53
A Confederacy of Dunces follows the life and misadventures of Ignatius Jacques Riley, whom Walker Percy described as a "slob extraordinary, a mad …

"A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway

April 25th, 2017

37:45
"A Farewell to Arms" follows the life and war experiences of Frederic Henry, an American Lieutenant serving in the Italian campaign during World War …

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

April 18th, 2017

37:49
In "Pride and Prejudice," we follow the lives of the Bennet family in 19th century England, and with 5 unwed daughters, Mrs. Bennet has only one …

"How Green Was My Valley" by Richard Llewellyn

November 3rd, 2016

38:00
In "How Green Was My Valley," Huw Morgan reflects on his life growing up in a coal mining town in a valley in Wales. His memories range everywhere from coal union disputes to the romances of various siblings. Listen …

"Sense & Sensibility" by Jane Austen

October 31st, 2016

37:34
"Sense and Sensibility" is the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their different experiences of life and loss. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht and Patricia Fernberg, for …

"Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck

October 14th, 2016

37:57
In "Cannery Row," a group of kind-hearted miscreants struggle in their attempts to throw a surprise party for their role model. Listen as Frank …

"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

October 4th, 2016

38:38
A summary and exploration of Aldous Huxley's 1932 dystopian novel about the role of human nature in a technological society. Listen as Frank Lavallo …

"Anthem" by Ayn Rand

September 19th, 2016

37:38
In "Anthem," a streetsweeper uses extreme measures after learning the true nature of his collectivist, dystopian society. Listen as Frank Lavallo …

"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott

September 6th, 2016

37:56
"Little Women" chronicles the transition of four sisters from children into women. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Jennifer Weinbrecht and Patricia Fernberg, for a summary and discussion of the novel, "Little …

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

August 22nd, 2016

38:05
In this novella, a man finds a pearl in his attempt to provide for his sick son, but greed and corruption play a hand in the outcome of his success. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a …

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

August 4th, 2016

37:49
In "The Great Gatsby," a veteran uses elaborate measures in his attempt to recapture the past and the love he once knew. Listen as Frank Lavallo hosts readers, Scott and Ildi Rich, for a summary and discussion of the …

"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

August 4th, 2016

37:55
In "The Old Man and the Sea," An older Cuban fisherman, Santiago, has an epic struggle with a giant marlin fish in the Gulf Stream. Listen as Frank …

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry

August 4th, 2016

37:44
In "The Giver," a young boy named Jonas discovers that the seemingly perfect society in which he lives contains big and dark secrets when he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. Listen as Frank …
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