Four Seawolves on a Zoom

(Erika, for the Ivory Tower Boiler Room team)

It’s the weekend again and we’ve got a great episode for you to listen to. Three of this week’s four podcast participants are Stony Brook alumni, and the fourth is still there. This week, from the Boiler Room, we bring you a little something new–a new questionnaire to help you get to know our guests a little better. Adam and Erika wrote it with inspiration from Proust, Warhol and James Lipton, but we haven’t named it yet; we’d love your input for a clever name though. Leave us a comment below with your suggestions.

Take some time to get to know our guests this weekend, Ula Klein and Kathryn Klein.

Meet Ula Klein:

1.What are you listening to, reading, watching?
Listening to 80s pop music–the sound of summer in my opinion! Reading mystery The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Watching Modern Family.

2.Do you like to cook? What is your favorite thing to make?
I love to cook international cuisine. I love to make tacos and stir frys because they are easy, but I love homemade pierogi. They are a bit more work intensive but homemade tastes best!

3.What is something you have read and loved, and wish more people would read?
Anything from the eighteenth century! It’s so over-looked as a time period these days, but there are so many great books. If you love Austen, then I strongly recommend her predecessors and contemporaries like Maria Edgeworth, Frances Burney, and Elizabeth Inchbald.

4.Did you grow up with video- or computer-games? What were/are some of your favorites?
I did. I played Bubble Bobble, Super Mario 3, and Wheel of Fortune on Nintendo, and Tetris, Alley Cat, and Block out (a 3D version of Tetris) on the computer.

 5.You’re taking a sick-day from work. What movie are you putting on?
Clueless10 Things I Hate About YouWhen Harry Met Sally….

6.What’s your favorite excuse for why you have writer’s block?
I have too many ideas all at once and I don’t know which one to start with!

7.What’s a book everyone says you should read, but you either read it and hated it, or haven’t read it?
Robinson Crusoe. It’s SO BORING. But people love it. I think it’s more interesting to analyze than to read, but I also have a weird relationship with that book, because my dad made me read it as a kid in Polish to practice my language skills. It was a chore to read back then–but when I reread it in grad school in English, I still found it a chore to read! I’m just not a fan of survivalist storytelling I guess!

8. Also, do you have any websites/writing/or anything else you want to share with us (especially when promoting your books)?
I did a blog post for Pride Month about my book for the UVA Press blog page.

Kathryn Klein’s most recent book (as Charlotte Greene) is From the Woods.

Meet Kathryn Klein:

Kathryn’s Responses:

1.What are you listening to, reading, watching?
I just finished Mare of Easttown which I adored. I’ve been listening to the podcast The White Vault (thriller/horror docudrama) and the audiobook of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s summer, so I’m mostly reading “beach reads.” I tend to read a lot of genre fiction for beach reads, specifically horror, thrillers, and scifi/fantasy. I just finished the very excellent The Guest List, by Lucy Foley and Hail Mary, by Andy Weir.

2.Do you like to cook? What is your favorite thing to make?
I’m only a so-so cook, but I can make decent Tex-mex and a really good fried steak. I do, however, love to bake, especially pies. My specialties are coconut cream and key lime.

3.What is something you have read and loved, and wish more people would read?
Gosh, that’s a Pandora’s box of a question. Most of the literature I work with has been totally forgotten. Some of it, however, was pulped in the 1950s, and, as David Earle has so neatly coined it “Re-Cover[ed]”. One of my favorites is a 1930s classic lesbian gem by Lilyan Brock called Queer Patterns, which you can find most easily as a 1950s pulp novel.

4.Did you grow up with video- or computer-games? What were/are some of your favorites?
Yes and yes. My dad worked with computers, so there’s been one in my house since my early childhood in the early 80s. I played most of the original Sierra games as well as some other lost classic PC games like Dragon Wars. Now I still play PC games, most RPGs like Fallout and Dragon Age. My recent obsession is a Canadian indie called The Long Dark.

5.You’re taking a sick-day from work. What movie are you putting on?
I like to watch pretty vapid and/or funny stuff when I’m sick, so I would say something like Airplane! or Twister.

6.What’s your favorite excuse for why you have writer’s block?
I’m going to end up cursing myself by saying this, but I don’t really get writer’s block. I’ve had life and work circumstances prevent writing, but when I make time for it, it comes pretty smoothly. That said, when I’m, let’s say, more reluctant to start than usual, I aim for a version of the Pomodoro Technique, with little rewards and breaks after so many minutes/words.

7.What’s a book everyone says you should read, but you either read it and hated it, or haven’t read it?
As a modernist, I’ve never tried Finnegan’s Wake. The summer with Ulysses during my comps was more than enough Joyce ramblings for me, thank you. I came to appreciate the latter, but I simply can’t abide another dip in that pool with the former.

I have a website that includes links to all of my books at

We all hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Ula and Kathryn a bit, and that you enjoy Adam and Andrew’s interview with them. When you’re done with that, here’s what the Ivory Tower team is planning to enjoy next:

On Saturday, Andrew is meeting up with his parents in Woodbury, right around the corner from the Whitman Birthplace. We know he’ll bring along plenty of work to do, even while he’s planning to relax and have a good time. After our usual Friday night planning meeting (you can hear a little of what those often sound like if you listen to our “Real Housewives of Academia” bonus-episode) he is still planning work on his dissertation and some more blog content. He also launched the donation section on our website this week, so if you can, keep the writers in coffee and the cats fed so they don’t nibble away at Erika’s writing fingers. It means so much that everyone Andrew talks to about our community has been so supportive and interested in how so many Humanities communities have come together (and will continue to do so). It means a lot to all of us. Andrew is promising us photos by the pool while he’s reading, and we promise to share generously, but if you’re into the books, you can expect to see his bag from Words Matter Bookstore by his side with books from this week’s podcast guests Ula and Kathryn Klein, (Sapphic Crossings and Gnarled Hollow) in it. He’s also packed Bridgerton, the series that serves as the inspiration for the Netflix show, into the bag. He and his mom are doing a Bridgerton book club. Andrew and Erika are both reading Raphael’s “Dancing on Tisha B’Av” (they are both excited for the upcoming Lev Raphael interview). Andrew is also currently finishing the BBC’s dramatized performance of Wharton’s The Custom of the Country (which satisfies his Gilded Age gossipy nature), and there’s also time to listen to Todrick Hall’s new album FEMULINE!!

Mary plans to start reading the Vanishing Half this weekend. She also just finished up Mare of Easttown and says, “If you know, you know how intense that shit was to watch! (And I loved every second of it!) Kate Winslet and the rest of the cast are absolutely brilliant and nailed their Del Co accents. Most people found the ending shocking, but I had an idea at the end of the second to last episode who the killer might be. Stream for yourself on HBO if you want to find out!” Even though it’s summer and the weather is getting warmer, she’s still running, too.
During her runs, she has started listening to Bailey Sarian’s (YouTube’s Murder, Mystery, Makeup, Monday creator and star) new podcast Dark History. Each week Bailey sits down and talks about a really fucked up event that occurred in the US that our history teachers never told us about. There are only two episodes out: The DuPont Chemical Scandal (the true story behind the movie Dark Waters) and Zoot Suit Riot (yes, like the song and yes, there were actual riots) so it’s easy to catch up!

Erika is grateful not to have a really deep, heavy piece of writing for this Saturday; two in a row was plenty. There’s still plenty of writing and editing to do, but in addition to Lev Raphael’s Dancing on Tisha B’Av, Adam very thoughtfully sent some of Kyle Lukoff’s books as a birthday gift and she is finally hoping to squeeze out enough time to read Too Bright to See. She’s read the first two chapters and just cannot wait to get through the rest. After Dancing on the Tisha B’Av, she’s also very excited to read Secret Anniversaries of the Heart and revisit some beloved characters. While working on a blog post the other day Erika dusted off Jill Sobule’s eponymous album from the 1990s, and so there will be a little retro listening there, too, while she works on those blog posts and on her Big Think for this month. She’s also going to try and convince Adam to listen to Dan Tepfer’s “Bach Upside Down” with her, too, now that he’s conceded that The Brandenburg Concerti are pretty good (especially the epic harpsichord in #5.) There’s also going to be some time considering Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and probably the Decameron as well (probably with Adam, too), as there are plans taking shape for something for our readers who are feeling like doing some creative writing that may draw inspiration from those works. Erika is also very excited because this year’s “Broadway Bares” show premiers soon, and so this weekend will almost certainly include a viewing of last year’s show (Broadway, dancing and a little nudity or near nudity…absolutely, thank you very much.) There’s also a new video coming from Matt Baume this weekend about queer Disney villians, and so Erika will probably check that out, and if she’s in the mood, might even join in on the livestream before the video.

Adam just finished The Color Purple (here are some of his thoughts) and has launched into reading a second hand copy of Wharton’s The Custom of the Country, found serendipitously at the local library. Andrew is having a corrupting effect on his reading list, to be sure.

We’d love to hear what you’re listening to, reading or watching (other than reading our blog and listening to our podcast, of course.) Feel free to leave us a comment or find us on social media. Enjoy your weekend!

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