WSIRN Ep 208: The underappreciated art of literary forgery

Today’s guest is Charlie Lovett, who I got to chat with in-person with 150 other readers at the ever-charming bookstore Bookmarks NC in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’m making something of a tradition of a fall trip to North Carolina and I have to say I like it.

This event came about thanks to Charlie, Bookmark’s director Jamie Southern, and the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. The Book Club is the place where we are learning to read better, together, and one of the many things we do is read a core selection together every month, and then meet on video to discuss it at the end of the month, often with the author. Our October selection was Charlie’s novel The Bookman’s Tale, and not only did Charlie join us, but for the first time ever, we got to have our author chat in person. We had such a wonderful time at Bookmarks, and it was a thrill to be in the same room with all these avid readers.

If you’re thinking I wish I could have been there —well, we have good news! Today we’re bringing you that live conversation from Bookmarks NC. 

Charlie and I discuss the enduring power of not only stories but the books themselves, how books connect people of all ages, and of all times, how we can preserve literature for future generations, the joy of a book as a physical object, the art of literary forgery, marginalia, symbolism, and much much more. This conversation was a TON of fun and I assure you it’s also totally spoiler-free. I can’t wait for you to listen, so let’s get to it!

You can find more about Charlie Lovett’s work on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Click here to read the full episode transcription (opens in a new tab).

If you want more What Should I Read Next become a supporter on Patreon! We’re sharing the full interviews we did with the past guests featured in our special 200th episode. Supporters also get bonus episodes of One Great Book, behind the scenes looks at how the podcasts are made, and fun seasonal live events like our Fall Book Preview.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here. These links go to Bookmarks where you can find signed copies of Charlie’s books and both of mine (Reading People and I’d Rather Be Reading).

Books mentioned:

The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession, by Charlie Lovett
Everyday Meditations, by John Henry Newman
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
First Impressions, by Charlie Lovett
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
The Lost Book of the Grail, by Charlie Lovett

Also mentioned: 
Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC



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  1. Suzanne says:

    We just toured UNC- Charlotte and were treated to the 10th floor of their library. That floor contained their rare book collections. All I could think about was The Bookman’s Tale and Peter’s job repairing books at his college.
    Thank you both for a great read with read with ties to NC and London!

  2. I listened to the show this morning and i throughly enjoyed it and promptly went to my library online ebooks cause i had to have it now and borrowed the bookmans tale. Most of the books i hear about on your show are not on my typical radar though i not sure why maybe cause i stick to close to the fantasy section of the store. I have enjoyed each one i picked up. Since the book you talked about the shows is a book about books i thought i recommend one i just picked up that might not of been on your radar but is a very interesting book about books. It called the library of the unwritten by a.j. Hackwith she a writer based in my home state of Washington.

    Let me know if you pick this one i devoured the first 100 pages and. I be sure to tweet to you once i finish the bookmans tale. Thanks for sharing another amazing read and an author that i will be checking out what else is lurking on the shelf.

  3. Oh, you don’t know how happy it makes me to know there is another thespian/novelist out there. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Charlie. My first novel is rough, and self-published. I’m still learning how to write a novel. But you give me hope that one day I will be a good novelist too. I directed *Measure for Measure* in the spring of 2018 and met the theatre professional who is now directing *Twelfth Night* at the college where we teach. Learning more about Shakespeare from him has been fun. Oh, and the church I grew up in, a sister church to the Mormon church, was caught up in that forgery scandal too. It would have been fun to hear the two of you converse live.

  4. Margaret says:

    I loved this conversation between you and Charlie! It was fun hearing your conversational voice as opposed to your “podcast voice.” And, let me say, I need your laugh in my life every day!
    Bookman’s Tale is next up on my library stack. Looking forward to it even more now.

  5. Kristine says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and learning about Charlie! I immediately went to the bookstore and ordered “The Bookman’s Tale.” Also, it was so neat to hear about Charlie’s Lewis Carroll collection! After a bit of bio-digging, I was excited to find out that Charlie has a book in the works on the religious life of Lewis Carroll.

  6. Rebekah in SoCal says:

    I just finished “First Impressions” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope the postman speeds “The Bookman’s Tale” to my mailbox!

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