This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman: The Audio Book Club Discusses

Discussing new and classic works.
Oct. 31 2011 7:00 AM

The Audio Book Club on This Beautiful Life

Our critics discuss Helen Schulman’s new novel.

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Slate editors Emily Bazelon, Josh Levin, and Hanna Rosin discuss Helen Schulman’s new novel, This Beautiful Life, about a viral video which ruins the life of two teenagers at a posh New York City prep school. The novel, set in 2003, explores the still urgent question of what happens when teenagers, with all their impulsive, clueless tendencies, have such free access to technology. Teenager Jake Bergamot forwards to a friend an amateur pornlike video that 13-year-old Daisy Cavanaugh made for him, and the aftermath effectively wrecks his family. Bazelon, an expert on teens and technology, is convinced the novel is faithful to how such events would unfold. Levin is moved by the voice of young Jake and his teenage friends, and Rosin is much less moved by the Bergamot family’s eventual breakup.

You can listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below. To download the MP3 file, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.

The Submission by Amy Waldman
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer

Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell
Room, by Emma Donoghue
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua
Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
Remainder, by Tom McCarthy
Great House, by Nicole Krauss
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
Super Sad Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
Imperial Bedrooms, by Bret Easton Ellis
Reality Hunger, by David Shields
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Big Short, by Michael Lewis
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
White Noise, by Don DeLillo
Lit, by Mary Karr
The Original of Laura, by Vladimir Nabokov
"A Small Good Thing" and "The Bath," by Raymond Carver
The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
A Vindication of Love, by Cristina Nehring
Thy Neighbor's Wife, by Gay Talese
"The Swimmer," by John Cheever, and "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," by Flannery O'Connor
Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Night of the Gun, by David Carr
American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson
The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Independence Day, by Richard Ford
The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Everyman, by Philip Roth
Saturday, by Ian McEwan
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

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Questions? Comments? Write to us at podcasts@slate.com. (Emailers may be quoted by name unless they request otherwise.)

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

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