Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.1: Jennifer Weiner, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Arctic explorers

At last, at last, the promised podcast commences! Welcome to our inaugural (and slightly disorganized) Reading the End Bookcast (with the demographically similar Jennys). You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 1

Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes.

If you want to skip around, here are the contents of the podcast:

Starting at 0:43 – Jennifer Weiner and Claire Messud are NEMESES. (NB they are not actually nemeses) Here is the (Publishers Weekly, not New Yorker! sorry, I got that wrong) interview in which Claire Messud is asked about whether you’d want to be friends with her protagonist. Here is the follow-up in which Claire Messud says the annoying thing about serious endeavor. Here is Jennifer Weiner’s response, and here is the history of Jennifer Weiner’s literary fights.

We also talk about the VIDA study about the presence of women in literary review sections of various periodicals. The 2012 study can be found here, if you don’t mind being made depressed.

Starting at 16:20 – We discuss the interactive webseries Welcome to Sanditon, by the creators of the marvelous Lizzie Bennet Diaries. You may notice a change in sound quality — that’s because we recorded this segment later, after we had acquired our fancy microphones.

Starting at 22:55 – We review Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Book Depository, B&N, Amazon), a book we both adored. I confirm herein that the author, Maria Semple, is indeed a TV writer but appears to have been a producer, and not a writer, on Arrested Development.

Starting at 34:10 – In the midst of reviewing Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Whiskey Jenny takes a beat to tell us some fun information about polar explorers. Specifically, Ernest Shackleton.

Starting at 37:49 – We recommend books to each other for the next podcast. We had this idea that we would review two books per podcast, but that turns out to be tricky, so we’ve given it up (for now). Our recommendations:

Starting at 45:27 – Closing remarks and outro

If you wish to get in touch with us to make recommendations or ask questions, we would be delighted to have you do so! Get in touch with us at readingtheend (at) gmail (dot) com. WE LOVE QUESTIONS. Also comments. Also recommendations.

Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: andreybl / / CC BY-NC-ND
Song is by Jeff MacDougall and comes from here.
The above links to books we’ve discussed are affiliate links. If you click on them and then buy a book from that website, I get a very small amount of money. This in no way influences my reviews.

14 thoughts on “Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.1: Jennifer Weiner, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Arctic explorers”

    1. Yeah? You enjoyed it? We are very very nervous about it. (At least I am. Whiskey Jenny has nerves of steel.)

  1. Yay! I took it with me for a walk and loved it! I’m still trying to distinguish between your voices, but I think it’s something that becomes clearer over time. And the sound was great! And the diction! (which is an odd compliment, I know, but I’m an ESL student, so being able to understand what you’re saying without having to play the podcast at extra slow speed is definitely a plus) 🙂

    1. Oh, by the way. On her site, Jennifer Weiner says her last name is pronounced Wyner (and also very helpfully explains what her problem is with Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen and Lena Dunham, though it hasn’t been updated to include Claire Messud yet!)

    2. Aw, what a nice compliment! Captain Hammer was greatly flattered by your kind words about the sound quality, and I said HA HA HA to my mother about the diction thing, because she always says I talk way too fast.

      1. And yes! As soon as we finished recording the podcast, Captain Hammer said, “I went to Jennifer Weiner’s website, and like half of her FAQ section is ‘What’s your problem with this person?'” :p

  2. I think it is different when you call out a single author – male or female – on their nasty comments, from when you call out a whole bunch of anonymous female authors, which is kind of what I think Claire Messud did, with her whole disdain for “likable” characters. I am not all that crazy about Jennifer Weiner’s novels, but I am solidly in her court on her criticisms of people who mockingly call out “chick-lit” when their own writing is practically unreadable, and, as you point out, so miserably unrealistic. I can’t think of a single person I know who is unrelentingly awful in the way of characters in literary fiction. And that includes some people who are certifiably sociopathic.

  3. This is only tangentially relevant, but OMG “Welcome to Sanditon” is happening?!?! I knew it was coming and planned to watch it, but then I forgot to check when it started! I will definitely have to check that out AT ONCE.

    1. Oh it’s happening! I have to admit it feels a little like it’s spinning its wheels. I want the action to get going! (Maybe it has by now. I haven’t been watching each episode as it’s been coming out, so I think I’m a few behind.) The thing I’m really looking forward to is the full-length series that’s happening in the fall.

  4. I haven’t heard of most of the things y’all talked about in this episode, so now that I’ve listened to it I feel smarter! The only thing I can chime in on, really, is polar explorers. THE BEST POLAR EXPLORER is clearly Louise Boyd because she is awesome (Wikpedia page is here: Also because I think lots of the dude explorers, uh…seriously fucked over various native peoples. I can’t remember which one it was at the moment, but one of them took a dead dude’s body and sold it to a museum, then “adopted” (possibly just stole) the dead dude’s kid and forced him to come to America (and then the kid went to the museum and saw his dad’s body omfg).

    ANYWAY, looking forward to listening to the second episode! Great job, you two!

    1. Oooo, this is interesting this Louise Boyd. Whiskey Jenny jokingly said that we should have a polar explorers segment in every podcast, so maybe we can give an update on Louise Boyd. And the story about the dead dude is totally horrifying. If you remember which one did that, please tell me so I can shun that one.

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