Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.15: Awards Season, The Luminaries, and New Zealand or Not New Zealand

Julia joins us again for a discussion of book awards and what we like/do not like about them; a review of Eleanor Catton’s award-winning novel The Luminaries (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository); and a thrilling game, written by me and inspired by these guys, called New Zealand or Not New Zealand? You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly here to take with you on the go.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).

Here are the contents of the podcast if you’d like to skip around:

Starting at 1:31 – We talk about award season! What do we think is the value of book awards, and what new book awards would we like to institute, if we had a whole bunch of money and time?

Starting at 17:09 – We discuss Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, a book described variously by podcast participants as “Wilkie-Collins-ish”, “structurally brilliant”, and “so cool”. You will notice that Julia and Whiskey Jenny are much much more deliberate and careful readers than I am, but this is not news.

At 38:30 – Here are our choices for the songs that would be on an EP of The Luminaries. My choice is the Decemberists’ song “Down by the Water”, and Julia’s choices are “Hey Hey What Can I Do” or “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin. She also pulled up, I swear to God, a Cantonese opera for us to listen to.

Starting at 40:01 – The game is New Zealand or Not New Zealand, and there are many things to learn here. Here is the video of Stephen Fry meeting a kakapo, the world’s only flightless parrot.

Starting at 52:38 – I answer a piece of listener mail about how to best appreciate Elizabeth Peters, an author I truly love.

Starting at 53:48 – I give my recommendation for next time, Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues.

Starting at 54:58 – Closing remarks and outro.

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Song is by Jeff MacDougall and comes from here.

  • It was a delight to once again join you and Gin Jenny. And a delight to read The Luminaries. Everything is delightful. And regarding your tag, I will do a bracket for the Tournament of Books.

    • You are Gin Jenny. Jenny is Whiskey Jenny. Sorry ’bout that.

    • Gin Jenny

      YOU are delightful and yay, let’s do a bracket for Tournament of Books! I bet Whiskey Jenny will participate too.

  • I think you ladies are the first people I have encountered who have read the book that really enjoyed it, it’s actually made me want to read it a little. Everyone else has either given up or found it too much of a slog.

    • Gin Jenny

      Really? Well, I will say that reading something collectively contributes substantially to one’s enjoyment of it, or at least it makes you pay more attention to the good things about the book. Get your book club to read it! That is my advice.

  • Amy

    Thanks so much for answering my question! I can’t wait to try both of your recommendations. I love witty, madcap adventures and gothic spoofs so I really feel that I should love Elizabeth Peters!

    • Gin Jenny

      Nice deployment of “madcap”. I need to add “madcap” to my everyday vocabulary. Please report back on your Elizabeth Peters adventures! I’m very curious to know whether you manage to enjoy her; if so, I get to say a big I TOLD YOU SO to my mother. :p

  • Re: Your speculation about whether there was some seminal work of children’s fiction that had an “in which…” precis for each chapter: Yes there was! Winnie-the-Pooh!