Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.27: Best and Worst of Fictional Schools and Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall

The Jennys foolishly discuss fictional schools, classes, and teachers, without the benefit of Randon’s presence; but we have a lot of opinions even without his two cents on what makes a good teacher. Then we review Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), which tore Gin Jenny’s heart apart and which Whiskey Jenny was not wild about. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 27

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

Starting at 1:14 – Book news! Patrick Ness has announced his new book, and Jules Feiffer has a new noiry graphic novel, which has–since recording–been well-reviewed by the New York Times Book Review.

Starting at 3:11 – We discuss schools in fiction. There is only one we’d like to attend ever, and that is Hogwarts. Wayside School is too unpredictable; Battle School is too unfriendly to ladies; and all the British schools from fiction sound horribly abusive and have convinced Whiskey Jenny and me that we can never ever ever raise children in the UK. Because Randon is not with us, he is not able to provide his list of four things that make a good teacher. He has a list of four things that make a good teacher, y’all. I won’t share them here because I think he should monetize them while also saving education in America.

At 26:16 – Whiskey Jenny and I have a brilliant idea for the next bestselling YA novel. Y’all are going to love it when we write it. Tell your friends.

Starting at 28:50 – We discuss Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall. Oh heavens I really liked this book. Please read it! And then come talk to me about it!

Starting at 49:56 – Listener mail! We love getting listener mail, so by all means email us at readingtheend at gmail dot com! Ask us questions, recommend us books — we crazy love hearing from you!

Starting at 51:16 – Whiskey Jenny recommends our book for next time: Nick Harkaway’s newest book, Tigerman. The review that talked her into reading it is on NPR Books.

54:25 – Closing remarks and outro

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

4 thoughts on “Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.27: Best and Worst of Fictional Schools and Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall”

  1. Gosh, yes there are a lot of awful British boarding schools in fiction! I am unlike you and Whiskey Jenny since I would not have wanted to go to Hogwarts, but that’s maybe because I read Harry Potter as an (ostensible) adult. When I was kid I wanted to go to Malory Towers (Enid Blyton), though again, now, I probably would have hated the lack of privacy and the cliquishness (I mean, my own school was quite cliquey, but you could go home in the evening).

    The school in Agatha Christie’s CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS sounds really good (though since it’s not primarily a school story we don’t learn much about what it’s like in classes). The most realistic school in children’s fiction that I can think of is Kingscote in Antonia Forest’s books about the Marlow family, but very few people even in the UK have read her books: it’s realistic but neither does it sound like a horrible place to spend your formative years.

  2. I loved the depiction of the kids at the one-room schoolhouse in Ivan Doig’s The Whistling Season. It’s like you mentioned in the podcast – all these kids stuck together due to geography, and they manage to more or less get along. I also liked the depiction of school in Claudine at School. It was a laissez-faire atmosphere with teachers having affairs with each other, but there is this great part where they have to travel to another town to take their exams, and everyone is nervous, and there’s some unexpected camaraderie among the classmates who are usually annoying each other.

    I haven’t minded the Harry Potter mentions. If you ever decide that you mention it too much, you can do what the Filmspotting podcast does – they started putting films they loved into the “Pantheon” – which meant those films were then ineligible for their regular Top 5 feature. Otherwise, they felt they would keep mentioning the same films over and over for that feature.

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