Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.28: Gate-Opening Books, Tigerman, and a Pangram Game

In a podcast first, Whiskey Jenny and Randon and I were all in the same room on a recording day! It was a very exciting time, and I think our deranged joy comes through pretty clearly in the podcast. We talk about gateway books for ushering people into the  joys of new genres; we review Nick Harkaway’s Tigerman (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository); and we play a tricky game invented by Whiskey Jenny about pangrams. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly here to take with you on the go.

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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 want to skip around:

1:26 – We have no mic for the puppy, but here’s a picture of her!

Puppy!

Starting at 1:40 – We talk about gateway drugs! If you were going to try to get your friend into a genre, what would you start them on? Or conversely, what are some books that have put you off a genre?

13:46 – The true answer is that I thought I had more successfully concealed this preference from Whiskey Jenny. Turns out I am not that sneaky.

19:25 – I forgot! Whiskey Jenny plays the clarinet! Duuuuuuuhhhhhh. I can’t believe I relegated her to triangle when I know perfectly well that she knows how to play the clarinet! I have helped move her clarinet between three separate apartments.

Starting at 21:17 – We discuss Tigerman! This may be the book about which we disagreed the most, in the whole history of this podcast. Whiskey Jenny loved it super hard, and I was furiously outraged at how the book turned out. Spoilers throughout.

Starting at 30:20 – The hardest game ever! Whiskey Jenny reads us pangrams with a word missing, and we have to guess the missing word. Spoiler alert: We are really awful at it.

Starting at 43:30 – I recommend our book for next time!

44:57 – Closing remarks and outro.

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

  • I am technologically challenged, but I’m going to try to find this on iTunes. I may need help from my very smart and savvy assistant. Wish me luck.

    • Gin Jenny

      Hahaha, good luck! If you have any trouble downloading it, you can always download the mp3 directly. That is what I always do.

  • You might have thought that burying your criticism in the middle of a type of media that you know I dislike would keep me from hearing and disagreeing with your first and second impression of the ending of Tigerman. You are wrong!
    The kid sacrificing himself is his expression of love for Lester. The whole thing could not have been averted, any more than Othello could have escaped Iago’s snares. Both Lester and the kid acted out of love, which is what makes the ending so great.
    You are also wrong when you say “nobody ever kills the kid.” What about Gavroche in Les Miserables? Tell me his loss isn’t a major influence on what happens. Going back further (to a more didactic age), what about Kingsley’s The Water Babies, which questioned child labour?

    • Gin Jenny

      Jeanne, hand to God, I thought there was an approximately 15% chance you would ever listen to this podcast. I AM SORRRYYYYYYYY I just didn’t liiiiiike it!

      But to clarify one point: When I said “nobody ever kills the kid,” I meant comic books. Nobody has killed a kid in comics since Bucky Barnes, who we have now reconceived as an adult anyway. Kids in comics always get saved at the last minute. Now, whether this is because comic book writers don’t have the stones is an open question BUT I do feel that when a book is comics-inspired, the reader has a reasonable expectation that THE KID WILL SURVIVE.

      • I can see that comics readers might take the death as a kind of betrayal. That’s why I said your first and second reaction to the ending–this might be a book that you’ll like better after another reading in a decade or two. I think its genius is that it transcends the genre and becomes something more, as I think you’ll agree that books by this author tend to do. It would be silly to call The Gone-Away World a war novel. It’s all kinds of wrong to call Angelmaker, (his second) a spy novel. And it’s reductive to think of this one as a comic book novel.

    • Gin Jenny

      Also, did you see how cute the puppy? SO CUTE RIGHT?

      • On the cuteness of the puppy, we agree.

  • I didn’t catch the name of your Sci-Fi gateway book about Jesuits who discover alien life. It sounded intriguing and I wanted to check it out. Can you tell me what the name of the book and author are? Thanks.

    • Gin Jenny

      Yes! Sorry! I was so excited to be in the same room as Whiskey Jenny and Randon at the SAME TIME, I kept forgetting to keep my face near my mic. The book is Mary Doria Russell’s excellent The Sparrow.

      • Thanks!
        I can tell you were all excited to be together. 🙂 I didn’t realize it was the first time that you were all podcasting from the same room.

  • A

    Wonderful podcast guys! Perfect entertainment for a Friday morning at work.

  • Eva

    Ok, I’ll listen to the podcast later while knitting, but first things first, is that your puppy?! *makes puppy chomping noises at screen* I need more information: I’ve been gone for too long!

    • Gin Jenny

      Hahaha, no! It’s my sister’s puppy. How cute is she? The puppy I consider “mine” (my parents’ dog, who is not a puppy in size or in age) is terrible to photograph because she can’t hold still. :p

      • Eva

        She is waaay too cute! My ‘puppy’ is terrible to photograph too: when I pull out the camera she’ll look away or start moving around or do anything but look into the lens. Even though the rest of the time she’ll stay still! A lot of the time I have to bribe her with yummy treats held up behind the camera. lol

  • Add me to the list of readers who were not on board with Tana French’s mysteries (to be specific, In the Woods was the only one I tried – and didn’t finish – reading). But last winter I went on a Golden Age mystery foray and really loved Agatha Christie (I hadn’t had that high school phase) and Margery Allingham’s books. For more modern mysteries, P.J. Tracy’s mystery/thriller Monkeewrench is good. I really loved Laurie King’s Beekeeper’s Apprentice despite not being familiar with the Sherlock canon.

    I like the sound of the book you are reading for the next podcast and ordered it for my Kindle yesterday.