Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.10: Comfort Books, Listen to the Nightingale, and Spooky Stories

This week we’re here to talk about — not Donna Tartt’s wonderful The Goldfinch, which we became too sick to finish, but instead about the comfort books we read while we were ill! (We’re sorry. We promise to review The Goldfinch next time.) We review one longtime comfort book for Gin Jenny (hopefully it will become a comfort book for Whiskey Jenny also in the future), Rumer Godden’s wonderful Listen to the Nightingale (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), and as a nod to the existence of Halloween, we talk a little bit about scary stories we have enjoyed. 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

Starting at 1:07: We explain why we didn’t read The Goldfinch. It is for good reasons. We got terribly ill. Instead we read comfort books, a list of which I have included below because you should read all of these.

Gin Jenny’s Comfort Books

The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer, is a particularly good example of a story in which the heroine puts everything into good order. Whiskey Jenny also wants you all to know about the Richard Armitage-read audiobooks of Georgette Heyer books that exist.

A Candle for St. Jude, by Rumer Godden

The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman (I’ve talked about it before here)

James Herriot’s books about being a vet in Yorkshire: the first one is All Creatures Great and Small, and this is on Whiskey Jenny’s list too

L. M. Montgomery’s books, pretty much all of them, but The Blue Castle is particularly underappreciated and great

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Tam Lin, Pamela Dean

Dorothy Sayer’s Strong Poison and Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night

Whiskey Jenny’s Comfort Books

Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine

The Rose and the Ring, William Makepeace Thackeray

Anne of Green Gables series, L. M. Montgomery

An Old-Fashioned Girl, Louisa May Alcott

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett; but particularly, the recording of it by Claire Bloom

The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy

James Herriot books again!

Watership Down, Richard Adams

Roald Dahl

Josephine Tey

The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope

Share your comfort book lists with us, please!

Starting at 18:05: We review Listen to the Nightingale. If you listen closely you may detect that it meant a lot to me for Whiskey Jenny to enjoy this book AND SHE DID BECAUSE OF COURSE.

Starting at 30:54: We talk about scary books! Neither of us is an enormous connoisseur of scary books, so we will accept your recommendations for scary books. Whiskey Jenny may not read them but I, Gin Jenny, will! As long as no serial killers!

Starting at 38:18: Listener mail! Listener Chris inquired how much of the end I typically read, so I explain.

Starting at 41:07: New segment will be about books we’re not reading for the podcast but are excited about, either because we are eagerly anticipating reading them, or because we are reading/have read them. We will have this in the future, and I am accepting proposals for what to call this segment. Nicholson Baker’s excellent The Anthologist (my review here) is getting a sequel, Traveling Sprinkler, and I am curious about it.

43:32: Closing remarks and outro

Credits
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.9: Comics Episode Returns! Iron Man 3, SHIELD, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy

The comics episode has returned for another go! Randon and I talk about the cinematic Marvel universe as it’s developed since last we spoke; we discuss the Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy series in Marvel Now; and we respond to a reader comment about knowing how to read comics. 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

Starting at 1:15 – We talk about Iron Man 3, the newest installment in the cinematic universe of Marvel comics.

2:20 – That’s the plot of Spiderman 2, right? Toby Maguire freaks me out with his face, and I have not revisited those movies in many years. Also because my mother taught me when I was very young that MJ is no good, and Gwen Stacy is where it’s at, as far as Spiderman heroines go.

Starting at 18:45 – We talk about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This marks the one and only time I will type out the full title with all the periods. I know that my record on this blog has been very consistently in favor of correct punctuation, but Marvel is just asking too much of us with this.

27:45 – I really, really want there to be a press secretary character in Agents of SHIELD. Just someone who’s awesome at being a press secretary and spends all his or her time chasing down the main cast members and trying to get them to give press conferences or interviews to show the public the friendly face of SHIELD. That would be funny and I would love it.

Starting at 28:48 – We talk about the first six issues of Guardians of the Galaxy and the first eight issues of Nova.

30:37 – Science note: Space PTSD is not different than regular PTSD. Actually, count how many times we say “space” while talking about these comics. I think you can conclude that we just like using “space” as a modifier. Space heroics. Space helmet. Space history.

35:44 – It’s Spartax. I had to look that up twice because I kept forgetting it as soon as I closed the internet window where I had looked it up.

Starting at 46:20 – We discuss the different way of reading that’s necessary for comics. It’s legitimately an acquired skill! Here is an example of a Maus layout:

And here’s one from the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (click to embiggen):

SND_Preludes_p14_750

If you’re interested in learning more about the conventions and possibilities of comics, I cannot give you any better recommendation than Scott McCloud’s wonderful Understanding Comics. It is fantastic and engaging.

54:01: Closing remarks and outro

Credits
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Song is by Jeff MacDougall and comes from here.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.6: Books as Objects and Night Film

This week we’re here to talk about the thingness of books–why we like physical books, why we buy ebooks, and BOOKS IN BOXES (well, that part is mostly me), review Marisha Pessl’s wonderful new book Night Film (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), and play a game of guessing where movies came from. 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

Starting at 1:06 – Polar explorer update. You can read articles about Felicity Aston, first woman to cross Antarctica alone, here and here and here.

Starting at 4:51 – Physical books and why we love them! If you haven’t heard of the Folio Society you can check out their beautiful books here. You can also look at Coralie Bickford-Smith’s cover designs at her website, inspect the new Harry Potter covers here, and see the index card editions of “Pale Fire” here.

Starting at 18:15 – WE REVIEW NIGHT FILM. I’m putting that in all caps because of how excited Whiskey Jenny was to talk about this book.

Starting at 26:24 – Whiskey Jenny says “Spoiler alert”, but then she and I turned out to have completely different takes on what we thought the book concluded about Cordova and his ways. We do say some spoilers about things that get brought up about Ashley, but we are evidently incapable of spoiling the final end of the book as we have opposite takes on what it all meant.

Starting at 30:28 – We play a gaaaaaaaame. Please don’t think we’re dumb. It’s harder when you’re under pressure and also we had never heard of some of these.

Starting at 41:14 – I recommend our book for next time, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, with a completely non-spoilery synopsis and then with a more interesting synopsis that spoils something the book doesn’t tell you until a third of the way through (but the book is much more appealing if you know this one thing about it; and anyway the cover kind of gives it away anyway). I am linking to a RadioLab story that relates to the halfway-through spoiler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, so don’t click through if you don’t want to know the thing.

45:03 – Closing remarks and outro

Credits
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.5: Elizabeth Peters, Emma Approved, Summer Reading, and Snow Falling on Cedars

Late but not forgotten! The demographically similar Jennys belatedly post our podcast! (We really are sorry, we won’t let it happen again.) This week we’re talking about the death of Elizabeth Peters, the new series by the good folks behind The Lizzie Bennett Diaries (a show we absolutely cannot shut up about), summer reading and assigned reading more generally, and David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository). 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

Starting at 1:56: Sad news. We are all sad to have lost Barbara Mertz, aka Barbara Michaels, aka Elizabeth Peters. She died on 8 August, and I was crushed. The Amelia Peabody series is one of my favorite series of books in all the land.

Starting at 3:22: The announcement of the new webseries by Bernie Su and Hank Green enchants us! The series will be an adaptation of Emma called Emma Approved, with a premiere date TBD. Here is where Bernie Su answers some questions about Emma Approved, if you are interested. We discuss some pitfalls of adapting Emma and rave about the best Emma adaptation to date, Clueless.

Starting at 9:01: We had a listener question, hooray! What is one school reading book you have never read? We answer this and then get into the question of assigned reading and how we feel about it. For this segment we have with us Special Guest Star and Producer Randon. Note that Whiskey Jenny and I are generally in favor of assigned reading on account of how we are great big nerds.

Starting at 14:12: I swear to God this is a thing! Someone find this for me! Googling made it hard because it brought up all stuff like Treasure Island. I READ THIS STORY SOMEWHERE AND I AM CONFIDENT IT IS TRUE. Children would not become insane monsters if shipwrecked on an island. Hush up William Golding.

Starting at 31:55: Whiskey Jenny and I discuss Snow Falling on Cedars, the book we both read for this podcast.

36:32 – 38:58 and 48:32 – 45:00: Spoilery sections of the Snow Falling on Cedars discussion! I tried to avoid them but in the end I could not.

Starting at 45:01: We recommend a book for next time! We cannot wait to talk about it!

Starting at 51:55: Closing remarks and outro.

Credits
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

Programming note re: podcast

We are slightly delayed in posting this week’s podcast. Whiskey Jenny and I are both extremely sorry. For some time now, Whiskey Jenny’s computer has had a cracked screen that has made ordinary computer activities challenging to impossible. She is having her computer repaired, but in the meantime we could not record Episode 5 of the Reading the End Bookcast.

The episode was recorded last night and is being edited at TOP SPEED by our champion producer, Randon; I promise I will post it by the end of this week. We are very sorry about the delay! It will not recur. Pretty soon Whiskey Jenny’s computer will be restored to her, and we will be back to our regular fortnightly podcasting schedule.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.4: Comics Episode! Fraction’s Hawkeye and Bendis’s All-New X-Men

You asked for it (you didn’t ask for it), and now we are delivering! The extra special all-comics episode of the Reading the End Bookcast, featuring recurring guest star Captain Hammer! 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.

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

Starting at 2:20: We talk about why Randon feels defensive of comics. I only feel defensive of comics when I am reading Saga on the subway and I turn a page and it’s suddenly people with television heads having sex. And then I only feel defensive insofar as like, “Eyes on your own paper, stranger next to me on the subway! This is acceptable reading matter!” (Defensive, enough, in other words, to switch to something else.)

7:15: The reference I am making to Gaston is about this bit of Beauty and the Beast where Gaston takes Belle’s book and says “How can you reeeeead this? There’s no pictures in it,” and Belle says, “Well, some people like to use their imaginations.” I am obviously on Belle’s side in this exchange morally, but I do love books with pictures in them.

Starting at 13:16 – We talk some more about Matt Fraction’s amazing and beautiful Hawkeye, a comic I do not tire of talking about to people! My review of the first six issues can be found here, and you can buy the first trade paperback too (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), if you wish! (And, I discover belatedly, the second trade paperback also, again at Amazon, B&N, and Book Depository.) Although we do talk about the first six issues, we’re mainly focusing on the issues that came thereafter.

17:37: Randon describes tiers of comic books. I am flagging this for you because I like a taxonomy and maybe you do too.

20:12 – The pizza dog issue was the most recent issue when we recorded this podcast. There’s been another one since then, which was also wonderful and sad. Read them all.

Starting at 35:00 – We move along to the review of All-New X-Men, by Brian Bendis. If you’re interested, you can buy the first trade paperback and check it out (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository). If you enjoy that one, there’s a second trade paperback currently in existence, and a third is due out in October.

52:29 – Sometimes members of my family (ie me and all my sisters) will say the same not-that-interesting-or-funny thing sixteen times until we are acknowledged.

54:26 – 55:12 – I slightly spoil the movie Looper. Sorry. You can skip this bit.

Note that Whiskey Jenny and I will next be reading Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson. We’d also love to have some listener questions to answer, to get in touch with us at readingtheend AT gmail DOT com.

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.3: J. K. Rowling, Standing in Line, and Americanah

This week, the demographically similar Jennys are here to talk about J. K. Rowling’s excited new pseudonym, discuss things we’re willing to stand in line for, review Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), PLAY A GAME, and update you on a new polar explorer we read up on! 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

1:15: Slander. I have not been trash-talking Whiskey Jenny all week (or at all).

Starting at 1:30: J. K. Rowling has published a book under a pseudonym! We discuss this thrilling news; weirdly elaborate fictional author bios; the lack of intrigue in the publishing profession; and whether Rita Skeeter is worse than Snape (she is not).

(6:24 – 6:32: Harry Potter spoiler. But you should already have read these books, for real.)

Starting at 7:38: We talk about things we’re willing to stand in line for. Yeses include concerts, select food items (but we don’t really know which ones), and sporting events. Noes include cronuts. Hell with you, cronuts. Nobody needs you.

Starting at 14:46: We review Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), a book I have been excited to talk to Whiskey Jenny about for over a month now. I was worried that she wouldn’t like it (I can’t always predict her reading tastes), but as you will hear, she loved it! The Terry Gross interview I mentioned can be found here.

Starting at 23:40: Some spoilers. It’s not an awfully spoilable book, I don’t think, but anyway, there are some things we talk about in this section that occur after the first quarter of the book. Which I guess counts as spoilers? As ever spoilers baffle me.

Starting at 32:47: GAME TIME! Randon (Captain Hammer) moderates this Sporcle quiz.

(38:54: Please recommend other books that take place in Afghanistan. I want to rectify this baleful state of affairs.)

Starting at 46:15: A polar explorers update (as proposed by Anastasia) on Robert Peary, the Ben Roethlisberger of polar explorers, which is to say, not the guy you’d take as a first or second draft pick in your fantasy polar exploration league, and also an awful person. The page of polar firsts on Wikipedia can be found here.

Starting at 57:13: Closing remarks and outro. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please send them to us at readingtheend (at) gmail (dot) com.

Note that the next podcast, which will be posted on 7 August, will be a VERY SPECIAL COMICS PODCAST. Randon and I will be discussing the enduringly wonderful Hawkeye comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja, as well as Brian Michael Bendis’s current run on All-New X-Men. We’d love for you to read along with us and send us your thoughts!

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.2: Sarah Dessen, The Kings and Queens of Roam, and A GAME

And now, the second podcast you’ve all (hopefully) been waiting for! This week, the demographically similar Jennys are here to update you on Claire Messud, report on an author event attended by Whiskey Jenny, review Daniel Wallace’s The Kings and Queens of Roam, and answer your mail! 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 will appreciate it very very much).

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

1:30: I provide an update on why the question Claire Messud was asked in the Publishers Weekly interview (discussed in our last podcast) was even more annoying than it appeared at first glance.

3:05: Whiskey Jenny went to a reading with Sarah Dessen and several other YA authors, and she reports back to us on how that went and what was said.

8:32: We poke fun at ourselves for saying “lovely” and “charming” too much. We’re sorry. We’re trying to cut back.

8:38: We review Daniel Wallace’s new book The Kings and Queens of Roam (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository). There are some spoilers in this review, which we do flag before we go ahead with them, but just so you’ll be warned, I’ll give you the time signatures. Spoilers occur between 12:42 and 13:55.

16:51 – I explain why, contrary to what you probably learned in history class, Thomas a Becket was kind of a jerk and needed to be stopped. Not with death. But maybe with defrocking? He really was being a prat. If I were Henry II I would have been frustrated too. You can skip this. It’s not that relevant to the review of The Kings and Queens of Roam (it’s a smidge relevant but that’s it). I just needed to get the truth out there. The play that I’m quoting from is Christopher Fry’s wonderful Curtmantle (Amazon, B&N, Book Depository).

18:41 – Our review of The Kings and Queens of Roam continues.

22:40 – WE PLAY A GAME. In case this is unclear, the answers are being revealed to us as we go along by our producer, who speaks in my ear. Next time, to make it a little more fair, we’re going to have Captain Hammer read the quiz, and that way we’ll both be hearing the questions at the same time. Also it will make more sense for you, our listeners.

27:39 – In the course of the game, I make a super dumb mistake. Please try not to judge me. I wanted to cut this bit out, but Captain Hammer thought it was funny. In the end I decided it would be humbling and thus improving to my character to leave it in.

29:28 – The correct pronunciation of the guy’s last name is CHAY-peck. So now we all know.

29:51 – Non-Imaginary Listener Mail! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please send them to us at readingtheend (at) gmail (dot) com.

30:35 – During our responses to one piece of Listener Mail, I mention Patton Oswalt’s filibuster on Parks and Recreation. Believe me when I say that it is worth watching in its entirety, and not just because it gives you a sense of how to talk about books at parties in a way that will make people back away from you slowly.

35:24 – Closing remarks, new book recommendation by Whiskey Jenny, and outro.

As a reminder, the next book we’ll be discussing will be Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s wonderful Americanah. If you would like to read along with us and send us your two cents for the next podcast, we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts!

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.

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 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.

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.

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: andreybl / Foter.com / 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.