Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.55: Best Literary Couples; and the Hatening Continues

The Hatening continues, except that I am a failing failure who failed to choose a book that Whiskey Jenny would truly despise. We talk about Hamilton (yes, again), the books that we’re currently reading, and Emma Newman’s Planetfall. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 55

Books/Links Discussed (in order of appearance)

Hamilton crushed it, of course, at the Grammys. As if there was ever any doubt. Also, because it’s charming, a Got Milk? Hamilton spoof for you to enjoy.

What We’re Reading

Consider the Lobster, David Foster Wallace
The Mother Hunt, Rex Stout
We Love You Charlie Freeman, Kaitlyn Greenidge
The Silkworm and Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling)

Favorite Literary Couples

Clare and Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (Whiskey Jenny)
Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey from Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon, by Dorothy Sayers (Gin Jenny)
SPOILERS from Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters (Whiskey Jenny)
Alexander and Hephaestion in Fire from Heaven, by Mary Renault (Gin Jenny)
Eponine and Marius (but mostly Eponine) in Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo (Whiskey Jenny)
Whiskey Jenny never names the two characters in A Tale of Two Cities that she likes. You’ll never know, and neither do I because I never read it.
Celie and Shug Avery from The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (Gin Jenny)
Ifemelu and Obinze from Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Whiskey Jenny)
Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning from their letters (Gin Jenny)1
Dickon & Mary from The Secret Garden (Whiskey Jenny)

The Hatening, Part 2

Planetfall, Emma Newman

Anxiety and the First Person Narrator in Planetfall (from Lady Business)

The Forcening, Part 1

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

(The others Whiskey Jenny nearly chose were The Night Manager, by John Le Carre and Fool, by Christopher Moore.)

Get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads. 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).

Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Song is by Jeff MacDougall

  1. You can download a free ebook of the first volume of the Browning letters at Project Gutenberg.

The #HamAlong Never Liked the Quiet Before

At least, dear friends, the worst has happened. The #HamAlong has reached the second-saddest bit of the musical:1 Philip Hamilton dies in a duel which he fought to defend his father and in which his father urged him to delope.

Anyway, not quite yet. We’ll get to that. The first thing that happens is that Hamilton supports the Alien and Sedition Acts, which Chernow tries to pretend is semi-okay even though it is blatantly not. And like — honestly? This section makes me feel rather patriotic. Like, the ways that America turned out well were very far from inevitable, if the country had gone a different direction early on. We could have ended up with shitty libel laws like Britain, or become prone to deporting foreign journalists for criticizing us.

at libel laws. Thanks, NY Times v. Sullivan!

Hamilton does some lawyering in this section, including the defense trial of one Levi Weeks (you may remember him from “Nonstop”), which causes Chernow to say this about the murder victim, and God knows I quote:

…and that Sands, no innocent damsel, had a little weakness for laudanum.


Hamilton gets sick of lawyering eventually and inserts himself back into public life by publishing his response (to John Adams basically just being President). While it is lengthier than a simple “Sit down John, you fat motherf***er!” — because Hamilton — it cannot be denied that that is the gist of it. Even Ron Chernow, seriously, even Ron Chernow, has kind of turned against Hamilton in this section.


Hahahah, nah, I’m just messing with you. Like, Ron Chernow turning against Hamilton looks like this:

For a man of Hamilton’s incomparable intellect, the pamphlet [against John Adams] was a crazily botched job, an extended tantrum in print.

Hamilton would actually probably have challenged Chernow to a duel over that.

It’s interesting, though, because of course Hamilton has not changed who he essentially is since he first washed up on the shores of New York, desperate for power and respect. It’s just that before, he was getting the power and respect. So this whole thing does come off like a tantrum: Up to his resignation from Washington’s cabinet, Hamilton’s brilliance and energy were enough to carry the day. Now that they aren’t, it’s clear he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

Accurate depiction of Hamilton while not governing

If someone had gotten Hamilton a hobby, I bet this whole thing would never have happened. The hobby would have had to give him lots of political power though. Maybe the hobby could have been a governorship. I bet if Hamilton had had a hobby of being the governor of New York, this whole pamphlet thing would never have happened.

Philip also dies. It is way less Hamilton’s fault than the musical makes it seem. It’s still really sad, though, and I choose to gloss over it.


I will leave you on an up note: When Jefferson becomes President, he asks the new Secretary of the Treasury to go through all Hamilton’s Treasury files and find out all the bad things Hamilton did and what all he stole from the government and all the reasons why his stupid banking system was a fraud and an overreach. So the Secretary, Gallatin, went all up in Hamilton’s files and practices, and this was his verdict:

I have found the most perfect system ever formed. Any change that should be made in it would injure it. Hamilton made no blunders, committed no frauds. He did nothing wrong.


Only one more week, y’all! We are so close to having read the whole of this monster book! Thanks, as always, to the fabulous Alice for hosting!

  1. The first saddest bit being, obviously, when Eliza sings “The Lord in His kindness, He gives me what you always wanted, He gives me more time.”

NB, Tulum: A Links Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! I have had a stupid week and am psyched for it to be over! So here are some links, as ever, for your delectation and delight.

First and most importantly, Book Blogger Appreciation Week is NEXT WEEK. I’ll be hosting a Twitter chat on Tuesday at 9 PM EST, and the blogosphere at large will be squeeing about our love for each other all week long. Don’t miss it.


I admit this has nothing to do with anything, but Caity Weaver’s GQ profile of Justin Bieber is magic.

It’s unsettling to share a personal story, or ask a long-winded question, and be met with Justin Bieber’s silent, cool-eyed stare the entire time you’re talking. Justin Bieber makes eye contact like a person who has been told that eye contact is very, very important.

Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings is a fantastic blog that you should be following if you’re not already. Here she is on Aubrey Beardsley’s weird, attenuated illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s weird, attenuated play Salome.

Survey says: Publishing is super white. Dit dit dit. Alert the presses to this breaking news.

An interview with Frances Hardinge, author of The Lie Tree which DAMMIT I still haven’t read. It looks sooooooo goooooooood.

Why you can mash up Hamilton with litrally anything.

So, I am perfectly willing to believe, if given sufficient reason to do so, that multiple regression analysis is a garbage statistical method. On the other hand, this reads like Mickey Rooney in his latter years so I have grave concerns about its validity. THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH NOT KNOWING EVERYTHING.

Elif Batuman on passing for Muslim in Turkey.

NPR’s Code Switch compiles a round-up of responses to Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and new video “Formation.”

Rebecca Solnit on the CDC’s alcohol recommendations for women and the men who are missing from the narrative.

Mizzou’s football team is forcing me to like them (again): A links round-up

How to Compliment a Guy. New York Mag continues to do such important cultural work. Also, this is a thousand percent true: Girls compliment each other all the time. Guys only get compliments if they have beards or cool cars.

You’ve shut up about Hamilton yet, or nah? NOPE. The AV Club has some praise to heap upon that show for its portrayal of women.

How to apologize.

Brazil’s war on poverty suggests that giving cash to poor families is a good way to reduce poverty. Also, having a good economy. So, not shocking?

I’m obsessed with financial practicalities, as you’ll know if you spend any amount of time day-to-day talking with me, so this article about where various indie sites get their money from is fascinating to me. You should also click on Nicole Cliff’s Storify about funding The Toast.

The more regency dances you learn, the more you start to understand why the waltz seemed like such a scandal.

Chile admits that Pablo Neruda may have been murdered by the Pinochet regime. Um, wut? Is — should we follow up on that in some way?

Mainly just bookmarking this article about wedding dresses so that when I want to describe a type of sleeve, I’ll have this article’s handy sleeve diagram handy.

If you’re wondering about all that business going down in Missouri, Code Switch has a round-up of good articles about the whole situation; or, in which Mizzou’s football team again forces me to like them even though my policy is to hate all SEC teams except for my own.

Why can’t you shut up about Hamilton?: A links round-up

The marvelous Kiese Laymon on Confederate flags and SEC football.

On competing for the one single diversity spot in the writers’ room: Aisha Harris writes about the unbearable whiteness of TV writers’ rooms.

Nobody could be more excited about the new Star Wars trailer than stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

Recovering the history of years in slavery, and the story of a forgotten forced deportation: An article that opens with an oddly upsetting anecdote.

New details emerge about that Harry Potter play! (It’s not a prequel, it’s a sequel! Joke’s on you, prequel-wanters! You’ll never ever learn more about the Marauders.)

“Jenny, shut up about Hamilton already, Gahd!” NEVER.

Kelly Sue DeConnick spoke with Alyssa Rosenberg about her comic Bitch Planet, and predictably, she has lots of interesting things to say. In particular, she notes that comics do a thing where “they will set up something to be deliberately salacious, and then pretend to have some ethical structure around it.” YEP. The interview is in two parts, here and here.

Are you excited for Jessica Jones? Or do you wish her backstory didn’t have to be so rapey? Or both?

South By canceled a panel about harassment in gaming because they’re afraid of getting harassed. Caroline Linders, one of the organizers of the panel, has a good rundown of what happened. BuzzFeed has withdrawn participation from the festival in protest. SXSW appears to be in damage control mode, but as of today, no final decisions appear to have been made.

You should buy the Hamilton cast recording: A links round-up

If you haven’t yet listened to the Hamilton cast recording, you are not living your best life. It’s out today for digital download, and you should buy it. As of this posting, you can also stream it on NPR First Listen.

Did you miss my linguistics nerdery? Great news: Here’s an article about how language shapes our brains.

Jenny Zhang on being a writer of color and the Best American Poetry mess.

If you like Return of the Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

Remembering to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns is no harder than remembering to use a woman’s married name: An appeal for good manners.

A high fantasy novel without incestuous subtext.

Awesome Person Sofia Samatar interviews Awesome Person Sarah McCarry about monster girls.

I heave enormous sighs every time I read about the Stonewall movie: Learning about Stonewall was my way into intersectional feminism, way back in high school, and I want there to be an awesome movie about it. But want must be my master. Here’s the wonderful Meredith Talusan on trans erasure.

Also: Stonewall is apparently terrible. A real stinker.

I gazed blankly at the news that Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to write a run on Black Panther for Marvel, for like twenty seconds. It sounds like the kind of joke somebody would make to illustrate why Marvel is so much better than DC. BUT IT IS REAL.

Strunk and White, grammar cops.