Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.15a: Special Super Bowl Podcast!!

On today’s bonus edition of the Reading the End Bookcast, we play a game in which Randon and I each match up NFL teams to a list of writers provided by Whiskey Jenny. Whiskey Jenny awards points to the answer that most pleases her. 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).

If you’re wondering how Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham look at each other (per Randon’s last answer), I refer you to this video, in which Drew Brees gives a manly giggle-shout in response to Jimmy Graham’s athletic prowess. Oh how I love those two people. Here’s the video of Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman giving Super Bowl tickets to little twin girls. You will love it. You should watch it twice.

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.

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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’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.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.14: Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

This week on the Reading the End Bookcast, we welcome special guest star Julia of The Card Catalog, and recurring guest star Randon, as we talk about comics once again! On the docket this time are Scott McCloud’s wonderful nonfiction book Understanding Comics (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository) and Neil Gaiman’s foundational comic book Sandman. 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’d like to skip around:

Starting at 1:08: We discuss Understanding Comics and the ways it helped us or didn’t help us. Here’s the more in-depth “picture plane”, if you want to see what we’re talking about. If you’re interested in reading the interview with Brian Vaughn that I mention, head over to the AV Club and check it out.

Starting somewhere between 14:00 and 15:00 but it’s tough to say exactly where because my segue is JUST SO SMOOTH: The discussion of Sandman: Overture and a few issues of classic Sandman commences. If you’re interested in knowing which issues I’d have chosen given my druthers, I’d have selected “The Sound of Her Wings” (still); “Calliope”; “The Parliament of Rooks”; “A Tale of Two Cities”; and that one issue from “The Wake” where Hob Gadling is at the Renaissance Festival complaining about how the real Renaissance had a lot more poop and plague everywhere. Here is the Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem classic “Don’t Blame the Dynamite.” They come up in the Sandman conversation, but mainly I just want you to have that.

16:05: The Hugo and Nebula Awards are not the same thing. In any case, neither of those awards is the one that was won by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman issue “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” That issue won a World Fantasy Award. I was just completely wrong about this. I’m sorry.

34:39: Randon is such a guy right here.

38:05: Public service announcement: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is on board to produce the Sandman movie. I did not really know that this was in his area of interest, because I didn’t see any of those Batman movies.

40:12: Here are the Lil Endless, as delightful as ever they were:

Lil Endless

41:14: For next time, Whiskey Jenny has recommended that we read Eleanor Catton’s award-winning novel The Luminaries. Woohoo! Enormously long book alert! I am not the only one who picks tremendously long books!

Starting at 42:56: Closing remarks and outro. I am a jerk and did not mention Randon in the outro. I’m the worst. We love having Randon on the podcast too! Obviously! But he feels less like a guest because he’s always there when we record a podcast. And what with one thing and another, I forgot to thank him for joining us. I’m sorry, Randon! Thanks for joining us for this podcast!

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

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.13b: New Year’s Resolutions!

Happy, happy New Year! In today’s abbreviated podcast, Whiskey Jenny and I talk about our podcast reading statistics for the year, our personal New Year’s resolutions, and the New Year’s resolutions we would like to see the publishing industry adopt. 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 will appreciate it very very much).

Below is a beautiful chart created by Whiskey Jenny and her doting family, to track our reading statistics. You can see we read way too many books by white American ladies.

chartCredits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photograph by the lovely Annalee
Special New Year’s outro song comes from here.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.13a: Christmas Books!

Merry Christmas, Christmas celebrating people! Today’s very abbreviated podcast talks about the Christmas books we love! Whiskey Jenny, Randon, and I all list our favorite Christmas books, some well-known and some wildly underappreciated. Let us know your favorites too! 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).

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
If you visit us on iTunes, you’ll notice that the old photo has met its demise beneath the bright eyes of the beautiful Annalee
Special Christmas song comes from here.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.13: Music in Books, A Visit from the Goon Squad, and a Game about Similes

This week on the Reading the End Bookcast, we talk about music and the role it plays in books, and we review Jennifer Egan’s greatly beloved A Visit from the Goon Squad (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository). Then we play a game of matching similes to the authors who wrote them, and wrap up by answering some listener 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).

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

Starting at 1:11 – We talk about music in books. Do you prefer books that talk about real music, or books that talk about music the author just made up?

3:45 – While making these show notes, I suddenly realized that all the books we’re discussing are by men. That’s weird, isn’t it? Do male authors write about music more than female authors do? Is that a thing?

8:37 – Can you hear me hastening to put a stop to Whiskey Jenny’s feeling at all favorable towards Stephenie Meyer?

9:40 – Serious question, listeners. We are thinking about doing a thing from now on where we propose Track #1 of the soundtrack to the book we are reviewing that time. Would you hate us if we did that? Would you think we were pretentious?

Starting at 11:48 – We review the much-acclaimed A Visit from the Goon Squad, a book whose name I have a very hard time remembering.

13:32 – Here is Whiskey Jenny’s aforementioned chart of the characters in A Visit from the Goon Squad and the relationships among them. Isn’t it great? Aren’t you impressed by Whiskey Jenny?

Whiskey Jenny's Chart21:23 – Useful writing tip for y’all here.

Starting at 27:15 – We play a game where we have to guess what author produced the simile that Randon reads to us. We have missed game time.

34:10 – I refer you to Monday’s post about the new editions of Harry Potter, about which I am extremely excited. I was just waiting for my opportunity to report this news to Whiskey Jenny.

Starting at 39:25 – Listener mail, and a plea for help! Listener Anna wants some audiobooks to listen to while she’s doing science, and neither Whiskey Jenny nor I are big audiobook listeners. I got some recommendations from Legal Sister, who listens to audiobooks in the car, but I could use some more recommendations from y’all! Please let me know some ideas.

Starting at 41:29 – Our recommendation for next time! The next podcast is going to be a comics podcast, in which we read some classic Sandman and the first volume of the new Sandman: Overture series. We will also read Scott McCloud’s wonderful book Understanding Comics and talk about that. Join us!

And finally, a programming note: Our next podcast would ordinarily drop on Christmas Day, but we know that y’all are far too busy with the holidays to be bothered with listening to us talk. So we’re going to release a short podcast about Christmas books on the 25th, and we’ll be back with our next full-length podcast on 8 January 2014.

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
If you visit us on iTunes, you’ll notice that the old photo has met its demise beneath the bright eyes of the beautiful Annalee
Song is by Jeff MacDougall and comes from here.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.12: Love Story Failures and Eleanor & Park

This week we talk about some things that can go terribly, terribly wrong when an author tries to write a love story. Then we review Eleanor & Park (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), a love story in which the author goes right every time. We were going to play a game as well, about lovers in fiction, but we talked about Eleanor and Park too long and too animatedly, and we ran out of time. We will do the lovers in fiction game another time. It’s a good one. 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).

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

Starting at 0:52 – We talk about how love stories fail. Our catalog of pitfalls is listed below:

1:02 – Insta-love! Down with it!

4:18 – Love triangles. I’m over them. I’m not saying you can never not ever have a love triangle ever again, but at least for now, I’d like to be on a break from them.

7:04 – Love that is too pat, like if the characters have one compatible attribute and that’s the only reason for their love.

9:14 – Authors failing to compensate for weird things in the relationship, like significant age difference or power imbalances

14:15 – Horrible descriptions of physical attraction. And here are the promised #BadSex tweets for your edification and delight.

16:57 – The trope that finding someone very, very annoying probably means that they are your True Love.

Starting at 17:40 – We review Eleanor and Park. Short version: We super, super, super loved it. We talked about it for almost an hour, and you are hearing the massively cut-down version of our discussion of it. If you haven’t read Eleanor and Park so far, you should go for it now.

40:30 – 42:30ish – The reason you don’t hear much from Whiskey Jenny about the sad parts of this book is that she was crying really hard when I was talking about them. Whiskey Jenny cries at everything.

Starting at 49:10 – I recommend that we read A Visit from the Goon Squad for next time. You may fairly say that it is Much Too Late to read this book, but too bad! We’re doing it! To hell with timeliness!

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

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.11: Criminals in Fiction and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

Note: We each received a copy of this ebook from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This week we talk about what makes a good criminal in fiction before reviewing Donna Tartt’s new book The Goldfinch. We then play a game involving jailed authors. 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).

Starting at 1:07 – What makes a good fictional criminal? Randon and the Jennys discuss the qualities that make or break criminals in fiction, although there is no taxonomy of the week. We actually had a weirdly hard time thinking of fictional criminals! Can you think of more?

Starting at 17:09 – We review Donna Tartt’s new book The Goldfinch. It is a very long book, but we implore you not to be daunted! It’s an excellent book, and I want you to be exposed to one of my new favorite characters in all of literature, Theo’s Russian friend Boris.

29:00 – Whiskey Jenny very, very, very much minds about the painting having been stolen. She was clutching her hair while shrieking about the stress of this. You will not that we are not just saying it: Whiskey Jenny really does appreciate following rules. And so do I. We are two extremely law-abiding women.

38:00 – I truly, truly believe this. My guidance counselor in second grade (I swear to God, her name was Ms. Cozy) told us that only boring people get bored, which is not true when you’re in second grade, but is probably true in adulthood when you have the internet. The world is so full of a number of things, we may not all be as happy as kings but seriously it is not that difficult to find things to occupy your time.

39:15 – 41:17 – ENORMOUS SPOILERS about the ending of the book. Skip these sections if you do not want to know the ending of the book.

Starting at 42:01 – GAME TIME! In this game, we learn about authors who went to jail. In particular, I learn some alarming truths about Thomas Malory, author of Le Morte d’Arthur. Did you know? He was a violent criminal! (Oh, but by the way, the Thomas Malory who did all the crimes may not have been the same Thomas Malory who wrote Le Morte d’Arthur. History doesn’t know.)

Starting at 49:54 – Whiskey Jenny recommends that we read Rainbow Rowell’s book Eleanor and Park for the next podcast. I am painfully excited about this. Y’all have all loved it so much, and I want to love it also! I want to be in the loving it club!

Starting at 51:19 – We each highlight a book we’re excited to read! I talk briefly about Brightness Falls from the Air, by James Tiptree Jr, which y’all know I am pleased about. And Whiskey Jenny briefly discusses Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda, a book I sort of suspect she will end up hating.

Starting at 53:49 – Closing remarks and outro

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

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.