Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.23: Amazon Is a Poop, Books Age Fine, and the Jennys Disagree on Italo Calvino

This week, the Jennys agree that Amazon is being a bully in the Hachette dispute, discuss what makes a book feel dated, and have amiably opposite responses to Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler. We also play a game in which we learn some things about Italy. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 23

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!

Starting at 1:15 – Bookish news! Levar Burton is Kickstartering Reading Rainbow. That is still ongoing. Also ongoing is the Amazon/Hachette dispute, which I confess I was hoping would be over by now. Here are some remarks by a Hachette author; a Slate article on what Amazon is up to; and a sad NY Times editorial.

Starting at 5:11 – What makes a book feel dated? I have a thesis statement about this!

Starting at 16:51 – Whiskey Jenny and I feel differently about Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler. He’s too experimental for me, but Whiskey Jenny digs it, even though she normally does not like not to know exactly what’s going on at every moment. That just goes to show that Whiskey Jenny is a more open-minded reader than me (which I already knew).

35:19 – A mystery about reading habits arises. Please weigh in. We have no idea what is going on with this.

Starting at 37:07 – We play Randon’s game Italy or Not Italy!

Starting at 49:16 – For next time, Whiskey Jenny recommends that we read Karen Russell’s new novella Sleep Donation. I am tentatively excited about this. I want to love Karen Russell, but I did not care for Swamplandia. Could Sleep Donation be my way in on Karen Russell? TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT. (I hope yes.)

51:34 – 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.22: Books for Travel and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder and Scarlet

We couldn’t think of a good game for this episode, but we think you’ll enjoy it anyway. As we head into summer, the Jennys take some time to discuss the types of books you want to read when you’re traveling, and we review the fun and silly books Cinder and Scarlet, the first two in a planned quartet of fairy tale retellings by Marissa Meyer (not to be confused with Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo). You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 22

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 1:06 – We discuss literary happenings! Penny Dreadful (watch it here!) is great so far, and I’m very psyched to watch the second episode. The team behind the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has announced a new series for the fall, in partnership with PBS, and it’s Frankenstein MD, in which scientist Victoria Frankenstein works to prove herself in a male-dominated field (squeeeeee!). And last but very much not least, Karen Joy Fowler won the PEN/Faulkner Prize for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, a book Whiskey Jenny and I raved about in an earlier podcast.

Starting at 10:05 – We talk about the types of books we read when we’re traveling! Take to the comments, dear listeners, and tell us what you like to read while traveling, and what you like to read during your vacations. Any particularly glorious vacation reading memories to share?

Starting at 24:50 – We read Cinder (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository) and Scarlet (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), described by Whiskey Jenny as “fluffy and not terrible”. In spite of the books not being the greatest things we ever read, we both enjoyed the books a lot and are excited to read the third one, Cress.

At 41:42 – What fairy tales do you wish would get more play in retellings? Tell us in the comments, readers! Whiskey Jenny came up with “Toads and Diamonds,” “The Goose Girl,” and “Little One-Eye, Little Two-Eyes, and Little Three-Eyes,” and I put in a pitch for “The Six Swans,” as I always do because I love that m.f. story.

42:57 – AHA. I FOUND IT. It’s a story called “How I Came to Marry a Herpetologist,” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and it was in a short story collection called Twice upon a Time, which I used to own but now it has vanished into the mists of history.

47:08 – Here’s the Karen Joy Fowler short story adaptation of “The Six Swans.” I read it in the wonderful collection My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, it is called “Halfway People” and contains a line about having a halfway heart that totally wrecks me. Read it here.

47:26 – Recommendation for next time! We’ll be reading if on a winter’s night a traveler, because we like to keep you on your toes. We don’t want you to ever feel like our reading lacks variety.

48:10 – 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.21: B-side Books, The People in the Trees, and a Mad Scientist Game

In this edition of the Reading the End Bookcast, the Jennys talk about authors and their B-sides: the lesser books that we love and hate. We review Hanya Yanigahara’s The People in the Trees, because once just isn’t enough, and we play a game of my own invention about mad scientists of fiction. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 21

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 1:15 – I briefly shriek about the upcoming Showtime show Penny Dreadful. Since recording this podcast, I have watched the pilot episode, which is freely available on Showtime’s website! Basically, Timothy Dalton teams up with a sharpshooter, Eva Green, and Dr. Frankenstein to save his daughter from vampires. There’s no reason not to be excited for this.

Starting at 4:30 – We talk about authors and their B-sides. My taxonomy of B-sides is as follows, in case you are curious:

Category 1: Books that are on an author’s B-side, but I think they should be on the A-side

Category 2: Books that have made the transition from B-side to A-side due to shifts in cultural awareness

Category 3: Books that are on an author’s B-side and you believe they belong there, but you still love them

Category 4: Books that are on an author’s B-side and you believe they belong there, and you don’t care for them

Starting at 20:50 – We review The People in the Trees (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), with all spoilers throughout — although truly, the newspaper article that kicks off the book pretty much tells you the outline of what the book’s going to be about. So spoilers may not be a thing for this book.

Around 21:05 – Note that I advance-criticize people for concern-trolling Hanya Yanagihara about her second book, while basically concern-trolling her myself. I realize this is how it came off. I apologize. I want more than anything for Hanya Yanagihara to become one of those authors that I read every word she’s ever written and love everything. Forever.

Starting at 37:52 – MAD SCIENTIST GAME.

Starting at 49:25 – For next time, we’re going to do some fun YA reading! We’re reading the first two books in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series: Cinder and Scarlet. Woohoo!

51:50 – 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.20: Mystery Tropes, a Mystery Novel, and a Game to Herald the Spring

Please forgive the delay in getting this podcast to you! We had some technical difficulties after recording the podcast, and there was some concern that this podcast was LOST FOREVER. Happily — because we have a special guest star, friend of the podcast Ashley!! — the podcast was able to be recovered, and we present it to you now. Ashley and the Jennys talk about tropes in mystery novels that we hate and love; we review J. Robert Janes’s mystery novel Mirage; and we play a game, composed by Whiskey Jenny, about flowers in book titles. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

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).

Episode 20

Here are the contents of the podcast if you wish to skip around:

Starting at 1:13 – We have an extensive discussion of mystery novel tropes, not holding our fire when a mystery trope causes us to feel contempt or rage. Ashley proves to have an impressively wide knowledge of mystery novels of the world, confirming us in our belief that she was a good guest star to bring in.

Starting at 24:59 – I do the world’s smoothest ever segue from our discussion topic to our book review, of J. Robert Janes’s book Mirage (alternate and lamer title: Mayhem).

Starting at 39:44 – Whiskey Jenny administers a GAME in which we have to guess books with flowers in the title.

53:07 – Closing remarks and outro. (Yes, there’s no recommendation for next time. I made a recommendation, but I changed my mind later and we cut it.)

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

A podcast day with no podcast

Whiskey Jenny and I extend our sincere apologies: Here it is podcast day, and we have no podcast to give you. We are experiencing technical difficulties, and we greatly fear that our most recent podcast was swallowed up by a malfunctioning computer. It was a really good one. Whiskey Jenny made up a game, and we had a special guest star in to talk with us about mysteries. We are pretty sad, but we haven’t given up hope that we’ll recover that podcast and be able to share it with you soon.

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.19: The Slap, Veronica Mars, and Listener Mail

What’s that you say? Veronica Mars is not a book and we should not be talking about it on our books podcast? SHUT UP YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF US. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 19

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 wish to skip around:

Starting at 00:57 – We discuss Christos Tsiolkas’s 2008 book The Slap (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository). Short version: We didn’t care for it.

Starting at 13:03 – Whiskey Jenny and I could not have been more excited for the movie of Veronica Mars. Nor could we have been more excited to talk about it for a really long time on this podcast.

Starting at 39:55 – We answer a piece of listener mail! What book would you put on the guest room nightstand in preparation of a guest’s arrival?

45:50 – 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.18: Tournament of Books, The Golem and the Jinni, and a Literary Winter Olympics Game

The Tournament of Books is on, and the Jennys are here to talk about it! We also review Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni and play a literary Winter Olympics game. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 18

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 wish to skip around:

Starting at 1:03 – We discuss our brackets for the Tournament of Books, the first two match-ups, and the Scott McClanahan scandal. Cut from the podcast is some talk about killing Hitler in fiction, inspired by this delightful article, “Time travellers: please don’t kill Hitler,” which we invite you to read.

Whiskey Jenny’s bracket:

WJ bracket

Gin Jenny’s bracket:

Gin Jenny's BracketCoin toss bracket (note that the “reader’s choice” books were selected using Random.org):

Coin Toss Bracket

(Note that as of this post, Whiskey Jenny and I are both doing rather badly on our brackets. Coin Toss is killing it.)

Starting at 9:54 – We didn’t like The Golem and the Jinni. We thought it was fine. We could live without it.

Starting at 20:59 – OLYMPICS OF BOOKS. I disagree with some of Randon’s decisions (both in my favor and against me), and I will give interviews saying so in the upcoming weeks, a la Ashley Wagner. (See that? I know Olympics stuff!)

Starting at 53:00 – I give my recommendation for next time. Five years later I’m finally going to read Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap. (Note from the future: What I thought about the book when making this recommendation was almost a hundred percent wrong. I had completely the wrong mental image of this book.)

53:46 – 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. 17: Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals

Surprise comics podcast for you! Whiskey Jenny wasn’t able to record this week, so Randon and I brought back COMICS PODCAST for your delectation and delight. In this episode we read Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel, G. Willow Wilson’s new Ms. Marvel, and Matt Fraction’s deeply weird new comic series with Image Comics, Sex Criminals (hear us out). You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 17

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 wish to skip around:

Starting at 1:21 – We talk about Captain Marvel, a series of 17 comics in the Marvel Now initiative, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Captain Marvel is just how I like my comics: Heavy on bickering, light on prerequisite reading from elsewhere in the Marvel universe, and lots and lots of ladies doing stuff.

Starting at 19:00 – Very briefly we talk about G. Willow Wilson’s new Ms. Marvel, which features Muslim teenager Kamala Khan. There’s only one issue of this so far but we’re excited to see where it goes from here.

Starting at 22:50 – We talk about Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s deeply weird and wonderful new comic, Sex Criminals. The cover of the first issue looks like this.

Sex Criminals

Hear us out! It’s really a very good comic, and we think you should check it out.

35:18 – 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.16a: Special Valentine’s Day Podcast!

Two podcasts in one week! How did you ever get so lucky?? This is just a quick one, in honor of Valentine’s Day: Whiskey Jenny and I talk about some of our favorite love story couples, and then we play a fairly unromantic (but fun!) game about ROMANTIC RIVALS. Can’t tell you how embarrassed I am about the Chatterley thing. Whatever. I know other stuff. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 16a

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).

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

Reading the End Bookcast, Ep.16: World War II in Books; Half-Blood Blues; and German or British?

The demographically similar Jennys return to talk about World War II in literary imagination! We review Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues (affiliate links: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository), and we finish up by playing a game of Randon’s invention in which we must guess whether movie villains are German or British. You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below or download the file directly to take with you on the go.

Episode 16

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 1:16 – Why is World War II such a recurringly popular setting for literature? What are some of our most favorite World War II books in all the land? Weigh in if you wish, and tell us some World War II books we should check out! (Please forgive me for sounding a little like my mouth is full in parts of this segment. My sister had made lemon cream cheese king cake, and it was insanely good.)

4:03 – I had a professor in England who gave a lecture about the American Revolution, and he looked very woeful when he talked about how damaging the American Revolution was to the British psyche. I felt terribly guilty. I just want y’all to know that’s what I was thinking about here.

Starting at 15:22 (ish)We review Esi Edugyan’s award-winning novel Half-Blood Blues, a story about jazz musicians in Nazi Germany in 1940 and in post-Communist Berlin in 1992. Highly recommended!

18:10 – Here’s the bit of Half-Blood Blues I’m talking about:

“Boys,” he said smoothly. “I’d like to stand you a drink.”

 

I was in love. Pure and simple. This place, with its stink of sweat and medicine and perfume; these folks, all gussied up never mind the weather — this, this was life to me. Forget Sunday school and girls in white frocks. Forget stealing from corner stores. This was it, these dames swaying their hips in shimmering dresses, these chaps drinking gutbucket hooch. The gorgeous speakeasy slang. I’d found what my life was meant for.

Starting at 31:00 – Randon wrote us a game. You should play along because it’s fun. Randon describes a movie villain and his/her plan; and we must guess whether the villain is German or British; what the movie is; and the name of the villain. If you get the names of the villains, color us impressed. We struggled with that section.

Starting at 44:41 – Whiskey Jenny gives her recommendation for next time, The Golem and the Jinni! We’ll see you back here in two weeks to find out what we both thought of it.

Starting at 45:36 – Closing remarks and outro.

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