Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review: The Power

The Power The Power by Naomi Alderman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book made a bunch of best of the year lists, and I had picked it from Book of the Month in October, so I decided to make this one of my last reads of the year. I started it the same day as Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which became far more appropriate than I could have planned for. I believe Naomi Alderman must also have read this book because some of the scenarios described in it, where women are oppressed and disadvantaged, have direct parallels to events in The Power.

Women worldwide start developing the ability to transmit electrical shock and this inspires a global shift in power. At first, it comes in small ways, with women able to say no more and being able to overpower an attacker, or even in the confidence bestowed to a woman knowing she has the power. But then, as in many dystopian landscapes, power corrupts. I was unhappy to see the women taking on the same violations of power as the men; at the same time this is a likely fall out (but maybe one we've seen before just in different forms.) There is one very important moment in which a woman who was trying not to display her power does so and rather than it ruining her chances at something, it turns the tide in her favor. It almost felt damning rather than empowering (but I'm not complaining, this was smart.)

Does it matter if it's male or female if it's more about who has the power? The author has some fun with this at the end where she has a meta conversation between a guy named "Neil" who has submitted this manuscript in the world of the novel, and she suggests he publish it under a female name so it wouldn't just be considered a "male novel." Ha!

The alternating perspectives were interesting but this tends to separate me a bit from the characters. I really found Jos, the female who can't control or always summon her power, the most interesting and probably least utilized.

Mother Eve is being led by a voice, and I wasn't satisfied with the reveal of that voice. Perhaps the weakest element of the book. I did like the way religions shifted to the female focus without necessarily forming new religions. Just a reminder that history and religion is heavily influenced by who has the power, and who gets to tell the stories.

This is my last read of 2017!

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Review: The Book of Dog

The Book of Dog The Book of Dog by Lark Benobi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My penultimate read of 2017. This very funny book had me giggling in the corner about apocalypse and dogs. The author was inspired to write it as a response to the presidential election. I found even more funny bits in the attempts to control/understand apocalypse/rapture, the willingness to embrace new identities, and the adaptability of the characters. The ending is particularly rewarding, and I find this so often to not be the case when approaching the end of an apocalypse novel.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: The Last Ballad

The Last Ballad The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1929, the south was home to a growing movement of protest for workers' rights. Told from rotating perspectives as Wiley likes to do (including at least one character from forgotten history), the author tells the stories surrounding the Loray Mill in Gastonia, NC. I live in a former mill town in the south, also mentioned in the book, so this was of particular interest to me.

I've read several books by Wiley Cash at this point and have seen him speak a few times at conferences and the like. I see that this rotating perspectives approach works for him, but I'm hopeful that he will make an attempt to write a novel without it at some point. I'd really like to get to know one central character in a deeper way. Something about this rotating perspective makes me feel like I'm kept at arm's length from truly connecting as a reader.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The book came out in October 2017; I'm playing catch up!

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: Augustown

Augustown Augustown by Kei Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I selected this book from the Tournament of Books longlist as a potential dark horse. I really liked it and would love to see it make the shortlist. I like the way it plays with storytelling and assumptions the reader might be making.

Halfway through, I was confronted with this:
"Look, this isn't magic realism. This is not another story about superstitious island people and their primitive beliefs. No. You don't get off that easy. This is a story about people as real as you are, and as real as I once was before I became a bodiless thing floating up here in the sky. You may as well stop to consider a more urgent question; not whether you believe in this story or not, but whether this story is about the kinds of people you have never taken the time to believe in."

The novel starts with a woman in a specific area known as Augustown, which may be based on the real life area of Jamaica referred to as August Town, now known as Ma Taffy, somewhat of a matriarch for her nieces and nephews and greatnieces and greatnephews. She is blind but knows something has gone wrong, because she can smell something, which she can't at that moment identify. Kaia returns home from school and she discovers his dreadlocks have been chopped off by his teacher.

From there, Ma Taffy starts telling a story about a flying preacherman who showed up in Augustown when she was younger. This connects to the autoclaps (ie: apocalypse) events that are about to occur. The novel ends up roughly divided into before and after, and it all spirals around Kaia's day at school.

There is a lot here about modern, non-tourist Jamaica.

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Review: Other Men's Daughters

Other Men's Daughters Other Men's Daughters by Richard Stern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"By the time you're my age, [love is] but a combination of lust and nostalgia."
At first glance, I was feeling a bit over this book. Not another novel about a middle aged professor tiring of his life and taking up with a younger, freer woman. How many of those are there, anyway? And what would make NYRB republish this one if better known novelists have done it and kept in the spotlight?
"The last few years I've felt a terrific drive in [women.] They want, they want, and it's we not-quite-graybeards who give them the most the quickest. We teach them, we spend on them, we show them off, we tell them what everything means. We're their Graduate School."
But it isn't just about that. It's about that conflict between traditional and the "new" (late 60s, early 70s), living your whole life based on external expectations even if you're miserable or daring to see what might be beyond that, and then suffering the very real consequences of breaking up a family.
"For years now, as his marriage unglued, Merriweather was conscious of the marital 'we.' He thought of it as an American shield against suspicion (of loneliness, debauchery, homosexuality, eccentricity.) 'We went,' 'We saw,' 'Josie and I,' "Jeanne and I.' Was it a proud flag of dependence or did the connubial pair exist only as a pair, as colonial animals exist only as colonies?"
Even when a family is only stable on paper, that's still more stable than it becomes when it is torn apart, relocated and separated. I think Stern captures this well and doesn't pass judgement on the characters, although the men are overly (for my tastes) focused on the physical appearance of all the female characters in the novel, and often use them as reasons for doing or not doing things. I suppose this was the norm in the 70s, but it is jarring.
"I feel about her the way Galileo did about the telescope. My feelings for her enlarge my feelings for other things."
In fact I'm finding I have similar feelings to my reactions to Revolutionary Road. Do I even like this book? I think it is well-written and captures a lot of complexity. But the men see the women only by what they get from them. It is decades away from partnership, that's for sure. Who wouldn't keep looking for something more?
"Maybe human beings who love each other should only present their best face to each other, saving their miseries for silence, dark and the pillow."

Thanks to the publisher for providing access to a copy before its republication date through Edelweiss, and then providing me an additional copy when my review copy would not function properly.
Published 29 August, 2017, by New York Review of Books.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Review: Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir

Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir by Dawit Gebremichael Habte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a big blind spot about Eritrea. As far as I knew, it was a little upstart of a country that declared its independence from Ethiopia in the 90s. I only knew that much because we had missionaries coming through from time to time and I was strictly instructed I couldn't tell anyone that they unofficially also spent time in Eritrea. I had the impression at the time that was because the United States did not acknowledge it as a country, and that may have been true at the time, but I'm sensing it was more because said missionaries needed to be able to travel the borders between nations and already were paying bribes to do so, and didn't need any more walls preventing it.

It turns out, she says with a shameface, that Eritrea has an interesting and unique history of its own nationhood. Luckily Dawit Gebremichael Habte assumes the average English-speaking reader does not have this information, and he gives a brief history of the country-of-his-birth's history, to put his own story into context. At times it is overwhelming with so many place and people names that were completely new to me, but I blame myself and not the author. What could he do?

It is also the personal history of a man who has to flee his home country and ends up working hard and making great strides in the United States. After an education at Johns Hopkins and a job at Bloomberg, he uses his position and funds to give back to his country even in the middle of the turmoil of the 2000s, where Ethiopia once again decided to attack Eritrea.

Habte compares Eritrea to Kuwait at times and it is an apt comparison due to its size and important natural resources (the port being the most significant). But unlike Kuwait, it rarely had the powerful countries on its side. Any liberation had to be undertaken and still has to be undertaken from within. This is not an easy task considering the countries backing Ethiopia.

As of the writing of this book, the border dispute between the two countries was still on (what seems like indefinite) hold. Habte is back working at Bloomberg and checking in with his family and financial projects. In some ways the book felt unfinished because the story is not over, but I guess that is always true.

At least now I can say I've read a book from Eritrea for my endless Around the World reading project!

Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this title through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Artemis

Artemis Artemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Most successful in this book is the thought experiment of living on the moon and the necessary technology, dangers, and modes of production. And similar to The Martian, there are some bits of humor.

Less successful is what I can only interpret as the author wanting to be more diverse, and therefore using the same main character type as in the Martian but calling her Arab and female. Eh, didn't buy it. It did harken back to some of William Gibson's female characters and their loner, black-jean wearing ways.

And man he kept setting up for a sex scene he then didn't write. So much set up! A new self-cleaning condom! How different sex is in less gravity! And then nothing. Clearly the author researched it, where is it? Chekhov's gun fail, unless it somehow is only missing from the review copy.

Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this title via Edelweiss.

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Reading Envy 106: Falling Asleep During Tarkovsky Films

Jenny got together with a longtime online reading friend, Jon Laubinger, and host of his own podcast, Film Baby Film. We discussed the book Roadside Picnic alongside the film Stalker. You should expect spoilers for both, as this is an in-depth discussion.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 106: Falling Asleep During Tarkovsky Films

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
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I am scheduling guests for 2018! If you are interested in appearing on the podcast: FAQ

Book/film discussed:

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, translated by Olena Bormashenko
Stalker (film) directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Other mentions:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Mad Men (tv show) - picnic episode is Season 2, Episode 7
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Solaris (film) directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem
Area X trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation (film) directed by Alex Garland
The Mirror (film) directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Related Episodes:

Episode 023 - The Patron Saint of the Misfit Readers with guests Marco V. Morelli and Averi Dylan
Stalk us online:

Jon's podcast website, Film Baby Film
FBF on Instagram
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: Women & Power: A Manifesto

Women & Power: A Manifesto Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very thought-provoking read, as long as you understand what it is - the texts of two speeches Mary Beard has given in the 21st century. Honestly, I do wish she'd used them as a starting point and written a much longer book about the topic, because I think she is drawing some connections I have not seen before - between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, etc. She completely blew my mind about incorrect information I had internalized as part of my education, about Elizabeth I and Sojourner Truth, and it just makes me wonder what else she knows that I don't.

I was glad to see that she included a long list of additional readings and resources, but I still think there is work for Mary Beard herself to do in this arena.

The focus of this book is politics and history in the UK but of course there is a healthy dose of the USA in there, as well of some mentions of other world leaders.

It is making me want to go back and read her well-loved book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, because if anyone can bring it to life, surely it is Mary Beard.

The publisher provided a copy of this book through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Adua

Adua Adua by Igiaba Scego
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is more of a 3.5 star read for me, rounded up. I loved the approach of the novel with the three historical periods and a woman who has experienced massive changes in her life between growing up traditionally as a Somali Muslim girl and then transitioning to film stardom in Italy. I liked the techniques of the rotating narrative perspective between Adua, her father as a younger man, and the sections addressed to her, correcting her behavior. Very unique! But it just wasn't long enough. I only get a taste! I wanted so much more of her father's experience (perhaps too narrow of a view of his life, I needed more background to understand his choices), her childhood, and the time between her film career and marrying young immigrant men who need homes. And more about the modern Somalia with houses selling for millions.

The writing, even in translation, shines in its casual approachability and the ability to pull the reader into the setting through brief but evocative descriptions of smells and sounds.

I appreciated how the author provided a brief overview of the historical context of the three periods of her novel at the end, but I think I would have preferred to learn it inside the novel. I will look for more from her.

Thanks to the publisher for providing access to this title through Edelweiss.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Priestdaddy: A Memoir Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most of this memoir reads like episodes of a sitcom with the central situation being Patricia growing up with a Catholic priest as a father. Seminarians, moving around a lot, some of the strangeness of being super conservative in the 80s and 90s, it's all in there. A lot of the book could be dipped in and out of without feeling lost, because it isn't really told chronologically (this might bother some people though.) Many of the stories are just that - self-contained stories, often funny. (People who are easily offended or who don't want to see Catholics being anything less than perfect should probably not bother, but man oh man is there some funny stuff in the book.)

But there is deeper stuff here too. The author really takes some steps back to reflect on her experience of the church and that feeling of the self-contained we, and how it might have effected others:
"All my life I have overheard, all my life I have listened to what people will let slip when they think you are part of their we. A we is so powerful. It is the most corrupt and formidable institution on earth. Its hands are full of the crispest and most persuasive currency. Its mouth is full of received, repeating language. The we closes its ranks to protect the space inside it, where the air is different. It does not protect people. It protects its own shape. The question for someone who was raised in a closed circle and then leaves it, is what is the us, and what is the them, and how do you ever move from one to the other?"
I'd love to see this turned into a television show because the dichotomy between Patricia's priest father (and his see-through briefs and his guitar licks) and the seminarians piously rotating through their house, it's just golden.

I would say the audiobook gains a star because it is read by the author, and is hilarious.

I know Lockwood is also a published poet, and I need to read those poems!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Episodes 1-99 of Reading Envy

My Podcast Episode list was getting pretty long so this is where 001-099 will live now.

Episode 001 - Episode the First!
Episode 002 - Return of the Euthanized Book with guest Bryan Alexander
Episode 003 - 3 of 5 Stars with guest Julie Davis
Episode 004 - Home, Frightening and Banned with guest Karen Acosta
Episode 005 - The Second Definition of Geek with guest Tamahome
Episode 006Bailey's Women's Prize 2014
Episode 007 - Top Secret Dance-Off with guest Seth Wilson
Episode 008 - Gone Rogue with guests Steve Richardson, Libby Young, and Mike Winiski
Episode 009 - Pirates and Noonday Demons
Episode 010 - YA Literature: Death and Mayhem with guests Alex and Carissa
Episode 011 - People of the Book with guest Bryan Alexander
Episode 012 - Some Bookers and Some Madness 
Episode 013 - The Secret Central Force with Josh Lawrence and terpkristin
Episode 014 - Flannery O'Connor With Zombies with guest Jason Roland
Episode 015 - The Time for Exclaiming Over Costumes with Jean and Karen
Episode 016 - Was That Mansplaining? with guest Jean
Episode 017 - Homeric Radiation at Lake Inverness with guest Luke Burrage
Episode 018 - Dystopia is my Religion 
Episode 019 - Dump Truck Poetry with many guest contributors!
Episode 020 - Goals! 
Episode 021 - Amoebic Borders with guest Darin Bradley
Episode 022 - Gods and Cannibals with guest Chris
Episode 023 - The Patron Saint of the Misfit Readers with guests Marco V. Morelli and Averi Dylan
Episode 024 - The Attention of Humanity with guests Seth Wilson and Barret Newman
Episode 025 - Mule and Plow with guest Jason Roland
Episode 026 - It Ended Well
Episode 027 - A Conference of Librarians with a bunch of guests
Episode 028 - The Room of Requirement with guest David Galloway
Episode 029 - Joni Tevis and the Secret Shape with guest Joni Tevis
Episode 030 - Bring Back the Guillotine! with guests Bryan Alexander and Steen Hansen
Episode 031 - Hideous Realism with guest Jesse Willis
Episode 032 - Her Smoke Rose Up Forever with Luke Burrage, crosspost with SFBRP podcast
Episode 033 - An Undulating Thrum with guests Ruth and Elizabeth
Episode 034 - The Liminal Space Between with guest Paul Weimer
Episode 035 - Speed Dating Books
Episode 036 - The Reader Sense of Ann VanderMeer with guest Ann VanderMeer
Episode 037 - Breakdancing to Bach with Juliane Kunzendorf
Episode 038 - Monica Byrne Wants to Make People (Want to) Scream with guest Monica Byrne
Episode 039 - Paranoid Squint with Fred
Episode 040 - Proustian Ratatouille with Thomas Maluck
Episode 041 - Grotesque Beauty with Nathan Ballingrud
Episode 042 - It Begins with Rain with Jason Roland
Episode 043 - Librarian Time Capsule for SCLA's 100th Anniversary
Episode 044 - Of Survival and Memory with Luke Burrage
Episode 045 - Worlds Collide with Ross O'Brien
Episode 046 - Books for Your Kitty Party (The Best of 2015) with Libby Young and many other guests
Episode 047 - Sex with Elvis: Bonus Book Speed Dating Episode
Episode 048 - Reading Goals 2016
Episode 049 - The Legendary Cheese with Holly and Caroline
Episode 050 - Open to Suggestion bonus episode
Episode 051 - Dreaming in Books with Karen
Episode 052 - The Man with the Eyebrows with Philip and Scott
Episode 053 - The Pool I Rarely Swim In with Luke Christie
Episode 054 - Retired Pirates with Jason Roland
Episode 055 - Too Late for an Autopsy with Julie Davis
Episode 056 - The Wall of Romance
Episode 057 - If Books were Roads with Steve Richardson 
Episode 058 - Wishing for a Sequel with Scott D. Danielson 
Episode 059 - Are you Inspired Yet? bonus book speed dating 
Episode 060 - A Good Era for Communists with Rose Davis 
Episode 061 - Never Do That to a Book with Elizabeth 
Episode 062 - Olfactory Stimuli with David Galloway 
Episode 063 - Desolation Road (book speed dating and books on grief) 
Episode 064 - Reading Down the Rabbit Hole with guest Tracy Landrith 
Episode 065 - Creeping through the Uncanny Valley with guest Bryan Alexander 
Episode 066 - When Time Stops with Karen 
Episode 067 - Rain and Readability with Ruth(iella) 
Episode 068 - Banned Books Week Minisode
Episode 069 - Evil Librarian/SFBRP Crossover Episode with Luke Burrage and Juliane Kunzendorf
Episode 070 - Words Like Weapons with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 071 - Bad Priest, Good Priest, No Priest with Scott
Episode 072 - Books Are My Bag with Sarah K
Episode 073 - Buried Under the Beets with Jason Roland
Episode 074 - The Books We Didn't Love in High School with Blaine DeSantis
Episode 075 - After the Year We've Had (Best of 2016)
Episode 076 - Borderlands (Reading Goals 2017)
Episode 077 - No One Messes With a Wolf with Shawn Mooney
Episode 078 - Small Towns in the Second Person with EA Mann
Episode 079 - Deliberately Silenced and Preferably Unheard with Rima Abunasser
Episode 080 - The Wild Things Helped with Jason Roland
Episode 081 - Reading Envy Readalong
Episode 082 - Reading Envy Envy with Scott Danielson 
Episode 083 - Slowing Down and Rereading with Julie Davis 
Episode 084 - A Worthy Tangent with Bryan Alexander 
Episode 085 - An Acquired Taste with Thomas Otto 
Episode 086 - The Queen of Bailing with Shawn Mooney 
Episode 087 - Going Native with Bookclub Social with Amanda and Grace 
Episode 088 - Author Head Space with Sara Moore 
Episode 089 - Hodge Podge with Jenny alone 
Episode 090 - Reading Envy Readalong: East of Eden with Ellie and Jeff 
Episode 091 - Watching Our Stories with Tracy Landrith 
Episode 092 - Reading Friends Sarah and Preston
Episode 093 - Spewing Science with Jeff Koeppen
Episode 094 - House Arrest with Libby Young
Episode 095 - Lose the Outside World with Lindy Pratch
Episode 096 - Not Without Hope with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 097 - Blank Spaces with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 098 - Just a Bunch of Stuff that Happened with Bryan Bibb
Episode 099 - Readalong: The Secret History

Episodes 100-199
Episodes 200+

Review: Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'd seen mixed reviews of this one so I held off on it for a while. But I knew it was a quick read so I finally picked it up. I personally loved the sparse contents, a journal with brief entries of a sort, chronological over the course of a year. Ruth, the novel's narrator, returns to her parents' home to help with her father, who has Alzheimer's. Her own relationship has failed and she quits her job to return home, after several consecutive years (or at least holidays) away, so she hasn't seen the deterioration as it happened.

The word that came to mind as I sipped a holiday coffee is "bittersweet." The nostalgia and memories are difficult because of the present reality, but the new experiences and transposed realities also have a level of enhanced importance to them, now that the impermanence of life has been acknowledged.
"What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers. That the reasons we can care for one another can have nothing to do with the person cared for. That it has only to do with who we were around that person - what we felt about that person."
There are tiny pieces of the novel that are pieces of journals of her father, observations he made about her when she was a child and would say something accidentally clever or funny. The novel shifts to include more of these from her perspective about her father, and more and more to the present moment without the history. This may seem confusing or small but I think anyone who has been even a partial companion to a parent dealing with a permanent or terminal illness will recognize this type of world. It becomes so small, so fast, and unless you focus on these tiny moments of observation and amusement, all it is is the disease and the loss. So for me, this book is not the least bit shallow, but the natural companion to a very hard time.

I also just loved the tiny asides and comments... it reminded me of the tone of a lot of my emails, actually. Maybe I just found myself a lot in this book.

"Lately my thing is inventing new yoga poses. The Onion is one. You make yourself very round, then peel yourself, limb by limb."

"Tonight I try my hand at dessert: baked Alaska, because of course. It's so epic! How can you bake Alaska? How can you not?"

"He tells me about his day. How he was, when I called, leaving a bad stand-up show and feeling outrage. How, earlier today, he returned bad avocados to the grocery store, and got a refund, and felt triumphant."

"There are depressed-looking sea snails, sucking algae slowly. It occurs to me that they might be taking their time, enjoying the algae. Maybe they aren't depressed after all. Maybe it's the opposite, and the one who's depressed is me."

View all my reviews

Reading Envy 105: Best Reads of 2017

Jenny, previous and future guests of the podcast, and a few other readers come together to share their best reads of the year. In typical Reading Envy fashion, these are not necessarily books that were published in 2017. What was your best read of the year? Feel free to share at the end of this post.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 105: Best Reads of 2017

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Listen via Stitcher

I am scheduling guests for 2018! If you are interested in appearing on the podcast: FAQ

Jason Roland (Episodes 14, 25, 42, 54, 73, 80, 104)
Autumn by Karl Ove Knaussgard

Julie Davis (3, 55, 83)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Jenny's top short story collections
Things to do when You're Goth in the Country: and Other Stories by Chavisa Woods (88)
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (101)

Kindred by Octavia Butler
(also mentioned The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas)

Jenny's top genre reads
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (87)
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (91)
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones (98)

Lark Benobi, author of The Book of Dog
The Eternal Zero by Naoki Hyakuta

Lauren (97)
China in Ten Words by Yu Hua
An Arrangement of Skin by Anna Journey
Vulgar Remedies: Poems by Anna Journey
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Annie Muktuk and other Stories by Norma Dunning

Elizabeth of Silver’s Reviews
The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

Jenny's top readalongs
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (90)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (99)

Scott (most of the first 25, then 52, 58, 71, 82)
Dracula by Bram Stoker

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.

Jeff Koeppen (90, 93, 99)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

Jenny's top non-fiction reads
Island Home: A Landscape Memoir by Tim Winton (86)
Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel (97)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

Tracy (63, 64, 91)
Penny Reid, everything she's written

Karen Acosta (4, 15, 51, 66, 101)
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Lincoln in The Bardo by George Saunders (particularly audio)

Jenny's top audiobook reads
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (97 by Lauren)
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Bryan Alexander (2, 11, 30, 65, 84)
Red Calvary by Isaac Babel

The Complete Butcher's Tales by Rikki Ducornet
The Box Man by Kobe Abe
The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Amanda from BookClubSocial (87)
Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif (also mentioned on 96)
Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi
The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Grace from BookClubSocial (87)
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

Lindy (95)
The Ghost Orchard by Helen Humphries

Jenny's top reads in poetry
A Place Called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom
Sorry for Your Troubles by Padraig O' Tuoma
Readings from the Book of Exile by Padraig O' Tuoma (not featured)
The Performance of Becoming Human by Daniel Borzutkzy (88)
When I Grow Up I Want To Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen (97)

Luke (17, 32, 44, 69
Nine Fox Gambit by Yun Ha Lee

Juliane (37, 69)
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Jenny's top reads in fiction
Black Wave by Michelle Tea (80 and 102)
Plainsong by Kent Haruf (82) (also Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, 103)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (96)
Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Leger (96)
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyn

Elizabeth (33, 61)
The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

Jenny's List of Reading Envy for 2017
(aka books I haven't gotten to)

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani Shapiro
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
The Break by Katherina Vermette
The Dry by Jane Harper
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson
White Tears by Hanri Kunzru
Maggie O’Farrell
Tim Winton
Eve Babitz

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