Jane Eyre

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Welcome back to Novel Ideas for a classically oriented episode. This week we’re featuring Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a Romantic romantic proto-feminist semi-gothic coming of age story about finding one’s place in the world. I believe that even to this day, this book remains the best known work in that genre. In this episode, we discuss the elements of that genre, as well as mental illness, feminism, religion vs. morality, sexual mores, and the search for love. We also discuss several types of Janes, St. John the vampire hunter, and why people live in environments guaranteed to kill them.

The music bump is “Jane” by Ben Folds, after the title character of this book, who is also arguably the protagonist.

37 – Jane Eyre – Unclose Your Mind


Watership Down

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We apologize again for taking a week off, but we have returned with Watership Down by Richard Adams, or as he is affectionately known by no one, Dickie. You’ve probably heard of this book and know kind of vaguely that it has something to do with rabbits. I think that’s about as much explanation as it needs. If you crave more, download this week’s episode where we will discuss the parallels with ancient Rome, the lack of female rabbits, and the political implications of warren organization. We also tackle what a stoat is, what a sentence is, and what comic relief is. Actually, between us and Dickie, I’m not sure that we know what any of those three things are.

The music bump is “Watership Down,” a surprisingly catchy song by America, the band. (Not to be confused with the book or the country.)

36 – Watership Down – Insane Death Rabbit

To avoid skipping weeks unexpectedly, we are going to begin skipping weeks… expectedly. If that’s a thing. With longer titles, there will now be a two week delay between episodes instead of one week. We’ll let you know as we go along.


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Welcome to a rather serious edition of Novel Ideas, featuring Doubt by John Patrick Shanley. This is an award winning play about…. doubt, mostly. (Or is it?) Join us as we discuss sexism, church politics, and sexual power issues while trying hard not to get creeped out. We also cover hardass nuns, the appropriate length of fingernails, and why it sucks to be thirteen.

The music bump is “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives, a piece with a very fitting title for this play.

34 – Doubt – Nun-Chuks

Bonus Episode!

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Time for some holiday bonus content from the Novel Ideas podcast! In this episode we delve into topics that are somewhat outside of our area of expertise, with an especially high level of broadcast professionalism. If we sound kind of strange, it’s because we left the fan on in the room where we recorded and scrubbed the noise out using the finest available free software. We had fun recording it, we hope you enjoy listening to it.

The bumps are… self explanatory, assuming you listen to the whole episode.

33 – Bonus Episode – One Does Not Simply Walk Into Game Over

The Crucible

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After a bit of a hiatus, Novel Ideas returns with a classic American play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. (Ben here: My apologies for our absence, but I’ve been studying for my oral exam for my master’s degree. Now that I’ve finished that off, we should be back on schedule, more or less. More on that in a moment.) This is a pretty well known work that gets performed frequently and is a regular presence in school curricula. In this episode we cover the parallels between this play and McCarthyism, a variety of unlikeable characters, and the psychology of a witch hunt. We also cover elements of feminism (of course!), old people who are also badasses, and why white people are, generally speaking, the worst.

The music bump today is “Witch Hunt” by Rush, which is actually yet another use of witch hunts as a metaphor. Look up the song lyrics if you don’t believe me.

32- The Crucible – Bitches Be Trippin’

A quick administrative note: We will be posting a special holiday bonus episode next week, though we’re not sure which day just yet. The following Tuesday, January 1, we’ll be taking off before resuming our usual weekly schedule of a new post (mostly) every Tuesday.

Ready Player One

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After trekking through numerous levels filled with puzzles, monsters, and platforms spaced just so, Novel Ideas returns with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is a book about video games, nerdery, and the 1980’s. Also about corporate interests, environmental disaster, and the 80’s. Also also about friendship, the superiority of real life to virtual life, and the 80’s. But mostly this is a book about the 80’s. In this week’s episode we discuss all of those issues, as well as the 80’s, with only brief intervals to make our own nerdy references. (And don’t forget the 80’s.)

The music bump is “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, appearing in the intro to the book as well as the intro to Jim Halliday’s rather narcissistic posthumous treasure hunt.

31 – Ready Player One – Extreme Nerdery