The Book Thief

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Novel Ideas makes a late appearance this week with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is a YA? story about World War II Germany as told through the eyes of Death. More or less. Read the book to learn more. Listen to our episode to hear us discuss Death as an interesting character choice, the power of words, Nazis, and the horrors of war. We also talk about our research standards (low), our knowledge of German (also low), amalgams, and the lack of actual book thievery in this story. Also, weirdly, there is a fairly significant discussion of H.H. Holmes, who has nothing whatsoever to do with this book. Try to overlook the ambient noise in our studio, primarily generated by a squeaky office chair.

The music bump is “Roses of the South,” a waltz by Johan Strauss, performed on the accordion. Why you ask? Because READING.

The Book Thief – Amalgams and Archetypes

Our Recommendation:

7/10 books stolen. This one is an easy read despite its length and more poetic than average prose.

Fahrenheit 451

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Banned Book Month continues with a classic dystopian novel that taught me an important lesson, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. What I learned from this book is how to spell the word “Fahrenheit.” It’s a tough one, guys. In this episode we discuss Bradbury’s unique writing style, accurate futurism, the difficulty of determining cause and effect, and the origins of dystopian stories. We also talk about manic pixie dream girls, sage characters, the impossibility of being universally liked, and what plagues the youth of the future. Also, this is one of our more self-referential episodes. You don’t have to be familiar with our previous episodes and books to follow the conversation, but be prepared for references to: A Handmaid’s Tale, Divergent, Hunger Games, Brave New World, The Giver, Childhood’s End, The Road, and Harry Potter. And possibly a couple of others I forgot to write down.

The music bump is “The Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson in reference to the poem “Dover Beach,” which plays a prominent role in the book. This selection narrowly edged out “House on Fire” by Kansas, but I decided to zag instead of zig.

Fahrenheit 451 – Dystopian Origins


A well known book that offers an obvious theme and plenty to talk about, but written in a style that is rather difficult if you don’t enjoy artistic prose.

Gabs: 6/10 for importance as a classic, 2/10 for actual enjoyment.

Ben: She totally stole my bit. 7/10 for assigned reading, 3/10 for entertainment.


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If we post only one day late because we were a week late with the previous episode, is that a Catch-22? I think it is if you only try to download episodes when they aren’t here. And you don’t read our posts unless they aren’t posted. I’m not sure because I’m not very good at Catch-22 logic. At any rate, this week we discuss Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, the classic satirical war novel. In this episode we discuss characterization, plot, and how to make a movie out of this book. Is that discussion a Catch-22? It might be, because those are three things that are not very likely to be connected to this book. We also talk about war, war stories, and whether or not war is bad (hint: yes). We very carefully do not discuss how this episode title could be applied to our podcast at large. We hope you enjoy this episode, but if you don’t, maybe it can at least extend your lifespan.

The music bump is “Keasbey Nights” by a band called, appropriately, Catch-22.

43 – Catch-22 – A Collection of Jokes With No Plot

A quick correction: The Perilous Gard is by Elizabeth Marie Pope, not Warren. Warren is actually the name of the family in the book.