Welcome to the March edition of Novel Ideas, featuring The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In this episode we talk about the genre of the children’s novel, colonialism, subversions, and–need I say it?–feminism. We also discuss why Colin is kind of a dick, plot related illnesses, failed attempts at comic relief, and children’s dialogue. Gabs even did some research about the background of this novel. I know, try not to lose faith in us. We hope by the time you get to the end of this one, you’ve learned the secret behind the magic.
The music bump is Don Byron’s version of “The Royal Garden Blues.”
An easy classic and an early entry in the non-religious children’s book canon, it’s probably worth your time.
Ben: 7/10. Isn’t bad, definitely won’t change your life. Another classic that is easy to discuss.
Gabs: 8/10. Minus 2 points for Colin.
We’re back! We have returned from our own fake murder to finish doing justice to evildoers and to record this podcast about Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This is a whodunnit about mystery, murder, and politically correct modifications of the title. Okay, the book isn’t actually about that last part, but there is a bit of a history there. Fair warning, before you click this first link, you may want to make sure no one will wander by and see it out of context. Borderline NSFW. Anyhoo, the book was first published as this, then this, and for the US edition, this. In the episode, we discuss the mystery genre, vigilante justice, anti-semitism, and class issues. We also talk about 1930’s futurism, bad qualities in a judge, PC modifications, and what the Stephen King version of this story might look like.
The music bump is the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme that the book uses as scaffolding for murder. Which probably should have been the title, but I didn’t think of the phrase until just now. Oh well.
Kind of lukewarm. We may have a subtle and inherent bias against mystery novels.
Gabs: 6.5/10 Tightly plotted and readable but without the extra oomph I need for a mystery to stand out.
Ben: 6/10 Probably originated many of the obvious tropes within, so I won’t hold that against it. Too easy to read to recommend against it.
Novel Ideas returns with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Not to mention the second movie, which you may have heard, was released recently. We apologize for missing last week, illness and a new work schedule have been conspiring against us. In this episode, we discuss masculine and feminine character traits, PTSD, overly silent conspiracies, and inaction in the face of evil. We also talk about classic dick moves, Peeta as a potential creeper, whether President Snow is a vampire, and many, many prequel possibilities.
Ben’s holiday work schedule is fairly likely to result in more delays with editing and posting episodes, so the schedule may look a little jagged through the end of the year. Posts are most likely to occur on Mondays rather than Tuesdays for the duration. We’ll try not to miss any more weeks without putting it on the schedule in advance, but bear with us.
The music bump this week is “Fire in the Hole” by Steely Dan.
A very good read, as long as it isn’t the first book you ever read, with markedly more sophistication than the first book.
Gabs: 8.5/10 with the extra half point awarded for going beyond typical YA fare.
Ben: 9/10 I think I may have liked this one better than the first one, mainly due to the added political elements.
Welcome back for a very special episode of Novel Ideas. This week we’re departing slightly from our norm and discussing a play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. And we’re doing it with a special guest, our cousin Sara, who is studying playwrighting? playwriting? One of those. This play is a very black comedy/psychological drama about insane people who hate each other, featuring mental illness, unreliable/untrustworthy characters, manipulative behavior, and murder. We also discuss whether “Irish” is a genre, the tendency of little brothers to ruin everything, and how podcasts, unlike plays, are not a visual medium.
The music bump is Delia Murphy’s “The Spinning Wheel,” for Mag on the occasion of her seventy-first birthday.