coming of age

The Color Purple

Posted on

The Novel Ideas roulette wheel landed on a classic this month, so we’re back with The Color Purple by Alice Walker. In this episode we discuss racism, injustice, abuse, and other upsetting things. We also talk about the cold open, black comedy, down home cookin’, and laughably ineffective missionaries.

The music bump is Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington’s band performing “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” based on our unresearched speculation regarding how this book became a musical.

102 – The Color Purple – Coming of (Old) Age

Our ratings:

Ben: Purple/10. Which is the best rating, I think. I don’t really understand that part of the rating system. But I would definitely recommend this one.

Gabs: 9/10 for literary value. Also worth reading for the purpose of making yourself less shitty.

Advertisements

Never Let Me Go

Posted on

Novel Ideas returns with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is speculative fiction, or dare we say, science fiction? It is a work that raises a lot of questions, questions that we mostly don’t have answers for. Listen to the episode for our thoughts on subtlety, discrimination, sex, and possible themes. Or if you prefer, listen for our discussions of the stiff upper lip, elephant triggered bullying, silly YA adaptations, and the drama llama.

The music bump is the title track, “Never Let Me Go” by Judy Bridgewater.

Never Let Me Go – Hopes and Dreams and Clone Souls

Recommendations:

An interesting book with a lot of conversation points, and a compelling read despite nothing happening in the traditional sense of the word.

Ben: 7.5/10 One point for each of my favorite organs.

Gabs: 7.5/10 One point for each of Ben’s organs to be transplanted in the future.

Ben: Do I get a say in this?

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Posted on

We apologize for the lengthy interregnum, it was so long that we had to look up a new word just to describe it. Or possibly we just have trouble getting our act together sometimes. At any rate, Novel Ideas is back with Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, a story of a woman’s personal journey to self-realization. Listen to the episode to hear our conversation about dialect, ambition, feminism, and race. We also talk about white history professors, bees, how rabies works, and kickass deathbed scenes.

Quick scheduling note: We’re trying to post an episode for John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War next week, followed by our year in review episode for “Season 2” of Novel Ideas. There is likely to be a couple more missed weeks after that as Gabs gets married and goes on her honeymoon. Or maybe Ben will post something highly self-indulgent while we’re waiting. We’ll have to see.

If you have any comments or questions about anything we’ve talked about in the past year, please let us know! Also, if there’s anything you were hoping we might talk about outside those books, also let us know. We’d like to find some interesting and slightly different content for the end of the year episode if we can.

The music bump this week is “Janie Runaway” by Steely Dan, after our plucky protagonist.

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Too Dignified for a Mule Funeral

Recommendations:

A 20th century classic that is commonly assigned in school with a lot of conversation worthy content. A little tough to read due mainly to the use of dialect, but also rather short.

Gabs: 7/10 for literary value, 5/10 for ease of reading.

Ben: 5.5/10 because I liked it more than I didn’t, but just barely. This one felt kind of like assigned reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Posted on

After a two week hiatus, Novel Ideas is back with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book is another one of those that most of you probably had to read in school. For us, this was one of the assigned readings that we actually enjoyed, and we were reminded of that on the re-read. We discuss the big issues, like feminism and racism, mostly without embarrassing ourselves. Mostly. We also discuss the smaller issues, like who makes the best cakes in Maycomb, why everybody loves tomboys, and whether Atticus Finch gets to claim the title of “Literary Father of the Year.”

The music bump is “Fables of Faubus” by Charles Mingus, written to poke fun at Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas when he called out the National Guard to prevent Little Rock Central High School from being integrated in 1957.

24 – To Kill a Mockingbird – All Racism, All the Time

Note: We neglected to mention it on the podcast this week, but banned book week is coming up at the end of the month. Our next few books have all been banned or challenged in various places for various reasons. Celebrate with us by reading something controversial!