Novel Ideas, in a completionist turn, brings you Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (but really by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany). In this episode we discuss insane bestselling sales, the nature of long delayed sequels, time travel plots, and how plays differ from novels. We also talk about the influence of cocaine (probably none), that Voldemort is likely a virgin, alternate Ron, and the inadequacy of riddle based security measures. And much, much more.
The music bump is “Sybilla Delphica” by Orlando di Lassus in honor of <spoiler of gobsmackingly stupid plot twist redacted>, Delphi.
Our recommendation: This sequel was a smashing (financial) success. Otherwise, it doesn’t really feel that much like Harry Potter.
Ben: 4/10. I’ve never been a fan of unnecessary sequels. This falls into that category for me.
Gabs: 4/10 faulty Time Turners. Because it failed to turn back the clock and recapture the magic.
Also, if you have suggestions for future episodes, please share them with us! We’re trying to be a bit more responsive to our six or so listeners this year.
Novel Ideas returns with a rare venture into the topical, reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, the very hyped “sequel” to To Kill A Mockingbird. In this episode, we discuss why the word “sequel” might by appropriately contained within quotation marks, the murky ethics of this book’s publication, racism, and (of course) feminism. We also talk about whether this story takes place in a closely parallel alternate universe, shoddy research standards, how to get someone’s attention without backhanding them, and Ben’s utter lack of interest in Hank. And for a special bonus, we get at least two good Gabs rampages.
The sound quality is a little odd this week as I tried to use a more sensitive recording set up, but forgot to kill the fan in the background. Our voices are clearly audible, but the background is white noise city. My apologies. -Ben
The music bump this week is “I Wanna Go Back to Dixie” by Tom Lehrer, a satirical take on songs that glorify the south and things commonly associated with the south.
Ben: 5/10. The flaws in the writing and Atticus’s heel turn bother me less than the fact that if TKAM didn’t exist, this book wouldn’t stand up for ten seconds under its own merit.
Gabs: 4/10. Didn’t hate it, but it was too unpolished. Also annoyed that a book dealing with racial issues only had black people in one scene.
After an unscheduled delay caused mostly by a certain male sibling’s recent life changes/laziness, Novel Ideas returns with ‘night Mother by Marsha Norman. We read this play because it is award winning and unlike our previous two plays, written by a female playwright. We brought back special guest Jessica Showers (at least at the time of recording) because she works in the theater industry. In this episode, we discuss women and Broadway, depression, conformity, and detachment. We also talk about the possibility of cotagonists, Sno Balls (and how they are the worst), candy, and a few terrible alternate endings.
The music bump is “Communication” by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and was inspired by our discussion of the theme of the play.
An award winning play that would definitely be worth seeing staged. Is it worth reading? Tougher question to answer.
Gabs: 7/10. Interesting, but hasn’t stuck with me completely.
Ben: 7/10. About the same.
As promised, Novel Ideas returns with episode number two for this week: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This is a book that is not easily summarized, as its narrative follows eight different women through various episodes in their life, not particularly linked by any continuous plot threads. Listen to the episode to hear us talk about genre vagueness, embarrassing parents, marriage, and character authenticity. We also discuss losing your mojo, baby hatin’, murder by anorexia, and what really defines your “second best bed.” And of course, feminism, though through a very positive lens this time.
The music bump is “Mah-Jong” by Chicago (yes, that Chicago).
Ben: 8/10 One point for each cotagonist.
Gabs: 9/10 Just as enjoyable as Ender’s Game, but in a very different way. Also gets a gold star for being full of interesting, complicated women.
The Harry Poddercast Extravaganza continues with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. I keep expecting someone else to pop in and write a guest novel, but so far, I have been wrong. Very, very wrong. However, Novel Ideas did have a special guest this week. Jessica joined us to talk about Dumbledore as a criminal profiler and Harry as Spiderman. We also talked about war politics, horcruxes, spoilers, and fandom’s misunderstanding of the word “slut.” Not to mention Slytherins who aren’t dicks, how to say “fuck you” politely, Dubledore and Gandalf’s budding friendship, and Draco… not being a dick? Next week, the Harry Poddercast Extravaganza comes to a close, but there’s still time to squeeze yourself into our roundtable wrap up discussion if you contact us immediately.
The music bump is the Potter Puppet Pals in “The Mysterious Ticking Noise.”
Possibly the best book in the series! Though I can’t imagine that you would be listening to this episode without having read/listened to the previous five…
The first of July is here; it’s time to kick off the Novel Ideas Harry Potter Extravaganza. We open, of course, with the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. In this episode we discuss child abuse, friendship, and standard juvenile/YA themes. We also cover untagonists, wizard racism, and possible benefits of having sly people on your side. Fan geeking is relatively low this week, though we do delve into reasons why Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff probably should be more competitive for the house cup and Ben’s irritation with the rule of quidditch.
The music bump is “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts” from A Very Potter Musical. The music and lyrics are by Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes.
Read it! If you’ve managed to somehow avoid it this long, check it out. It will read a little kid-ish, but it’s fun and easy to read.
Prepare for a long, cold slog through a world devoid of life, filled only with ashes. In other words, get ready for a new episode of Novel Ideas. This week, we read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize winning post-apocalyptic novel about… love? Join us as we discuss post-apocalyptic morality, cannibalism, isolation, and finding a purpose for living. We also talk about the potential benefits of joining a bloodcult, doomsday devices, and fonts (both apocalyptic and otherwise).
The music bump is “Lips of Ashes” by Porcupine Tree. I didn’t mean to go back to that well so quickly, but the song title was just too close to home. Also, Jackson Browne’s “The Road” didn’t quite fit the tone of novel. Additionally, there’s a little bit of Patton Oswalt at the end of the podcast. If you get that far, you’ll know why.
Ratings and Recommendations:
Ben: 7/10 miles trudged, only for what purpose?
Gabs: 5/10 on enjoyment.
Consensus is that this is a work of literature rather than entertainment. It is well written, but you may not find it very fun reading.