Novel Ideas is back! At least for this week. The plan had been to get this episode up around the time the movie was released, so expect a lot of hedging on estimates of when new episodes will be released. Adding context makes comments about having more content up by the end of the year more understandable, more amusing, and a bit more shameful. At any rate, here is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, perhaps you’ve heard of it? If you listen, you will hear discussions about PTSD, the morality of war, weaknesses of characterization, and-dare I say it?-feminism. Not to mention messing with the shippers, different varieties of tridents, the curative power of babies in fiction, and why Gale is the worst.
If the audio quality seems off, we recorded and mixed this on a new rig. So Gabs is present via the power of the internet rather than the power of sitting at a table and may sound like she is present via the power of two tin cans linked by a string. Our apologies. Expect more of it. Eventually.
The music bump is “Back on the Streets Again” by the always timely Tower of Power.
Ben: 8/10. A more mature story than the first two with less action, but more interesting discussion points.
Gabs: 7.5/10 Peetas. (And zero Gales because he is terrible.) The book has some issues, but damn it, it’s trying.
Novel Ideas returns with Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This episode was recorded several months ago to buy us some breathing room if we ever needed it. As it turns out, my time issues effect editing more than reading and recording, so I believe having this episode available has prevented zero missed podcast weeks. Good intentions and all, right? At any rate, listen to the episode to hear us talk about World War 2 tropes, friendship, homosexual undertones, and torture. We also discuss improv skills, Handsy McHandsfuck, shipper distractions, and experience our own brief distraction.
The music bump is “Beautiful Friendship” as performed by the Hanna-Fontana band. It has nothing to do with the thing the name sounds very similar to…
It has been several months since we read this one, so we’re forgoing numerical ratings this week, but I can sum things up thusly:
Gabs: Thought it was good. Actually features several strong female characters in a setting where women usually aren’t featured.
Ben: If it’s about spies, I like it; if it’s about friendship, I don’t like it. Except I might like it anyway.
The portion of the Harry Poddercast Extravaganza that involves specific volumes of the series draws to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. In this episode, we discuss why anyone listening would need a spoiler alert, love, redemption, hubris, character flaws, and realism within a fantastical world. We also discuss Neville’s giant brass balls, love again, the Ron-Hermione shiptease, the stupidity of Death Eaters, and name issues. We’re not quite through yet, there will be one more massive episode where we sit around a table with some friends and break down the entire series. It has been recorded already, and it is exactly what we thought it was going to be. Long, mostly.
The music bump is a departure from the Potter related music of the previous six episodes, but is thematically appropriate. It is “Love Has the Power” by Toto, though I’m reasonably certain they weren’t referring to magic.
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…
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.
After a week off, your favorite intrepid, book-loving, podcasting siblings have returned. This time to examine Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This book is an examination of love, Colombian style. Probably. The author won’t really tell anyone for certain. In our discussion we cover the difficulties of translating literature, magical realism, love, honor, sex, and strong women. And cholera, though not nearly as much as you would expect from the title. Not to mention the fact that every character in this novel is crazy.
We also made a major update to our schedule yesterday, filling it up through the end of August. We’re going on a bestsellers kick, so most of what is on the schedule has been on the NY Times bestseller list for several weeks. Be sure to check it out if you want to read along with us.
This week’s music bump is Toto’s “Hold the Line,” because… Toto. Oh yeah, and it kind of describes Florentino Ariza to an almost uncanny degree.