Episode 10: NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap Up and CozyPunk Reads

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss their NaNoWriMo 2019 experiences along with the books This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap Up

#NaNoWriMo2019 has concluded and it is now December. And here we are.

Doing is good, but the learning is in the reflection.

  • How did it go?
  • Did you write what you said you were going to write?
  • What did you learn? How was this year unique?

Plansting means I think I am writing one thing and then it turns into something else partway through the month. – Lissa

Marian wrote the first 50,000 words of a British historical mystery novel with Egyptology and various levels of success in the advanced plotting. Lissa wrote 51,000 words of a story that started out writing about a woman who creates “Book Club for One” and then another reader joins, 15 years later. And then I added the “Narrator” of both of their stories, as a social worker type of influence in their stories/lives, manipulating them from outside, and then their Narrator got harried with additional workload and sent an ancient copper dragon straight from the D&D 5e Monster Manual to Topeka and the story got….a little bit different and a little bit better. And in the end, most of my novel was about how being in a book club is very very good and also how we all deserve agency in our own lives and our own stories.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is described at goodreads.com:

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

goodreads.com

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

Quotes and Discussion

“ There’s a kind of time travel in letters, isn’t there? I imagine you laughing at my small joke; I imagine you groaning; I imagine you throwing my words away. Do I have you still? Do I address empty air and the flies that will eat this carcass? You could leave me for five years, you could return never—and I have to write the rest of this not knowing.” 
― from This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Marian perfectly captured why it was so hard for Lissa to talk about why she loves This is How You Lose the Time War when she shared the idea of “Meals and Snacks” from the Malcolm Gladwell MasterClass. People don’t talk about things (movies, books etc) the same way they think about them. In conversation we cling to the little “snack” moments that are easy to transmit to others, but that is different than the bits that we mull and savor over a longer period of time. As writers, we include both snacks and meals so that consumers can use what we write on multiple levels. Lissa wants to annotate a copy of the book with her friends so we can all share the jokes, but also mull over and savor the book on her own, for a long time.

When Lissa hear about this concept of Machinebrain and Gardenbrain from Brad Rourk last week, she thought — it’s Red! and Blue! And she was very glad to be at a training to learn how to be better at Forestbrain.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is described at goodreads.com:

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

from goodreads.com

We agree that this book gives us SO MANY well developed characters:

  • Ashby – captain
  • Sissix – pilot
  • Kizzy – tech
  • Jenks – tech
  • Lovey – AI
  • Dr Chef – doctor and chef
  • Rosemary – clerk
  • Corbin – algaeist
  • Ohan – navigator
  • Pei – Ashby’s secret partner

“She was exactly where she was supposed to be.”

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

What spinoff projects did we propose during this podcast?

  • The cookbook/craft book based on The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Marian will work on the recipe for smokey buns and Lissa will knit a hat for fix bots. Maybe.
  • This book is the first in a series! We have more stories to read!

Coming Up

Next episode: The Book Evangelists will discussing 2019 in reading and our plans, hopes, and dreams for 2020.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters


Episode 9: NaNoWriMo Prep

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo and why YOU should write a novel this November.

Morning Chatter

Note: In the last episode we promised we were going to discuss nonfiction. Clearly, that has changed. This is what happens when you let two NaNoWriMo fanatics have a podcast. Because we are well into #NaNoPrep.

National Novel Writing Month

To participate, you write 50,000 words of fiction in the 30 days of November. Sign up at nanowrimo.org.

Lissa and Marian both think NaNoWriMo is the best thing ever.

Lissa has been writing November novels every year since 2003.

Marian has won every year since 2012.

Tips and Techniques for Winning NaNoWriMo

  • “Let me give you the tricks I know of, in hopes that you give me the tricks you know of, in hopes that we both can trick ourselves into writing novels.” – Lissa
  • “I think the big thing is just never never never never quit.” – Marian
  • “Put your butt in your chair. Try to have a big word count day.” – Marian

Coming Up

Next episode: We will discuss The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 8: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Morning Chatter

#NaNoPrep has begun.

We discuss the new NaNoWriMo stuff, which Lissa already has!

“These are the traditions in my house, you order it the first day it’s announced, and you use it all as soon as it comes. It’s like a kid on Christmas but it happens right after Labor Day every year and it’s beautiful.” -Lissa

“Every year before NaNoWriMo starts, I pre-order the winners tshirt because notoriously I won’t wear it unless I win and make 50,000 words because I’m ethical, but I’m also cheap, and I don’t want to have spent the money on something I can never wear. So this causes me to succeed every year, just for the tshirt.” Marian explaining “The Marian Rakestraw challenge”

Lissa has been comfort reading including a witty new Eloisa James regencies and The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is described at goodreads.com:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again. 

And alternate description of the book at goodreads.com said simply:

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

Quotes

“I like to see an angry Englishman,” said Poirot. “They are very amusing. The more emotional they feel the less command they have of language.”
― Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Bonus Content for This Book

This book is famous enough to have been made into at least 3 movies and has more than 19,000 Goodreads ratings.

If you are listening to the audiobook, you should know THERE IS A MAP OF THE TRAIN CAR in the print book.

Also, you can easily find many online resources about the real train The Orient Express now and historically.

What cheats are allowed in detective novels?

  • We aren’t sure yet. But we enjoy discussing it. Also, spoilers.
  • Which elements are the clues?
  • What does the author gift herself?
  • What does the author gift the reader?

To further study cozy mystery novels for comparison, Marian is rereading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Whose Body? and Lissa commits to try listening to the audiobook based on a 20 year old promise to her roommate from library grad school (Hi, Patrick!).

Old Book Problems

“I’m from a hometown that has something called the “Italian Fest” and stabbing with knives has never been part of that culture that they celebrated…and I’ve never heard that Italians might stab people with knives. So I was glad that if that was going to be part of how the detectives were making their decisions that they explained the stereotypes to me.” – Lissa

“Everybody in this book is described by racial characteristics, or religious ones, or class ones.” -Marian

More Books We Discussed

Lissa’s knowledge of Agatha Christie mostly has come from repeatedly reading To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last by Connie Willis, and we both highly recommend it. Although you should read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome first.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis has a time-travel historian character we both love, although only Lissa has named a child after the main character.

Snapshot of your Character” handout that Lissa made for NaNoWrimo a few years ago to help keep track of what a character knows at a moment in time.

Marian is looking for a good beat sheet for outlining a mystery novel. She has tried Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron and the “Whydunit” section of Save the Cat.

Coming Up

Next episode: Marian is reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach and Lissa is reading Heartland by Sarah Smarsh and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. How can reading non-fiction make us better fiction writers? Would we ever consider writing non-fiction books ourselves? Listen in to find out!

You heard it hear first: Lounging around and reading a lot of books is a great way to prepare for NaNoWrimo.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 7: The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders Show Notes

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders as part of reading and listening to the 5-star SF/FF audiobooks and books that we have recommended to each other recently. Lissa has been talking up this book constantly for six months and claims it is a climate change tidally-locked planet #hopepunk found family snuggling book.

Morning Chatter

We did all of our chattering before we started the podcast so let us tell you directly here in the Show Notes that school has started for our various children and that Lissa appreciates SO MUCH that Marian is just a little bit ahead on all of the parenting challenges and can share her wisdom and experience.

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders at Goodreads

“If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.” 

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace — though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.

description from the publisher

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

This is the quote Lissa used to celebrate her new job title “Community Connections Librarian”

Quotes

“I need to learn to belong to other people the way everyone else seems to, with one hand in the wind.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“Every community has a need that is cannot meet in itself. The more they say they do not need us, the harder we must try to become what they need most.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“A big thing in the Citizens was, we were all responsible for each other … Sometimes that meant that anybody who wasn’t us could eat shit. But we tried to be generous, and the interdependence was part of the teachings.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“You might mistake understanding for forgiveness, but if you did, then the unforgiven wrong would catch you off guard, like a cramp, just as you reached for generosity.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“I like that the quotes that you read — they’re all conflictual — this is not a book where you can rally around one particular quote. One particular quote is not going to be enough for us to rally around. We’re going to have to re-examine our thinking over and over and over.” – Lissa

Here’s the succinct wording Lissa couldn’t remember during the quotes discussion: “Nothing About Us Without Us!” is a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the groups affected by that policy.

Characters and Places

Places

How does the world-building work? How are these places described?

  • January 
  • Xiophante
  • Argelo
  • The City in the Middle of the Night

Characters

Which characters do we like? Who scares us? Who is our favorite character? Who are we shipping together? Who do we worry about? Who surprised us?

  • Sophie
  • Mouth 
  • Bianca
  • Alyssa
  • Hernan
  • Barney
  • Crocodiles/Gelet
Oh, Bianca….we could talk about her all day.

Science Fiction as Self-Help

This is a good self-help book for learning more about: Friendships, Love, Betrayal, Boundaries, Trust, and people using each other for good or using each other for bad. This book illustrates all of those things really, truly.

“People don’t hurt each other enough in traditional romance novels to have the level of depth that this book has.” – Lissa’s endorsement for why reading The City in the Middle of the Night is better, post-divorce, than reading her typical stack of escapist romance novels

This was Lissa’s favorite quote on her first read-through. Because this is a self-help book about boundaries.

Subscribing to Their Newsletters

As all good readers know, when you really like the author’s book, sometimes you might check out their website, their twitter, their podcast, their agent…..because those are all source of additional book news and recommendations!

Lissa’s subscribed to DongWon Song‘s newsletter Publishing is Hard (and loves it!)

Lissa starting listening to Charlie Jane Anders podcast Our Opinions are Correct at least 10 days before it won the Hugo for Best Fancast and Marian had it queued up. #earlyadopters

Coming Up

In this episode, we also referenced A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and The Death of the Moth by Annie Dillard.

Next episode: Marian is preparing to possibly write a cozy mystery. So, for next time, we will read an Agatha Christie novel, specifically Murder on the Orient Express and discuss what we can get from this book that will help Marian write a better novel in November.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 6: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett Show Notes

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Morning Chatter

In which we briefly discuss the joys and potential perils of recommending books to friends or potential friends. How do you choose which books to recommend to others? What if they don’t like the recommendation? What if you don’t like someone else’s recommendation? What are Marian’s favorite books to recommend to others? What will Lissa say honestly if she doesn’t like your book recommendation?

“…the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.” Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

When Marian asked Lissa how she gets great book recommendations….

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett at Goodreads

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. 

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. 

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. 

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

description from the publisher

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

Characters 

Which characters do we like? Who scares us? Who is our favorite character? Who are we shipping together? Who do we worry about? Who do we hope appears in the second book in this trilogy? You think you know what people’s motivations are, but then you find out more or it changes. Who surprised us?

  • Sancia Grado
  • Gregor Dandolo
  • Ofelia Dandolo
  • Orso
  • Berenice
  • Claudia and Giovanni
  • Estelle Candiano
  • Tomas Candiano
  • Clef!

World Building

What do we learn about the magic in this very scientific world? What do we learn about politics from a world without laws?

  • Themes
    • Unfettered capitalism
    • How marginalizing people causes the loss of talent
    • PTSD and the lasting effects of trauma

This is the first book in a trilogy. Will you read book 2? Book 3? Do you think authors owe readers the ending they are hoping for?

“Every innovation—technological, sociological, or otherwise—begins as a crusade, organizes itself into a practical business, and then, over time, degrades into common exploitation. This is simply the life cycle of how human ingenuity manifests in the material world. What goes forgotten, though, is that those who partake in this system undergo a similar transformation: people begin as comrades and fellow citizens, then become labor resources and assets, and then, as their utility shifts or degrades, transmute into liabilities, and thus must be appropriately managed.” 

Robert Jackson Bennett, Foundryside

Writing and Reading Experiments

WHY aren’t more people talking about how great this book is? Where is the hidden corner of the Internet where people are fangirling over Foundryside and should we join those social media platforms so that we can connect with the other readers who loved this book? Would Lissa alter her body or her reality to create an electronic book reading communication tool to connect to others who are enjoying the same book at the same time? Can Lissa invent this? And will you still subscribe to our podcast if this invention becomes wildly successful and we buy an island to read on?

What are we learning from this book? How do I grow up to be that good of a writer? Could you write the middle of a book and then show the build up in flash backs to write a cape/heist novel that way?

Camp NaNoWriMo for July – listen in to hear how creatively we both failed!

Next episode: We are reading and listening to the 5-star SF/FF audiobooks and books that we have recommended to each other recently, possibly including the climate change tidally-locked planet #hopepunk found family snuggling book The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 5: Dodger by Terry Pratchett Show Notes

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Morning Chatter

In which we briefly discuss the disruptions of tornado warnings and completely fail to warn the listener that Lissa has banana bread baking in her oven.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger by Terry Pratchett at Goodreads.

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.

description from the publisher

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Dodger by Terry Pratchett and our discussion is filled with minor spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

  • How do you decide to write about real historical people? Or to reuse other writer’s fictional characters?
  • Why was Marian so excited to see Joseph Bazalgette show up as a character in this story?
  • As a reader, how do you decide whether to still read or like a book if you disagree with the author’s twitter or media reports about their life?
  • How much does an editor affect the author’s work?
  • What kind of legacy of notes and unfinished manuscripts will you leave behind at the end of your long and prosperous writer’s life? How do those additional materials affect reader experience?
  • What now-long-dead authors would you follow on twitter if you could, to see their day to day thoughts?
  • How do book recommendations from authors work and why?
  • And for all of these things – how do we do these things better as writers for our own potential readers?

Writing and Reading Experiments

Marian recommends: MasterClass, starting with Neil Gaiman Teaches The Art of Storytelling and has branched out to the Dan Brown and Billy Collins writing classes

Lissa panics about the question “What are you Reading?” and will be reading Out Stealing Horses for a book club she leads. She admits she keeps going back to re-read The City in the Middle of the Night instead of reading new books because it is a book “about snuggling” and “about how you figure yourself out.”

Marian recommends All Systems Red by Martha Wells which has a self-aware murder robot.

Next episode: We are reading and listening to the 5-star SF/FF audiobooks and books that we have recommended to each other recently, possibly including The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders and Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 4: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey Show Notes

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

“It might take a little while to get there, but I’ll tell you everything and I’ll tell you the truth.” Ivy Gamble, in Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Morning Chatter

In which we briefly discuss helping our children 3D print their homework.

“I have persistence, which is like skills, by the time you finish.” -Lissa

And we explain how we failed to write our Camp NaNoWriMo projects.

  • “April is the cruelest month.” – Marian
  • “Reading is awesome, you should just read.” – Lissa
  • “Well, there’s always November, you can just recycle your idea then.” – Marian

Writing and Reading Experiments

We both like to use writers challenges and hashtags on Instagram to reflect on and plan our writing projects.

Lissa recommends: If you get really obsessed with a book you can go to twitter and find other people who are obsessed with the book. And then the author sees and joins in. Being a reader on twitter is the coolest. From @lissastaley she follows @charliejane and @scalzi and sometimes experiments with other writer’s twitter feeds.

Marian’s brave experiment was joining #revpit on Twitter and actively interacting with other writers. She reports back on her survey of writer use of social media. @marianrakestraw

Lissa recommends: The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Sometimes we leave the comfort of our reading and writing homes to interact with other writers. Marian attended a literature festival for teenagers, run by teenagers, called LitUp Festival and met multiple amazing authors including Gayle Forman and Jacqueline Woodson.

Marian recommends: MasterClass, starting with Neil Gaiman Teaches The Art of Storytelling

We reflect on signed copies of books, which books we keep, and sending books out into the world

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41555947-magic-for-liars
We both really enjoyed this book: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey at Goodreads.

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach

description from the publisher

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Magic for Liars beginning at the 37 minute mark. Our discussion doesn’t give away the ending but is filled with minor spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

How Lissa chooses books: Unreliable narrator! It’s mainstream fantasy! This will be interesting to read with Marian!

“On the whole I was impressed, and we know I am not often impressed.” Marian

We really like this book. As readers. And as writers. We were both delightfully surprised. We talk about the parts we like. We have fun discussing how really original books might reach readers in traditional publishing.

Marian: Where would I shelve this in the store? Fantasy? Hard boiled detective? It’s very original. It’s not like a book that I have read before.

Intriguing us for possible future reads: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey (Also collected as American Hippo)

Next episode: We are listening to the audiobook of Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 3: Pride and Prejudice and Shoeless Joe Show Notes

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In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“Go ahead and judge me world. I love me, and that’s enough.” – Marian, defending her choice to finally read a Jane Austen novel

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at Goodreads. Pride and Prejudice came out in 1813 so are spoilers still a thing? (They are.)

Lissa recommends this Jane Austen website.

Marian recommends: Serial Reader app to read classic books in 20 minutes a day.

Headstrong Obstinate Girl – can we reclaim the insult from Lady Catherine?

Marian recommends Georgette Heyer and thinks Lissa should start with Frederica.

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

“As a writer, I’m wondering how I get people to kidnap me and take me to baseball games.” – Lissa, explaining the appeal of Shoeless Joe

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella at Goodreads. The 1989 movie Field of Dreams was nominated for three Academy Awards and the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Marian recommends Save the Cat Writes a Novel

Reading a book about the recent past that includes fantasy elements complicates our own memories of the past.

Is this book mostly about baseball? Mostly about fathers and sons? Mostly about cornfields? Mostly about chasing dreams?

“Everything puts me in the mood for baseball.” – Marian

“These books are tricky. They leave us feeling enamored and tricked at the same time. Maybe that’s why we are still discussing them.” – Lissa

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

Episode 2: The Gilded Wolves Show Notes

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In This Episode

gildedThe Book Evangelists discuss The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. A YA adventure with an ensemble cast set in a magical 1889 Paris. 

 

Why this book? Subscription Boxes!

Marian and Lissa are so different from each other, but look at how we ended up with the same book in our mailboxes!

“I got Uppercase because I was instructed by like..the whole world…that I should do more self-care and so I bought myself Uppercase.” – Lissa

Uppercase Box – Uppercase is a monthly YA book subscription box that includes a signed first edition of the best YA book of the month along with high-quality and practical items.

“Because I’m me, before I chose a subscription box, I made a spreadsheet.” – Marian

OwlCrate – OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box for bookworms that sends you newly released YA books and other goodies straight to your door.

Are you suddenly tempted to try a subscription box? Lissa signed her kids up for OwlCrate Jr. while editing the podcast. Here’s a referral link if you are interested!


Magic Not Science

We read for what we know and for what we are interested in most.

So when we struggled to understand the way magic worked in this book, we approached that challenge differently.

Lissa tries to turn all the magic into chemistry. Or explain it away like John Scalzi’s Redshirts science lab.

Marian tries to understand how the magic system works within the book from the perspective of the writer creating the world.

What do you do with magic systems that don’t work for you as a reader?


Why Paris?

Why are so many new books coming out set in Paris in the Gilded Age?

What are your favorites so far? What are you looking forward to reading?

Do you have a story about visiting Paris that is more coincidental that Lissa’s or more crime-ridden than Marian’s?

Camp NaNoWriMo – Choose a writing project for this April. (Do it!) (Did you do it?)

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters