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A podcast for bookish people, opinionated by bookish people. Because ranting is what book clubs are missing.
Mar 28, 2021
When Opposites Attract
(well, when opposites get compared) Tag along another unhinged episode of emotionally charged ranting! It’s great, though. Don’t be scared. Jess reads/rants about Sarah J. Maas’ latest book in her A Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Silver Flames (ACOTAR #4? 5? ACOSF #1?), which follows the coerced romance of Nesta and Cassian. It’s weird and creepy and SJM isn’t even aware of it because she and her fans keep selling us propaganda about how feminist and progressive her books are. No, Rhysand, you didn’t invent feminism. No, Cassian, trapping a ‘female’ in your house and ogling her breasts and forcing her into exercise isn’t a form of therapy. Ugh. And now they’re making a tv series out of this? Move aside, Outlander, here come the tanned dudebros with wings. On a much happier note, Vee reads the genderqueer and imaginative and age-inclusive The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg, which is the first novel in Lemberg’s much loved Birdverse world. It’s like a coming of age novel for two queer 60 something year olds, but they’re not coming of age so much as affirming their true selves in the face of people who don’t accept them. Also magic and lore and a whole symbiosis between story and world and magic and mechanics and ugh. Go read it, it’s wonderful.
1 hr 8 min
Feb 27, 2021
Welcome to Black Future Month
Happy Black History Month! And also Black Future Month! Vee reads the incomparable genius N.K. Jemisin with her book of short stories, How Long 'Til Black Future Month, and Jess reads the magical and relevant The Midnight Bargain by Canadian author C.L. Polk. We talk about SJM controversy, reading vibes, and generally struggle. Like, it's February. It's rough. Black Lives Matter ✊🏿
1 hr 11 min
Jan 28, 2021
Like Nothing We've Ever Read Before
Jess and Vee both read books like nothing they've read before, even though Vee has already said that about the same author and - well, Jess is probably right. She often is. Jess reads The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, a beautifully written story about a woman from the 18th century who makes a deal with night to live forever - but where no one will remember her. An instant classic! Vee reads A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and talks about the controversy surrounding the book, from first impressions and heightened emotions to opinions developed after taking in other people's perspectives and just, you know, giving it time. Oh, and of course, we gush about Bridgerton and The Story Graph!
1 hr 10 min
Dec 31, 2020
Year in Books: 2020 (An Ode to the Library)
It's that time of year again... when your brain is mush from all the reading you've been trying to stuff into the last few days of the year, because you haven't quite come to terms with the fact that you won't reach your reading goal for this year and that good habit you tried to pick up last, oh, what, a month or two, and you're too ashamed to even admit your shame to yourself. Sound familiar? It's okay. It happens. But, hey. We made it through this year. Good for us. And in celebration, we're learning from our #nopressure2020 and going into 2021 with wherever reading takes us. Happy new year, good bye 2020, and go read. Oh, and we made a reading challenge for 2021!
1 hr 3 min
Dec 27, 2020
Memory Lapses & Pronunciation Problems
'Tis December, which means it's time to rant about our Book Box books! (If that makes no sense to you, listen to the last episode - or, at least, the last ten minutes of it) Well, rant may be a strong word, because we loved both of our books. Vee reads (most of, sorry!) Circe by Madeline Miller, a retelling of the goddess Circe's story that upheaves the world and smashes the patriarchy and just, gosh, it's so good. Jess shares what she found most eye opening about Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, self help book but not a self help book about shame and vulnerability and perfectionism, and engages in an act of vulnerability herself! Happy holidays to everyone!
1 hr 4 min
Dec 5, 2020
Vampires do Sexy Science
It's... our November episode! In December! Because reasons! We hope that our sporadic upload schedule (sorry about that) is made up for (we hope) with two amazing books - and our Christmas Book Box unboxing! If you have no idea what our Christmas Book Box is, well, listen to the episode and you'll find out. Easy peasy. Jess binges and gushes about the page-turned that is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, the first book in the All Souls trilogy. Part foray into dark academia, part Anne Rice vampires do sexy science, this is a book that comes highly recommended. Vee has a moment with His Majesty's Dragon, the first book in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik - the second Novik book read by Vee this year, and the third book by Novik covered by us this year! Are we... a Naomi Novik podcast? We'll get back to you on that. We also talk about e-readers, the joys (and necessity) of libraries in Covid times, and laugh a lot. Oh, and did we mention our Book Box unboxing?
1 hr 11 min
Oct 29, 2020
Of course this is our Halloween episode...
In this episode, Vee rationalises that she's reading a spooky Halloween book because all fantasy, if you think about it, is an exploration of the Other. Right? And what is Halloween but a showcase of those things that we avoid and reject and therefore become afraid of? Am I convincing anyone? Probably not. A Dreamer's Tales by Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany) is a unique exploration of both that otherworldly fantasy that lifts you out of the familiar and yet, at the same time, the fantasy that lives in the mundane. But it's also over a century old, so don't expect anything modern. Jess reads The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves, a romance about a neurodivergent protagonist (gasp!) that takes place over two decades. Does this fit the Halloween vibe? Sure.... since it... explores the perspective of someone outside of what society considers typical, and thus someone who's likely to be othered and treated like a ghost! Bam, October read, right there. And for anyone interested, here's the essay about how Twilight is, and always will be, a disastrous series: https://archiveofourown.org/works/721993/chapters/1339216
1 hr 11 min
Oct 17, 2020
Jess & Vee (Incoherently) Discuss: A Court of Thorns and Roses
So, this happened. Back in episode 8, Jess read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, the second (and most popular) book in her A Court of Thorn of Roses series. She specifically did not recommend the book to Vee and told her that she wouldn’t like it. But then Vee went ahead and read the series, because torturing herself by reading books she doesn’t like is a particularly fun hobby of hers. And thus this episode was born. An entire rant and discussion about our unfiltered emotions and opinions surrounding the ACOTAR series. There will be lots of spoilers, there will be some inebriation, and there will be faerie smut. Also. Okay. We aren’t the most coherent in this episode. We repeat a lot of things. We forget what we’re talking about halfway through a thought. We’re not good at the speaking thing. Have fun with it.
Sep 26, 2020
A Love Letter to Stephenie Meyer
In our most incoherent, tangental, sleep deprived, and overall nonsensical episode yet, we delve into two very different YA books and how they impact the way we read. Jess rants about the trash fire that is Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, which recounts the events of the first Twilight book from the perspective of Edward Cullen who, let's he honest, is a creepy serial killer. (sorry to any Twilight fans out there, but maybe sit this episode out or, like, you know, read better books that don't romanticize stalkers and their misogynistic thoughts). No spoilers, just honest opinions, because Jess could barely get through 25% of the book. DNF'ed and proud of it. Vee gushes about Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo because all of the emotions the book gave her hadn't yet made their way into coherent thoughts. It's a great first book in a duology, and if you haven't heart the hype around it, yet, then don't waste your time and just go straight to reading the book because it's intriguing, has wonderful world building, and is perfectly paced. We talk Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, Anne Rice, Dracula, V.E. Schwab, and what makes a good vampire story according to us.
1 hr 6 min
Aug 20, 2020
Stay Sexy and Read Books
Do you ever have that thing happen where you pick up a book and it's just what you wanted to read at that exact moment? Yeah. That's what happened when Vee read A Sense of the Mysterious by Alan Lightman, a wholeheartedly human book about the artful balance between science and the practice of it. Jess talks about (via audiobook, because AUDIOBOOKS ARE BOOKS) Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark (we may have forgotten to mention their names, but like, who doesn't know them by now? amiright? probably not), a part memoir, part advice book, part who even cares because it's as funny and relatable as their podcast, My Favorite Murder. TW: rape P.S. It wasn't directly said in the podcast, but since Carl Sagan was mentioned it needs to be reiterated: Contact is the best.
1 hr 7 min
Jul 23, 2020
This Episode is Cursed
The universe may have attempted to stop us from getting this episode to you, but we did it. Might be a week late, but here you have it, anyways. Maybe we were cursed by the same witches who tried to hex the moon? Anyways. Jess gushes about the historical mystery with a soupçon of thriller energy that is Kate Morton's The Lake House. Elements of Atonement and Diane Setterfield meet in this trans-century murder mystery. Vee talks about reading High Fantasy in the midst of Black Lives Matter with A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, a coming-of-age fantasy about confronting your own shadow and upholding balance. Oh, and fuck She Who Must Not Be Named.
1 hr 12 min
Jun 19, 2020
Learning to be Anti-Racist
As two white people living in Canada, we have a lot to (un)learn in regards to racism. About our history, about how we are complicit in white supremacy, about how to help - and even about how to (un)learn without centring ourselves or our whiteness. And because of the wealth of information offered in books about Black Lives Matter and why this movement needs to exist, we've decided to using reading as one of our many tools in becoming anti-racist. This episode, Vee reads Me And White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad, and Jess reads Write Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. We have a lot left to unravel, and a lot yet to learn. Let's all do the work to ensure that Black lives matter.
1 hr 7 min
May 21, 2020
Chickens Are So Weird
Because we value bringing you a diverse selection of books, we present to you nothing less than a YA fantasy and a chicken how-to guide. Jess reads Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young, a YA fantasy about family and, well, common enemies, marinaded in a flavourful dose of all things viking. Vee reads CHICKENS IN YOUR BACKYARD: A Beginner's Guide by Gail Damerow and Rick Luttman. Ever wanted to know what a wattle was? Read this book. Want to know more about attaching saddles to your hen to facilitate rooster sex? It's in this book! Want to know how to raise, kill, pamper, cook, show, or basically do anything with or to chickens? Read this book. Read it even if you don't have chickens. But maybe don't read it if chickens scare you.
1 hr 8 min
Apr 16, 2020
The Conversation Resumes
Vee breaks in her first audiobook experience with a book that she’s been reading out loud for years, anyways: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, narrated by Rob Inglis. And Jess breaks into something other than a book…: the newly released essay by Caroline Calloway, “I Am Caroline Calloway.” Yes, it’s dramatic and kind of a dumpster fire of a scene, but sometimes you just gotta read what you wanna read. And this essay was it. Content warning for suicide.
1 hr 15 min
Mar 27, 2020
It's Not You, It's Me
In a strange turn of events (that we are blaming entirely on this being episode number thirteen), neither Jess or Vee finished the books they wanted to read for this episode - but by no fault of the books themselves. Jess read half of Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch (and plans to finish it soon - no DNFs here), and Vee almost finished Winter by Ali Smith (and has already finished it by the release of this episode!). We talk a lot about reading for deadlines, book clubs, and introduce a change to the way we do this podcast! Because guess what: we'll be a monthly podcast from now on, so expect us in your inboxes on the third Thursday of every month!
Mar 12, 2020
Not A Roast, But A Slow Braise
Vee finally releases the hold that The Glass Sentence (by S.E. Grove) has had on her mind for nearly a year and finishes a DNF! Who would have even thought that possible. Middle grade books are just not her thing, despite the time-bending narrative and wonderful world building that this book has to offer. And Jess talks about not just one, but two oposite-of-queerbating graphic novels: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, a fairy tale love story that explores beyond the gender binary, and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, a queer coming of age novel that uncovers the nuances of toxic relationships. We also talk chickens, reading fatigue, Neko Atsume, queer narratives, badly written books, going back to books you enjoyed as a child, doughnuts, art style, happy endings… Hey, if you’re still reading this, why not leave us a review :)
1 hr 5 min
Feb 27, 2020
What Fantasy Should Be
In this episode, Jess and Vee celebrate two talented black authors for Black History Month! Jess talks about Pride by Ibi Zoboi, a modern black and latinx retelling of one of her favourite books, Pride & Prejudice. Of note: Jess listened to the Pride audiobook, narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo! Vee gushes over the power that is Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star #1), a reimagining of what fantasy should feel like. Because fantasy should feel more diverse - and feel more magical. We also ramble on about magic systems, audiobook listening, drinking like Gilmore Girls, reading chairs (yes, we're still talking about that), and a whole lot more that you'll find out if you actually listen to the episode. So, go ahead and listen. Stop reading this.
Feb 13, 2020
Toss a Coin to Your Badass
Vee talks about the adorable and emotionally bewildered phenomenon that is Geralt of Rivia in The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski, and finds surprising parallels to our modern climate - despite it having been published nearly 30 years ago! And Jess raves about the teenage perspective of rape, assault, and justice in The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. Alex is definitely not someone to be trifled with.. but at what cost to herself? As per usual: spoilers ahoy! As different as these two books seem, they share a common thread in offering lessons in how to navigate the world we currently live in. CW: rape, sexual assault, murder
1 hr 2 min
Jan 30, 2020
The Naomi Novik Polish Pierogi Special
Fresh from the front lines of the Polish Appreciation Club, we bring you our Naomi Novik and Witcher extravaganza episode, in which we talk about how amazing the new Witcher show is and share our love (and criticism) about two of Naomi Novik's bestsellers. Jess reads Spinning Silver, Novik's most recent standalone novel about a young moneylender who becomes entangled in the world of magic and winter faeries. Vee talks about Uprooted, another standalone by Novik that won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2016 because of its stunning portrayal of magic, misunderstanding, familiarity, and... not so much romance, but we get into that! Other rambles include character arcs, bad romance, magical magic systems, rules of magic, surprising endings, and representation.
1 hr 1 min
Jan 16, 2020
Why We Read
Welcome to our most off the wall, uninhibited, nonsensical and rant-fuelled episode yet. I mean, we’ve gotta live up to the “Rant” in our name somehow, right? Vee breaks in the new year with the worst book she’s ever had the joy of reading, Three Princes by Ramona Pierce, and Jess gushes about her favourite faerie smut, A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas. Rants include fluffy misogyny, the importance of caring about characters when revelations are dropped on the reader, consensual character relationships, and why we read. Also lots of uncontrollable laughing.
1 hr 7 min
Dec 31, 2019
Year in Books: 2019
Dec 19, 2019
An Education in Mayan Mythology
This episode, we talk about the books that we gifted each other for our annual Christmas book exchange. Jess reads Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a fantastical tale of Mayan myth and love in the backdrop of early 20th century Mexico. And Vee reads Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir that untangles the deep-rooted threads of brainwashing, gaslighting, and neglect. Vee’s dogs generously add some background noises, we talk about the joys of recommending books, the narrative liberties of memoirs, Reddit book exchange, comics, mythology and pantheons. Merry Christmas, Happy Hogswatch, and Merry Candlenights to all! CW: abuse and gaslighting
1 hr 1 min
Dec 5, 2019
Queen of Hype
Vee reads The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a regionally-inspired story set in the Alaskan wilderness of the 1920s and fashioned after the fairy tale The Snow Maiden. Then Jess jumps on and then swiftly off the hype train that is Holly Black’s newest novel, The Queen of Nothing, the last book in The Folk of the Air trilogy about the wicked drama of Faerie. We talk about implementing a decimal rating system on Goodreads (and creating our own Rant Reads service), the best times to read, honest stories, the need for fan fiction, unsatisfying endings, Nick Cage, and Vee tries to redeem herself after failing her Contact challenge last episode. AND we unbox our Christmas book exchange!
1 hr 1 min
Nov 21, 2019
Episode 4! We’ve come so far. Jess relishes the treasure that is The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones at a time when this story is most needed, and Vee struggles to find words even remotely adequate enough to describe the wild force that is Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq. We talk about stories slipping in and through myth and the understanding that stories give our own lived experiences. Then we ramble about intentional breaks while reading, reading on a treadmill, bizarre books, well-fleshed out zombies, non-linear wibbly wobbly stories, shapeshifters, uncategorizable stories, made up words, emails from friends, and the unravelling of our very atoms that happens after a good story.
Nov 7, 2019
In this week’s episode we talk about speed bumps in our reading (aptly and awkwardly named spreeding bumps), Vee accepts a Contact challenge, and Jess breaks her book buying ban. Also of note: the need for good male role models, ~mood books~, not-quite-fantasy books, Monday meltdowns, The Four Doorways, and our very first fan mail! Vee reviews La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust # 1) by Philip Pullman, the prequel to the His Dark Materials series: an ageless Gaslamp fantasy whose mundane spy roots plunge unexpectedly into the fairy world. Long live Norman! Jess reads The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, a well-written book about ghost witches, revenge, and romance - all unfortunately set at the wrong time of year. Womp womp. And sorry for the low audio volume. We’re figuring things out.
1 hr 1 min
Oct 24, 2019
Third Book Curse
In this week’s episode, we delve into the finales of two vastly different fantasy series. Jess talks about Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #4), a YA fantasy quartet about sister queens fighting to the death for their crown, amid the tatters of unravelling allegiances and lore. Vee fawns over The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth #3), an eerily familiar post-apocalyptic world where magical prowess or brute force hold nothing against the sheer perseverance of understanding an(other) that breaks not only the curse of trauma but the world itself. Ugh. How do I even describe this book. It’s perfect.
1 hr 2 min
Oct 10, 2019
My Favouritest Book(s)
Our Favouritest Book(s) Welcome to our podcast where we rant about books. In this very first episode we talk about our favourite books - the ones that brought us to where we are today, the ones that we’ll never shake loose. Vee discovers she’s a witch and Jess confesses her childhood truths. A lot of giggling, a generous serving of awko taco, and a whole load of opinions all around. Recommendations for future books welcome!
1 hr 8 min