In the first song of Anais Mitchell’s song cycle-turned-musical Hadestown, Hermes tells the audience everything they need to know: “It’s an old song,” he sings. “It’s a tragedy...but we’re gonna sing it again.” The main (and side, such as exist in this mostly five-person musical) characters are introduced: Persephone, Hades, Hermes himself, Orpheus, and Eurydice. The audience, he assumes, already knows how this will all end. Boy meets girl; girl dies; boy tries to save girl; boy fails. But maybe, Hermes says, it will turn out different this time. So, we’re gonna sing it again.Read More
I’ve always loved cats, even before I had cats of my own, even when my family insisted dogs were better and cats were “evil.” The Kitten Lady, and the larger community of cat foster parents, have helped me see the highs and lows of fostering while also presenting tons of cute kitten photos. The thing is, when a good, hard message gets wrapped in something sweet, you listen. The Kitten Lady’s approach to education is one like I’ve never seen before, full of compassion, a willingness to explain small details, and a profound love for the smallest cat population.Read More
This month Emily and Mary read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, a novel full of twists, turns, demons, and powerful girls.
Emily: Hello, I am here.
Mary: We are BACK after a hiatus with more YA content for you! We recently read Claire Legrand's Sawkill Girls, a story about a strange town, a family bound to a demon (?), and the young girls who try to save everyone.
The book follows Marion, a girl who moves to Sawkill Rock with her family, Val, a girl who is part of a matrilineal line bound to servitude of a weird evil entity, and Zoey, the daughter of the sheriff who has strange powers and wants to avenge the death of her best friend. Together, Zoey and Marion try to figure out what's up on the island, why so many girls go missing, and they eventually have to team up with Val to solve the mystery!
How would you categorize this book? What genre is it? Supernatural? Mystery?
Emily: It's not really a mystery. Because we know who's doing it from the beginning.
Supernatural thriller maybe.
Mary: That's true. I think supernatural thriller is a good description. There are definitely a lot of thrills.
I read this book really fast, and the entire time I found it kind of predictable. There were some nice twists and turns, but it wasn't necessarily...surprising. Predictability isn't a bad thing, though. This felt like a comfort read to me. What were your general thoughts?
Emily: So I don't think the "what happens next" is the main point here. I think this is a parable about the patriarchy and the way women are controlled in our society.
Mary: Yes, yes! Say more about that. I totally agree.
Emily: It's a lot to unpack, and I think that's what the real reveal is as the story goes on. Because at first, we're introduced to this family that seems to be controlled by powerful women.
Mary: I guess we should say HEY, THERE ARE SPOILERS!Read More
BSG #25: Asexual Baiting / The Gunners
Feel like a townie with us as we go to Lackawanna, NY for a strange reunion of a group of childhood friends in Rebecca Kauffman’s novel, The Gunners. We talk about revealing secrets, character development, the problems with Mikey, and whether people can really change. Plus, we tell you all the goodies currently on the #BookSquadBlog. Go see Captain Marvel, and join us for our next #Othersode on 3/11/19! Email us your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
BSG #24: Pop It Back Up / The Power
What if women all across the world were suddenly given the power of electricity? The Book Squad entertains this question and so many more as they dive into Naomi Alderman’s speculative alternate history novel The Power. Get ready, because we’re going to talk about race, we’re going to talk about gender, and we’re going to talk about erections. You don’t want to miss out on this. Plus, we get into a little Riverdale and Bachelor chat as we discuss what’s going on in the blog world, and coming up on our next ‘pisode: the launch of #BookSquadGames, starring friend of the pod, Todd! Be sure to rate, review, subscribe, and love us. We love you!
Othersode #23: The Worst Game of F, Marry, Kill / My Brilliant Friend
Come with the #BookSquad on a not-so-luxurious European vacation to 1950s postwar Naples, Italy to discuss the HBO series My Brilliant Friend. We talk female friendship (and frenemy-ship), toxic masculinity, and the show’s (forgive us) brilliant choices in setting, design, and photography. And of course, we answer the most important question: F*ck, Marry, Kill: Stefano, Nino, and Marcello? Yes, we fully expect you to write in with your answers. After the show, we get into listener feedback on Suspiria and read your favorite things of 2018. Mary tells us about Lemuria, this month’s featured bookstore, and we break down what’s on the #BookSquadBlog right now. Be sure to start reading Naomi Alderman’s The Power for our next bookpisode!
BSG #23: Banana Word Cloud / Girls Burn Brighter
Finish 2018 the right way: with the story of a powerful friendship and #squadgoals. In our final episode of the year, the Squad discusses Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao. We talk about the novel’s themes, including grief, light/dark, and hope, as well as Rao’s writing style. We get into what shapes and drives the two main characters, and of course, we discuss the harrowing (seriously, it’s really bad) journey the women endure as they try to find one another again. Plus, we’ve got listener feedback on Little Fires Everywhere and Suspiria. Watch My Brilliant Friend on HBO for our next #othersode and read The Power by Naomi Alderman for our next #bookpisode!
If you’re a book person and you’ve been to New York, this month’s featured bookstore is probably not going to be a new discovery for you.
The Strand Book Store, home to 18 MILES of books, is arguably the most popular bookstore in New York City, and shows no signs of slowing down in its 90th year of existence.
For my first two featured bookstore picks, I went with shops in Brooklyn that are a little more off the beaten path, but if I’m being realistic, the place I frequent the most (and drag visitors to the most) is definitely the Strand. Part of the reason for this is that it’s located very close to where I work, part of it’s that they have a large selection of gently-used — and therefore cheap — books, and part of it is because the store is legitimately intoxicating. When I leave, I feel drunk. This is the only explanation for the amount of money I end up spending there when I already have a full bookshelf of unread material at home.
Read on for more info about this magical place, and if you’re so inclined, click through the book links on our homepage to purchase your next #BSG read from the Strand!Read More
BSG #22: Speaking Up On Behalf of Brunch / Little Fires Everywhere
Come with us to the idyllic community of Shaker Heights, Ohio for our discussion of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. We discuss whether the novel is character- or plot-driven, which characters were most effective, why the book is set in the 1990s, and more (like which of us were bitchy teenagers). Plus, we read some listener feedback on Goodbye, Vitamin, and Emily tells us about MyTBR, which you should definitely subscribe to. Hear about this month's featured bookstore, The Strand, and catch up on what's on the #BookSquadBlog. Read along with us for our next #bookpisode on Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao and tune in on 12/17 for our Best of 2018 #othersode!
BSG #21: Zucchini Moon / Goodbye Vitamin
Goodbye, Vitamin and Hello, new episode! This week the Squad discusses the plight of Ruth, a 30-year-old woman caring for her father, who has Alzheimer’s disease in Rachel Khong’s debut novel. We discuss the fickleness of human memory, the switch from cared-for to caretaker, the book’s narrative format, and the overall writing style of the novel. Then we get into some listener feedback about Fledgling (well, mostly about vampires). Plus, we tell you what’s on the #BookSquadBlog. Our next othersode will be on Suspiria, so get to the theater and get spooked!