Bookish Podcasts pt. 2

Dream by Day book reviewsI’m back with another round of bookish podcast recommendations! There are so many great podcasts out there and I’ve listed the ones that I’ve recently been listening to below. Enjoy!

Beaks & Geeks by Penguin Random House

I’m honestly bummed that I didn’t know about this show earlier because I love their segments! It’s informal and conversational with author interviews, writing tips, and upcoming book releases. I’ve listened to quite a few at this point (each clip is pretty short) including interviews with Ernest Cline, Charlene Harris, Beatriz Williams (my favorite author!!!!), Tana French, Fiona Barton, and Sylvia Day. I really recommend this one!

World Book Club by BBC World Service

This show features longer segments covering a range of stories from classics to contemporaries. I listened to a panel discussing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a fantastic story loved by many around the world. The panel discussed the artistry in Fitzgerald’s language and the idea of reinvention. I thought it was really interesting when they discussed whether there are heroes in The Great Gatsby and if so, who can be categorized as one. This is a good show too.

Dream by Day book reviewsBooks & Authors with Cary Barbor

I enjoy the content of this show quite a bit. In an interview with Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, the host asks questions about how the idea developed for this post-apocolyptic story. An aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was that it’s not enough to simply survive, but that art needs to have a place in life too. The podcast also hosts interviews with literary agents and editors as well, both of which I found to be really insightful!

What about you all? What are you listening to?

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton“When I write, I suspend judgment of my characters. I really love them.” – Elizabeth Strout. I was lucky enough to attend an author reading with Elizabeth Strout and was able to hear her read a passage from her latest book, My Name is Lucy Barton. It’s always a pleasure to hear an author read their work so this was a great experience!

The book is told from Lucy Barton’s perspective and while it’s a shorter novel, it covers many powerful issues. The most prominent is the relationship between a mother and daughter. The book switches between a period when Lucy is in the hospital with flashbacks to her childhood. Lucy grew up in a very poor household, her family of five living in a garage when she was young. Lucy and her mother have a very complicated relationship, but at the same time it is very simple in this: they love each other irrevocably. Her mother has never been on a plane, but flies out to Lucy while she is in the hospital and stays by her bedside for 5 days. During this time we see Lucy ‘s memories of pain, fear and love, although it is done very subtly.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book are the following:

“It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere and all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it’s the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down.”

“I feel that people may not understand that my mother could never say the words I love you. I feel that people may not understand: It was all right.”

I really liked My Name is Lucy Barton! Because it’s a shorter book it’s very quick, but very consuming at the same time.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls by Karin SlaughterI was absolutely unprepared for the nasty horror in Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. This was the first book I’ve read of Slaughter’s (her last name seems fitting now) and didn’t know what to expect. Maybe it was the bright cover and whimsical looking locket, but it sure fooled me. That being said, I did really enjoy the book and was completely absorbed from the start.

The Carroll family has been through hell. The eldest daughter, Julia, disappeared when she was 19 years old and no trace of her has been found over two decades since. The two remaining daughters, Lydia and Claire, haven’t spoken for 18 years, but are reunited when horror strikes again. Claire’s husband Paul has been murdered in front of her eyes and she turns to her sister for support after 18 years of separation. As Claire learns more about the husband she trusted wholeheartedly, her world starts to fall apart and every nightmare she hadn’t imagined comes true.

The silver lining of this horrific story is that the sisters who have held so much anger and pain in their hearts for so long, find their way back to each other, even if it’s under terrible circumstances. Lydia and Claire are outspoken, hot-tempered, and clever, so I really enjoyed reading about them.

Slaughter is a talented writer, spinning a twisting plot with engaging characters. I was horrified by some of the ghastly scenes she has constructed, but I stuck with the novel and wanted to see what happened to Claire and Lydia.

This book had me gripping the binding and clenching my stomach with nerves. I didn’t realize this until my roommate walked in and sent me jumping off the couch. Here is fair warning, this book isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s worth a read anyway.

Bookstagram highlights of 2015

Happy New Year’s Day! Because its the beginning of 2016, I’ve decided to do a bit of reflecting on this past year. Along with starting this blog in July 2015, I started an Instagram account filled with bookish photos. While the blog has been a great platform to share my words with the world, Instagram has been a way to show my photos. These photos are mainly of what I’m currently reading, my cozy socks, creamy lattes and mugs of tea!

In the past few weeks I’ve made some big jumps in the Instagram community that I am VERY excited about! It’s the type of excitement that has me literally jumping up and down. Here are the highlights of 2015:

1.Random House (@randomhouse) reposted my photo on their account for over 35,000 followers!

To make it even sweeter, my photo of Sara Gruen’s At the Water’s Edge, made Random House’s top nine photos of 2015 based on the number of likes!

2. Hachette Book Group (@hachettebooks) reposted one of my photos of After The Crash on their account.

3. Books and Beans (@booksandbeans) is a popular account with 126,000 followers and one of my photos was reposted on their account.

With just over 2,000 Instagram followers, I still can’t believe that this many people want to see my posts! Please feel free to look me up at @dreambyday_bookreviews, I would love to connect with you all on Instagram!

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the SunI really enjoyed The Paris Wife by Paula McLain so I was excited to get my hands on her latest book, Circling the Sun. I liked this book, but unfortunately I wasn’t as drawn into the story as I had hoped to be. It was good and I wanted to see how it turned out, but I didn’t feel like I couldn’t put it down.

The book is based on the real life of Beryl Markham, a record-setting pilot. Beryl is a strong character, very alive and brave, and one who wants freedom more than anything else. As a young English girl growing up in colonial Kenya, she faced wild animals regularly, but she used fear to motivate her rather than hold her back. Beryl is a character that is easy to admire.

Along with Beryl’s character I was fascinated to read about life in Africa during the 1920’s. McLain did a great job of creating this wild colorful scenery filled with lions, horses, and other animals.

Throughout the story I had a hard time understanding how each character’s lives could change so often. From romantic partners to careers to houses, each character seemed to be bouncing all around with no sense of stability. As a person that doesn’t always welcome change, this was very strange to read about. Some sections were also a bit slow for me and at times I had a tough time keeping track of the many characters involved.

Circling the Sun is definitely an interesting and well-written story worth a read!