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122: Bookish Turn Offs and What to Do about Them

In this Unabridged podcast episode, we're discussing some bookish turn offs we each have and when it's worth it to push past those turn offs (and when to accept them and move on!). We discuss tons of books including some of our collective favorites like John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and Alan Gratz’s Refugee. While we each have different turn offs, we all agree that there are certainly things that attract us and repel us when it comes to choosing books, and it's fun to discuss what those are!

Bookish Check In

Ashley - Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice

Jen - Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child

Sara - Riley Sager’s Lock Every Door

Books Mentioned

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Miranda Popkey’s Topics of Conversation

Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network

Martha Hall Kelly’s The Lilac Girls

Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life

Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon

Alice Sebold’s Lucky

Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train

Blake Crouch's Dark Matter

Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See

Janie Chang’s The Library of Legends

Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea

George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy

Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones - What Should I Read Next? episode with Georgia Hunter

Alan Gratz’s Refugee

Give Me One - A Show to Binge

Jen - Locke and Key (book), My Brilliant Friend (book)

Sara - Broadchurch, Cheer

Ashley - Schitt’s Creek

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Want to see a sneak peek of what we discussed? Take a look below. Click here for a full transcript that you can read while listening provided by


Hi, welcome to Unabridged. We're here today to talk about bookish turn-offs and when to keep going. Before we get started, we want to remind you about our newsletter: you can subscribe on our website, or get to the link through Instagram up in our profile. Our Instagram is @unabridgedpod. We send out a monthly newsletter, and during this time of crisis, we are sending out a weekly newsletter because we feel like everybody might need some happy things to look forward to. So you can sign up for that and get us in your mailbox each week.

Bookish Check In


All right, before we start our episode, we're going to do our bookish check in. So Ashley, what are you reading?

Sketch image of a white book stack on a midnight blue background

Ashley’s Bookish Check In (1:17)

So, like a lot of people who have been commenting on bookstagram, I have been slower moving for sure. Lately, so I . . . what I was working really hard on . . . once the crisis hit, I really wasn't able to get very much reading done. I'm having trouble adjusting. I have two little kids at home. And also I rely pretty heavily on audiobooks. And I yeah, like it's not my favorite form of reading. So it's funny because I don't think of that as being a big part of how I get through books particularly, but that is definitely true. Because I, I listened to them in the car and when I'm running and stuff like that, and I haven't been . . . so I just haven't made a whole lot of progress lately. And what I worked hard on in March toward the end, which did feel satisfying, was trying to wrap up a lot of the books that I'd left hanging. And I'm still working on that. But one book that I'm very excited that I've just started, a tiny bit of, and I can't wait to read is Abi Daré's The Girl with the Louding Voice. I was at that I got this one for Book of the Month. And I was really excited when I got it. But then several people in their March wrap up had read it and had just rave reviews. And so that made me even more excited to read it this month. So that's one that I'm getting started on just a little bit and look forward to reporting back on soon.

Jen 2:36

I really want to read that too. I also got that from Book of the Month, so maybe we can both read it this month. Yeah.

Sara, how about you?

Sara’s Bookish Check In (2:45)

So like Ashley, I have been having a really hard time reading. In March, I read a whopping two books. And one of them was Internment, which I had to read for the podcast. So that kind of tells you that I will do my required reading, but the other reading, it's not going great. So I've started like eight or nine books and read maybe two or three chapters in each book and nothing has really grabbed me. But I did the other day, or actually not the other day . . . just yesterday, I picked up Riley Sager's Lock Every Door because I thought maybe a thriller might like kind of hook me and something that was really plot driven might help me get some momentum and just get me through a book. I feel like maybe if I get through one book, I will, I will maybe gain some traction and be able to keep going.

So I started Riley Sager's Lock Every Door. It actually did, you know, kind of gripped me in the beginning. It really seems like it's going to be interesting. It's set in New York City, which I love books set in the city. And I'm really interested to see where it goes. So there's already . . . I think, what is, what hooked me, is there's a lot of intrigue built at the very, very beginning. So I'm already wondering what's happening and thinking about . . . why these why the protagonist is doing the things she's doing. So I'm hopeful. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Jen 4:17

Yay for cautiously hopeful. Yeah. Yeah, I really liked that one. I think Sager . . . Sager is one of the people I can count on with thrillers even though I've . . . I still like thrillers, but I've gotten pickier because it feels like some of those tropes just repeat, and I get a little weary. But yeah, he's been consistent for me.

Sara 4:34

So what are you reading, Jen?

Jen’s Bookish Check In (4:39)

book cover for The Snow Child

I just started Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child, which, Sara, you let me borrow kindly after recommending it . . . Was that our winter books? It is not exactly seasonal at this point. I kept thinking this winter that I would start it, and I just didn't but I started it today, actually. And the first couple of chapters are beautiful. So I think I'm really going to like it. Just the writing itself is gorgeous.

Sara 4:57

Yeah, that's really, really good writing.

Our Bookish Turn-offs

Jen 5:01

All right, well, we are going to turn to our topic for the day, which is bookish turnoff. So we wanted to share some things that when we first see or think about a book or read a synopsis, it's a turn-off. And sometimes that turn-off turns out to be true. Like, we really should not read that book. But then there are other times when it's worth it to work through the fact that we have this sort of visceral reaction against the book. It's worth continuing on. So, Sara . .

Sara 5:30


Jen 5:30

Do you want to start?

Sara 5:31

Sure, I would be happy to. Okay, so my bookish turn-off is big, thick books.

Ashley 5:42

I can relate to that one, Sara.

Sara 5:44

So I mean, I will read a synopsis of a book, you know, on Goodreads or someone will talk about it, and I'll be like, Oh, I really want to read that. And I'll go and it's like 555 pages or whatever it is. And I'm like, No, thank you. Just because . . . I think it's because I'm such a slow reader. And it just takes me so long to get through books that it is really difficult for me to say, "Okay, I'm going to read this giant book."

But there have been books that I have read that I loved, which I mean, I think everybody here that listens to us regularly knows how much I loved John Boyne's The Heart's Invisible Furies. And that is a . . . that's a big book, and I loved it. And sometimes if I can push through, I will actually start a book that's longer. I'll be okay. And I mean, I guess to like . . . if it's a YA book, that's different for me than like a literary fiction book. And so I've been able to push through more like YA fantasy books like Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It is pretty hefty, but it's a little bit different than trying to get through like The Heart's Invisible Furies. So I . . . do think like it is a hard thing for me to decide to pick up a big, thick book. But then sometimes I think it is worth it to push through because, and keep going, because the payoff can be great and I think, too, thick books like that there is all this opportunity for character development and a richer kind of experience. But sometimes I just, I'm like,

book cover for The Heart's Invisible Furies

"No, I'm not going to start that." And a couple a year ago, I wanted I decided I wanted to read A Little Life, which is a whopping, like 800 and something pages, and I started it, and it is beautiful, but it is really hard reading, both in content and just the writing is just really intricate. And so that one I decided okay, I know this is a great book, but I am gonna, I'm going to set it aside for right now because I was not in the frame of mind to both power through the gorgeous writing and the difficult content. What about you all? What do you all think about . . . big old books?

Ashley 8:04

Yeah, so I can really relate to that. I feel like for me, in the past, I didn't mind them so much because I didn't care as much about how quickly I made progress. So I was a lot more accepting of being in it for a long time. If it took me a long time to get through something, it didn't matter to me as much. But now that I'm a lot more conscious of how much progress I'm making, in my reading, I'm a lot more reluctant to devote the time even, even the fantasy series, which I normally love, and they do move fast for how many pages you're reading, I find that I don't wind up reading them. They all because I feel like I can't commit to, you know, 2 to 3000 pages of a fantasy world and the amount of time it's going to take to get through that even though like you said, Sara, they are quicker moving than certainly a literary fiction book that's really long, but I do I have found that I'm a lot more reluctant to just pick them up because once I see that they're really big.

book cover of Lady Midnight

I like Cassandra Clare's Lady Midnight series is a great example of one that normally I would have before we did the podcast. And before I was conscious of how much I was reading at a time, I definitely would have, you know, completely consumed that since Jen, very kindly, let me borrow all three of them. Like once I have that, and it's available, I would have picked it up right away. And I do think I'm hoping to make time for that this month, because I think that I would really enjoy that experience. And right now, I could use a win in the reading enjoyment department. And so I do think that I will make some time for that. But yeah, I find that I don't do it. And honestly, for me, the only way I have had good success is like for example, Pachinko, which I absolutely loved. I started on my Kindle, and I had no idea that was really long. And so in some ways,

Sara 9:49

Ignorance is bliss.

Ashley 9:50

I mean, it's true. I found the most success now with Kindle books that are long because I don't feel daunted by them. And again, I don't think I used to have that experience in the past. So I do think that is something that is new as I have cared more and more about number of books consumed, the more I care about that the less I'm willing to make the time for those big books.

I love books. I feel like I have Sir Mix a Lot in my head right now. I will not rap for you.

Sara 10:16

Please do.

Ashley 10:19

I do love big books. And yeah, I will pick them up. My big thing is I get really impatient when it takes me, like when an experience reading a book is spread out over a long time. So I like to wait until I feel like I can read it in a fairly concentrated amount of time, which, again, with scattered reading deadlines and things like that, has gotten harder. But yeah, as a fan of Stephen King, I have read long books for a long time. And I still . . . again, that's not the same kind of reading as something like The Heart's Invisible Furies. But yeah, it's not really a turn off for me. It's just a . . . I'm very mindful of when I start them.

I was just gonna say that maybe that is something I should think about too is how to kind of clear my slate before I take them on because I do think that that's another difference is that I've never have been like an only one book reader. But now I'm consistently reading, for sure three, but usually more like six at a time. And so I think that there are some benefits to that. But it does make it harder for one of those to be a really long book. So yeah, that's a good, that's a good thing to think about. Maybe I can kind of try to like I said, at the end, like I said in our bookish check in at the end of March, I was trying to wrap up a lot of the ones that I'd left hanging, and so maybe you know, if I do that, then I can make space for a bigger book.

Jen 11:39

All right, so Ashley, what is your bookish turnoff that you want to talk about today?

Ashley 11:43

So one that I have found is really a struggle for me is unlikable characters. And I think . . . I think I want that to not be true about me, and that's part of that's part of why it's interesting to me is like, I think that, yeah, like philosophically, I want characters to be unlikable I want to be fine with characters who are unlikable because I think it's okay to not be a perfect person, it's fine to have flaws. I don't think you have to be what society, particularly for women, that you don't have to be what society is making you out to be. But if you're not, then often that doesn't make you come across as unlikable. So I think philosophically, I agree with all of that. But then emotionally, I have a really hard time to connecting to narrators who I don't like. And so that's been really interesting to discover. And so for me, one example of that recently is that I was reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, and I picked that one up because it was recommended to me by a lot of people as far as a thriller that if you don't really like thrillers, you still should give it a try. And yeah, I have a lot of things to say about that that I'm not gonna get into right now, but I think that one of the things that it confirmed for me is just that when I don't, I didn't like Nick or Amy. I think that when you are seeing things from both of their perspectives, but you just really do not like them, it is hard to enjoy the reading experience for me. And so that just confirmed my bias that if I don't like the characters, it's hard for me to get past it.

book cover of Topics of Conversation

But on the other side of that, I am . . . or I just finished Miranda Popkey's Topics of Conversation. And that is a great example of where you are both . . . the narrator is unnamed. You experience her in a lot of ways through her connections to other people. And they, she's . . . in a lot of the books, she's describing what other stories other people told her, and she's receiving those stories and that's how you're coming to know her. And so I think it's both that you are distant from the main narrator who again, I think this is all purposeful from Popkey's perspective, like, you don't have her name. You're moving with her over this long period of time. So I think you're supposed to feel that way. And yet, in a lot of ways, she is unlikable. She is she is she does not like herself. She is really struggling to come to grips with things. And because of the way the story is told in a lot of ways, you're seeing the ugliest parts of her. And so instead of her kind of driving the narrative and us then sympathizing with her as the reader, we're really experiencing her opinions about everything else that's happening. And that means that some of those opinions just like what's in my head that I wouldn't necessarily share, if I were the one driving the narrative are things that are kind of ugly, like judgments that are being made or, you know, kind of casual cruelties toward other people, and stuff like that. And I think that it was off putting it first, and then I really loved that story. I just thought it was really powerful. I think it had, I think Popkey had some really great insights into life and I also felt like in the end, what I loved about that reading experience is that it felt very real, that the things I came to understand about this unnamed narrator who I traveled through these experiences with is this like raw and real experience of life, and I think that's really powerful. So that's on the contrast, that was the one that I'm really glad I stuck with because she's very unlikable in a lot of ways. And yet, I thought that was a really powerful reading experience. What about you all? What do you think about unlikable characters?

Sara 15:29

For me, it depends. There . . . I've read books where there's no one to root for. And I don't like either character because I didn't like Nick or Amy in Gone Girl, but I love that book. I also feel like when I when I read that book, it had just come out and it was kind of like the start of the . . . the twists, like the big twist thrillers, and it was new and novel, whereas now several years later, it is I mean, you know, it kind of it kind of blew out that genre, and so, it's not new anymore. And so now I feel like sometimes thrillers jump the shark. Anyway, that was a digression. But I mean, I didn't like either of them. And I really did like that book, but then I read Girl on the Train, which, and I just, I did not like that book. And tons of people liked it, but I just did not like the main character. And I thought, I just didn't like her choices. I mean, it was just a ton of . . . a ton of things, so I feel like it just depends on the book. It depends on how the narrative is woven for me, if I . . . if I can really like a book with a bunch of unlikable characters. So that's kind of where I stand. So I like them sometimes, and sometimes I don't. How about you, Jen?

Jen 16:46

I am very persuadable when I'm reading, and so like Topics of Conversation? I was fine with the narrator. I mean, I thought that I thought she wasn’t a perfect person, but I thought I found her to be very, I can identify a lot with her like I would not have called her an unlikable character so I think that's interesting because . . . like Breaking Bad, I was all in for Walt. You know what I mean? So people can be really bad, but I will say because of that, when someone . . . when I would call them unlikable I'm over it. Like I loved Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, and I thought her memoir Lucky was incredibly powerful, though painful at times to read. But when I read her book The Almost Moon, I disliked . . . yeah I disliked those characters so much that that is . . . so I think usually I can work through it partially because I don't have very good judgment always when I'm reading because I'm so swept away by the book, but I do think if someone is truly unlikable to me, it makes me dislike the book. Like I really dislike The Almost Moon because I did not like those characters. That's about a woman and her mother, and they are . . . yeah, it was pretty loathsome, so . . . yeah. So all in all, I agree, I just think I have a lot higher tolerance for people in books who are unlikable. Maybe.

Sara 18:09

I think you're very forgiving of books. Like a lot of times I'll be like, I don't like this, and you . . . I feel like you are able to see you, you're able to see good things in a book. Whereas like, I'm just not willing to do that sometimes. I don't know. Like, I wish that makes me sad. I should give people more grace.

Jen 18:32

I should have better judgment.

Ashley 18:38

All right. What about you, Jen?

Um, I have talked about this a lot on the podcast before, but I entered into this period where . . . it was a couple of years ago, and I just read I don't know a ton of World War One and World War Two books all back to that. Mainly World War Two, but there were a couple World War One books in there. And some of them were absolutely brilliant. But I just got to this place where now if I see that in the description, I really have to work to make myself want to read the book. Like it has to either be a new . . . I think part of it's because I've been learning about World War Two, in particular, since I was in middle school. And it's not that I think I have nothing left to learn. But it's that a lot of times I feel as if the books focus on the same things that I feel like I already know a lot about. And so it really takes a new angle to make me willing to read it. So for example, toward the end of that period when I was just reading one after another after another, I read the Lilac Girls, which I know a lot of people absolutely love. And it's not that I didn't enjoy it, but it was just I was kind of this is gonna sound really horrible and callous, but I was just sort of shrugging the whole time like, yeah, I've read this book for . . . that sounded really awful. And I'm regretting having said it, but it is the truth. I was just like, yeah, I felt like I've read the story before. And it's not that there was nothing new about it. And I didn't think the writing was so beautiful that the writing made it worth reading. And so I just kind of thought I may never be able to read about this topic again.

book cover of The Alice Network

Well, then, one of my book clubs chose the book, The Alice Network, which is about World War One and World War Two both, and I was like, Oh my gosh, I cannot believe it. But you know, I'm going to be a good book club member, and I'm going to read it, and I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was brilliant. I thought the characterization was brilliant. It's about female spies. I thought that was something that I didn't know a lot about. And I was just like, Oh, yeah, I need to remember that the . . . the right take on a topic with which I am, you know, just completely over that topic is gonna make me like it. I shouldn't let that topic totally turn me off to an entire group of books, I guess. So yeah, for Book of the Month for April, I got a book about World War Two because it's fantasy, it takes place in China. It just seemed like it would be something that I don't know as much about, which was intriguing. Even though when I first saw World War Two, I was like, Oh my gosh, well, that's not gonna be it. Like, come on, Jen, like talk it through. It'll be okay. How about you guys? What do you think about World War One and World War Two or just a topic in general?

book cover of Dark Matter

Sara 21:34

Yeah, I went through that with World War Two as well. Just because I read a bunch. I read Sarah's Key and The Book Thief, I read all these books on that topic and then and then my book club chose All the Light We Cannot See. And I love that. I thought it was gorgeous. But I just I think I understand what you're saying. I think that because that is a widely written about topic, that it does become it's like a fatigue that sets in, and you you know that it you know that this is horrendous, and all that but to read it is just, it gets to be . . . I mean, it's just like kind of like a desensitization. You know what I mean?

Jen 22:16


Sara 22:18

You can be desensitized because you read so much. So that is definitely for me one, and then also for me kind of when I look at genres and things and I see science fiction, I'm like I'm out I don't even give it a go, but then we read for the book . . . for the podcast, Blake Crouch's Dark Matter, and I really enjoyed that. I thought it was very interesting, and it definitely kept my attention so . . . so I definitely have those genres and topics that I automatically dismiss and then definitely takes takes me a push from somebody some outside force to read, but I've had some good, good luck reading books that I really love when someone else is pushing me forward to read it.

Jen 23:11

What about you, Ashley?

Ashley 23:13

Yeah, I, for one thing, I also got that book, Jen, and it is Janie Chang's The Library of Legends. And that I'm really excited about that one, and same, I was captivated by that because of the cover and because it's fantasy and because it was set in China. So I felt like all those things were really interesting to me as because I'm sure that even if it's during the same time period, it's going to be different than the I've never read anything that was World War Two in China. So I think I'm really interested in that. And I have a similar fatigue about war books in general. It, honestly, it's both fatigue because I've read too many of them and also because that would not be something I would choose to read about.

book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

So it's both parts, but like, that is not something that I particularly want to read a lot about, and then also that I've read a lot of it so it's all of that, I think, but, and often I feel like it is a trope that is used for convenience. And so because it's an easy way to create conflict, it's an easy way to drop characters into a setting, and then have something happen. So I think sometimes it can be, I think I feel that when I'm reading books that are like that, where I'm like, Oh, well, if this weren't set in war time, there would be nothing happening in the story. You know, so I think that sometimes I don't, I don't appreciate it from that angle. So definitely, I have read books since I've had that fatigue that I've felt like I could have lived without reading. But I have, similar to both of you, I have read some that I've powered through and then been really thankful I did, and like some examples of that. So I also read All the Light We Cannot See. And I'm really glad that I did; I thought was really phenomenal. And one of the things I loved about that that Jen, you mentioned, that was probably the first book that I have read that connected World War One to World War Two so clearly and showed the remnants of the impact of World War One on people during World War Two. And I really loved that because I think that that part was just so interesting and was something that I'm kind of surprised I haven't read more things that did that because, of course, there are tons of people who were heavily impacted by both of the wars being so close together. But that was really the . . . I think that was one angle that I really loved in that book. Another one that I've read that I loved was Ruta Sepetys's Salt to the Sea. And similarly, I'm just so glad I read it. It was about the people who are fleeing from different countries and trying, you know, that whole refugee experience, and I hadn't read any other books that looked at that angle. So again, familiar setting of World War Two, but very different story being told that was really moving.

book cover of They Called Us Enemy

And finally, just recently, just last week, I read George Takei's They Called Us Enemy, and I just thought that was phenomenal. And I'm so glad I read it, and I also was shocked that I have read so little, I mean, I have was just . . . it made me realize how ignorant I was to everything that happened with Japanese Americans. And with both Japanese people living in America and also Americans of Japanese descent, and how I didn't know, I didn't realize some of the things about citizenship being renounced, like some of that stuff was just unbelievable. And so I was really moved by the story and also amazed by how little I knew about some of those details, how long it lasted, I mean, everything that Takei shared about his family, I just didn't realize how long the camps lasted, and how they were for, you know, they were forced into some of the situation. I don't need to retell the whole story. But I mean, I think it just was really powerful to show that they were forced to make these horrendous choices over and over and over again, in our country. And I think it's just really important for Americans to recognize what was happening then so that we can be mindful about how quickly those things can can happen. So yeah, so I'm really glad I read it. So yeah, I think I have a lot of examples of you know why you should push on through, but I definitely am also turned off by by anything that says war, but particularly World War Two.

Jen 27:14

I will say I know that we are not alone with this. One of the reading challenges I'm doing for the year says a history book not set in World War Two. And if you download our newsletter, if you sign up for our newsletter, we have a tracking spreadsheet included... It's the one that I use, and I have separated out World War Two from history books. So yeah, I feel like it is prevalent enough. Yeah, it is worth noting what is the history book that's not about World War Two, because I do feel like there's just been this big boom in publishing. I'm not sure why. And again, I think there's a lot of rich content there. But history is rich. And so I think there's so many things to write about. It's just interesting that we're so drawn to that. Anyway, we don't have to continue harping on this particular topic, but...

Sara 27:58

I do think it kind of is a little like the Gone Girl phenomenon in that they're someone who wrote a book. I don't know what book that was for the WWII genre. But it did seem like there was a book. And then there were so many books. And it just, I mean, it hasn't stopped. Yeah. You know what I mean?

Ashley 28:15

Yeah. And I think also it's that, like I said about the tropes... I think that like, there are some really phenomenal scenarios that come up within that setting, because it was such horrendous circumstances in so many places. I mean, honestly, I feel like in the future, we will read books about this pandemic. And yeah, and the things that happen, because I think that when something impacts so many people in so many different places, then you do get to see those individual heroes who do rise up and do these phenomenal things. And that is a great story. And it's an important thing for us to be able to celebrate and remember, and I feel like that's part of why it happens. But again, I think people jump on that jump on that bandwagon, and then sometimes they're telling you a really novel and powerful story and other times they're using that setting in a way that sometimes for me feels manipulative, which I don't like because I think you know, I don't want to be manipulated by I don't want somebody to kind of exploit something that was horrific in our world just to tell a story or to have a way to tell a story.

Sara 29:21

Well, and I mean, I think to his readers, even though I mean that that time period is horrendous. But if we see a book that set in World War Two, we know what to expect, you know, and kind of like even though it's a horrendous thing, there's a comfort and knowing what what to expect. And it's the same reason you know, people read murder mysteries, or whatever it is, or things that are horrific, but they read all the all the things in that category because they know what they're getting when they heard it. So I think that sometimes there's comfort in that knowing, knowing what's gonna come Yeah.

book cover of We Were the Lucky Ones

Jen 30:00

Because it popped in my head, I do want to shout out another one that I really liked recently, and I read, We Were the Lucky Ones because I heard the author on a podcast, and that is her grandparents generation. And it was the entire family. And it had that refugee element Ashley that you were talking about with Salt to the Sea, which I still not read that book. But it was... she went back and did all this research, because it was a large family and they had to flee. And so she was researching where they all ended up and how those different refugee experiences turned out. And that was another angle that I hadn't, hadn't thought of. And but because I heard her on the podcast, and she was so engaging, and she talks about what it was like to learn about that the things stories from her family that she'd never heard that book was amazing as well. So yeah, I do think it's the angle on it. It's it's that new perspective on something like you're saying, Sarah that you do so well. That's maybe comfort reading but the problem with World War two books a comfort reading is that there is nothing comforting about me. Yeah, right. I mean, we have the power of people to make a difference. And you have people who've done brave and heroic things. But that's not comfort reading for me the same way like a romance that I know is going to have a happily ever after ending, right? It's come from . . .

Ashley 31:16

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah, I think we all read and loved Alan Gratz's Refugee, and I think that's a good example also of where there is historical context, World War Two is relevant, but it's one of three storylines and the focus is on the refugee part. So I think that that is where like, I really appreciated all the historical elements of that book, but felt like it was telling a really unique story.

Jen 31:41

Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, good talk. We would love to know what your bookish turn-offs are. Do you share any of our bookish turn-offs? Or do you have different ones and when are they worth working through and when are they maybe not worth working through?

Give Me One - One Show to Binge

So alright, before we sign off, we are going do our Give Me One today and we are continuing with our theme of things to get you through quarantine, hopefully. So today we're going to talk about Give Me One Show to Binge. So Ashley, do you want to start?

Image that says Give Me One in multiple colors

Ashley's Give Me One (32:13)

Sure I am in love with Schitt's Creek. And that is the last name S-C-H-I-T-T-apostrophe-S. And I just think it is phenomenal. And actually I was thinking as we were talking that in some ways, the main family particularly it's two parents and then two grown children, and they are exceedingly wealthy and then they lose all of their wealth. And all they have left is that on a whim, the father, a long time ago had purchased this town for the sun because again, they had bazillions of dollars. And so all they wind up left with as their ownership of this town, so they wind up in the town because they have nothing else left. And so it just out I was thinking about it earlier because in some ways the main characters, particularly the two children who are grown are really unlikable. And so I think it does speak to what I was saying earlier about sometimes you have to just be like, "Okay, I'm gonna roll with the fact that these people are really unlikable..." And but you know, I have been with it for a while now and I absolutely love it. I think it is brilliant. And you come, of course, to love them. I mean, I think that there's a lot of that but I mean, yeah, I think it's a great story and it is a really fun show.

Sara's Give Me One (33:31)

So I have two, so I'm going to cheat today. Give me one well, so I wanted to get one that has that is so bingeable, but it is also kind of dark... Or not kind of-- it IS dark, and then one that it has a little bit less darkness. So the first one is Broadchurch, and I binged it on Netflix. It is a British Murder Mystery Show. The acting and the storytelling in it is phenomenal. It stars David Tennant and Olivia Colman, both of whom are fantastic in everything they do, but they are particularly fantastic in this and they have... they are not in a relationship, they are in a work partnership... but they have great chemistry in that in that work partnership in terms of the way that they play off of each other. And the mystery portion is great. And I started it and I finished it in like two days. So with maybe isn't something to brag about, but I don't often get to do that, but I just had to know what happened. And what I like about it is there is a thread throughout the first and second and third season. There's three right? For a second, I was second guessing if there was a third but but there's a thread of a story happening throughout all three seasons. But then also each season has a particular mystery that is happening that that they are trying to solve. So I really like that because I felt like I like that conclusion at the end of the season. However, I will say that I just barreled on through and watched all three. And so that's broad church and it is great. It is on Netflix.

And then the second one is Cheer. So I had to include a reality television program, but it is not... It's more a docu series than reality TV. This is the story of Navarro Junior College, and they are road to the 2018 or 2019 (I have to check that)... the cheer competition and they are like elite cheerleaders at this Junior College. It's a tiny little town where they live and it is the story of all the kids and then the coach Monica, who like inspires them to do these incredible things and it is it's great. You fall in love with so many of the cheerleaders and it's just a great, it's great storytelling. And I'm really sad because they were going to do Season Two when they're on the road to the 2020 cheer competition, but that, of course, has been canceled. So I'm anxious to see if they will still have a season two just later, but it is a great binge and it's only like six episodes. So it's it's quick, and I really recommend it. Yeah, those are my two.

Jen 36:32

I got distracted for a minute because I was upset that my neighbor was knowing and then thought, Well, what do I do? And then I realized that I think it's my husband and I can't believe he did that while we were recording, so I wanted to go back and say Ashley, I really want to watch Schitt's Creek. That is definitely on my list of shows I want to watch, and I still want to watch Cheer, but I endorse Broadchurch so all those things. So yeah, I have so many shows that I want to watch. It's kind of like my TBR stack as well.

Sara 36:57

One thing about Broadchurch is that if you are a highly sensitive person, you might not want to watch it because it does deal with bad things that happen to children. And so you definitely need to know that going in. But again, it is brilliant storytelling and acting. Sorry, I just felt like I needed to give that disclaimer.

Ashley 37:19

I know I keep thinking I'm not gonna watch it. But now that we are, where we are in the world, I may wind up watching it because I... and I might be sorry. But I also am looking for things to watch that are really engrossing. So we'll see. So I'll report back.

Jen's Give Me One (37:49)

book cover of Locke and Key, volume 1, Welcome to Lovecraft

All right, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on either one of these. I will just say: so, I watch shows with my family, and then my husband and I have shows that we watch together, and then I always have what I call my treadmill shows which are the shows that I'm watching by myself. And I tend to get through those faster than either of the other categories. So Locke and Key is about a family who after the murder of their father moved to his home, which is this huge kind of creepy kind of cool mansion and the kids, there are two teenagers and one son who's like elementary school age. I think he's like 10 and they start discovering these keys that give them magical powers. And it's it's about the progress of that the fact that their father was murdered is tied into legends about the house. So there's all of this really interesting family history wrapped up. I just loved it. It was great. I did think I initially thought that I might watch it with my kids. I do think it's too scary for my kids. Both are pretty sensitive to scary stuff and horrible people. So I don't think it would be great for them. I think some kids would be fine with it. But it is just this amazing world building that I absolutely loved.

book cover of My Brilliant Friend

Jen 38:49

The other one I want to recommend I saved is my treadmill show because the show is entirely in Italian and it has subtitles so I cannot multitask while I'm watching it, but it's My Brilliant Friend, I'm watching season one, which is based on the Elena Ferrante series. And it's a season per book. And oh my goodness, it is just amazing. It is so beautifully done. And it's been a little while since I read the book, My Brilliant Friend, but as far as I can tell it quite closely mimics what happens in the book but just watching it brought to life has been amazing. So right now the two girls, the narrator and her best friend are teenagers in a small town in Italy after World War Two, and the town has people who are part of they sort of rule the town because they're part of this crime family and it's partly about that but it's also about whether the girls can get a good education because this is a place that does not prize women getting education. Both the girls are really smart. They have to pay to go to school and one girl's family cannot afford to send her to school, so she just has to give up on her dreams. She's teaching herself all of these subjects on our own. The other girl can afford to go, the narrator. And yeah, I just, I'm absolutely loving it. I'm about halfway through season one and season two has just started. So I'm going to read that book before I watch season two, but I'm loving it. So if you need something that really absorbs your attention, if you're okay with subtitles, I would recommend My Brilliant Friend on HBO.

All right, well, I think that is everything. Thank you all very much for your bookish turnoffs. And again, we'd love to hear about your bookish turn-offs on social media. Head over to our website to subscribe to our newsletter and we'll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening.


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