In this episode, we answer more questions from listeners. If you missed our first episode back in February, you can listen to those responses as well from episode 166! We talk about some bookish things, but many of the questions are outside of the bookish realm. We hope that you enjoy this peek into our lives outside of reading!
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Sara said, "I am reading Chris McGreal's American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts. I am just in the beginning of it. We were lucky enough to see Chris McGreal talk with Beth Macy several years ago at the Virginia Festival of the Book. It was so eye opening, and we had all read Dopesick, which was Macy's book. As soon as I got home from that, I ordered McGreal's American Overdose. It's been on my shelf for quite some time. I just started it. It is, again, horrifying. He tells it in three acts. I'm in the first act, which is labeled 'The Dealers' and is talking about the distribution of opioids in America, and how this is largely an American problem. It has some of the same references that Dopesick did, but it's taking a little bit more of a macro approach than a micro approach so far. I'm in and just the beginning but so far, it's very compelling. I know it's going to be a tough read, but a very educational read for me."
Ashley stated, "So one of the things I am reading and have been kind of dipping in and out of over time is Allie Brosh’s Problems and Other Solutions. I am a huge fan of Allie Brosh. She had Hyperbole and a Half, which was a webcomic. So she has these kind of intentionally crudely drawn designs for her comic. What is amazing about her, I think, is she just is able to insert humor, like laugh-out-loud humor, into what are some pretty awful situations, and she does that really well. Her commentary on the internal parts of people is just fascinating. I think she is brilliant. I think she is a really talented artist and storyteller. I absolutely loved Hyperbole and a Half before, and I love the book that was put together for that. Then I was really excited to see Problems and Other Solutions. She openly talks about her mental health and has a lot of struggles with depression. She has struggles with her self perception and all those kinds of things. She also, because she's wildly famous, struggles with her relationship to social media and navigating all of that, and I appreciate all of that as well and her willingness to explore those parts of herself and what she writes. I think she just integrates these larger messages into really small stories."
Jen commented, "So I am reading Alisha Rai's First Comes Like, which Sara talked about a few months ago on the podcast, so I won't say a ton about it. But I really love Rai's work. I found out as I listened to this one on audio—thanks to Libro.fm—I found out as I'm listening that some of the characters in this book are connected with an earlier series of hers that I really enjoyed—Forbidden Love. I will also say that she is the most open door of open door romance authors, And that is more true in Forbidden Love that is in this series. But yeah, this series is open door, but Forbidden Love is really open door. So, if you need clarification of what that means you can DM us, and I can explain. So, First Comes Like is about two characters. Jia is a YouTube sensation. She is an Instagram influencer. She has a great presence, talking about makeup and self care, but also really working to boost people's self images and self esteem and agency over their own decision making processes. Dev is an Indian Bollywood star, but in a Bollywood TV series, I can't remember what they're called. But anyway, so he has come to America because of some changes that have happened in his life, including the death of his brother, which means he is now raising his niece. So he has moved to America to sort of make some changes in his own life for his niece and to try to find new success because he needs money now. So, he had been DMing Jia for a long time, and they had built up a relationship online. She goes to meet him and discovers that she has been catfished. The story proceeds from there, but I just love it. I love Rai's work. She is very interested in promoting body positivity, sex positivity, diversity—I feel like she has all of these great things that are just always a part of her books that I really appreciate. And I think she has such a great touch with characters. So I find both of these characters to be really nuanced and empathetic, and I like them both so so much, even when they do really silly things or make bad decisions, which I think is always a good sign. So that is First Comes Like by Alisha Rai."
Main Segment - Get to Know the Hosts
Here are our responses to one of our bookish questions!
Question: "Does your family read a lot? Or are they annoyed that you read so much?"
Sara said, "My family does not read as much as I do. I think my husband probably gets annoyed sometimes because I would prefer to read than to watch something sometimes. Both of my kids, they will read—my son used to love to read, but he's at that 12 or 13 age, and he doesn't want to read as much. My daughter will read something, but she is not like this voracious reader like I am. I don't think the kids get very annoyed because they do their own thing. I think sometimes my husband does, but I do it anyway."
Ashley shared, "My kids are little, so it's kind of hard to say. They would let me if I would read to them. They would listen all day. So, they absolutely love to be read to, and my oldest child is more and more enjoying reading to herself. She's six. So she likes to read herself, but she wants to read the chapter books and the graphic novels that she loves, and that's what she works on when she's reading by herself instead of getting out the picture books that, of course, she could read more easily. So, I think she's kind of found her way with that. But both of them, I mean, there are a lot of times that I see them sitting looking at books on their own. It was really fun at Christmas, for example, that they got some new books, and of all the things that were laying around the house, like I found them on the steps, and each of them had a book, and they were both absorbing themselves in the new story. It was really sweet. It was fun to see that. I want them to love it just because it brings me so much joy. So I certainly don't think that everyone has to be a reader, but because that has been such a great part of my own life, I wish that for my children. And my husband is—so he is I mean—he has his PhD, and he does a lot of research. So, he is surrounded by books and reads tons of books: I mean, our house is ridiculous. I could take a picture of his desk right now, and there's probably 85 books on there because he was working on an article, and so he does a ton of reading. But I do think that he does not read a whole lot for pleasure. When he does, he wants to read comics or graphic novels or things like that a lot of the time because he's so laden with books that he is reading for work, and he enjoys them, but they're not for pleasure, I would say.
"I don't think any of them are annoyed by my reading. But sadly, I think this because I don't ever do it when when they are awake. For my kids, like I'm not reading during the day. So, I'm not bothering them. Because sadly for me, I'm not reading. Then at night, same as you Sara, there are a lot of times that my husband would rather watch, and that's because he does a lot more of the reading during the day and when he's working, so he wants to take a break from that. I'm perfectly happy to be reading because, again, I usually haven't done that all day. I always read before bed, and I enjoy that even if I don't get to it any other time. I can count on the fact that I'll do that before I go to sleep, and that's been really nice."
Jen said, "So my family does read a lot. They don't read as much as I do, but I don't know that many people do. I am sort of obsessive, and I read—I mean, I would say I read like it's my job, but it kind of is since I'm an English teacher and I have the podcast, so I have a lot of reasons to read. But I also—Yeah, I read a lot. My husband is always reading, and he defaults to certain authors and certain types of books, like he reads a lot of suspense. He reads a lot of thrillers. He reads a lot of mysteries but he also reads—he loved The Hate U Give. He will read books that I give him. He likes to read nonfiction, some. So he's definitely open to reading outside of those genres. So that's where he veers. I had him reading Jason Reynolds recently, which made me insanely happy.
"My boys love to read. So my older son who is 14 reads a lot of fiction. And my younger son tends to read more graphic novels and nonfiction. Both of them love audiobooks, and so sometimes they'll be playing the—I don't know how they do it—but sometimes they'll be playing video games, or my younger son loves art, and they'll be listening to audiobooks while they're doing it. They're really good at multitasking, even though I know people say that's not possible—they are. I will also say my older son, I see a lot of myself in him and that he does comfort reading a lot. During the pandemic, there are a few touchstone series that he read and re-read, and I could see, I talked a lot about comfort reading while we were home, and he was definitely doing the same thing. So, he was diving back into those familiar stories, and I would encourage him to read new things, but then I also understood exactly why he was doing it and was doing comfort reading myself. I would say reading is a really central part of our lives, and the boys are still changing as readers. But I think that in our house books are a central part of things."
Be sure to listen to the episode to hear the rest of our answers!
Give Me One - Favorite Board Game
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