12 episodes

Once upon a time, two writers became friends and we wrote and we read and now we also podcast together about our adventures and explorations.

Marian and Lissa met during National Novel Writing Month many Novembers ago. Every November we write new first drafts of novels, along with performing writerly tasks throughout the year like revising, editing, and more writing.

Thankfully, reading widely and voraciously is an important part of becoming a better writer. And reading and discussing as writers is a fun way to mix up the book reviews we add to Goodreads or the #amwriting reflections we each add to Instagram.
Listen in as we choose books to read and discuss in a variety of genres and answer such pressing questions as:
Does this book deliver on its premise?
What does the author do well here that makes this book work?

We'll also recommend books to each other, share writing advice, and generally try to make the world a better place through reading and writing fiction.

Email The Book Evangelists at thebookevangelists@gmail.com or find show notes at https://thebookevangelists.com/

The Book Evangelists - Reading and Writing Will Save Us All The Book Evangelists

    • Books

Once upon a time, two writers became friends and we wrote and we read and now we also podcast together about our adventures and explorations.

Marian and Lissa met during National Novel Writing Month many Novembers ago. Every November we write new first drafts of novels, along with performing writerly tasks throughout the year like revising, editing, and more writing.

Thankfully, reading widely and voraciously is an important part of becoming a better writer. And reading and discussing as writers is a fun way to mix up the book reviews we add to Goodreads or the #amwriting reflections we each add to Instagram.
Listen in as we choose books to read and discuss in a variety of genres and answer such pressing questions as:
Does this book deliver on its premise?
What does the author do well here that makes this book work?

We'll also recommend books to each other, share writing advice, and generally try to make the world a better place through reading and writing fiction.

Email The Book Evangelists at thebookevangelists@gmail.com or find show notes at https://thebookevangelists.com/

    Episode 12: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    Episode 12: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    In This Episode The Book Evangelists discuss The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

    Morning Chatter: Marian participated in the recent #revpit event about query letters/ Revise & Resub (#RevPit) is a Twitter writing community co-founded in 2017 by a group of editors. It supports authors by offering editing-focused chats and mini-events throughout the year as well as an annual contest wherein querying authors can win feedback and edits on their full manuscripts from professional editors, ensuring their works are polished and ready for agent inboxes.

    We discuss techniques to try when you feel like you are in a reading slump.

    The Ten Thousand Doors of January by
    Alix E. Harrow is described at goodreads.com:
    In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
    In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
    Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
    Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

    This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We'll be here for you when you finish!

    Quotes
    “The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.”
    The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

    More Discussion
    Book Marketing: If you have a book like this with complicated secrets that you can't give away in the jacket copy - how do you convince other people to read it? How much do we trust cover blurbs? Do we need cover blurbs or can author twitter substitute for that in helping us find books we would love from other author's recommendations? Where is reader twitter and how do we decide which recommendations to trust? How does "word of mouth" work?

    Learning: How does learning work outside of academia? Is learning by doing enough? Is learning in the evaluation and reflection even when it seems intuitive?

    Theme: This book has a clear one, but it doesn't beat us over the head with it.

    Re-Reading: Lissa says yes. Because reasons that would be spoilers. And spoilers are in the podcast, not here.

    Coming Up
    Next episode: Marian and Lissa are trying Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman which comes highly recommended from a podcast listener! (Thank you!)

    Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here?

    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 11: Best Books of 2019 and Reading Reflections

    Episode 11: Best Books of 2019 and Reading Reflections

    Episode 11: Best Books of 2019 and Reading Reflections

    In This Episode The Book Evangelists discuss their Best Books of 2019 and reflect on their reading habits.

    Best Books of 2019 - Marian
    • The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson - non-fiction "I just love this book!"
    • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
    • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
    • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    Additional mentions:
    • Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
    • Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
    • Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
    • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    Best Books of 2019 - Lissa
    • What We Talk About When We Talk About Books by Leah Price
    • The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
    • Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
    • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
    • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    • This is How We Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

    Things Lissa read in 2019 that she wouldn't normally have tried:
    • Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper
    • Picnic by William Inge
    • Dune by Frank Herbert
    • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (the first 80% of it)

    Marian: I'm very surprised to see that of my five favorite books of 2019, three of them are science fiction books.
    Lissa: I know, right?!? What is happening to us?

    Best Books of 2019 that I didn't get around to reading. Yet. (Lissa's list at work)

    These books are coming out in 2020! We are excited!
    • Keep Moving by Maggie Smith
    • Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
    • The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
    • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
    • All Systems Red by Martha Wells

    2020 Reading Resolutions
    Lissa's resolution: Buy and Read More Print Books and Read Them Intentionally (Not in my Bed!) and Write in the Margins.
    Marian's resolution: Read More and Better Poetry. Join a Book Group.
    Marian's resolution FOR LISSA: You should read the Murderbot novellas. And listen to Lockwood and Co.
    Lissa's resolution FOR MARIAN: Reflect on what you read more. The learning is in the reflection. And I think you should try a John Scalzi novel. You can pick which one.

    Cover blurbs are the print version of author twitter. -Lissa

    Coming Up
    Next episode: The Book Evangelists will discuss The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
    Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here?

    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

    • 46 min
    EPISODE 10: NANOWRIMO WRAP UP , THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR, THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET

    EPISODE 10: NANOWRIMO WRAP UP , THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR, THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET

    In This Episode
    The Book Evangelists discuss their NaNoWriMo 2019 experiences along with the books This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap Up

    #NaNoWriMo2019 has concluded and it is now December. And here we are.
    Doing is good, but the learning is in the reflection.

    How did it go?
    Did you write what you said you were going to write?
    What did you learn? How was this year unique?

    Plansting means I think I am writing one thing and then it turns into something else partway through the month. - Lissa
    Marian wrote the first 50,000 words of a British historical mystery novel with Egyptology and various levels of success in the advanced plotting. Lissa wrote 51,000 words of a story that started out writing about a woman who creates "Book Club for One" and then another reader joins, 15 years later. And then I added the "Narrator" of both of their stories, as a social worker type of influence in their stories/lives, manipulating them from outside, and then their Narrator got harried with additional workload and sent an ancient copper dragon straight from the D&D 5e Monster Manual to Topeka and the story got….a little bit different and a little bit better. And in the end, most of my novel was about how being in a book club is very very good and also how we all deserve agency in our own lives and our own stories.
    This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
    This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We'll be here for you when you finish!

    Marian perfectly captured why it was so hard for Lissa to talk about why she loves This is How You Lose the Time War when she shared the idea of "Meals and Snacks" from the Malcolm Gladwell MasterClass. People don’t talk about things (movies, books etc) the same way they think about them. In conversation we cling to the little “snack” moments that are easy to transmit to others, but that is different than the bits that we mull and savor over a longer period of time. As writers, we include both snacks and meals so that consumers can use what we write on multiple levels. Lissa wants to annotate a copy of the book with her friends so we can all share the jokes, but also mull over and savor the book on her own, for a long time.

    The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    We agree that this book gives us SO MANY well developed characters:

    Ashby - captain
    Sissix - pilot
    Kizzy - tech
    Jenks - tech
    Lovey - AI
    Dr Chef - doctor and chef
    Rosemary - clerk
    Corbin - algaeist
    Ohan - navigator
    Pei - Ashby’s secret partner
    “She was exactly where she was supposed to be.”

    The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    What spinoff projects did we propose during this podcast?

    The cookbook/craft book based on The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Marian will work on the recipe for smokey buns and Lissa will knit a hat for fix bots. Maybe.
    This book is the first in a series! We have more stories to read!

    Coming Up

    Next episode: The Book Evangelists will discussing 2019 in reading and our plans, hopes, and dreams for 2020.

    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

    • 53 min
    Episode 9: National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo Prep

    Episode 9: National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo Prep

    In This Episode
    The Book Evangelists discuss National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo and why YOU should write a novel this November.
    Morning Chatter
    Note: In the last episode we promised we were going to discuss nonfiction. Clearly, that has changed. This is what happens when you let two NaNoWriMo fanatics have a podcast. Because we are well into #NaNoPrep.
    National Novel Writing Month
    To participate, you write 50,000 words of fiction in the 30 days of November. Sign up at nanowrimo.org.
    Lissa and Marian both think NaNoWriMo is the best thing ever.
    Lissa has been writing November novels every year since 2003.
    Marian has won every year since 2012.
    Tips and Techniques for Winning NaNoWriMo
    • “Let me give you the tricks I know of, in hopes that you give me the tricks you know of, in hopes that we both can trick ourselves into writing novels.” – Lissa
    • “I think the big thing is just never never never never quit.” – Marian
    • “Put your butt in your chair. Try to have a big word count day.” – Marian
    Coming Up
    Next episode: We will discuss The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and
    Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here?
    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

    • 1 hr 8 min
    EPISODE 8: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

    EPISODE 8: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

    In This Episode
    The Book Evangelists discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    Morning Chatter
    #NaNoPrep has begun. We discuss the new NaNoWriMo stuff, which Lissa already has!
    "These are the traditions in my house, you order it the first day it's announced, and you use it all as soon as it comes. It's like a kid on Christmas but it happens right after Labor Day every year and it's beautiful." -Lissa
    "Every year before NaNoWriMo starts, I pre-order the winners tshirt because notoriously I won't wear it unless I win and make 50,000 words because I'm ethical, but I'm also cheap, and I don't want to have spent the money on something I can never wear. So this causes me to succeed every year, just for the tshirt." Marian explaining "The Marian Rakestraw challenge"
    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is described at goodreads.com:
    What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?
    This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers.
    This book is famous enough to have been made into at least 3 movies and has more than 19,000 Goodreads ratings.
    If you are listening to the audiobook, you should know THERE IS A MAP OF THE TRAIN CAR in the print book.
    Also, you can easily find many online resources about the real train The Orient Express now and historically.
    What cheats are allowed in detective novels?
    • We aren't sure yet. But we enjoy discussing it. Also, spoilers.
    • Which elements are the clues?
    • What does the author gift herself?
    • What does the author gift the reader?
    To further study cozy mystery novels for comparison, Marian is rereading Dorothy L. Sayers' Whose Body?
    Old Book Problems
    "I'm from a hometown that has something called the "Italian Fest" and stabbing with knives has never been part of that culture that they celebrated...and I've never heard that Italians might stab people with knives. So I was glad that if that was going to be part of how the detectives were making their decisions that they explained the stereotypes to me." - Lissa
    "Everybody in this book is described by racial characteristics, or religious ones, or class ones." -Marian
    More Books We Discussed
    Lissa's knowledge of Agatha Christie mostly has come from repeatedly reading To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump At Last by Connie Willis, and we both highly recommend it. Although you should read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome first.
    Marian is looking for a good beat sheet for outlining a mystery novel. She has tried Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron and the "Whydunit" section of Save the Cat.
    Coming Up
    Next episode: Marian is reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach and Lissa is reading Heartland by Sarah Smarsh and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. How can reading non-fiction make us better fiction writers? Would we ever consider writing non-fiction books ourselves? Listen in to find out!
    Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here?
    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

    • 1 hr 12 min
    EPISODE 7: THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

    EPISODE 7: THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

    In This Episode
    The Book Evangelists discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders as part of reading and listening to the 5-star SF/FF audiobooks and books that we have recommended to each other recently. Lissa has been talking up this book constantly for six months and claims it is a climate change tidally-locked planet #hopepunk found family snuggling book.
    "If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

    Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace -- though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

    But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet--before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.
    description from the publisher
    This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We'll be here for you when you finish!
    Quotes from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
    https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/64654648-the-city-in-the-middle-of-the-night
    "I like that the quotes that you read -- they're all conflictual -- this is not a book where you can rally around one particular quote. One particular quote is not going to be enough for us to rally around. We're going to have to re-examine our thinking over and over and over." - Lissa
    Characters and Places
    How does the world-building work? How are these places described? January, Xiophante, Argelo, The City in the Middle of the Night
    Which characters do we like? Who scares us? Who is our favorite character? Who are we shipping together? Who do we worry about? Who surprised us? Sophie, Mouth, Bianca, Alyssa, Hernan, Barney, Crocodiles/Gelet
    Science Fiction as Self-Help
    This is a good self-help book for learning more about: Friendships, Love, Betrayal, Boundaries, Trust, and people using each other for good or using each other for bad. This book illustrates all of those things really, truly.
    "People don't hurt each other enough in traditional romance novels to have the level of depth that this book has." - Lissa's endorsement for why reading The City in the Middle of the Night is better, post-divorce, than reading her typical stack of escapist romance novels
    Subscribing to Their Newsletters
    As all good readers know, when you really like the author's book, sometimes you might check out their website, their twitter, their podcast, their agent.....because those are all source of additional book news and recommendations!
    Lissa's subscribed to DongWon Song's newsletter Publishing is Hard (and loves it!)
    Lissa starting listening to Charlie Jane Anders podcast Our Opinions are Correct at least 10 days before it won the Hugo for Best Fancast and Marian had it queued up. #earlyadopters
    Next episode: Marian is preparing to possibly write a cozy mystery. So, for next time, we will read an Agatha Christie novel, specifically Murder on the Orient Express.
    Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmix

    • 1 hr 14 min

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