Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

331. The Bitches Recap 2018 – Reading and Otherwise

Sarah, Amanda, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl get together to talk about reading – and other things -of 2018. Which books rocked our brains in the past year? We cover a LOT of books (I certainly do – I brought a list) and we talk a little about how we read, too. Some of us read and listened to a lot of books this year, and some of us moved from digital to print. We talk about books that have stuck with us, novels and authors we were delighted to discover this year, and romances we’re still recommending (try to stop us!).

Then we talk about how our reading tastes may have changed in the last 12 months. Did current events and political climate influence what romances we do, or do not, want to read? Have our tolerances for or against tropes and characters shifted? (Spoiler alert: damn skippy they have.)

CW/TW Ahoy:

At around 35:24 – RHG talks about Kavanaugh, the hearings, and about consent and assault.

At around 39:00 – I talk about antisemitism, racism, the Tree of Life shootings in Pittsburgh, and white supremacy.

NB: I recorded this before I read the most recent Romance Writers Report, a publication of the RWA. In this month’s issue is an article by Elizabeth Kingston titled “Reclaiming Historical Romance.” It’s about the white supremacist version of history contained in historical romances, which makes many of the points I attempt to make much clearer. If you have the opportunity to read it, please do. It is exceptional.

And, please don’t miss part 2 of our conversation next week! Carrie will join us as we look ahead to 2019: what books we’re anticipating most, and what we can’t wait to read next.

What about you? What books rocked your brain this year? We want to know – you know we do. Don’t be shy. Please tell us!

Read the transcript

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

As I said in the intro: the very first episode of this podcast, way back in its original iteration, was posted on December 30, 2008.

That means, as of December 30, this podcast is ten. Years. Old. TEN. How is that possible? TEN. We took a break between 2009 and 2011, so not ten consecutive years, but wow. Don’t worry – I’ll celebrate again in August 2011, because why not?

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Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Adeste Fiddles Album CoverOur music is provided by Sassy Outwater. Thanks, Sassy!

This is my favorite holiday album from Deviations Project, Adeste Fiddles.

This track is Here We Come a Wassailing. You can find this album at Amazon.


Podcast Sponsor

The Duke’s Suspicion

This week’s podcast is brought to you by The Duke’s Suspicion by Susanna Craig.

Set during the turn of the 19th century, Susanna Craig one again combines her signature blend of adventure and intrigue in her second Rogues and Rebels novel.

Named for the heather in her native Ireland, botanist Erica Burke dreams of travel—somewhere she won’t be scorned for her scientific interests. Instead, a storm strands her with cool and commanding Major Tristan Laurens, the Duke of Raynham.

An unexpected heir, Tristan is torn between his duties as an intelligence officer and his responsibilities as a duke. A brief return to England to set his affairs in order is extended by bad weather and worse news—someone is after the military secrets he keeps. Could the culprit be his unconventional Irish guest? He needs to see her journal to be sure, and he’ll do what he must to get his hands on it…even indulge in a dangerous intimacy with a woman he has no business wanting.

Erica guards her journal as fiercely as she guards her heart, fearing to reveal a side of herself a man like Tristan could never understand. But though she makes Tristan’s task infernally difficult, falling in love may be all too easy.

The Duke’s Suspicion by Susanna Craig is on sale now wherever books are sold and at Kensington Books.com.

Transcript

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This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

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You can sponsor an episode or a month of episodes, or you can book the intro only, or the outro only – more options, lots of price ranges, and like I say in my information about advertisement at Smart Bitches, I want the options to be accessible to everyone.

If you’re interested – email me! Sarah at smartbitchestrashybooks.com.

Your support keeps the site going and keeps the show going, and I’m deeply, deeply grateful that we’re still together talking about romance fiction every dang day. Thank you for that.

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Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    Deborah says:
    2+

    “And she wrote, like, she writes, like, little stories about them on her website, her characters?”

    I read this line and immediately dumped the podcast transcript to visit Lucy Parker’s site. (No offense, but…priorities.) The London Celebrities extras are everything a fangirl could want in a day-in-the-life peek at Richard and Lainie’s marriage. (Though now I’m going to have to go out and form a book club to discuss a throwaway short on a website.) And the little bonus illustrations of the characters are freakin’ adorable Why have I not visited Lucy Parker’s website before? Thanks for the gift of sharing, Elyse.

    I need to be more faithful updating Goodreads because without my Goodreads “year in review,” I would not know that I too read ACT LIKE IT only this year. It wins 2018 for me, with Anne Cleeland’s MURDER IN THRALL thru MURDER IN HINDSIGHT (no, really, it’s a romance) coming in a very close second.

    Happy New Year, smart bitches.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Scott says:
    3+

    I really liked the discussion on how reading tastes changed. I read a bunch more historical women’s fiction this year and WF in general. I am also more quick to ditch a book if I find something I know I’ll have to struggle through, like an overly alpha dude who has to be spoon fed explanations of his own feelings. N-O-P-E. My family/sibs are all into murder podcasts and got me to listen to Dirty John (and watch the TV show on now). That got me a little more interested in women written crime thrillers, so hearing Sarah say she’s reading historical mysteries just put those on my radar too. And Jane Doe is on my list.

  3. 3
    Stephanie Scott says:
    1+

    I just saw the books graphic and The Phantom Tree was a historical I liked a lot too. Joanna Shupe is a new go-to author. I love reading non-regency eras.

  4. 4
    Katie says:
    2+

    I completely understand the lack of tolerance for consent issues and chauvinist crap. While I was visiting my parents for the holidays, Turner Classic Movies showed Lover Come Back with Rock Hudson and Doris Day. For those not familiar with the 1960s Lying To Doris Day subgenre, Hudson’s character is a sexist scumbag who spouts ever more outrageous lies over the course of the movie to get Day in bed; Day’s character, who seemed smart and interesting for the first 30 minutes, comes off as a moron for believing him for a bug chunk of the film. Not really a spoiler: they end up married. There are funny lines in these movies, usually from Tony Randall, and I enjoyed them when I was about 10 and saw them on TV. Not now. My mother was treated to me yelling for about 20 minutes about how Hudson’s character was an irredeemable bastard who learned nothing and never paid for his behavior and it was not remotely romantic or believable that they ended up together and why couldn’t he get what was coming to him.

    Which is a long way of explaining that I need to finally read Jane Doe, which has been on my Kindle for months now, and probably re-watch Down With Love to enjoy a send-up of Lover Come Back.

  5. 5
    Katie says:
    1+

    *sigh* That should say “big” not “bug.” And I even proof-read it.

  6. 6
    Marci says:
    1+

    I couldn’t get into reading books this year and am going to totally fail my Goodreads challenge. I’m not sure why but 2018 was obviously a long, rough year. Each time I tried to start a book, I couldn’t focus and just escape into the story. So I turned to gardening, graphic novels and bingeing tv series instead. I discovered Saga and loved it. The artwork is so gorgeous. Really enjoyed Rat Queens and Kim & Kim too. I also finally started Fables and so far it’s fun.

    Absolutely agree on watching Killing Eve and The Good Place. They topped my favorites from 2018. I also highly recommend Legends of Tomorrow and Big Mouth.

    Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers to 2019 being less of a shit show.

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:
    2+

    @Marci: I’m sometimes in that position, too, where my brain is so tired it can’t do the work to construct a world so I can really immerse myself in a story. Usually I notice that instead of reading, I’m playing narrative video games or reading nonfiction about gardening or cooking. I should try more graphic novels, since it seems that what my brain wants is part of the narrative built already, usually visually. Happy New Year from my brain to yours!

  8. 8
    Kate says:
    2+

    @Katie “Lying to Doris Day subgenre” LOL!

    I read a whole lot more SFF this year, mostly by women authors who are doing much more interesting things in the genre than the same ol’ Dudes in Space or Dudes with Swords stuff. Two of my favorite reads aren’t billed as romance but absolutely are: Witchmark by CL Polk and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I also really enjoyed The Fifth Season by NK Jemison, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, and The Wayward Children series of novellas by Seanan McGuire.

  9. 9
    LizH says:
    1+

    Not sure this is the place, and I am probably recommending something that Sarah has read before, but if you haven’t, for historicals about women on the edge of society and coming into their own, I highly recommend Phillip Pullman’s early Victorian Mysteries starring Sally Lockhart. They are excellent.

    Also if you liked Killing Eve – someone put all the (amazing) songs on a Spotify Playlist.

    Ok – that’s all. Thanks to all the bitches.

  10. 10
    Anna says:
    1+

    Re: not being about to listen to male narrators for audio books. This have me an AHA! moment. I think this is why I can’t listen to Pod Save America and body of my podcasts are run by females. I’ve tried. I’m on board with their progressive agenda. I just … can’t. I think Elyse hit the nail on the head … I’m done with listening to males about why crap is bad and how to fix it.

  11. 11
    BrandanWH says:
    1+

    Happy New Year, ladies! I’m behind but finally getting to this episode and I loved it. I really appreciated the comments about the often white-washing of romance. As a reader of color, it’s annoying to read only about people who don’t look like me having their HEAs. And, I too find myself putting down books more than I used to! I once stopped a book after the 1st chapter as I just could NOT with the hero. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone!

  12. 12
    Paige N. says:
    1+

    I love Grady Hendrix. Personally I feel he’s one of the few male authors who writes females well and “We Sold Our Souls” was soooo much better than I thought. “Paperbacks from Hell” was also amazing because it was very well researched and you can tell his love off all things horror and pulpy in it.

    I still haven’t read “Duke by Default” although I really need to as I’ve owned it for like three months. -_- It will be my next physical book though. I also read a lot more digitally and agree it makes nailing down a book to start and complete difficult for me. I’m usually reading anywhere between two threee books at once and I don’t imagine that new Kindle Paperwhite, which comes with Audible, will help me break that habit this year!! LOL

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