Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

48. Nerd Characters

Time for a new episode! We answer a reader letter and discuss nerd heroes and heroines – including the question of what, exactly, are we talking about when we talk about nerd characters? What does it mean if a reader is looking for more books with nerds? We also talk about what we're reading this week, and disagree about a book we both read (shocking, truly). Enjoy!


Here are the books we discuss in this episode:

Book Nerd in Shining Armor - Vicki Lewis Thompson Book Attachments Rainbow Rowell Book love Kinection Jennifer James

Book The Geek Job Eve Anglais Book A Week to be Wicked - Tessa Dare Book Theory of Attraction 
 - Delphine Dryden

Book Delphine Dryden:  Seduction Hypothesis   Book Undercover professor December Gepharts Book Girl from Mars - Julie Cohen

Book The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie Book Crystal Cove Lisa Kleypas Book Eve Silver Rush the game

Book Ready player One Book A visit from the goon squad Book Body electric susan squires

Book Gamer Girl - Mari Mancusi Book Surviving Passion Maya Underwood  Book Fire & Frost anthology

Book Fire Inside Ashley Book Thoroughbreds & Trailer Trash Book The Enforcer  Nikki Worrell

Book One Tiny Lie KA Tucker Book 10 tiny breaths KA Tucker Book New Zealand Escape Just This Once Rosalind James

Book Instant Attraction Jill Shalvis Book Just What He Wanted - HelenKay Dimon Book Black Diamonds

Plus, we discussed a mysterious Kathleen O'Reilly title with a science and angle-minded heroine that we couldn't remember – if you listen, let us know if you recognize that one?

 The music you are listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. This is called “Rivertown” by Michelle Sell, from her album Secret Harbor.

Michelle Sell is, according to Sassy, “a San Fransisco-based harpist who has not released new music recently, but she has some really beautiful older music. This is one of my favorite songs to write to… you got me thinking with that post on soundtracks–that was great by the way. I don't get to see the action atop the score, just hear it, so often, when there's no dialogue, the music is the only context I have. It better say it all. When I need to write a moment where a character does some serious alone time self analysis, this song tops my playlist. Michelle's music is up on iTunes, and if our California listeners dream of a harp at their wedding (and who doesn't), she takes bookings.”

You can find Michelle Sell on iTunes, Amazon, or at her website.  

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Thanks for listening – hope you enjoy!

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  1. 1
    LG says:

    I love romance novels with nerd characters, although I’m having trouble, at the moment, thinking of good ones. I remember being big on Vicki Lewis Thompson’s books for a while. I’ve read Gamer Girl (I didn’t like it at all) and Body Electric (I read this a while ago, so my memory of it is fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure that the heroine made me hugely uncomfortable). I also wouldn’t have counted Body Electric as a “nerd character” romance, which I suppose plays into the whole “what’s your definition of ‘nerd’?” discussion.

  2. 2
    Liz says:

    I sent in the email that prompted the discussion in this episode. As to the debate about nerd vs. geek I think Sarah and Jane are both right, although one definition is more “nerd” and one is more geek. A friend recently posted this on face book and i think it gives a great breakdown of the difference between geeks and nerds.

    I have read the madness of Lord Ian Makenzy and I agree with Jane that Lord Ian reads more autistic than anything else to me and I don’t personally classify that particular book as a nerd romance. It is admittedly harder to apply the terms of geek or nerd to historical romance novels than contemporary.

    There are definitely new to me books on here and I will go now and happily read more books.

    Thank you!!

  3. 3
    library addict says:

    Another fun podcast. I have a few recommendations for the nerd list:

    Carter describes himself as a nerd in Nora Roberts’ Vision in White

    Also I would describe Mac in the second book of her Three Sisters Island trilogy, Heaven and Earth as a nerd.

    Absolutely, Positively and Trust Me both by Jayne Ann Krenz feature nerd heroes.

    Not computers, but the heroine in Amanda Quick’s Ravished is kind of a nerd (obsessed with dinosaur bones). And the hero is Affair is a scientist.

  4. 4

    OK, so I read nothing nerd or geek so half of the discussion does not apply to me BUT I literally spit out what I was drinking….b/c I JUST sent you an email on One tiny Lie and how I love this author and book (go figure, Jane disagrees). 

    However, when Jane puts into perspective re: the drunk night leads to true love, I just bust out laughing.  I may have to disagree with Jane on the author’s voice – it seemed right on target to me after the first book and the whole love triangle thing—so college-y.

  5. 5
    kkw says:

    I find this an amusing explanation of differences.

    I have never been entirely happy with any of the nerd romances I’ve read. It always seems too gimmicky to me. I have enjoyed many, but never really believed in the nerd character. They’re either ordinary people with nerd attributes tacked on, or two dimensional (or both). JAK probably does my favorites, but Roberts, SEP, and Dare are also up there, more perhaps due to the fact they they can all tell a great story than that they have wholly convincing nerd heroes/heroines. I find the Thompson ones equally entertaining and irritating, a slightly improved Sandra Hill. I loved The Madness, but agree autism is a different thing.
    but there are so many more to check out. Guess it’s time to get reading.

  6. 6
    Kim (Mom on the Run) says:

    The third and 4th Escape to NZ are my favorites—a lot more conflict in the romance and less travelogue (although that’s a lot of what I liked about the whole series). The 2nd features a Maori hero and a spunky, mouthy Italian American heroine. These 3 books are $3.99, I think, but she occasionally puts them on sale.

    On the nerd front, the entire Modern Witch series by Debora Geary features a family of hereditary witches who run a very popular and lucrative online gaming empire. These books aren’t romances, but have many romantic situations. I really like this series as well as the NZ series, but I’ve realized that I really can’t read stuff with a lot of conflict anymore. I think it’s because dealing with two teenaged boys IRL was all could handle and I needed happy, gentle things to read!

  7. 7
    JenniferH says:

    The hero in thenew Ruthie Knox book Flirting With Disaster, fits both definitions, and is a great read

  8. 8
    cleo says:

    There was a gs vs sta on nerdy heroines a while ago – here’s the link

    @kkw – awesome venn diagram – thanks for the link

  9. 9
    Ruby Duvall says:

    Don’t forget Koko Brown’s “Nerds Are Freaks Too”!

  10. 10
    Maria Fer says:

    One of the best geek romances I have found to date is Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance by Penny Reid her geeky character is quirky and so charming not at all your run of the mill heroine.

  11. 11
    Tokies says:

    I dont have a deep enough book library to keep up.. i gotta really get reading

  12. 12
    MelissaW says:

    Oh, I love nerdy characters.  Don’t forget Pippa Marbury from Sarah MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover.  She uses her scientific bent and preference for the scientific method to explore “ruination” and find her hero!

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