E11: Post-Apocalyptic Futuristic Science Fiction Dragons with Spirits and a Cat
Smack and Gabi cover a lot of reading ground from March and April. Smack gives a teaser about her faves (further discussion pending Gabi catching up…some day); Gabi waxes poetic about feathered dragons, Faustian bargains, violin prodigies, and donut-selling aliens; and we both gush about a gross and incredible werewolf horror novel. Smack’s been listening to a lot of popcorn audiobooks while Gabi pre-gamed for Book Crawl. We finish by reminiscing about nice dragons - one of our all-time favorites! Main books discussed include: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah Stealing Thunder (#1) and Gifting Fire (#2) by Alina Boyden Fae Games trilogy by Karen Lynch Inferno by Dante Alighieri (translated by Mary Jo Bang, illustrations by Henrik Drescher) Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki Mongrels by Stephen Graham-Jones Impact Winter by Travis Beacham Rylee Adamson series by Shannon Mayer Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow #1) by Jessie Mihalik Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter Scorpica by G.R. Macallister So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens DFZ trilogy by Rachel Aaron Heartstrikers (a.k.a. Nice Dragons) series by Rachel Aaron
June 16, 2022
B2: Green Creek Part Two - Everything Exists in Werewolf Fiction
In our second bonus episode, Smack and Gabi continue their discussion surrounding the Green Creek saga by TJ Klune. Topics include some hot tea re: the publishing industry, some common werewolf tropes that were not adequately explained during Gabi’s insane Green Creek tangent of the previous bonus episode, a recap of Brothersong (the final book in the quartet), and a couple of essential plot points that Gabi remembers very suddenly mid-sentence. We’re also not 100% sure what year it is. Other werewolf books of note mentioned in passing that we think everyone should read include Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones and The Devourers by Indra Das.
June 02, 2022
E10: Book Haulidays Part Two - On a Hunting Trip and Haven't Been Home in a Few Days
Smack and Gabi continue their recap of their Book Hols with the rest of their recent reads and coverage of their (first) Barnes & Noble Pre-Order Sale Extravaganza. Gabi belatedly learns a well-known Supernatural trope and bemoans a missed opportunity for a character's Enemies-to-BFFs relationship with a big bad evil serpent. Smack explains the best friend prop and describes how to get good translator recommendations when reading classics. Both reiterate their goal to make 2022 the Year of Indulgences and Rereads. Main books discussed include: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski translated by Danusia Stok Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown Pawn by Karen Lynch
May 16, 2022
B1: Green Creek Part One - Tragedy and Gay Werewolves
In our first bonus episode, Gabi goes off on an incredible tangent in which she narrates to a very patient Smack the happenings of the first three Greek Creek books by TJ Klune, which she purchased during the Book Haulidays described in the previous full episode.
May 01, 2022
E9: Book Haulidays Part One - Eat Your Nemesis
Smack and Gabi ring out 2021 with a round-up of their Book Hols from the end of the year and set some 2022 goals. Gabi did a not insignificant amount of stress-shopping while Smack (somehow?!) didn’t receive a single book during the holidays. We celebrate the accomplishment of our 2021 book/page count goals and review the highs and lows throughout the year. For 2022, we decide to skip insane book/page count goals in favor of making it the Year of Indulgences and Rereads. Gabi’s supplemental goal is to get through her Smack Shelf, while Smack’s supplemental goal is to keep Gabi from accomplishing that goal. We also start discussing our recent reads (to be continued!).
April 15, 2022
E8: Sirens Part Two - That Sure Is Something I Read
Smack and Gabi continue with their Sirens (a conference dedicated to examining gender and fantasy literature) catch-up by playing a tier-ranking of the 2021 Sirens Reading Challenge. The Reading Challenge last year consisted of 25 main books which could be replaced by a selection from a supplemental list of 25 if any of the main books had been read in advance of the challenge. Both full lists can be found at: https://www.sirensconference.org/connect/readingchallenge.html And our custom tier-ranking game (filled only with selections which at least one of us read) can be found at: https://tiermaker.com/create/sirens-reading-challenge-2021-1334416
March 16, 2022
E7: Sirens Part One - It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books
Smack and Gabi reconvene in the new year to catch-up on the final quarter of 2021 starting with a review of their experiences at Sirens, a conference dedicated to examining gender and fantasy literature. In this episode, they itemize their very reasonable book hauls (Gabi walked away from the auction with a tote bag stuffed full of books, while Smack scored some long-anticipated novels at the Sirens bookstore), chat about their favorite conference sessions, and celebrate Gabi’s murder mystery win, all while taking only a minor detour to rant about a recent read. Books discussed include: Payback’s a Witch by Lena Harper Black Water Sister by Zen Cho Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel The Bone Witch trilogy by Rin Chupeco
February 16, 2022
E6: Mysterious Galaxy Summer Bingo Showdown - Part Two
Smack and Gabi compete to find out who read the best combination of books for the Mysterious Galaxy Summer Bingo by having random PvP fights between their books. Books pitted against each other in this episode (part two of two) include: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill v. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal v. Galactic Hellcats by Marie Vibbert Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson v. Burning Roses by S.L. Huang Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living As a Writer edited by Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans v. Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu v. Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa Galactic Hellcats by Marie Vibbert v. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho Lobizona by Lobina Garber v. The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston v. Harriet Porber and the Bad Boy Parasaurolophus by Chuck Tingle Gifting Fire by Alina Boyden v. The Blood in the Thread by Cheri Kamei The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson v. I Really Am A Slag Shou! (我真的是渣受) by 你的荣光 Among the Silvering Herd by A. M. Dellamonica v. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid v. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
January 01, 2022
E5: Mysterious Galaxy Summer Bingo Showdown - Part One
Smack and Gabi compete to find out who read the best combination of books for the Mysterious Galaxy Summer Bingo by having random PvP fights between their books. Books pitted against each other in this episode (part one of two) include: The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett v. Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara v. Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison v. Legendary Cracow by Ewa Basiura Stealing Thunder by Alina Boyden v. Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction by Sami Schalk The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen v. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin v. The Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor v. The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo Shuri: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor v. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin v. Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Alicia Zaloga and Wendy Trimboli v. The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison v. Shuri: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi translated by Cathy Hirano v. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
November 30, 2021
E4: What's a Gyarados?
Smack unboxes a highly anticipated delivery from Barnes & Noble, Gabi learns what a Gyarados is, and we discuss a wide variety of recent reads that include contemporary fiction, YA fantasy, early 1900s howdunits, non-fiction manifestos and essays, and speculative poetry. Main books discussed include: The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi translated by Cathy Hirano Anxious People by Fredrik Backman translated by Neil Smith Simon Snow trilogy by Rainbow Rowell Arsène Lupin Gentleman Thief by Maurice LeBlanc translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos Whipping Girl by Julia Serano Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline The 2021 Rhysling Anthology edited by Alessandro Manzetti The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
November 04, 2021
E3: No One is Safe
After a bunch of trilogies, Smack and Gabi recover from book trauma, discuss savvy heroines, and critique French-inspired worldbuilding. Main books discussed include: Shadow of the Fox, Soul of the Sword, and Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson Serpent & Dove trilogy by Shelby Mahurin Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal
October 15, 2021
E2: When In Doubt, DNF
Smack and Gabi do a few deep dives into some recent reads and learn to trust our DNF instincts. Main books discussed include: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows duology) by Leigh Bardugo A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison Burning Roses by S.L. Huang Show notes are available HERE.
September 24, 2021
E1: Don't Bring Hardcovers on Vacation
Smack and Gabi talk their current, recent, and upcoming reads. Highlights include trying to convince Smack to DNF the Book of the Unnamed Midwife and trying to convince Gabi to not bring a hardcover trilogy on vacation to Hawaii. Main books discussed include: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Burning Roses by S.L. Huang The Simon Snow trilogy by Rainbow Rowell The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (Pandava Quintet #3) by Roshani Chokshi Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard Show notes are available HERE.
August 27, 2021
E0: Intro to ITBR
Introduction to the Infinite To-Be-Read podcast and its hosts Smack and Gabi, who are doing their best to put a dent in reading books they already own and trying to resist buying more. Show notes are here
July 25, 2021