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It's Lit Time! with Dr. Tess

It's Lit Time! with Dr. Tess

By Tess R Martinus

An English professor talks about stories
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Re-Reading Middle Earth: The Fellowship of the Ring chapters 1-9
Re-Reading Middle Earth: The Fellowship of the Ring chapters 1-9
My quick takes on Tom Bombadil, the strengths and weaknesses of Tolkien's prose, and dreaming about LOTR.
14:41
October 26, 2022
Re-Reading Middle-Earth: The Hobbit
Re-Reading Middle-Earth: The Hobbit
Welcome to the first episode of a new series, in which I re-read J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth saga and talk about how, if at all, my impressions have changed since I entered that world at age 13. Here, I discuss The Hobbit, focusing on Tolkien's descriptions of nature and the change of seasons, as well as Bilbo Baggins' peacemaking and self-reflection skills. And yes, I do a little bit of comparison between the book and the movies. I'd love to have you join me in my re-reading adventure! Next on the list is, of course, The Fellowship of the Ring. 
20:39
September 07, 2022
What Is a Hobbit? with Jordan Martinus
What Is a Hobbit? with Jordan Martinus
My husband, Jordan Martinus (from the board game episode!) joins me in a discussion of why we love The Lord of the Rings, why it's been such a cultural phenomenon, and why we especially love a few of the characters. (Believe me, it was hard to get this list down to a few!) Near the end of the episode, I mentioned a quote from Samwise Gamgee and promised I'd put it in the show notes. It turns out that this isn't a direct quote by Sam, but a narration of what goes through his mind when he sees a star through the dark clouds of Mordor: "There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."
31:12
July 25, 2022
What Is a Jedi? with Andy Thigpen
What Is a Jedi? with Andy Thigpen
Okay, if you want to get into a grammatical discussion, I suppose it might have been better to have called this episode "Who Are the Jedi?" But I'm sticking with my choice, because in this episode, we try to discover the essence of what it means to be a member of Star Wars' legendary Jedi order--and why it's a good thing for that essence to be questioned and reassessed periodically. Join me as I geek out with returning guest Andy Thigpen (from the Godfather episode!) about Jedi ethics, clone armies, and lightsaber training.
01:03:06
May 11, 2022
What Is a Picture Book? with Allison Stockslager
What Is a Picture Book? with Allison Stockslager
Join the wild rumpus and listen to my conversation with children's book expert (and my sister-in-law) Allison Stockslager. We read and discuss the entire text of Where the Wild Things Are and talk about why nobody is too old for picture books. Links to resources mentioned in the episode: HarperCollins 200th Anniversary Website Author Audio Tour (background on Maurice Sendak and Where the Wild Things Are): http://www.harpercollins200audiotour.com/ (When you get to the site, click on #8 on the map!) New York Times opinion piece by Pamela Paul: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/opinion/sunday/picture-books-reading.html
36:28
April 22, 2022
What is the Happiest Place on Earth? with Sarah Scheffel
What is the Happiest Place on Earth? with Sarah Scheffel
With the literal sounds of childhood providing the soundtrack to our discussion (listen to find out what I mean!), my sis and I discuss how Walt Disney World appeals to all five senses to create an immersive story experience for all ages.
49:47
February 04, 2022
What Makes a Game Like a Story? with Jordan Martinus
What Makes a Game Like a Story? with Jordan Martinus
My husband and I tell the story of how he turned me into a board gamer, and we discuss the best games for people who love stories.
43:18
December 09, 2021
What Is a Zombie? with Vickie Stockslager and Mark Stockslager
What Is a Zombie? with Vickie Stockslager and Mark Stockslager
I chat with my mom and brother, two George A. Romero superfans, about Romero's influence on the portrayal of zombies in pop culture. If you thought zombie movies were mindless gorefests, this episode will make you think again.
36:30
November 26, 2021
What Is a Novel?
What Is a Novel?
Let's talk novels: what they are, where they came from, what they're good for, and what it takes to be a good novel reader. (This episode was previously aired.)
30:08
October 21, 2021
What Is a Story?
What Is a Story?
Literature teachers, editors, and critics have given many definitions of what a story is, but the average person would probably struggle to define the term and might simply say that a story is "something you tell." Find out why that definition isn't so far off. (This episode was previously aired.)
34:16
October 21, 2021
What Is Short Fiction? with Cathy McCrumb
What Is Short Fiction? with Cathy McCrumb
I chat with my author and online friend Cathy about her work as a short fiction editor, her favorite fiction (long and short), and her upcoming science fiction release!  Here are the websites Cathy mentions in the episode: gohavoc.com (the flash fiction site she edits for) sparkflashfiction.com (another good place to read flash fiction) flashfictiononline.com (ditto) cathymccrumb.com (her website)
56:34
September 20, 2021
What the Dickens? with Todd Stockslager
What the Dickens? with Todd Stockslager
My dad and I talk about our mutual favorite author (who also happens to be the author of Our Mutual Friend), Charles Dickens. In this wide-ranging episode, we discuss Dickens's most memorable characters, the deep dark secrets of his life, and why you should give him a chance even if you hated reading Great Expectations in high school.
53:11
September 16, 2021
What is a Superhero? with Sam Harris
What is a Superhero? with Sam Harris
Sam and I talk about what makes a character a superhero, what defines a superhero story, and where this wildly popular genre is headed over the next few years.
01:11:20
August 28, 2021
What is a Lousy Book? with Christy Austin
What is a Lousy Book? with Christy Austin
Christy and I talk about the top seven things that make her quit reading a book--and the one thing that gets her to keep reading.
55:30
August 21, 2021
What Is a Family? with Andy Thigpen
What Is a Family? with Andy Thigpen
Andy and I talk about The Godfather film trilogy: how it defines the concepts of family and country, how it changed the gangster genre forever, and why all you holdouts should finally watch it.
01:01:02
August 14, 2021