Podcasts for book lovers, part 1: Fiction

I have a huge commute nowadays (~5 hours round trip and I am totally for serious about that) which is mostly a really boring bus ride when it isn’t punctuated by flashers or foul stenches. Thus I have been listening to a LOT of podcasts!

What are podcasts? They’re kind of like what old radio shows used to be: people talking into a microphone about all kinds of topics. There are comedy podcasts, drama podcasts, personal diary-type podcasts, news podcasts, music podcasts, and more! Being a book blogger, I tend to listen to lots of book and blog-related podcasts.

Don’t know where to start? Lucky for you I’ve created a series of posts for podcasts recommendations!

First up:


welcome to night valeWelcome to Night Vale which blew up the internet last fall and it was totally worth it.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

Turn on your radio and hide.

Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Narrated by Cecil Baldwin. Music by Disparition. Logo by Rob Wilson

Listen if you like: horror, paranormal/urban fantasy, magical realism, scifi/fantasy, REALLY GOOD WRITING! Also, music!
valentin & the widow
Valentin and the Widow which is more like an audiobook in serial form.

The story of widowed English aristocrat Eleanora Rosewood, her Russian valet Sacha Valentin, and their quest to take down the covert evil organisation known as Dominion.

Eleanora Rosewood is a headstrong young woman in the 1920s with a progressive view of world affairs. When her husband is killed in a tragic accident, she learns that he was involved in a secret society bent on perpetuating the oppression of the weak and the poor by any means necessary.

Sacha Valentin is a burly Russian sailor who is as chivalrous in his regard for others as he is cavalier in his regard for himself. Living in self-imposed exile from his motherland, he is lured back to face the temptations of the world of men when he is recruited to Lady Rosewood’s cause.

Valentin & The Widow is serialised as a free weekly audio drama narrated by the author. You can also buy ebook novella editions of the adventures at Amazon and Smashwords for just $2.99 each.

Listen if you like: mysteries, historical fiction, unusual women characters.

Podcastle which is actually a company that makes audiobook/podcasts of various authors’ short stories.

PodCastle is the world’s first fantasy audio magazine. Each week we bring you short stories across the spectrum of fantasy from leading authors and new discoveries. Like our sister podcasts, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, PodCastle is entirely free to listen and share.

Listen if you like: fantasy, short stories.

Do you listen to any fiction podcasts? Which ones would you recommend?

Unreliable flappers: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (+ giveaway!)

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Unreliable flappers: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (+ giveaway!)The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Published by Berkley Trade Paperback (2013), Paperback, 368pg
Filed under: Fiction, GLBTQ, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Got my copy from: Book Tour
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool.

As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover. (from Goodreads)

I love flappers and mysteries and mysteries with flappers, so when I was given the opportunity to join in a blog tour for The Other Typist, which has all those things, I jumped at it!

The narrator, Rose, is unreliable like woah. I feel weird about not believing someone who is presented as a victim, but her narrative voice is very hinky. She just oozes “I am lying and/or delusional,” so I pretty much automatically distrusted her. It started off as little things that pinged my “something is off” meter, but it quickly escalated. For example, she keeps a diary of Odalie’s movements. In a normal mystery, that might be okay. In a mystery with a narrator who gives off creepy vibes, it comes off as obsessive and weird. And then…

How to read more books (for people who think they’re too busy)

read more books for busy people
Feel like you aren’t reading enough? Wish you could get through your stack of library books before their due dates? Piles of TBR books threatening to crush you and your loved ones?

Never fear! Here’s

How to get more reading time every day

1. Always bring a book with you wherever you go. Preferably it’d be the book you’re currently reading, but with hardbacks that’s kinda difficult unless you have a huge purse and arms of steel. I’d recommend having a paper book at home and an ebook you carry with you either on your phone or ebook reader.

2. Listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are great for when you’re commuting to work, doing housework, or exercising! I also think it’s nice to listen to a book for a little bit right before bed (see below for more on that). It’s relaxing.

3. Take advantage of waiting periods. While waiting in line at the grocery store, post office. Also, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, etc. It takes a little practice to be able to read and also pay attention to your surroundings so you’re not one of those people who ignore the “next in line” call, but it’s totally doable!

4. Dedicate specific time each day to reading. Like half an hour before bed, or half an hour in the morning while you’re drinking coffee/eating breakfast (don’t worry about food stains). Eventually, it’ll become a habit! You’ll be blazing through dozens of books in no time.

How do you fit more reading time into your day?

My three books

3 books that describe me
Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness asked a question (via NPR) on her blog the other day: what three books summarize YOU? What books would you want someone to see on your shelf so they’d “get” you?

Here’s what immediately popped into my head:
The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Mystery, magical realism/fantasy, book-related intrigue. Everything I like packaged into one really awesome book. (You may be familiar with the movie version starring Johnny Depp; believe me when I say the book is much better.)

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Humor, fantasy, things about what makes a person human and things about gods/religion/people and how that all blends together.

Going Solo by Roald Dahl. A travel memoir written by one of my favorite children’s book authors; it’s funny and enthralling and I had to get a nonfiction book in here somewhere.

Sooooo, based on these books, what sort of person would you think I am? As someone who like magic and adventures and enjoys funny situations that also make you think about how the world works? That’s what I’m hoping comes through, both in my book choices here and in the writing on my blog. (And maybe IRL, too, though that’s trickier to judge success on.)

Which three books describe you?

This weekend’s SoCal book events!

Sidenote: dang, I gotta upload more recent photos to my Flickr soon.

February 8, 2014 (Saturday)

It is the start of LA Zine Week! Yes! There will be fun zine-related things happening all week, culminating with a festival on the 15th!

Mysterious Galaxy is hosting a Local Author Celebration in San Diego.

Terri Nolan is having a launch party for her new book, Glass Houses, at Book Carnival in Orange.

Gregory Harris is signing The Arnifour Affair at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach.

February 9, 2014 (Sunday)

The Fight For the Future tour is making a stop at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach. Authors who will be there are: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner, Marie Lu, and Margaret Stohl.

Later that day Mysterious Galaxy will be hosting an off-site author event/signing/PARTY! at the Mandrake in Los Angeles. Noir at the Bar!

Be sure to check the Southern California Book Events Calendar for more awesome things. There’s lots of stuff happening on Tuesday, for instance!

Los Angeles book events this weekend!

I just found out about these two events yesterday. They look like TONS of fun!

la art book fair 2013
LA Art Book Fair
January 31-February 2, 2014
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Free and open to the public, the LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers.

Featured projects include a Queer Zines Exhibition curated by Philip Aarons and AA Bronson, The Classroom series of talks and lectures curated by David Senior, KCHUNG Radio with live coverage of – and broadcast from – the fair, and a number of special project rooms. In addition, MOCAtv and the LA Art Book Fair team up to bring you a series of curated screenings, panels, and performances by some of our favorite artists and performers, and the CABC comes, for the first time, to the west coast for a one-day conference.

(XE)ROX & PAPER + SCISSORS is a super-sized subsection of the LA Art Book Fair, featuring zinesters from home and abroad, together with the popular Friendly Fire section curated by Printed Matter’s Max Schumann, and Fabulousity, an exhibition of ephemera and photographs by Alexis Dibiasio surrounding 80s and 90s New York Club Kid Culture, on the occasion of the recent Fabulousity: A Night You’ll Never Forget… Or Remember by Wild Life Press.

The LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to the NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York. 27,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and other enthusiasts attended the NY ART BOOK FAIR in 2013.

Zines! omg. (The LA Zine Fest is coming up on February 16, btw!)

Family Book Swap @ Pasadena Public Library
February 1, 2014 11am-1pm

Bring your leftover books or old favorites and swap them out for something new. All ages and genres welcome!

Anyone planning on going to either of these events this weekend?

What’s your end-of-book ritual?

A topic over at the Mobileread forums got me thinking about my own ritual for ending a book. Besides, y’know, just closing the covers (or closing the app if it’s an ebook).

If it’s an ebook, what I usually do is mark the book as “read” and add it to my “finished not backed up” collection in Marvin (so I remember to export the notes and stuff before I delete it from my phone). If it’s a paper book, I physically move it to my “read books” bookshelf.

Then I go to Goodreads and mark it as read/give it a rating! And THEN I add it to my books read list here at HTBB. And finally, I add it to my reading spreadsheet.

I do tend to start a new book right away, even if I’m about to go to bed; it gives me something to look forward to the next day! But if a book is particularly OMG AMAZING I tend to just sit there thinking about the amazingness for a while. Savoring it, you know?

Do you have a ritual for when you finish a book?

Photo credit: Simon Cocks