Book Review of Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown Book Cover Fredrik Backman is a Swedish writer best known for his books (A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, etc.) Today, I’m talking about one of his most recent works “Beartown,” a book that focuses on a small town’s relationship with ice hockey and the interwoven lives of the people who live there. Spoiler alert: I think this book is great, and I hope you do too. There are a ton of themes and ideas that come up in Beartown, but the one I’m most excited to discuss is loyalty. Is loyalty always a good thing? What happens when we misplace it? These are the questions Backman asks in the Beartown narrative – and just a few of the ones he answers as well.

Books mentioned in this episode:

  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

RE: Amazon Replacing Libraries, Book Haul, & Practical Books on Writing

Let’s talk about that crazy Forbes article that suggested we replace local libraries with Amazon bookstores! Also, I’ve got a first edition book haul to report (Weeee!) and a few suggestions for books about writing that I’ve found practical and think you might too. Most of these books are ones that I use for reference. You don’t really have to read them cover to cover to get the specific information you need. On the other hand, I think it’s valuable to read straight through “how to” books when you have the time because you can find answers to questions you didn’t know you had yet!

Books mentioned in this episode:

  • Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Cat’s Pajamas by Ray Bradbury
  • Obscure Destinies by Willa Cather
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson
  • The Art of Styling Sentences by Ann Longknife and K.D. Sullivan
  • The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue by John Hugh, Jr
  • The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
  • Style: Ten Lessons I Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams
  • A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury with Josiah and Benji!

The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyJoin me as I discuss The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury with guests Josiah and Benji! For those of you who have tuned in before, you might remember Josiah and Benji from a few months ago when we talked about “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. (Psssst! We’re also reviewing wine again.)

If you enjoy Plotboilers, toss a rating and / or review my way on iTunes. And don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter @plotboilers.

If you’ve read The Martian Chronicles or have thoughts about our thoughts on it, drop me a line in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Books mentioned in this episode: 

Wines mentioned in this episode:

PS – At the top of this episode, we mention that we are probably going to spoil the ending. Partway through, we decided not to spoil it! 🙂

Hacks to Find (And Identify) First Editions of Your Favorite Books + Book Giveaway!

A Piece of My Book CollectionLet’s talk about collectible books! First things first: Did you know there’s a difference between a first edition and a first printing? Both are cool, but many collectors prefer the first printing to the first edition. I’ll tell you why, and relay a few hacks I’ve discovered in my own book collecting pursuits to help you find and identify first and collectible editions of your favorite titles.

Happily by Chauncey Rogers

But first, it’s book giveaway time! If you follow me on Twitter, you know I promised a giveaway of a signed copy of Happily by Chauncey Rogers. Listen to the show to find out how you could win a copy!

Book Recommendations from this Episode:

  • Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  • Happily by Chauncey Rogers [Giveaway book!]
  • A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? With Special Guests Josiah and Benji!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a novel by Philip K. Dick. It’s also the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner, although I wouldn’t have guessed it by the title. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time, and as it turns out, so have fellow book enthusiasts Josiah and Benji. Join us as we discuss everything from plot to themes to the wine we’re drinking while we review it – and if you like what you’ve heard here, let me know by leaving Plotboilers a review on iTunes, following me on Twitter, and sharing your thoughts in the comments below! (Seriously, I love hearing from you guys. It makes my day.)

Wine mentioned in this episode: 2015 Château de Brandey Bordeaux  

NOTE: As per usual, Plotboilers discusses story elements. This means you’re going to hear about plot points, characters, etc. If you want to pick up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and read with completely fresh eyes, pause the podcast, read the book, and then give it a listen. Otherwise, my goal is for you to be able to enjoy the book after listening, too!

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) Book Review and “You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag!

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) Book CoverToday’s episode features a review of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor. When I first heard about We Are Legion, I wasn’t convinced that I’d like it – mostly because the main character is a spaceship. (That’s kind of an oversimplification, but you’ll understand why after hearing the review.) This book surprised me because it’s not only super fun but also deals with some pretty interesting questions –  like what it means to be alive and the nature of individuality. If that sounds cool, you’re in luck because it’s actually the first of three books in the Bobiverse trilogy. I definitely plan on reading the next two – and I might review them, too!

In the meantime, I decided to shake things up a bit and participate in the “You’re Not Good Enough” book tag. Again, this is going to take some explaining. Basically, I’m going to talk about some interesting / outlandish / funny scenarios and try to figure out which book characters “win” each scenario. Thanks to The Book Cover Girl for tagging me!

Books in this Episode:

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor
  • It by Stephen King
  • Retrograde by Peter Cawdron
  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Their Eyes were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Pet Semetary by Stephen King
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

For reference, here are the questions from the book tag on The Book Cover Girl’s blog!

P.S. – You can find me on iTunes. Depending on your preferred medium for listing, subscribing via iTunes or the Podcasts app on your phone might be the best way to get automatic Plotboilers updates!

The Handmaid’s Tale Review and the Importance of Reaction Scenes

The Handmaid's Tale Book ReviewIn today’s episode, I’m reviewing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book is not only one of Atwood’s most acclaimed novels, but the basis for the American television show by the same name. If you know anything about Margaret Atwood, you know she has a flair for dark, gritty, and utterly captivating dystopian and speculative fiction with a political or feminist slant. Sound intriguing? It is. But in order to get her ideas across effectively, it’s important to have good characters and story structure as well – and that’s exactly what I wanted to explore when I picked up this book.

Additionally, I’m taking a few minutes to talk about the importance of action and reaction scenes in novels. If you’ve ever read a book or watched a show and came away thinking “Wow, I don’t care about those people at all,” it’s possible the story failed to find its action/reaction stride. This not only applies to the individual scenes in your book (how they flow and push the story forward), but it also relates to the relationship between your book’s first and second half.

Books mentioned in this episode:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

PS – I also mention “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” but I’m talking about the movie, not the French comic book “Empire of a Thousand Planets.”