Talking Books with Bookrageous
The fantastic literary podcast Bookrageous just celebrated their two-year anniversary. For the occasion, and for our book blogger interview series, we spoke with hosts Jenn Northington, Josh Christie, and Rebecca Schinsky. Here they discuss how the show has changed how they read, what they read, and if social reading is possible. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for all things bookish.
You live in different states, how did the three of you find out about each other? How did you then decide to co-host a podcast together?
Behold the magic of the interwebs! We knew each other from our blogs and Twitter and had started working on the Bookrageous calendar (for which a bunch of awesome folks posed and contributed photos), when the idea of doing a podcast came up.
How do your day jobs affect the podcast and how does the podcast affect your day jobs?
Jenn: My day job gets me all the books that I talk about on the podcast, and the podcast shapes the way I talk to customers about the books that I’ve read (and that Rebecca and Josh have read).
Josh: Working at a bookstore keeps me in a bookish head space, which means a lot of the “research” and brainstorming for the show happens almost by coincidence. Like Jenn, talking about books on the podcast helps make me a better bookseller in the real world.
Rebecca: My job at Book Riot has me paying attention to what people are reading and how they talk about books—I think about writing about books almost as much as I think about reading them now—and the podcast is a constant source of data and ideas. If I get stuck trying to write about a book, I think about how I would talk to Josh and Jenn about it, and that usually helps me get my voice back.
How have your reading habits changed since you began the podcast? Do you influence each other?
Josh: When we started out, I really didn’t read much fiction - particularly so-called “literary fiction.” Jenn and Rebecca helped me get over my stereotypes about the genre.
Rebecca: Mine have changed SO MUCH. I read more than one book at a time now, and I read a lot more genre fiction than I did when we started, and a good bit of both of those changes is due to Josh and Jenn.
Jenn: I definitely read more essays and poetry than I did before, thanks to the podcast. And Rebecca and I have traded places — I’m currently trying her former strategy of reading only one book at a time.
What was something unexpected that came about from Bookrageous?
You mean, besides the fact that we’re still doing it after 2 years? None of us expected our BEA Bash to become such a big thing! That was a great surprise, and it’s become a fun tradition.
Any thoughts on reading as a solitary endeavor vs. a social act?
Jenn: Reading is nearly impossible to actually do, effectively, in a group, but processing what you’ve read and understanding what it means to you, that takes discussion with others.
Josh: Talking about what I’ve read with Jenn and Rebecca is so ingrained at this point, I’m not sure I could process books without debriefing with them. Reading is a solitary act, but having read becomes very social.
Rebecca: Reading is solitary; being a reader is social. And ditto to everything these two have said. When I start having thoughts about a book, Josh and Jenn are the first people I want to talk about it with.
How do you decide what to read next?
Jenn: Unless I have promised to write about something and that deadline is approaching, it’s literally whatever catches my eye. Backlist, frontlist, genre, literature, cereal box, whatever.
Josh: A huge chunk of my reading comes from Jenn and Rebecca’s suggestions - they’re more on top of upcoming releases than I am, especially when it comes to fiction. Otherwise, it’s all catalogs and coincidence.
Rebecca: I used to have a system, and I am SO much happier since I tossed it. I read mostly frontlist, but like Jenn, I pick whatever jumps out at me. Often, that’s something I’ve had on the pile forever but (ditto Josh) am more interested in after someone talks about it on the show.
What can listeners look forward to as you enter your third year of Bookrageous?
We hope to continue having great guests on the show, from authors to industry folks to bloggers to really whoever we think has interesting opinions about books. And, of course, all the cursing and giggling and “OMG it’s so good, you have to read it” you’ve come to expect from Bookrageous.