In this section, we get the second half of the Hunger Games including Katniss’ alliance with Rue and her final alliance with Peeta. We discuss the final few tributes, the darkness of the books, and the ending of the games. Charles and Asia unpack the complications of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship, and while we support Peeta’s love, we’re not happy with his reaction to Katniss’ confusion. We discuss the quality of the writing which does not disappoint and how this book sets up the remainder of the series so nicely. We also take some time to appreciate the gravity of the content, the loss of 22 teenagers’ lives, and we especially appreciate that Collins respects the severity of the content.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-14 of book 2 in the series, Catching Fire.
For this next series, Asia and Charles are going to Panem and returning home to a series that they both have read and love dearly. We get to follow Katniss around, and we revel in some eighth grade dystopian angst. Katniss and Peeta enter The Hunger Games, and we follow their journey from District 12, through training, all the way into the arena. We compliment Suzanne Collins’ writing because she simply does an excellent job worldbuilding while keeping the plot moving along. This section was definitely a page turner.
Next week we will be reading chapters 15-27 of book 1 in the series, The Hunger Games.
Note: This episode was recorded around 4th of July, so please excuse some fireworks in the background.
We finish His Dark Materials with our final showdown between good and evil, sense and confusion. Will and Lyra take us on an insane journey through the land of the dead, and Coulter and Asriel have the best arcs we could consider for them. The mulefa are still crazy, and there are a fair number of moments that we think lack the payoff that they truly deserve. We disagree on the ending which Charles finds tragically beautiful and Asia just finds tragic, and as promised, the anti-organized religion sentiments are further explored as the series wraps up.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-14 of The Hunger Games, book 1 in our new series, The Hunger Games.
This week we’re diving into our final book of His Dark Materials, The Amber Spyglass. If you thought that this story was already too complicated, it gets way worse this week. Will chases down Lyra, and the war is brewing further. We have a great time building up the tension and prepping for the final show down. Mrs. Coulter is still evil, but what else is new. And of course, the church criticism rises even further this week.
Next week we will be reading chapters 20-38 of book 3 in the series, The Amber Spyglass.
As we wrap up The Subtle Knife, we get some answers to the questions from the last reading, but we also get posed some new and larger questions about Dust. While Lyra and Will’s friendship blossoms, it seems that everything else around them is going wrong. Mrs. Coulter’s evil takes new heights, Will’s reunion with his father is disappointingly brief, and Lee/Hester’s passing is a hard chapter to read. We also start to get into the discussion of Lyra as Mother Eve and the implication of her role as Eve.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-19 of book 3 in the series, The Amber Spyglass.
In this episode, we dive further into the complexities of Pullman’s worlds. We meet Will who meets Lyra, and they become fast friends. Both Charles and Asia enjoy this friendship and are excited to watch it develop. Serafina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby are on other adventures. Lyra meets Dr. Malone and makes some steps in her research of Dust. Meanwhile, Will is on a quest to find his father. And of course, Mrs. Coulter is still evil.
Next week we will be reading chapters 9-15 of book 2 in the series, The Subtle Knife.
We finish The Golden Compass this week with Lyra’s adventures at Bolvangar and Svalbard. We spend more time with evil Mrs. Coulter and some extra time with, equally evil, Lord Asriel. Somehow we get to discussions of seal kidneys and other gross topics as well as the emotional torture perpetrated by the magisterium. Ultimately, we have Lyra’s betrayal because by bringing Roger to her father she brings about his death. This leads her and Pan to decide that Dust is good and they must pursue it; so they follow Asriel into a new world.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-8 of book 2 in the series, The Subtle Knife.
This week we dive into the fourth series on the podcast, His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. We cover the first half of the first book, The Golden Compass, and we get introduced to Lyra and her world of daemons. The worldbuilding in this series is darker and more complex, and Asia rightfully calls Charles out on picking another complicated series. Lyra starts her journey in Oxford, then heads to London, and finally up north as she tries to find the missing children and learns how to read her alethiometer.
Next week we will be reading chapters 14-23 of book 1 in the series, The Golden Compass.
This week we spend one more episode with Stephenie Meyer’s vampires. We cover all of Midnight Sun in this episode which means we get to relive the initial falling-in-love but from a new vantage point. We have fun pointing out the little tidbits that Midnight Sun provides. We flesh out some frustrations with Edward, which while not justifying Jacob’s behavior in Eclipse, at least make it more bearable.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-13 of The Golden Compass, book 1 in our new series, His Dark Materials.
This week, we finish the plot of the Twilight Saga. This episode and reading really tie the whole series together into one neat ending. We get to enjoy Bella as a vampire and Edward’s equal. We get her whole family: Charlie, the wolves, and the Cullens. We also harken back to previous books with more of the Volturi and more of the vampire world-building. This was probably our favorite Twilight Saga reading, so we’re really glad to spend one more week with these characters next week when we cover Midnight Sun.
Next week we will be reading the entire extra book in the series, Midnight Sun.