February 28th - I See Dead People

Leaving home for the first time can be scary. We typically have had our parents as a back up every day of our lives. It’s frightening and exhilarating to have that safety net suddenly removed. For most of us, moving away to college is this moment.

I didn’t feel frightened till I studied abroad. It was one of the best experiences I ever had in my life. I got to learn about architecture, wine, and I was completely on my own for the very first time. Still, the thought of all my close friends and family being an entire ocean and half a continent away was terrifying. What was I going to miss? What if I got sick? What if something happened to someone I loved and I couldn’t be there? What if I needed to cry to my mom about something entirely stupid? It was a lot to take on, but I’m glad I did it. If we never do anything that makes us uncomfortable, we never grow.

in ‘The Name of the Star’ by Maureen Johnson, Rory is leaving home for the first time. She’s a young teenage girl who is going to study abroad in London. The big city is vastly different from her little hometown in Louisiana. After an unfortunate accident, Rory realizes she can see ghosts! And to top things off, she soon finds herself tied up in a series of murders. Not just any murders, but murders that closely match that of Jack the Ripper.

This is the first book in the ‘Shades of London’ series. And you can bet we are going to read the rest of them!

9802372.jpg
February 15th - Love Me! Why?

The dreaded holiday has come and gone…single's awareness day….I mean Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for love, over-priced chocolate and cards, and judging how much you are loved based off how much money your significant other spent on you.

Honestly, that’s a really bleak outlook on Valentine’s day. I’ve personally never put much stock into the idea. The best Valentine’s Day I ever had was watching a ‘Love Sucks’ Vampire movie marathon with my friends in high school and eating all the half-off chocolate we could afford. Then something miraculous happened.

I fell in love.

We still don’t put a lot of pressure on for Valentine’s Day. We usually go get ‘Buy one, get one free’ lovers burritos and watch Star Wars Family Guy (As is tradition for Liz and Paul). We still see it as a day of love, but everyday is like that for us. We don’t need a special day on the calendar to remind us that we love each other.

So, in honor of our mixed feelings about a holiday dedicated to love, we are reading ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ By William Shakespeare. Benedick has sworn to never marry or fall in love. Beatrice has sworn the same. So, of course, they would make the perfect couple. Their friends, Claudio and Hero, do their best to set them up. But what happens when a sneaky Don decides to mess with the happiness of Hero and Claudio? Heart break, faking your own death and hilarity!

much_ado.jpg
January 31st - The Glossary Is Your Friend

Casye and I make no effort to hide that we are mid-west girls through and through. The midwest is known to most coasts as the fly-over states. (Well, except for Texas, but they have their own issues we aren’t going to talk about.) We take this as an insult. The midwest is home to all sorts of incredible things!

  1. Chili with Cinnamon Rolls - You don’t dunk the cinnamon rolls in the chili. That would be gross. Eat one, then the other.

  2. Barbecue - We are born and raised Kansas City. World’s best barbecue. End of Story.

  3. Paul Rudd - Marvel Superhero who will probably defeat Thanos. Look him up.

  4. Miami County Wineries - Produced 90% of America’s wine before prohibition. Boom!

  5. Radio Free Puppets! - Puppets on the radio. I write the show so you know it’s amazing! (Justin, do I get paid now?)

I could go on and on. We have a lot of artists in the midwest and that includes authors. Aaron Hollingsworth, author of Four Winds One Storm; Book 1 - The Bone Brick City is a Kansas City native. We here at This is Lit! like to support out local comrades.

The Mystic Mafia is terrorizing the city of Embrinel. (I have no idea if I’m spelling that right). Only a rag tag team of adventurers can save the city!

The glossary will be your friend on this one, folks. Trust me.

51XpsD9803L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


Elizabeth Bird
January 15th - Green Light

3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

As we enter a new orbit around the sun, it’s a time for looking to the future. We here at This is Lit! are no different. The future can be a scary thing, but don’t worry! We have plenty of exciting plans for this podcast.

It’s also a time a year to reflect on the past. I’m not going to lie to you, dear audience. This past year has been rough for both of your hosts. There has been a myriad of things that have gone wrong.

“I’ve seen some things go wrong.” She leaned against the wall in the pouring rain. Her eyes grew distant with the ghosts of her past. The cigarette in her had received an unenthusiastic flick. The dying embers were reminiscent of the light that once graced her eyes. Something bright and deadly now extinguished forever.

To quote Rafiki, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it. The turning of the year reminds us all that the past is gone and can’t hurt us anymore. It can be a nice place to visit from time to time, but by no means is it a safe place to live.

The past is a heavy topic in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nick Caraway moves to Long Island for the summer of 1922. There, he befriends a man named Jay Gatsby. His past is a mystery. The wild parties he throws are constant and extravagant. And Gatsby has his sights set on Nick’s cousin, the lovely Daisy Buchanan. Will the past catch up with them all?

220px-TheGreatGatsby_1925jacket.jpeg
Elizabeth Bird
December 31st - Pork Pies & Sherry

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. May your 2019 be better than 2018.

Everyone is getting ready for a new year with new resolutions. Do they ever stick? Well, only if you believe they do. Belief has always been a point of contention on this podcast. The hosts were raised in the ‘Bible belt’ after all. That kind of thing is impossible to ignore.

Belief is something that is prominent in Terry Pratchett’s The Hogfather. More importantly, it is the belief of children. What kid didn’t believe in the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy at one point in their lives? If you never did…well…that’s something we don’t really have time to get into.

Elizabeth believed she would be a world famous singer by now, but it just wasn’t in the cards after that horrible stage dive accident in middle school….

510pWUjvb4L._SX279_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Elizabeth Bird
December 15th - Holiday Spirits

Christmas time is here again. It’s time for eating too much, dealing with family and snow…lots and lots of snow. The author of this blog post is watching lots and lots of snow fall out her window even as she types. Welcome to the Midwest, y’all.

 As wonderful as everything is this time of year, all the traditions and expectations can be stressful. You know that. We know that. So, all us gals came up with our own tradition.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world, allow me to introduce to you the idea of Friend-mas.

Friend Christmas (aka Friend-mas) is a tradition that Elizabeth has been hosting since her college days. It started off as a simple potluck with a couple of sorority sisters. Now, it’s a full on Martha Stewart Christmas. So, of course all the decorations color-coordinate with her dress. It’s a Christmas we can all look forward too with no stress of familial expectations. There’s turkey, pie and a cut-throat game of Celebrity. Casye doesn’t like to lose. Then again, in the game of White Elephant, you live or you die.

Of course, there’s TONS of wine.

Being taken with the holiday spirit, we decided to cover A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for our first holiday episode.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a terrible person, who doesn’t believe in Christmas. And, well, everyone in the world knows the rest. ‘You will be haunted by 3 spirits…’

The only spirits I like are the ones in this glass.

51RjcDDsGBL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Elizabeth Bird
November 30th - Jinkies!

We don’t know a kid who didn’t grow up watching Scooby-Doo. There was the leader, the smart one, the pretty one, and the one that ate everything…and the dog. Elizabeth constantly found herself associating with the smart one. Knee-high orange socks were never her thing though. This gang became part of our childhood.

That’s probably why we picked up Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero.

The gang faced dangers in their childhood all the time. But what does that do to a person when the mystery is over and all the villains are unmasked? The Scooby Gang will eternally be teenagers/young adults their entire existence. What would happen if they grew up? Or worse, grew apart? Meddling Kids takes a shot at answering these questions.

The style of the book can throw people for a loop. Stick with it. We promise the story is well worth it.

The Blyton Summer Detective Club closed their last case 13 years ago; the Sleepy Lake Monster. Now all adults, the previous detectives are leading broken lives. Andy, the tom boy, has been a wanderer and recently broke out of prison. Kerri, the smart one, has dropped out of school and become an alcoholic to keep her night terrors at bay. Even her weimaraner, Tim, can’t ease her fear. Nate, the youngest, is constantly checking himself into mental institutions. He’s the only one who still talks to Peter, the leader. Nevermind that Peter’s already dead.

Something about their last case never added up. Where did all those scratching noises come from? What was really hiding in that old mansion in the middle of the lake? Andy decides to reunite the team to solve this case for good.

What happens when the villain isn’t just a monster in a mask? What happens when the mask won’t come off?

9780385542005.jpg
November 15th - She Was Stronger Alone

Who among us has never fallen in love? It’s a very small number. Perhaps, that is why romance is such a popular topic for literature. No one can weave a more romantic tale than Jane Austen.

Sense and Sensibility is the story of young love, pining, heartbreak, more pining, scandal and even a little pining. There are vices and virtues to all that unrequited love. How do you act when you love someone who doesn’t love you back? What happens when someone you love turns out to be vastly different than what you thought them to be? Everyone has had thoughts of that whirl-wind romance. It’s full of passion and intrigue. A dashing hero meets a fair and lovely damsel. Sparks fly! The conversation lasted two minutes, maybe three minutes. Everything we said in total agreement, it’s a dream and…well, you get the picture.

Then there are those slow burn relationships. It’s a side look here, a brush of the hand there, a specific word or turn of phrase that causes a blush. It’s the will they, won’t they. It’s the relationship where you stay up till 3 in the morning reading the fanfiction because Oh My God! JUST KISS ALREADY!

Which would you rather read? Which would you rather have?

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are forced to leave the only home they’ve known after the death of their father. Their half brother and his wife will soon take over the Dashwood estate. The only benefit from this turn of events is the coming of Mr. Edward Ferrars. Elinor holds a high regard for him, but what does he feel for her? She can hardly ask, especially after being forced to move away to Devonshire. There, Marianne is rescued by the dashing Mr. John Willoughby. Everyone is taken with the young suitor, except for Colonel Brandon. What does he know about Willoughby? And what secret is Edward Ferrars hiding from everyone?

If only I could know is heart….

c78e6f287b173fd7d0c535d12a66bd2a.jpg
October 31st - Creatures of the Night

Happy Halloween!

Halloween comes with a few things.

  1. Jack-o-Lanterns

  2. Booze

  3. Candy

  4. Monsters

  5. Fear, and lots of it.

It’s the spookiest time of year and your lovely hosts intent to participate in all 5 mandatory items listed above, along with the annual viewing of Hocus Pocus. We will take a nighttime stroll through Transylvania with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. All hail the original vampire novel!

Jonathan Harker is send to the east to help a mysterious Count Dracula find a new home in England. Little does he know what horrors will ensue or if he will ever return to his beloved Mina Murray.

Mina is having her own problems. Her friend, Lucy has taken ill and her 3 suitors, Quincy Morris, Sir Arthur Holmwood, and Dr. John Steward, are doing everything to save her. They even call in Dr. Abraham Van Helsing for good measure. Lucy weakens every day. And what about those two marks on her neck? What is Dracula planning in London?

Get your wooden stakes and crucifixes! A hunting we will go!

download 12.47.56 PM.jpeg
Elizabeth Bird
October 15th, 2018 - Physics & Fantasy

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween!

The ladies continue their descent into all things creepy. But can scary be funny too? We intend to find out with John Connolly’s The Gates.

This book is very unique. It’s the first of the Samuel Johnson series. Connolly does an excellent job of combining science and fantasy. Science is the reason for supernatural things happening in the tiny village of Biddlecombe, England. This is another book where you must read the footnotes. They are hilarious. If you aren’t careful, you may actually learn something too.

It’s October 28th, a few days before Halloween. Samuel Johnson, and his dog Boswell, decide to get a head start on trick-or-treating. Unfortunately, the residents of 666 Crowley Road are unamused. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the great Hadron Collider has a minor incident…

And then the Gates of Hell are opened.

61-Owr7UmjL.jpg
Elizabeth Bird
September 31st, 2018 - Wuv! Twoo Wuv!

Casye and Elizabeth decided to pay tribute to their good friend, Taylor! She just tied the knot in a Princess Bride Themed wedding. The movie is absolute perfection. Both girls could probably quote it word for word if you asked them too. But how's the book? Not sure. So we read The Princess Bride by William Goldman. 

Sometimes you find the right book at the right time of your life that helps you get through some tough things. This is not that book for Elizabeth. 

William Goldman desperately tries to find his favorite story for his son. It's the classic tale of true love, swordplay and adventure; S. Morganstern's The Princess Bride. Buttercup is a beautiful farm girl who falls in love with the farm hand, Westley. After Westley goes to find his fortune, he is killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup is then set to marry Prince Humperdinck, but things go horribly wrong when 3 strangers kidnap her in the woods. Who is this man in black chasing them? Will true love win the day?

Probably.

Seriously, how have you not seen this movie? Go watch it! Now!

51FCRKHB3WL._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
September 15th, 2018 - Crime is Terribly Revealing

In this episode, Casye and Elizabeth will take on one of the great crime novelists of the 20th century, Agatha Christie. Casye and Elizabeth will be discussing And Then There Were None. Do yourself a favor and look into the history of the title of this book. It will come up. The novel explores the thin line between murder and negligence and intent. There has always been a thin line between justice and revenge. Where is it? Who has the right to be judge and jury? Why are we asking so many questions? Will the girls be able to solve this before the end of the book? Elizabeth won't, but she'll try. Casye will because she's awesome like that.

10 little soldier boys went down to dine...

Ten strangers are summoned to Solider Island under mysterious circumstances. They are ready for a lovely summer holiday. Then, it comes out that each one of them hides a terrible secret. The 10 guest discover they are trapped on the island with a murderer. Who will survive?

One Choked his little self and then there were nine....

download.jpeg
Elizabeth Bird
August 15th, 2018 - What Fools These Mortals Be

In Episode five, Casye and Elizabeth take on something that is loved and feared by many...Shakespeare. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare is one of his more famous comedies. The girls will talk about their multiple experiences with the play. Since they are both experienced actresses, they have both performed various roles. (Casye was Puck. She is literally the little redheaded Fairie from lore. Who else was going to do it? Honestly?) 

In Athens, two lovers are torn apart. Hermia and Lysander are deeply in love. Demetrius, the man selected for Hermia by her father,  also wants Hermia. Hermia is given a choice. She must either enter a convent, marry Demetrius as her father wishes, or die. Hermia's friend Helena loves Demetrius, but Demetrius still wants Hermia. Hermia and Lysander decide to run away together.

And then mischievous fairies decide get involved....

As  if this wasn't complicated enough.

59a85010aeeb1.image.png
July 31st (originally August 31st) - Science was Meant to Be Hard

Due to Technical difficulties, this episode will be airing July 31st.

In this episode, Casye and Elizabeth once again pay a visit to the friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. The girls have been massive fans of the 'Welcome to Night Vale' podcast since it's inception. They've bought the books, gone to every live show they can, and even cosplayed as Cecil Gershwin Palmer and his husband, Carlos the Scientist. So, of course, reading It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor was a no-brainer. 

(Politics and religion will come up since those are two of the main themes of this book. You've been warned.)

Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider in town. She arrived with Carlos, Night Vale's top scientist (and hunky husband of Night Vale radio host, Cecil Palmer), in order to study this strange little town. When Carlos asks her to look into some strange tremors around town, she can't say no. Why are entire parts of town disappearing? And what does it have to do with the new religion in town? The Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God? Is there a way to reconcile faith in science and faith in religion? 

There's so many teeth.....So. Many. Teeth.....

August 31st (originally July 31st, 2018) - WarGames, but Cooler

Hello All, Due to technical difficulties, this episode will be airing August 31st! On July 31st we will be releasing 'It Devours!' Thanks.

For their fourth episode, Casye and Elizabeth will dive into the world of OASIS with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Casye, the gamer of the two, will have to explain references while Elizabeth stares at her like a deer in the headlights. The subject of 'The Hero's Journey' will come up a lot along with every 80's movie Elizabeth has seen. All hail John Hughes. Perhaps it's time to brush up on your 80's pop culture.

In the dystopian future of 2044, teenager Wade Owen Watts spends most if his life in the digital world of OASIS. With the cheap energy era over, most of society has done the same as Wade. Five years ago, the creator of the OASIS died. With no heirs, he scattered clues throughout the OASIS to find the biggest prize imaginable, control of his multi-billion dollar fortune and the entire OASIS itself. When Wade stumbles across the first clue, it has very dangerous, real-world consequences. There are people who would kill for what Wade now has. An entire world is at stake and Wade is the only one who can save it.

Are you ready?

9969571.jpg
Elizabeth Bird
July 15th, 2018 - Presume Nothing

In episode three, the girls will take a visit to 221B Baker Street with The Hound of the Baskevillies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We will talk about the thin line between truth and fantasy. In a world where facts have less and less value, how will the legendary detective hold up? And what is the actual ending of this story? There have been so many adaptations that no one really knows anymore. Remember, there are no bad dogs. Just bad dog owners.

Seriously. 

A country doctor comes to Victorian London in order to solicit the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. There is a curse about a monstrous hound, and now man has been found dead with huge paw prints around him. Was this the power of the curse, or is there a very real murderer at large? We know one thing. Stay off the Moors at night.

511Mus998UL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
June 30th, 2018 - Ineffable

In episode two, Casye and Elizabeth will discuss one of their favorite books, Good Omens: The Nice & Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by the incomparable Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. If you have never read this book before, you are in for a treat! The book was written in the late 80's, so there are things in it that some youngsters won't understand, like landlines, telephone sales people, cassettes, radios that aren't in cars, and little-to-no internet.

What could possibly go wrong when a demon and an angel lose the antichrist? A lot, actually, and it's hilarious. 

Fair warning, politics and religion will come up. We won't so much as fall from grace as saunter vaguely downwards....

mggdbw9nfwxdedu39deg.png
June 15th, 2018-In a hole, there lived a hobbit...

That's right folks! In our first ever podcast episode, we'll cover the legendary book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. We are excited to kick this little experiment off right! We will be discussing plot and Elizabeth's undying love for Middle Earth. This will not be Peter Jackson's idea of the book either, which means we will not draw it out into three movies for the love of money and taking artistic liberties with the battles.

Bilbo Baggins lives a quiet life until 13 dwarves show up unexpectedly on his doorstep. They offer him the adventure of a lifetime....

(This podcast will contain spoilers for every book we read. Don't say we didn't warn you. Nevermind that the book has been out since 1937....)

the-hobbit-middle-earth-map-i16338.jpg
Hello World!

'This is Lit!' is a podcast about literature & friendship, with some wine mixed in. On the 15th and 30th/31st of every month, good friends, Casye and Liz, will dive headfirst into a piece a literature with a glass of wine at their side. Books they plan to cover are not only classics, like Dracula and Le Miserables, but also modern novels, like Neverwhere and Good Omens. Keep up with the reading list on their Readings page so you can follow along. The girls will go over the plot of the books they read in the podcast, so spoilers will happen! We can't wait to see you June 15th for our first episode!

this is lit.JPG