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Books & Nachos

Book reviews from science fiction to horror to nonfiction, all with a modern pop-culture aesthetic.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

For over 100 years we have lived among the vampires. Werewolves, ghosts, and serial killers have all popped up, but the vampire has been the monster to beat. From hit books like the Twilight series and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles to movies like Underworld and Fright Night to comics like 30 Days of Night and Blade to television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood, the creatures of the night are among us. But it all started with one vampire and the imagination of Bram Stoker. Now, as Arnie prepares to read Stephen King's book Salem's Lot, he goes back to the source to review Dracula--the original vampire tale. Join him on this Halloween to find out if this is a book with bite, or if it just sucks!

37mins

31 Oct 2013

Rank #1

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World War Z by Max Brooks

This week the movie World War Z arrives in theaters starring Brad Pitt as an investigator traveling the world during a massive zombie outbreak. The film shares the title with the best selling book by Max Brooks, but fans of the book claim the movie has little resemblance to their beloved story. The movie will be reviewed at Now Playing Podcast but first Stuart has read and now reviews the source material!After you listen to his review, head to NowPlayingPodcast.com and find out how to hear their World War Z movie review, only available until June 30, 2013!

22mins

21 Jun 2013

Rank #2

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The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Dead Zone was Stephen King's follow-up to The Stand. This new novel, about a man who gained psychic powers after a head injury, became the author's first number 1 best seller. It has gone on to be adapted to film by David Cronenberg, and a long-running cable TV series.In this episode of Books & Nachos, Arnie looks back at the book that started it all. He analyzes King's influences that led to the creation of the novel, and deconstructs the characters and plot. So now join him for a review of Stephen King's novel over a year in the making!And if you enjoy Books & Nachos, support the show through our PodBean Crowdfunding Page!

1hr 54mins

2 May 2016

Rank #3

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Last week the fourth, and final, Hunger Games film Mockingjay Part 2, dominated theaters. Now that you've had a chance to see how the movie concludes the story of Katniss Everdeen you can join Stuart for his review of Collins original Mockingjay novel.Then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie review crew's thoughts on all the Hunger Games films! Those movie reviews are only available during the Fall, 2015 donation drive, so donate today!

33mins

26 Nov 2015

Rank #4

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The Long Walk by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)

King's first novel wasn't Carrie, it was The Long Walk written while the author was a college freshman. It tells of a dystopian, alternate America in which the national pastime isn't Baseball, it's a contest of stamina and will--The Long Walk. King's story of one of these Walks, and walker Raymond Garraty, wouldn't be published for over a decade, until it was released in 1979 as the second novel by King's pen name "Richard Bachman." In this episode of Books & Nachos, Arnie reviews and analyzes this early work by the bestselling author. Join him now in this review of the second Bachman Book!

1hr 4mins

30 Mar 2015

Rank #5

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Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

No, Stuart was not eaten by a sand worm, he's back to discuss Children of Dune -- Frank Herbert's third novel in the Duneverse.  Focusing on the children of Paul, this book has incest, political intrigue, and a twist ending. Join Stuart for his thoughts on this novel!

35mins

2 Feb 2017

Rank #6

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

In 2009 Catching Fire fanned the flames of Hunger Games fans worldwide. Continuing the adventures of Katniss Everdeen, Collins' novel puts her back in the arena for another adventure. In preparation for tonight's release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 movie, join Stuart in L.A. for a look back at Collins' middle novel in the trilogy.Then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie review crew's thoughts on all the Hunger Games films! Those movie reviews are only available during the Fall, 2015 donation drive, so donate today!

26mins

19 Nov 2015

Rank #7

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Watchmen by Alan Moore

Watchmen. It was the only comic listed on Time Magazine's List of the 100 Best Novels list. It also was in The Comic's Journal's list of the Top 100 Comics of the 20th Century. It has been revered by comic lovers and neophytes alike. Now Arnie and Jakob come together to review all 12 issues of this series, and also give a brief look at the recent Before Watchmen prequel series!Then head to Now Playing Podcast to hear Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie review crew's thoughts on Zack Snyder's film adaptation!

2hr 9mins

21 Mar 2016

Rank #8

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games novels topped the New York Times best seller lists and went on to become Amazon's all-time top selling book series (outselling even Harry Potter). It has since gone on to become a billion-dollar film franchise. In anticipation of the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Stuart in LA is here to review the original novels. In this episode Stuart looks at the original The Hunger Games. Is this the next Twilight, or is it the next The Running Man? Join Stuart in L.A. now for this review, then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie review crew's thoughts on the film! Those movie reviews are only available during the Fall, 2015 donation drive, so donate today!

38mins

12 Nov 2015

Rank #9

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The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

This summer is a great time to be re-Bourne! Matt Damon is returning to play Jason Bourne for the fourth time. For many Bourne fans, however, it may be surprising to find out how different these Damon films are from Robert Ludlum's original novels.  On this episode of Books & Nachos, join Stuart in L.A. as he gives a spoiler free review of this book, outlining the creator's original vision for this spy who can't remember his past.And if you enjoy Books & Nachos, support the show through our PodBean Crowdfunding Page!

32mins

5 Jul 2016

Rank #10

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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Today the words Jurassic Park bring to mind a T-Rex roaring at a car, Sam Neil running through a pack of CGI dinosaurs, and John Williams score--all from Steven Spielberg's hit 1993 film. But before it was a movie, Jurassic Park was a bestselling novel by sci-fi author Michael Crichton. The book and the movie share some basic plot elements, but there are also key differences. How do they compare? Join Stuart in L.A. for this review of Crichton's novel, then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear that crew's thoughts on the film! Those movie reviews are only available until July 31, 2015, then they become extinct like the dinosaurs, so donate today!

22mins

4 Jun 2015

Rank #11

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Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Everybody wants to rule the galaxy...but is it all it's cracked up to be?  Now Emperor, Paul Atreides must balance his leadership with numerous plots to undermine him.  After the great success of Dune, can Frank Herbert match with the sequel:  Dune Messiah? Join Stuart in this review to find out!

43mins

21 Dec 2016

Rank #12

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The Stand by Stephen King - Part 6

With his fifth published novel Stephen King went big--a tale about God and demons with the backdrop of a dystopian future. Involving fears both realistic and fantastic, many King fans cite this as the author's best work to date. Now Arnie continues his reviews of all King's works with this multi-part podcast series reviewing The Stand.In this final segment of this review Arnie gives is final review on the book, discusses which of the three print editions is best, and also reviews Marvel Comic's 31-issue comic series based on King's novel.

36mins

10 Jan 2015

Rank #13

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Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

In 1999 Japanese author Koushun Takami gained global notice for his novel Battle Royale. In this ultraviolent, 600-plus page dystopian novel the Japanese government holds an annual competition where Junior High students must kill each other. The last student to survive is the "winner." The book has been released multiple times in English, been the inspiration for the Battle Royale film series, and had a manga adaptation. And Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins has been accused of plagiarizing Battle Royale for her hit trilogy.Is the novel worth the fuss? Join Stuart in L.A. now for this review of the English translation of Battle Royale. Then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie review crew's thoughts on the film! Those movie reviews are only available during the Fall, 2015 donation drive, so donate today!

29mins

5 Nov 2015

Rank #14

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The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum

In 1990 Robert Ludlum returned to Jason Bourne one last time for The Bourne Ultimatum.  This story finds Bourne once again in the crosshairs of Carlos the Jackal. It was a book intended to set a legacy for many Bourne novels to follow in the hands of other writers. So why is this the worst book ever reviewed at Books & Nachos?  Join Stuart in L.A. as he tears into The Bourne Ultimatum and tells you why this is a novel you should avoid at all costs!

29mins

18 Jul 2016

Rank #15

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Twin Peaks: The Autobiography of FBI Agent Dale Cooper -- My Life, My Tapes by Scott Frost

Twin Peaks' cancellation was all but certain in May, 1991. Yet that is also when series writer Scott Frost's Agent Cooper book My Life, My Tapes was released. Unlike The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, Cooper's backstory was mostly unready by a waning fan base. Now the book commands top dollar on the secondary market. Is it worth the price? Listen to this book review, then hear reviews of EVERY Twin Peaks episode at NowPeakingPodcast.com

41mins

30 Mar 2017

Rank #16

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The Lost World by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton never intended to write a sequel to his bestselling novel Jurassic Park. But when Stephen Spielberg's film was a smash success and the director, and fans, requested a follow-up, Crichton obliged. What were the results? Join Stuart in L.A. for this review of Crichton's novel, then head to Now Playing Podcast's donation page to hear that crew's thoughts on the film! Those movie reviews are only available until July 31, 2015, then they become extinct like the dinosaurs, so donate today!

20mins

26 Jun 2015

Rank #17

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The Secret Service: Kingsman by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Matthew Vaughn

Mark Millar's comic Kick-Ass was adapted to film by director Matthew Vaughn. Now the two have teamed up again with Kingsman: The Secret Service, an idea the two men spawned while filming Kick-Ass. The story tells of Gary, a juvenile delinquent who's given one last chance at a legitimate life--as a British secret agent! A clever twist on the old James Bond formula, is this comic worth reading? Join the hosts to find out, then join them LIVE, Tuesday Feb 17th at 9:30 pm EST at NowPlayingPodcast.com for the review of the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.

40mins

16 Feb 2015

Rank #18

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Dune by Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert's 1965 landmark novel DUNE is one of the most celebrated works of the science fiction genre, but does today's reader have to be a Mentat in order to wrap their mind around its dense mythology?  Host Stuart In LA promises, "there's nothing to fear.... fear is the mind killer." Join him as he dives headfirst into this first chapter of his six podcast exploration of the Duneverse.      

43mins

9 Dec 2016

Rank #19

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Independence Day: Crucible by Greg Keyes

20 years have passed between the 1996 sci-fi hit Independence Day and this summer's new Independence Day: Resurgence.  That time passed in our real world--but it also went by for the fictional characters who survived that alien assault.  Fans have long wondered--what happened on July 5, 1996? Were all the aliens killed when the ships went down? Some of this will be revealed in the new movie, but those wanting a fuller explanation can find it in the new novel Independence Day: Crucible by Greg Keyes.  It spans all 20 years and follows old characters, like David Levinson and Steve Hiller, as well as new players like Jake Morrison and Dikembe Umbutu.  Did anything happen in that 20-year span to warrant a novel? Join Arnie in this Books & Nachos episode as he summarizes and reviews this new story -- and the comic series Independence Day: Dark Fathom!And if you enjoy Books & Nachos, support the show through our PodBean Crowdfunding Page!

42mins

27 Jun 2016

Rank #20