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Literature

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion About All the Romance Novels You Love to Read

Updated about 1 month ago

Arts
Literature
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Each week on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels, which are among the most popular genres in fiction worldwide. Popular guests include: Ilona Andrews, Robin Bradford, NPR's Barrie Hardymon, Jaye Wells, and Rachel Aaron. Amanda, Carrie, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl, the crew of reviewers at SB-TB.com, also make frequent appearances with maximum silliness. Frequent topics include romance novels, the way the genre is changing, and the brilliant and interesting people who read, write, and produce it, and issues common among romance readers. Plus, we always recommend some books we're reading and really enjoying. Learn more at SB-TB.com/Podcast.

Read more

Each week on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels, which are among the most popular genres in fiction worldwide. Popular guests include: Ilona Andrews, Robin Bradford, NPR's Barrie Hardymon, Jaye Wells, and Rachel Aaron. Amanda, Carrie, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl, the crew of reviewers at SB-TB.com, also make frequent appearances with maximum silliness. Frequent topics include romance novels, the way the genre is changing, and the brilliant and interesting people who read, write, and produce it, and issues common among romance readers. Plus, we always recommend some books we're reading and really enjoying. Learn more at SB-TB.com/Podcast.

iTunes Ratings

218 Ratings
Average Ratings
189
20
5
1
3

Nothin’ but love...

By RedAugust - Nov 23 2018
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I have but immense love for this podcast. I’m currently driving about 4 hours a day and SPTB gets me through!

Amazing podcast!!

By twinhck - Apr 02 2018
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Such a thoughtful and amazing podcast!!

iTunes Ratings

218 Ratings
Average Ratings
189
20
5
1
3

Nothin’ but love...

By RedAugust - Nov 23 2018
Read more
I have but immense love for this podcast. I’m currently driving about 4 hours a day and SPTB gets me through!

Amazing podcast!!

By twinhck - Apr 02 2018
Read more
Such a thoughtful and amazing podcast!!
Cover image of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion About All the Romance Novels You Love to Read

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Reviews, Interviews, and Discussion About All the Romance Novels You Love to Read

Updated about 1 month ago

Read more

Each week on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels, which are among the most popular genres in fiction worldwide. Popular guests include: Ilona Andrews, Robin Bradford, NPR's Barrie Hardymon, Jaye Wells, and Rachel Aaron. Amanda, Carrie, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl, the crew of reviewers at SB-TB.com, also make frequent appearances with maximum silliness. Frequent topics include romance novels, the way the genre is changing, and the brilliant and interesting people who read, write, and produce it, and issues common among romance readers. Plus, we always recommend some books we're reading and really enjoying. Learn more at SB-TB.com/Podcast.

Rank #1: 321. Royals Both Real and Fictional, with Lindsay Emory

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This week I’m chatting with author and podcaster Lindsay Emory about royalty - both the royalty in her new book The Royal Runaway, and about the way many many people are interested in contemporary royalty around the world. We talk about why so many people are curious about royal families, and how it’s a slightly different kind of celebrity culture to follow - and we talk a bit about celebrity encounters we’ve had.

We also discuss her new book, her creation of a country in which to place her royal family, and the research she did into the world of royalty. Plus, we try to compose romance plots about the royal timekeeper. You know, for fun.
Oct 19 2018
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Rank #2: 344. Burnout – A Feminist Book about Stress: An Interview with Emily and Amelia Nagoski

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I am so excited to share this conversation with you. Today I am talking with Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. I think this might be one of those episodes you re-listen to, because what Emily and Amelia have to say is incredibly wise and kind and so empowering and soothing - at the same time. No kidding.

Their own description of this book might be the best one. On Amelia’s Medium bio, it says “A feminist book about stress” On Emily’s website, the description reads, It’s for women who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all they have to do, yet worrying that they’re not doing “enough.”

Emily’s name you might recognize from previous podcast interviews. She writes romance fiction as Emily Foster, and is the author of Come As You Are, about the science of arousal and orgasm.

Amelia is a choral conductor, and during our conversation, we take a side trip into self awareness of one’s own voice, the policing of women’s speaking styles, and then the larger picture of being aware of one’s entire body.

The section on stress and emotional processing in Emily’s book Come As You Are partially inspired this book, along with the personal experience of Amelia and Emily using the information in their own lives.

We talk about how wellness has become an achievement and how we as individuals can allow wellness to happen

There is so much practical advice, too! Such as things we can do to smash the patriarchy a piece at a time - including and especially SLEEP. Oh, sleep is everything.

We talk a LOT about what stress is, what it does to your body, and what you can do to better handle the effects of it through the Stress Response Cycle. Short version: stress isn’t solved or dissolved by dealing with what caused the stress. Stress is a cycle that is completed by action, that we have to complete within and through our physical bodies, and incomplete stress cycles accumulate. But good news: reading romance is one way to help complete stress cycles and emotional cycles. To quote Amelia: “Romance novels are a nutritious part of this Burnout Prevention Strategy.”

Spoiler alert! At about 43:20 - 44:30: I spoil the ending of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World as we talk about the importance of completing emotional cycles in the entertainment we consume - and yes, this is part of why cliffhangers are so deeply upsetting.

Basically, your body is trying to take care of you, and there’s a lot more we can do to help ourselves out. Learning to take care of one’s own body is difficult, and this interview talks about some of these concepts, but the book explores them in greater detail. If you read our review, and yes, I’ll link to it in the show notes, you know that reading this book changed a number of the ways I treat myself, talk to myself, and care for myself, to be more patient and gentle and understanding of what my body is trying to do. I can’t recommend this book more highly.

And I can’t recommend this interview more emphatically. Amelia and Emily are, in their own words, trying to encourage us to "change the world by caring for each other and not letting the world demand of us what we are unable to give."
Mar 29 2019
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Rank #3: 346: Fuchsia has Followed Us Everywhere: Deep Diving Into Romance Cover Art with Kelly Faircloth

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Today I’m chatting with Kelly Faircloth, senior writer for Jezebel.com, and frequent writer of excellent journalism about romance. I’ve interviewed Kelly before, and this time I wanted to talk to her about her Valentine’s Day feature which examined the artists behind the romance cover art we know and love. (CATNIP AHOY!)

She takes a deep dive in that article into the knowledge gap between what we think we know about romance cover art history, and what her research has revealed about what is presumed and what happened. Kelly also examines the individual women whose leadership and artistry shaped what romances looked like then, and now.

Special bonus: my top four almost-titles for this episode: 

- Fuchsia, Teal, or Both
- Busting Open Historical Bodices
- Sarah and Kelly Hunt for Boners
- Fuchsia is indeed a Genre Descriptor
Apr 12 2019
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Rank #4: 302. The Value of Talking To Book People: Amanda Reports on BEA and BookCon 2018

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Fresh from the fresh hell that is the Javits Center, Amanda and Sarah chat about Amanda’s adventures at BEA, better known as Book Expo America, and BookCon, which happened last week. Sometimes I can record, edit, and produce an episode in a few days, and I’m lucky to be able to do that this week.

We talk about what BEA and BookCon are, what the differences are between them, and what or, more specifically, who each one is for.

Amanda talked about some of her experiences at BEA and her experience at BookCon, the wonderful and the execrable.

We answer some fun questions, such as:

What’s the difference between BEA and BookCon?

What comics and books did Amanda learn about this year?

How much does Sarah dislike the Javits?

Will cats interrupt the podcast?

What bookish Brooklyn-based vendor did Amanda fall in love with?

And why is Sunday the best day of BookCon?

We also talk about a book Amanda loved so much, she’s pretty sure it’s her best book of 2018. Yes, it’s that good.
Jun 08 2018
1 hour 3 mins
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Rank #5: 257. Bitches Assemble: Our Favorite Recommendations and the Expectations of Tentacles

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Sarah, Elyse, Carrie, and RedHeadedGirl gather to talk about successful recommendations we’ve made to new and curious readers interested in trying romance. From curating a broad selection of books as an introduction to specifically pimping books we know have a multi-level appeal, we talk about our favorite recommendations, books that seem to entice many different readers, and which books we love just for sheer crazy sauce. We also discuss how many readers are introduced to romance by a person who gives them a brown paper bag full of books. “Bag full of books” is among our favorite word combinations.

And because we’re, well, us, we talk about weird sex scenes we’ve read, wonderful and funny sex scenes we’ve loved, managing chronic pain and reading BDSM stories, and interesting female inventors in history. Plus, we discuss at length (heh) the expectations of tentacles, and what new books we’re going to end up recommending frequently.

Note: Elyse is a little fuzzy, and I think she might have been in a wind machine.
Jul 28 2017
1 hour 11 mins
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Rank #6: 273. Sex Toys, Self Love, and Erotic Romance: A Very Bawdy Podcast with Thien-Kim Lam

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Grab your earbuds for this one. Nancy C suggested this interview in the comments to a recent episodes, and I’d been eager to set one up as well because, well, several reasons. Today I’m talking with Thien-Kim Lam, founder and owner of the Bawdy Bookworms subscription box service, which pairs erotic romance with sex toys and accessories. Thien-Kim recently attended a trade show all about sex toys in Vermont, and brought samples and new products to show me. So while we’re talking about sex positivity, toys, accessories, and general bawdiness, we also do some show and tell. Do not worry, I have pictures! You don’t want to miss the unicorn part. There are a number of unintentional puns, a lot of discussion of misinformation about sexuality and intimacy, and a lot of toys to talk about.
Nov 17 2017
1 hour 29 mins
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Rank #7: 243. Discovering Romance and Navigating Approval: An Interview with Faith Salie

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Sarah chats with author, speaker, and television and radio journalist Faith Salie about Authorized, her Audible program on Sex and Romance in which many of our favorite romance authors are featured, and about the CBS Sunday Morning segment in which Sarah appeared. They talk about Faith’s book, Approval Junkie, which is out in paperback this week. There are new words to learn, discussions of measuring your own success, and behind-the-scenes details about the production of television segments. Plus, they have a rather meta conversation about listening and interviewing. (There’s an entire chapter in Faith’s book on interviewing and listening, and it’s incredibly thought provoking and engaging.) There’s also a fair amount of mutual admiration.

And! I'm giving away four copies of Approval Junkie, Faith's book, now out in paperback. Head over to SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com/podcast and enter to win a copy! Open until 27 April 2017.
Apr 21 2017
1 hour 5 mins
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Rank #8: 220. New Books and Deep Dives into History: An Interview With Loretta Chase

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Sarah interviews New York Times bestselling historical romance author Loretta Chase. They discuss Chase’s new books, writing horrible, dreadful, men, and where she starts in her writing. They also talk about historical details and research, museum exhibits, and deep dives into rabbit holes in history - plus the books that live on her keeper shelf. Most of all, we learn the power of building smoochies.
Nov 11 2016
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #9: 213. The Books That Made You Romance Readers, and Super Honest Brave Sharing Time

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You left voicemail messages! You recorded voice memos! You shared the books that turned you into romance readers! That’s so awesome. I’m sharing your messages, plus two reader messages about romance history, and a very, very honest and important letter from Linda, who was inspired by our episodes with Emily Nagoski to share her history with vulvodynia and vaginismus. So we’ve got books and history and sexual health, all in one.
Sep 23 2016
53 mins
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Rank #10: 296. Acting, Narrating, and Writing: An Interview with Julia Whelan

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Today I’m interviewing Julia Whelan, author of the new book, My Oxford Year, which just came out this week, on April 24, 2018.

This is a full score production: dogs barking! Car horns! The street sounds of midtown Manhattan! We cover her start as a child actor, and how she moved through acting to audiobook narration to writing screenplays and then a novel.

Among the topics we discuss:

What makes a good narration?

What are the differences between screenplays and novels?

How does being an audiobook narrator and actor influence her writing, and vice versa?

I also ask some vague non-spoiler questions about the characters in My Oxford Year, and we get a teeny sample of her performance of the audiobook and some of the key characters. We also discuss my very strange idea that Gone Girl and YA have some elements in common, and of course, I ask what she’s reading.

I really enjoyed this interview - I almost titled it English Major Nerds Talking. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Apr 27 2018
1 hour 8 mins
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Rank #11: 218. Ghost Stories and Romance (Readers): We Discuss All Books Creepy and Good

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Carrie, Elyse, RedHeadedGirl and I chat about ghosts, ghost stories, and reading creepy scary stuff. Some of us don’t think ghosts are real, some of us do - so we talk about it. We also talk about empathy, sensitivity to emotions, and reading for catharsis and vengeance. There are a LOT of book recommendations, too - scary books, horror, romance, and mystery, plus a discussion of the fact that mortality is a stubborn romantic conflict.
Oct 28 2016
1 hour 25 mins
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Rank #12: 250. Being A Writer, and Being Yourself: An Interview with Sara Flynn and Meg Tilly

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Sarah chats with romance author Sara Flynn and Golden Globe winning actress Meg Tilly - conveniently the same person! Sara attended RT for the first time, and was the emcee for the awards ceremony. We start by talking about identity, about being yourself, and investing your own energy in things you value. We also talk about her experience at RT, her writing, her process, and how acting may have informed her writing style. We also talk about her new book, Solace Island, and learning to write romance when it’s something you truly, truly love.

Trigger warning: 48:25 - 48:35 min

Earlier books published under the name Meg Tilly deal with child sexual abuse, and she mentions the plot of one that may be upsetting. So skip ahead if that might upset you, k? I want you to feel safe.
Jun 09 2017
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #13: 281. Alyssa Cole and Alisha Rai: Romance and the Resistance from Politics and Prose

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Hooray! Thanks to Politics and Prose on the Wharf, I have the audio of the November 29, 2017, panel with Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole. We talk about their favorite scenes in one another’s books, and which character is an homage to Alisha’s dating life (heads up for the Alisha Rai Dating Story Fans, we have a great one in here). We also discuss joy, romance, and the ambition of happiness as elements of resistance, how to persevere with happiness when things around you are bleak, and what happens when you Google “sexy grilled cheese sandwiches.”
Jan 12 2018
1 hour 13 mins
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Rank #14: 229. Romance, Dating, and Very Real Expectations: An Interview with Alisha Rai

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Longer-than-usual, in person conversation with author Alisha Rai! Yup, a live recording, and of course we start by talking about my “professionalism” as a podcaster. Over brownies and tea, we discuss sexxytimes romance, her new series with Avon, and how reading and writing romance informs and influences her dating life - because sometimes you meet people who you *know* you’ve read before. She talks about the pressure on women to meet expectations in various stages of life, and the old accusation that women harbor “unrealistic expectations” because of romance. As a bonus, my cat interrupts a discussion of inclusivity, sensitivity readers, and portrayal in literature - you know, a typical podcast.
Jan 13 2017
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Rank #15: 313. Tracking Changes: An Interview with Bowling Green Browne Pop Culture Library Archivist Steve Ammidown

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In this episode, I’m chatting with Steve Ammidown, who is the Manuscripts and Outreach Archivist at the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green.

We talk about what Steve’s job means, what he does, and what the Browne Popular Culture Library has within its collection. Board games, liquor decanters, promotional items, pogs, pins, cookbooks, marketing ephemera, books, and many, many other cool things live in the Pop Culture Library. We discuss some of the most interesting parts of the collection (Fanzines? Yup) and the parts he’s developing currently.

March 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the library, so they’re also looking at what more they can do in the future, including focusing on their romance collection, which is hella substantial. (That’s an official library term, btw.)

We also discuss the challenges of being an archivist in a digital age, and how the idea of a manuscript collection is changing with all the changes in the way in which we write. We also talk about the library’s RWA collection, their category romance collection, their manuscript and papers archive from about 45 different romance writers, and, obviously, their romance genre collection as well. Plus, Steve tells us about romances he’s reading, and his impressions of the genre as someone who discovered it as an adult.

In one of the library’s recent tweets, Steve quoted Elizabeth Designer, who said, “It is a feminist act to preserve stuff that women have done and written.” I entirely agree, and would love to visit this library someday. So let’s take a road trip, shall we?
Aug 24 2018
1 hour 11 mins
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