Books That Burn

A book review podcast where we discuss how authors treat and traumatize their characters.

Stand-Alone 12: The Midnight Bargain - C.L. Polk

July 12th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “The Midnight Bargain” by C.L. Polk. This book does for discussions of sexism in a magical aristocratic setting what the The Kingston Cycle does for classism in the same.

TITLE:  The Midnight Bargain
AUTHOR: C.L. Polk 
PUBLISHER: Erewhon
YEAR: 2020
LENGTH: 384 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
RECOMMENDED: Yes

Book TW for pregnancy, vomit, death (not depicted), sexism, violence.

Topic 1: The Circle - Loss of security. Begins at (1:35), CW for misogyny.

Topic 2: Ysbeta - Allocishetnormativity. Begins at (16:00), CW for misogyny, aphobia.

Topic 3: Beatrice - Misogyny. Begins at (25:00), CW for misogyny, discussion of birth control side effects.

Promo for CPOV Saturday Morning Confidential; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (37:05).

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You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

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Stand-Alone 11: Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng

June 14th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Under the Pendulum Sun” by Jeannette Ng, with special guest Dare! You can find them on Twitter, or check out their Linktree for more details about their various streaming and gaming exploits.

TITLE: Under the Pendulum Sun
AUTHOR: Jeannette Ng
PUBLISHER: Angry Robot
YEAR: 2019
LENGTH: 409 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
RECOMMENDED: Yes

Book CWs for sexism, alcoholism, colonialism, incest, emotional manipulation (backstory), mental illness, confinement, body horror, suicidal thoughts, animal death, child death (backstory), murder, major character death, death.

Topic 1: Disassociation. Begins at (1:35), CW for Discussion of historical harm to children and autistic people, stigmatization of autistic behaviors.

Topic 2: Religious Trauma. Begins at (11:25), CW for suicidal tendencies, religious trauma (Protestant Christianity), biblical justification for harm, death (brief mention).

Topic 3: Incest. Begins at (23:10), CW for incest, biblical justification for harm, death (brief mention).

Promo for CPOV - RMC vs CG; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (39:35). CW for eugenics mention.

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Highlight 7: So This Is How You Die - edited by Ryan North

May 31st, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing the anthology “This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death”, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki! This anthology was published after the original, "Machine of Death", but can be read independently. We discussed three specific stories by different contributors.

  • "Furnace" by Erika Hammerschmidt
  • "Drowning Burning Flying Falling" by Grace Seybold
  • "Toxoplasmosis of the Brain" by Gord Sellar

Book TW for domestic violence (backstory), homophobia, ableism, racism, racial slurs, terminal illness, bullying, blood, gore, gun violence, violence, self harm, suicidal thoughts, suicide, torture (not depicted), genocide, animal death, child death, major character death, death.

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This episode discusses fictional depictions of suicide (Topic 2). If you're in the United States the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For those of our audience outside of the United States, you maybe able to find the suicide hotline number or other appropriate emergency services for your country in this directory provided by OpenCounseling.

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Topic 1: "Furnace" - Death. Begins at (1:43), CW for Infertility, sex, death, loss of innocence, bomb mention.

Topic 2: "Drowning Burning Flying Falling" - Loss of agency. Begins at (12:33), CW for Suicide, death, grief, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, loss of agency.

Topic 3: "Toxoplasmosis of the Brain" - Death camps. Begins at (24:57), CW for abandonment, HIV/AIDS, stereotyping based on death, child death, death, rape, genocide, murder.

Promo for CPOV Reignite; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (34:45).

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive the bonus Epilogue episode for this book.

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn.

Find all our links on our Carrd.

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission.

Stand-Alone 10: All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

May 17th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “All the Birds in the Sky” by Charlie Jane Anders. We've had this on the booklist since almost the beginning and we're so excited to finally bring you this episode. 

Book TW for abusive parents, parental death, torture (implied), sex (explicit), bullying/abuse (explicit). 

Topic 1: Serafina - Emotional connection. Begins at (1:35), No major CWs. 

Topic 2: Laurence - Parental abuse: Neglect. Begins at (14:20), CW for neglect, discussion of torture, child abuse. 

Topic 3: Patricia - Parental abuse: Control. Begins at (23:55), CW for neglect, food abuse, bullying, targeting abuse, child abuse. 

Promo for CPOV Reignite; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (36:50). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn. 

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 9: Beneath The Citadel - Destiny Soria

April 19th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “Beneath The Citadel” by Destiny Soria. We're joined by Christian from The Lazy Gringo Podcast

Book TW for panic attacks, violence, child abuse, suicide, child death, major character death, death. 

Topic 1: Child abuse. Begins at (1:35), CW for child abuse, dislocation, injury mention, panic attacks, suicide mention. 

Topic 2: Memory Loss. Begins at (12:54), CW for Memory loss, memory theft, loss of personality, loss of bodily function. 

Topic 3: Death and the specter of mortality. Begins at (24:35), CW for suicidal ideation. 

Promo for ComicsQuest; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (33:55). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

To make a one-time donation please support us on Ko-Fi

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 8: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

April 1st, 2021

We have a fun episode for you this time! We're joined by Andrea for a special discussion of one of our favorite kidlit books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Episode TW for possible derealization, please refer to additional details below the topic list if this is a concern for you. 

This book has a film adaptation which you can find here. 

Link to monkey study discussed in the episode. 

Topic 1: Absent Parents. Begins at (0:00), CW for abandonment, neglect. This topic had a small recording issue and is a highlight reel from our discussion. The episode starts properly with Topic 2. 

Topic 2: Food Insecurity. Begins at (5:50), CW for food insecurity, food deserts, hunger, eating disorders, body horror. 

Topic 3: Illness. Begins at (16:20), CW for death, illness, body horror. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (28:18). 

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This is an April Fool's Day episode. While we love a good joke, we don't want to distress our audience. This episode may invoke feelings of derealization (unreality and disorientation) as we take very seriously a book which perhaps on its own might not warrant the level of scrutiny we grant it in this episode. 

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You can find Andrea on Twitter, TikTok, and on Good Idea

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 7: The Raven Tower - Ann Leckie

January 11th, 2021

This fortnight we’re discussing “The Raven Tower” by Ann Leckie, with special guest Andrew of Bea Nostalgic

Book TW for brief transphobia, discussion of infanticide, discussion of suicide, anti-twin prejudice in a fictional culture, massacre, parental death, major character death. 

Topic 1: Oskel and Okim - Microaggressions. Begins at (1:30), CW for suicide, infanticide, child sacrifice, microaggression descriptions. 

Topic 2: Eolo - Dissociation and Dysphoria. Begins at (18:00), CW for dysphoria, misgendering. 

Topic 3: The Raven’s Lease - Advocated Suicide as Honorable Volunteer Sacrifice. Begins at (41:10), CW for suicide, society-advocated suicide, self-sacrifice, self-harm, murder. 

Promo for Pretty Nice Podcast; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (1:03:35). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 6: NOS4A2 - Joe Hill

October 19th, 2020

This fortnight we’re dipping into horror with a discussion of “NOS4A2” by Joe Hill. Nicole read just part of this and Robin made it through the whole thing (but it took a month). 

Book TW for torture, sexual assault, child abuse, necrophilia, self-harm, animal death, death. 

Topic 1: Christmasland Kids. Begins at (1:30), CW for casual cruelty mention, physical torture, TW body horror (teeth, dismemberment), animal cruelty. 

Topic 2: Lou - protection/self-sacrifice. Begins at (11:28), CW for death, heart attack mentions, assumptions of mental illness by characters. 

Topic 3: Vic - attempted rape, kidnapping, not being believed about her own trauma. Begins at (17:35), CW for attempted rape, kidnapping, kidnapping of child, assault, death, murder, necrophilia, self-harm, animal death, “bury your gays”. 

Promo for Deep Dark Truth; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (32:22). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive the bonus Epilogue episode for this book

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 5: Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds

July 27th, 2020

This fortnight we’re discussing “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds. Robin has been looking forward to this episode all year, ever since it was recommended to them by a very helpful librarian when they went home for Christmas 2019. We're pleased to report that the book was as good as they were told, and we're excited to share our discussion with you. 

Topic 1: Mom - Death of family members. Begins at (1:30), CW for self-harm, gun violence, murder, revenge killings, death of family members. 

Topic 2: Will - Premeditation of murder. Begins at (11:30), CW for ideation about death and violence. 

Topic 3: Will - Cycle of violence: Revenge edition. Begins at (22:00), CW for gun violence, revenge killing, trauma on readers. 

Promo for Infectious Groove; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (32:10). 

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Read the transcript here.

If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive the bonus Epilogue episode for this book.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn. 

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Stand-Alone 4: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein

May 18th, 2020

This fortnight we bring you our discussion of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", a stand-alone book by Robert A. Heinlein. 

*A brief vocabulary note: The term "Loonies" is used throughout the book (and our discussion) as a term for residents of the moon. This term has a historically ableist context in modern English but is not used derogatorily in the book. 

Topic 1: Marie Lyons - Rape and murder. Begins at (1:30), CW for rape, gang-rape, murder, police mention, mention of sex slavery. *Discussion contains an explicit quote from the text. 

Topic 2:  Mannie - Racism. Begins at (20:35), CW for racism, police/jail mention, discussion of deportation, mention of assault. 

Topic 3: Mannie - Ableism. Begins at (32:30), CW for ableism, description of missing limb, loss of autonomy. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (53:35). 

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Read the transcript here.

If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon. Patrons at any level will receive the bonus Epilogue episode for this book.

You can check out Robin's written review of the book at Reviews That Burn

Find all our links on our Carrd

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

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