Books That Burn

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

Discussion 1: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling

July 14th, 2020

Welcome to our first discussion episode, the topic is J. K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. Please read the CWs in the show notes below before proceeding with the episode. Take care of yourselves, and we understand if you need to skip this one.

This episode is mainly for people who are currently unaware of or just learning about J. K. Rowling's problematic nature and rampant transphobia. When we recorded this, in early July 2020, JKR had been putting out at least one transphobic tweet for almost a month and a half and doesn't show any sign of stopping. We focused our discussion on portrayals of bigotry and trauma in the main Harry Potter series, with some discussion of the contents of her recent tweets.

This book contains specific spoilers for the first book, and general spoilers for the full Harry Potter series.

  • Discussion topics/CWs:

    • Fatphobia (linking large body sizes with laziness and cruelty)
    • Child abuse (food restriction and malnourishment, denying meals to a minor, locking a minor in a confined space as punishment)
    • Racism (anti-Black and anti-Asian racism, specifically)
    • Antisemitism (portrayal of Gringotts Goblins)
    • Slavery (House Elves)
    • Betrayal (implications of JKR's actions)

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Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Series 5, Episode 3: The Kingdom of Gods - N. K. Jemisin

July 13th, 2020

This fortnight we’re discussing “The Kingdom of Gods”, book three of The Inheritance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. 

Topic 1: Kahl - Abandonment. Begins at (0:50), CW for abandonment. 

Topic 2: Sieh - Loss of Innocence. Begins at (17:00), CW for loss of innocence. 

Topic 3: The Arameri - Cycle of Violence: Colonialism Edition. Begins at (27:20), CW for slavery, colonialism. 

Promo for Too Many Captains; Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (39:25). 

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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 series.

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

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

 

Series 5, Episode 2: The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin

June 29th, 2020

This fortnight we're discussing "The Broken Kingdoms", book two of "The Inheritance Trilogy" by N. K. Jemisin. 

Book TW for body horror, massacre, genocide. 

Topic 1: Shiny - Suicidal Tendencies. Begins at (0:50), CW for suicide, self-harm, mention of cutting, death, murder. 

Topic 2: Oree - Kidnapping. Begins at (12:08), CW for kidnapping, ableism, indoctrination, threat of murder, loss of autonomy. 

Topic 3: Oree - Guilt / Body as a weapon. Begins at (25:03), CW for weapons, mention of sex, death, loss of autonomy, guilt. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (39:07). 

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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 series.

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

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Series 5, Episode 1: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin

June 15th, 2020

This fortnight we bring you “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms”, book one of "The Inheritance Trilogy" by N. K. Jemisin. 

Topic 1: Enslavement and Constraint. Begins at (1:30), CW for enslavement, incest mention, "one drop rule" mention, torture, death, description of magical disembowelment, visceral description of physical torture. 

Topic 2: Yeine - Ostracization, Isolation. Begins at (24:00), CW for ostracization, death, abandonment. 

Topic 3: Yeine - Atmosphere of Cruelty. Begins at (34:45), CW for description of physical magical disembowelment, animal cruelty example, murder. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (46:00). 

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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 series.

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

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Interview 1: M. D. Neu, Part 1 of 2

June 12th, 2020

Please enjoy the spoiler-free (or at least spoiler-light) portion of our interview with author M. D. Neu. Timestamps are marked for the interview questions. 

  • Introductions (0:10) 
  • Personal history and brief overview of books written by M. D. Neu. (1:10) 
  • Do you consider your character’s physical description when writing how other characters treat them? (8:25) 
  • What is your approach to incorporating visible characters of color in your work?
  • What do you do to make it go beyond social coding, or not? (10:15) 
  • When depicting types of queerness that are not your identity, do run them by members of those communities? (20:00) 
  • How does setting influence depictions of disabilities in your stories? (26:08) 
  • Do you have a favorite book written by someone else, and if so what makes it your favorite? (31:35) 
  • What is your favorite non-traumatic thing in any of your books? (34:00) 
  • Do you have any queer authors or authors of color whose work you’d like to shout out? (37:35) 
  • Where can our audience find you? (39:10) 

Outro (44:30) 

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Check out M. D. Neu's website for more info about his writing. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, look up his Youtube channel, or check out his Goodreads profile

Major works by M. D. Neu discussed in this interview: "Contact", "Conviction", "TAD". 

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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 part two of this two-part interview

You can find Robin's written reviews of Contact, Conviction, and TAD at Reviews that Burn

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Highlight 2: Salamandastron - Brian Jacques

June 1st, 2020

This fortnight we bring you our discussion of "Salamandastron", our highlight episode from the "Redwall" series by Brian Jacques. 

*Book TW for viral outbreak and quarantine, with fever. 

Topic 1: Epidemic - Dryditch Fever. Begins at (1:30), CW for plague, fear of death, child in danger, sickness, death. 

Topic 2: False accusation. Begins at (14:45), CW for child punishment, false accusation, murder, terrorizing others, threat of physical violence, weapons. 

Topic 3: Parent/child relationships. Begins at (24:30), CW for threats of murder, child abuse, verbal abuse, rage, descriptions of violence. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (38:45). 

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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 LinkTree

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 LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Series 4, Episode 3: Oath of Gold - Elizabeth Moon

May 4th, 2020

This fortnight we bring you “Oath of Gold”, book three of "The Deed Of Paksenarrion" trilogy by Elizabeth Moon. 

Topic 1: Duke Phelan - Loss of Identity. Begins at (0:50), CW for loss of identity, death. 

Topic 2: Paksenarrion - Physical Torture. Begins at (14:30), CW for physical torture, emotional torture, sexual assault, graphic descriptions and discussion. 

Topic 3: Paksenarrion - Coercion. Begins at (27:45), CW for physical torture, emotional torture, sexual assault, graphic descriptions and discussion, discussion of coercion, discussion of consent. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (38:30). 

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If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/booksthatburn). 

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Series 4, Episode 2: Divided Allegiance - Elizabeth Moon

April 20th, 2020

This fortnight we bring you “Divided Allegiance”, book two of "The Deed Of Paksenarrion" trilogy by Elizabeth Moon. 

Topic 1: Socks - Physical abuse. Begins at (0:50), CW for animal abuse, magical compulsion, description of scars. 

Topic 2: Paksenarrion - Gaslighting and forced combat. Begins at (16:52), CW for graphic violence, religious mentions, magical coercion via food/drink. 

Topic 3: Paksenarrion - Dismissal of autonomy. Begins at (29:20), CW for magical surgery, loss of control, dismissal of autonomy, violation of trust, description of loss of limb, descriptions of lack of supportive care. 

Spoiler-free wrap-up and ratings: Begins at (38:35). 

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Read the transcript here.

If you'd like to make a monthly donation, please check us out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/booksthatburn). 

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Music provided by HeartBeatArt and is used with permission. 

Trailer - Everything Is Awesome Podcast

April 15th, 2020

Robin was a guest on the Everything Is Awesome podcast hosted by Jeff Richardson. Please enjoy this promo for the new season, with a teaser of Robin and Jeff's conversation. 

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You can find all our guest appearances at this Podchaser link

Find all our links on our LinkTree

Play this podcast on Podbean App