Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike discuss a new novel about female assassins. Janet knows a lot about female assassins because she is one. Discussed in this episode: The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales, psychics, martial arts, office politics, irresistible book critics, action movies, Kelly Link. Not discussed in this episode: Janet and Mike's plans to attack the regional office of The Millions. (Don't tell Lydia.)
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike have "Seven Millions Questions" with Alina Simone, author of the new Madonnaland: And Other Detours into Fame and Fandom. Discussed in this episode: Madonna, existential angst, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, libertarian cultists, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides, explorers, Antarctica, Mt. Everest, New York, George Washington De Long, jealousy, Jonah Lehrer, Cat Power, "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna. Not discussed in this episode: Mike's bizarre insistence that Shanghai Surprise (dir. Jim Goddard) is an underrated movie. (Yeah, we don't get it either.)
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike got to serve as commentators for The Morning News Tournament of Books. They discuss the results, as well as some of the surprises along the way. Discussed in this episode: The Sellout by Paul Beatty, The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra, basketball, Fates and Furies and Arcadia by Lauren Groff, Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson, The Turner House by Angela Flournoy, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, Jeff VanderMeer. Not discussed in this episode: Mike's unfortunate prediction that A Gronking to Remember by Lacey Noonan would go all the way this year.
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike talk about two books they enjoyed. Or, more specifically, one book that Janet enjoyed and one book that Mike mostly enjoyed but Janet did not enjoy. They don't always have to agree on everything, okay? Discussed in this episode: twirly chairs, "housesitting" (breaking and entering), wine, The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray, time, physics, the Czech Republic, watch factories, Nazi war criminals, the Church of Scientology but not really, science fiction, Leo Rosten but not really, Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Gen. George Armstrong Custer, exotic game, Western masculinity, fishing. Dialogue cut from this episode because Mike was holding a three-foot-long water pipe that he likes to call "Bong Crosby" while saying it: "But, Janet, I mean, what if, like, time isn't...I mean, what if it's all just some kind of illusion? Like, have you ever really thought about...wait, hold on, I dropped a Dorito. Never mind, the dog got it. Anyway, what was I saying?"
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike talk about how it feels when your favorite authors let you down. Discussed in this episode: Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten, Number9Dream, and Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, denial, grief, bargaining, the Rabbit Angstrom books, Roger's Version and The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, Radio On: A Listener's Diary by Sarah Vowell, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer. Not discussed in this episode: Alice Munro's disappointing short story collection, The Cottage by, I Don't Know, Let's Say, the Pond or Something.
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike celebrate Presidents' Day by discussing five books about America's chief executives. Discussed in this episode: Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier President by Harry J. Sievers, dad corpses, electrophobia, Forty-Two Years in the White House by Irwin (Ike) Hoover, the Taft/bathtub myth, Theodore Roosevelt, The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1 by Robert A. Caro, Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur by Thomas C. Reeves, bribery, Roscoe Conkling, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein, Barry Goldwater, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, poor, sweet William Howard Taft, Major Archibald Butt, RMS Titanic. Did you know Janet is reading a biography of each U.S. president in chronological order? You can read all about it at her blog, Not discussed in this episode: The theory that the presidency has diminished over time due to HA HA HA HA HA HA HA "MAJOR BUTT" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike talk about Abby Geni's The Lightkeepers, which -- spoiler alert -- they both loved. Mentioned in this episode: nature photography, the Farallon Islands, biology, Agatha Christie, food chains, wild animals, sharks, whales, seals, birds. Mentioned in this episode, but cut because it contains spoilers: the twist ending where it turns out IT WAS ALL A DREAM. Just kidding. That doesn't really happen. OR DOES IT? No. Once you've finished the book -- so good, right? -- you can watch this bonus episode in which Mike and Janet discuss the ending.
Happy New Year, and welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! Inspired by Most Anticipated: The Great 2016 Book Preview, Janet and Mike take a look at several books coming out this year, and guess their plot based solely on their covers. Don't try this at home. Janet and Mike are experts, and are always right. Discussed in this episode: The Girls by Emma Cline, optometrists, Charles Manson, The Beatles, drugs, Shelter by Jung Yun, tragic childhoods, The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan, chess, The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder, diners, football, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, The Daredevils by Gary Amdahl, the Bechdel test, The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich, Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo, sassy waitresses, I Am No One by Patrick Flanery. Not discussed in this episode: A long segment where Janet and Mike talk about their Christmas vacations, which they spent in Monaco and aboard a luxury yacht, respectively. (They have book critic money.)
Welcome to a very special episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! In this episode, Janet and Mike get into the holiday spirit by discussing their literary regrets. Also, check out their Christmas trees! Discussed in this episode: "My Way" by Paul Anka, Festivus, Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dune by Frank Herbert (which still sucks), Dune (dir. David Lynch), unearned positive reviews, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, book critic detectives, The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, Elena Ferrante. Cut for time from this episode: We riffed on Dune for a good 15 minutes. More from A Year in Reading 2015 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.
Welcome to a new episode of The Book Report presented by The Millions! This week, Janet and Mike talk about Fox Tooth Heart, the new short story collection from author John McManus. Discussed in this episode: alcohol, Thanksgiving, family, black humor, teenage boys, poverty, drugs, rock stars, psychic elephants, Thomas Jefferson and what a jerk he was, Virginia, cruelty, gay bars. Advice given in this episode, but cut for time: If you're reading this book during a family Thanksgiving, for the love of God, skip "Cult Heroes." Just trust us. By all means, read it, but not when you're within 100 miles of your father.