Books

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Best of 2020

We’re recapping all kinds of stuff this week, and today: our top five podcast episodes from 2020! 

Looking at the year overall, these are the top five most listened to Smart Podcast, Trashy Books episodes of the year – and thank you to everyone who listened, recommended, shared, and posted about the show. Special thanks to all our Patreon community members, who helped shape this season and keep the show going each week!

5. 394. All Things Audiobook and Mountain Climbing with Nita Basu from Hachette Audio (February 28)

My guest today is Nita Basu, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Hachette Audio.

I love behind the scenes conversations, and today’s is partly about her work promoting audiobooks across genres and how audio can be adapted when the text is unique and very visual.

Who listens to audiobooks, and where do they listen? What are people doing when they listen?

Should you listen to murder books on the side of a mountain? Where do you listen to audiobooks? What are your favorites?

Nita is literally one of my favorite book people and I definitely miss seeing her during the usual book conferences and conventions. If you love audiobooks, she is the person for recommendations, and I remember geeking out with her about Juliet Marillier books.

4. 396. Red Lipsticks and Murderous Relations: A Conversation With Deanna Raybourn (March 13)

My guest today is Deanna Raybourn, author of the Veronica Speedwell series, described as “Miss Fisher meets Sherlock Holmes.” Yup. Story checks out.

We’re talking about her latest book out this week, A Murderous Relation, and about Victorian sleuthing, connections to Schitt’s Creek, recognizing people when you first meet them, and the future of Stoker and Veronica – plus red lipstick and the power of being fully yourself.

Sarah has really enjoyed the Veronica Speedwell books and I personally the episodes where Sarah just gets to live in her fangirl moment.

3. 393. All Consuming Books, and Vampire Murder Mystery With Renee Ahdieh (February 21)

Today I’m talking with NYT bestselling author Renée Ahdieh about her latest series. The Beautiful is out, and The Damned will be out in a few months – I just received a bound galley and woo, is the cover gorgeous.

We talk about writing vampire murder mystery, and writing what she refers to as an “Id book.” We also discuss the empowerment and feminism inherent in becoming consumed by something we love, like a book or a series of books – especially when it’s something we don’t have permission or approval to be consumed by, mwahahaha.

We cover craft, character construction, conflict vs puzzle plots, fashion, food, and more writing – there’s a lot!

A lot of us at the Bitchery have been enjoying some of the latest YA vampire offerings, and Kiki really enjoyed Renee’s The Beautiful. I also remember Sarah sharing all the cool themed virtual events happening this year for the sequel!

2. 391. RWA One Month Later, Part IV: A Conversation with Courtney Milan (February 3)

Welcome to part four and the final episode in my series on RWA: One Month Later. We’ve heard from C Chilove, Laurel Cremant, and Diana Neal, the officers of CIMRWA, from past RWA president HelenKay Dimon, and from Jessie Edwards, Marketing and PR Manager for RWA.

Today, I’m speaking with Courtney Milan.

There’s a lot to process, and this is a somewhat emotional interview wherein we talk about what happened, her reactions, and what’s next for her. We also talk intermittently though non-specifically about the physical manifestations of trauma so please be aware going into this episode if that’s something difficult for you to listen to.

Technically, three of the RWA One Month Later episodes made it into the top five, but Sarah and I felt we could lump them together in one spot. Just for variety’s sake. I’m honestly aghast it’s been about a year since the RWA meltdown and I’m happy these episodes are out and can serve as a sort of a historical record.

And, the number one most popular episode of 2020?

1. 395. House of Earth and Blood, With Courts of Thorns: A Conversation with Sarah J. Maas (March 6)

This week, a much anticipated book is out: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas released on the 3rd. It’s the first in her new Crescent City series, and her first adult fantasy title. So we’re going to talk about everything – and we have some incredible questions from our Patreon community, too. They were as excited as we were about this interview, since many of them are massive fans of her Court of Thorns and Roses and her Throne of Glass series.

This is a longer interview, but it’s so funny and thoughtful and very intimate, and I didn’t want you to miss anything that Sarah had to say. I hope you enjoy it.

I loved record this podcast with Sarah and I remember being so nervous, but I’m happy to see it take our top spot on the list!

What do you think of the top five? What episodes were your favorites this year? Let us know what you’d like to see next year!

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