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Podcast Episode #26 - Talking with Courtney Summers About Everything, Part 3

We were lucky to recently spend over three hours (!) talking with noted Supernatural expert Courtney Summers. (We hear she writes books too.) We covered a range of subjects from zombies with fashion sense to writing characters experiencing trauma and everything in between. 

You can find the first part of this conversation over here, and the second right here--we highly recommend listening to them in order. In this episode, we chat about books, but we spend the bulk of our time talking about television and women's representation, and Justin Timberlake and the 50 Shades of Grey movie trailer.

Connect with Courtney: Website Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook 

If you've not read Courtney's books, two are now available in a nifty bind-up that will have a Justin Timberlake song frolicking in your head for days, What Goes Around. 

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If you enjoy the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast, you can say thank you by enrolling in a free trial of Audible (I've been a subscriber for a year now and love it) or by clicking here the next time you're shopping on Amazon. This helps support the hosting and production costs of the podcast.

We certainly appreciate all the support, tweets, shares and all-around enthusiasm we've received for the podcast! 

Podcast #24: Talking with Courtney Summers About Everything, Part 1

We were lucky to recently spend over three hours (!) talking with noted Supernatural expert Courtney Summers. (We hear she writes books too.) We covered a range of subjects from zombies with fashion sense to writing characters experiencing trauma and everything in between. 

This is the first of what will be three parts of this conversation with Courtney, who we could have talked to all day if we hadn't gotten super-hungry. Look for the other episodes trickling out on iTunes and here on the blog in the coming weeks. (Pro-tip, subscribing on iTunes means that you get episodes a day or two before everyone else.)

Links + Things: John Hamm & Elmo on Sculpture, Rachel Robinson on '42', More on the New Adult Thing, Cheapo Books + More

I have had the hardest time getting my act together with reviewing this week--I have so many half-written reviews at this point, but nothing's coming together the way I want. Do you ever get in writing funks like that? This one has been brutal.

With that said, I am looking forward to return of our annual Novel in Verse Week next week and while I haven't written my review yet, I am going to be shoving Liza Palmer's Nowhere But Home in the hands of everyone for the foreseeable future. That book wrecked me in the best of ways this week.​ 

You ready for some links? Because I've got links galore!​

This Week's Video of Awesome

This week, the one and only Jon Hamm and the one and only Elmo teach us all we ever needed to know about sculture.​ There is absolutely nothing to not love about this video. Oh, Jon Hamm. *sigh*

Guest Post: Jonathan Winters, An Appreciation

Note from Sarah: This is a guest post from my wonderful husband, Josh. This week, his childhood favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, passed away, and Josh asked me if he could write something in memoriam, saying that Jonathan Winters was his Judy Blume. If you're so inclined, you can follow Josh on frequently-updated Tumblr or stalk him on his rarely-used Twitter account.

Sunday nights were for the Muppets and my life changed when Jonathan Winters appeared.  

With a few keystrokes, I can see that night was January 15 1980. Until I looked that up, it was just sometime when I was 5 or 6, or maybe even 7. I loved him, his maniac energy, his silly voices, and his larger than life presence were mesmerizing. This was someone who was silly, goofy and--my god--he was from DAYTON! 

This guy was from Dayton. Someone from where I was from was amazing and funny. This was my new hero, someone who made me laugh and who had the same points of reference I did.

At some point I realized "What? he was actually from Springfield!" Even closer, where the mall was! He could have gone to the same theatre as me to see ET  (this was in point of fact impossible since the mall was a long way off when he was there, but it didn't matter to my six-year-old).

I bugged my dad about more stories, learned how he studied art at the Museum, where I thought for the longest time he must have just walked around and looked at the pictures and drew them (funny I now ply my trade at is essentially one of these Museum schools). At the time is sounded like the education of a genius, and it still kind of does. I learned about his time on WHIO Radio, how he acted like a goofball on the air. 

I was a weird kid and I was proud that Jonathan Winters was a Reds fan like me.

Links + Things: Critiquing "Oz," Network TV's Vision Problem, How the Quiet Car Explains the World, Feminist/UnFeminist, Strong Female Characters + More

How is it Thursday already? This has been quite a week, particularly since--at long last--we launched the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast. Give it a listen--we hope you enjoy the blend of discussion, humor and hijinks. 

This has been a bit of a slow week, bookish news-wise, but there's ​still loads of interestingness in the world. Check out a few of the tidbits I've gathered and don't forget to scroll to the end for book cover news and cheap book deals to feed your reading habit.

This Week's Video of Awesome

​You Tube user dair to love created this fan-freaking-fastic tribute to Friday Night Lights. It got kind of dusty in here when I watched this the first time. Ahem.


No doubt the focus group responsible for “Great and Powerful” convinced themselves that female protagonists weren’t marketable (odd coming from the studio of Disney Princesses), and that a pouty, doubting hero would draw in a wider range of moviegoers. It was probably believed no one would ever see an Oz film unless it directly tied into the version they already knew and loved, and that trying to draw on original Oz tales would be too confusing and difficult. Audiences can follow along with Marvel and Tolkien, but the origin of Ozma would undoubtedly be too complicated. Why bring in Betsy and her mule, when we can have a Hollywood hunk on the poster, and witchy cleavage at the denouement?

​Over at, Elizabeth Rappe dissects Hollywood's prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful. She points out that in the Oz novels, L. Frank Baum created stories with strong women as the leads, but Hollywood's interpretation reflects none of that.The new film falls back into the gender stereotypes present in nearly every blockbuster flick. It's been a long, long time since I read a number of the original Oz novels, and I'm interested in revisiting them now .

Links + Things: Blogging Ethics; SI's Sexism and Racism; Indie Booksellers Sue Amazon/Publishers; and Taking Down "The Following"

Lots of interesting news this week, including a bit of a scandal in the blogging world, discussion of the WTFery of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and lots of publishing news.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a roundup of cheap ebooks discounted as part of Amazon's Kindle Big Deal--there are a lot of good ones this time.


You could argue that affiliate links aren’t technically ads, but that misses the point. If you slap a banner ad on the top of your website, at least readers know it’s an advertisement and they can take it with a great big grain of salt. But when they read a glowing review from someone they trust, then click through to place an order for that book–without knowing said reviewer is getting a kickback–isn’t that worse?

I'm sure I'm not alone in my fascination ​with the Brainpickings "scandal" that was all over the nerdy corner of the internet this week. It seems that the popular site's claims of being ad-free are definitely a case of parsing, as affiliate links are likely a considerable source of income for the blog, which solicits donations under the auspices of remaining "ad free." 

My take? What this issue comes down to is the importance of transparency and erring on the side of caution in ensuring that you're not misrepresenting yourself to readers.​ This hasn't been touched on, but one of the things that bothers me most about the "ad free" language is that it's backed up by a .org URL, which insinuates a not-for-profit status. (I also question the costs and hours the blog author cites, because both seem out of whack estimates.)

I don't begrudge anyone for using affiliate links and monetizing their sites--clicks on Amazon links pay the hosting bills around here (thank you!)--but I really don't understand why it's still common practice in the day of FTC rules ​for blogs to be sketchy in this way (this reminds me of the controversy about sponsored content on The Atlantic Blog).

Disclose, disclose, disclose. It's really that simple.

I Love... Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Everyone has a first love.

Book love, that is. 

You know what I mean. It's that book that you had to buy a second copy of because you wore out your original. The one with passages you can still recite by heart. The one that makes you squeal like a crazy person when you find someone else who loves it just as much as you do. It's the one that shatters your soul when you see anything but rave reviews for it on Goodreads.

For me, that first book love was Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes.

Tiger Eyes is the single most influential book of my life. I first picked up a raged copy for--and I remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday--50 cents at Powell's Books at the old Beaverton location. It was the summer between by freshman and sophomore years of high school.

I'd read most of the typical Judy Blume books a few years previously, but not this one, which I managed to overlook at my public library. (It's possible that my conservative hometown's library didn't even have this oft-banned book, or that it was shelved in the adult fiction so sixth-grade Sarah didn't have a chance to discover it along with Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.)

Tiger Eyes set the stage for my lifelong love affair with quiet, character-driven contemporary fiction.