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Read it Forward
50 minutes | Mar 18, 2020
The Adaptables Podcast — Little Fires Everywhere, Episode 1 with R. Eric Thomas
The Adaptables is a podcast from Read it Forward and Penguin Random House that dives into your favorite book-to-screen adaptations. This season, we’re watching the Hulu adaptation of Celeste Ng's LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. Join hosts Abbe Wright and Emma Shafer as we interview authors, insiders and Celeste Ng, herself, about what makes an adaptable great, why watching and reading are important self-care rituals, and the many other books and shows we are binging and loving right now. Because at The Adaptables, we love to watch what we read. (Warning: there will be little spoilers everywhere.) Today on The Adaptables, Abbe and Emma dive right in to episode one of the Hulu adaptation of Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. They’re joined by R. Eric Thomas, author of HERE FOR IT: OR, HOW TO SAVE YOUR SOUL IN AMERICA, and Senior Staff Writer of ELLE.com. Abbe, Emma, and Eric discuss complicated mother/daughter relationships, race, their favorite '90s moments in the show, Joshua Jackson’s epic underwear moment, and more. Discussion breakdown: Recap of TV episode (2:30–4:30) Izzy lighting her hair on fire (“Your hair’s your best feature!” Is Izzy doing this on purpose?) (4:30–5:15) The complicated relationship between Izzy and Mia / Mia and Pearl (5:15–9:30) Bill as Joshua Jackson vs. his depiction in the book (9:30–11:05) Elena’s “discreet wine” (11:05–12:00) A better recap! (12:00–17:00) Quote from Celeste Ng “The TV show does dramatize the events more. You need something that makes the reader come back and watch the next episode. That’s the nature of a TV series.” (17:00–17:40) Favorite Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon moments (17:40–20:50) Race conversation (Mia and Pearl as black characters) (20:50–21:19) Quote from Celeste Ng about race, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo (12:19–23:20) Eric on being black in white spaces, class differences, ‘90s wokeness, “who has the right to raise a child?” (23:20–26:40) Pearl as the well-read one (26:40–27:50) Modern touches of show (27:50–28:30) Favorite ‘90s moments: soundtrack, nicotine patch, Janet Reno, Oklahoma City Bomber, ankle weights, Reeboks, Shasta, “Puka shell necklaces are how you know a white man is hot.” (28:30–31:30) Quote from Celeste Ng on the ‘90s touches of the show “They did a lot that the viewers may not notice to make the world feel like it was authentically of the time.” (31:30–32:05) More ‘90s talk (32:05–33:10) Quote from Celeste Ng on Izzy’s rebellion at concert “Not your puppet” (33:10–34:00) Emma and Eric on orchestra moment (34:00–35:20) Exposition, how show adapts to tell story through TV, how we learn about characters (35:20–37:00) Not in book: Pearl’s poetry as exposition (37:00) Emma’s dope hideaway, Abbe’s inflatable chair (38:30–39:10) Joshua Jackson’s package (“There was definition.” “I gasped audibly.”) (39:10–40:00) Quote from Celeste Ng on Joshua Jackson in Tighty Whities (40:00–40:15) Elena’s character and worldview and her relationship with Bill, sex (40:15–41:30) Sex on TV vs. sex in print (41:30–44:30) Episode 1 setting up some great things (44:30–47:00) Eric, Emma, and Abbe’s favorite adaptations (47:00–48:30) What are we reading now? (48:30–50:00) TV show recap: Someone has burned down the house. Was it Izzy? Mia and Pearl arrive in town, are sleeping in car Mia and Elena meet, Elena shows Mia the apartment Izzy and Pearl become friends, Pearl is introduced to Richardson household Lexie, Tripp, Moody, and Izzy are introduced We meet Linda (Rosemary DeWitt) Mia and Elena talk about Mia being the house manager Moody and Pearl bond Izzy’s violin recital, writing “Not your puppet” across forehead and refusing to play Fights between Izzy/Elena, Mia/Pearl Mia giving a peace offering to Pearl Two cliffhangers: Elena talks to reference and he’s never heard of Mia Warren. Mia is developing picture of Elena LITTLE FIRES COUNT: 4 🔥House on fire 🔥Credits and title card (everything on fire) 🔥Izzy’s hair on fire 🔥Izzy with her candles and lighter Send us an email or voice recording to AdaptablesPod@Gmail.com. What did you think of the episode? Are you watching the show? Is Hulu’s LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE a successful adaptation of the book? Follow @ReadItForward on Twitter and Instagram, follow Eric on Twitter and Instagram at @oureric, tweet your thoughts on Episode 1 and other adaptations you love. Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. NEXT UP: We’ll recap episode two with Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of, most recently, DAISY JONES & THE SIX.
30 minutes | Jan 8, 2020
Episode 52 - Marlon James and The Giver of Stars
Abbe chats with author Marlon James about his novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, and his new podcast, Marlon and Jake Read Dead People. He tells listeners about his new American citizenship, having a genre novel nominated for a National Book Award, being promiscuous when it comes to writing fiction, researching African history and mythology, Michael B. Jordan, and finally, hosting his own podcast. Marlon and Jake Read Dead People centers on Marlon and his editor Jake Morrissey debating dead authors. They ask hard-hitting questions like: "Jane Austen. Why?" and "Why read Trollope?", which, of course, leads to hysterical conversations that remind us of the best of college literature courses. Abbe also recommends books for fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series—both the book and the TV adaptation on HBO. If you're looking for what to read after finishing the series, try some of these books. (And for even more, check out this list!) She also reviews The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, which is the perfect historical fiction read for the literary- and library-obsessed.
42 minutes | Dec 31, 2019
Episode 51 - Holly Whitaker and Green
Abbe talks sobriety with Quit Like a Woman author and sober influencer, Holly Whitaker. If you're thinking about doing dry January, or considering the role alcohol plays in your life, this is a must-listen interview. Abbe also chats with psychologist Kelly McGonigal, and author of The Joy of Movement, about the importance of movement in leading a fulfilling and happy life. We refer to the iconic quote from Legally Blonde: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." Abbe also reviews a coming of age book she can't stop thinking about: Green by Sam Graham-Felsen. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
31 minutes | Dec 24, 2019
Episode 50 - Isabel Allende and Saints for All Occasions
In this episode, Abbe reviews one book she recently re-read: Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan. She finds that the book definitely holds up to the first time and rediscovers this family of characters all over again. Abbe also sits down with the legendary author Isabel Allende to discuss the Spanish Civil War, the current refugee crisis, the heroism of Greta Thunberg, and Allende's latest novel, The Long Petal of the Sea. Tune in to hear the story Isabel Allende tells that makes Abbe weep. Finally, Abbe and debut novelist Kiley Reid chat about her novel, Such a Fun Age, and the race and power dynamics that are tied up in its plot.
28 minutes | Dec 17, 2019
Episode 49 - Abbe and Penguin Random House’s CEO, Madeline McIntosh, Share Their Favorite Books of 2019
Recently, Abbe Wright, Read it Forward’s Senior Editor, was invited to be in conversation with Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House to talk about a topic they both love. Books! Specifically, what their favorite reads of 2019 were and what books they’re looking forward to giving to friends and family this holiday season. Listen in to their conversation here, which took place at the Tishman Auditorium at The New School in New York City on November 14, 2019.
41 minutes | Nov 26, 2019
Episode 48 - Jeff Gordinier and The Glass Hotel
In this episode, Abbe talks tacos and rock star chefs with food critic Jeff Gordinier, who has just published his travelogue-cum-memoir, Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World. The book details the several years he spent following perhaps the best chef in the world, René Redzepi, around the world and what it taught him about life, food, and himself. Abbe also (rather unfairly) reviews Emily St. John Mandel's forthcoming novel, The Glass Hotel, which is not out until March 2020, but is so good she just couldn't resist. Finally, Abbe brings Emma back into the studio and the two of them play everyone's favorite game: Guess the Celebrity Audiobook Narrator!
36 minutes | Nov 20, 2019
Episode 47 - Elissa Altman and The Editor
In this episode, author Elissa Altman talks about her memoir Motherland, and her fraught—yet loving—relationship with her own mother. Next, Abbe welcomes fellow podcast host, Alli Hoff Kosik, into the studio to discuss her podcast SSR (Sh*t She Read), as well as re-reading and re-inspecting the books we adored from our childhoods. She mentions some of her favorite episodes, including #68: Just as Long as We're Together by Judy Blume with guest Caroline Moss, #61: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen with guest Sara Faring, and #56: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, with guest Esther Zuckerman. Finally, Abbe reviews a book she loved recently, The Editor by Steven Rowley, which is historical fiction centering around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's life as a book editor.
36 minutes | Nov 13, 2019
Episode 46 - Tiffany Jenkins and The Nickel Boys
In "What Abbe's Reading," Abbe reviews The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, which was Read it Forward's October Book Club pick. Later, Abbe sits down with comedian and Juggling the Jenkins blogger, Tiffany Jenkins, about her inspiring and harrowing memoir, High Achiever, and why sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction. Finally, Abbe chats with journalist Andrew S. Lewis about man-made climate change and the lingering effects Hurricane Sandy has had on one community in New Jersey, which he documents in his book, The Drowning of Money Island. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
36 minutes | Nov 5, 2019
Episode 45 - Meg Wolitzer and The Other's Gold
Abbe hears from author Meg Wolitzer about her latest book, The Female Persuasion, her mentors (Nora Ephron!), and varying kinds of feminism. Abbe also sits down with novelist Christy Lefteri to talk about the Syrian refugee crisis and how it informs her book, The Beekeeper of Aleppo. Finally, Abbe reveals what she's reading: a work of fiction about female friendship: The Other's Gold by Elizabeth Ames. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
39 minutes | Oct 29, 2019
Episode 44 - Neil Patrick Harris and Normal People
Abbe chats with actor and author Neil Patrick Harris about magic, Gone Girl, being a bookseller, and the stories he reads with his twins. Oh, and his latest middle-grade series, The Magic Misfits, and his Choose Your Own Autobiography that puts the reader into his life story. She also talks female friendship and The Clog Life with How Could She author and Vogue writer Lauren Mechling. Finally, admittedly late to the party, Abbe reviews and raves about Normal People by Sally Rooney. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
34 minutes | Oct 22, 2019
Episode 43 - Oyinkan Braithwaite and The Swallows
Abbe Wright sits down with Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite to discuss her award-winning novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer, about older siblings, and not judging the actions of her characters. Later, Abbe chats with Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse, about setting his book in the undetermined "Near Future," and what the real impact of two-day shipping is. Abbe also reviews a recent read, The Swallows by Lisa Lutz and revels in the high school drama within. The novel is perfect for fans of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, while still touching on some pretty serious subjects. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
38 minutes | Oct 15, 2019
Episode 42 - Deepak Chopra and The Bluest Eye
In the first episode of the fourth season of the Read it Forward podcast, Abbe interviews Deepak Chopra, M.D., about mindfulness and his latest work, Metahuman. Dr. Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, the founder of the Chopra Foundation, and co-founder of Jiyo.com and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Abbe reflects on re-reading the late Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison's debut novel, The Bluest Eye. Finally, she talks with environmental scientist, entrepreneur, and founder of Homestead Brooklyn, Summer Rayne Oakes about the benefits of being a plant parent and her book, How to Make a Plant Love You. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
58 minutes | Aug 12, 2019
Episode 41 - Pop Culture Powerhouses Panel with Emily Nussbaum, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Jia Tolentino, and Linda Holmes
In this special episode of the Read it Forward podcast, we invite you to listen to a live-stream of the Pop Culture Powerhouses Panel. This recent event brings together four preeminent voices in cultural journalism as they celebrate their hotly anticipated summer books and discuss the ways in which pop culture — everything from binge-worthy TV to ubiquitous celebrities to the rise of athleisure — influences how we behave as a society. The women discuss their journalistic career paths, what it’s like to see their writing go viral, the joy and pressure of having readers anticipating their take on any subject, how writing a book compares to their day jobs, and of course, what cultural touchstones we should be paying attention to right now, all moderated by Read it Forward editor, Abbe Wright. Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine known for her incisive, must-read features and celebrity profiles. Her book, Fleishman is in Trouble, is a finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition. Linda Holmes is the beloved host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Her first novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over, is a charming and heartfelt story about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who’s lost her husband and a major league pitcher who’s lost his game. Emily Nussbaum is The New Yorker’s fiercely original, Pulitzer-Prize winning culture critic. Her book, I Like to Watch, is a provocative collection of essays that argues for a new way of looking at TV. Jia Tolentino is a breakout writer at The New Yorker. Her book, Trick Mirror, is a collection of original essays that examines the fractures at the center of contemporary culture.
36 minutes | Aug 5, 2019
Episode 40 - Beck Dorey-Stein and City of Girls
In this episode, Abbe talks about her summer vacation read, City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Then, she sits down for lots of laughs with author Beck Dorey-Stein to talk about her memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, now out in paperback, Obama, and the power of Craigslist. Finally, Abbe chats with RIF editor Eliza Smith about true stories written by young-ish authors. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcasts.
31 minutes | Jul 29, 2019
Episode 39 - Melissa de la Cruz and Trick Mirror
In this episode, Abbe tells us about Trick Mirror, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino's meditation on culture and her place within it. Then, she sits down with author Melissa de la Cruz about her thriller, The Birthday Girl, and the enduring appeal of the love story between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. Finally, Read it Forward's assistant editor, Jess, interviews author Julie Kibler about her work of historical fiction, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls, and the haunted place that inspired her story. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
32 minutes | Jul 22, 2019
Episode 38 - Joanne Ramos and The Chelsea Girls
In this episode, Abbe talks about what she's been reading: The Chelsea Girls, a brand new work of historical fiction from Fiona Davis, which takes place in the Chelsea Hotel. Then, she sits down with author Joanne Ramos to discuss her debut novel, The Farm, and what, if any, inspiration she drew from The Handmaid's Tale. Finally, we hear from Maris Kreizman, book critic and podcast host of The Maris Review, about what books she's loving this summer and what she can't wait to read this fall. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
31 minutes | Jul 15, 2019
Episode 37 - Jasmine Guillory and How Could She
In this episode, Abbe tells us about a great summer read about female friendship, How Could She by Lauren Mechling, which Elle, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan also raved about. Then, she sits down with author Jasmine Guillory to talk romance, diverse heroines, and Michelle Obama, as well as her latest novel, The Wedding Date. Finally, Abbe chats with Learning the Tropes podcast co-hosts Clayton and Erin about the reoccurrence of the rake with the heart of gold and other well-worn romance tropes, as well as the book with the minotaur at the center that they just couldn't put down. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
37 minutes | Jul 8, 2019
Episode 36 - Nic Stone and I Like to Watch
In this episode, Abbe binge-reads I Like to Watch by Emily Nussbaum, combining her two loves of reading and TV. Then, she sits down with author Nic Stone about her third YA novel, Jackpot, and why it's important to talk to young people about real issues. Finally, Abbe welcomes Evvie Drake Starts Over author and Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast host Linda Holmes into the studio to talk coastal Maine, second chances and Judy Blume. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
24 minutes | Jul 1, 2019
Episode 35 - Riley Sager and Very Nice
In this episode, Abbe raves about Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky, and the love triangle (love square?) that carries the plot. Then, she sits down with author Riley Sager about his latest thriller, Lock Every Door, and his love of scary movies. Finally, Abbe and colleague Amy Brinker talk about a book lover's greatest struggle: to dog-ear, or not to dog-ear. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
37 minutes | Jun 24, 2019
Episode 34 - Delia Owens and Educated
In this episode, Abbe, despite being late to the game, raves about Tara Westover's memoir, Educated. Then, she chats and laughs with author Delia Owens about her novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, elephant behavior, and what it was like to meet fellow southern gal, Reese Witherspoon. She even shares what books she loves reading and re-reading and why she resists having Where the Crawdads Sing classified as historical fiction. Finally, in a moving conversation, Abbe gets personal with psychic medium and author, Laura Lynne Jackson, about her most recent work, Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe and messages we receive from loved ones on the other side. For more information about the books we discuss in this—and every—episode, visit us at readitforward.com/podcast.
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