Episode 20: Tangent Special 2. Novelizations and Expanded Universes

Episode 20 Website CoverIts the twentieth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re continuing our every-tenth-episode tradition of a special topics episode, this time looking at novelizations and expanded universe books for your favorite pop culture franchises.

You can listen here:

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If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadingcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com.

Episode 19: Fun Home

Episode 19 Website CoverIt’s the nineteenth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re taking a look at Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

You can listen here:

Required Reading iTunes Page

Required Reading Podcast Page at Two True Freaks

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If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com

Episode 18: 1984

Episode18 Website CoverIts the eighteenth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re taking a look at 1984 by George Orwell.

You can listen here:

Required Reading iTunes Page

Required Reading Podcast Page at Two True Freaks

Direct Download

If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadingcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com.

Episode 17: Julius Caesar

Episode 17 Website CoverBEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!!!

Its the seventeenth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re taking a look at The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

You can listen here:

Required Reading iTunes Page

Required Reading Podcast Page at Two True Freaks

Direct Download

If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadingcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com.

When I Was a Loser: True Stories of (Barely) Surviving High School

51ucpbnb-hl-_sx324_bo1204203200_It will come as a shock to absolutely nobody that I was a loser in high school.  And if I am being completely candid, I preferred the title “dork,” but that is an inside joke between me and a very good friend who is no longer with us, so for the sake of argument, we’ll go with loser.  Anyway, that’s what drew me to this collection of essays edited by John McNally and published in 2007 that’s about … well, they don’t exactly bury the lede on the title.

The writers featured inside have all had successful careers after their escape from the teenage wasteland (to borrow a phrase from Pete Townshend) that growing up and having to endure four years of high school can be (and yes, I realize how ironic this sentence is considering the occupations of myself and my co-host)–some of which are delightful, almost whimsical stories of combatting acne and trying to get dates, others of which are much more serious.

McNally collects the essays in sections of common themes such as dating, sex, religion, body issues, and even hair and does a good job at balancing the silly and the serious, not allowing one essay to outshine or outweigh any other, which is the mark of a good editor.

Highlights include Tod Goldberg writing about sex with his girlfriend being interrupted by Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ringing his doorbell; Kelly Braffett’s look at falling in with “freaks” in an essay she lovingly entitles “F— High School;” Zelda Lockhart’s brutally honest memories of growing up with abuse and then discovering her own sexuality; Owen (son of Stephen) King’s complicated history with varsity sports; and Dean Bakopoulos’ story about his friendship with a guy named Mack that involves driving at high speeds, alcohol, pot, and Evangelical Christianity.

If the collection has any downside, it’s that it will probably take you a good chunk of time to read, which is a blessing and a curse of essay and short story collections.  I’ve never been able to really read them in one sitting, since they are individual efforts, each of which should be given its own consideration before moving on to the next one.

-Tom

You should read this book if …

  1. You’re a fan of personal narrative.
  2. You grew up watching Degrassi, My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Heathers, The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Better Off Dead …, Say Anything …, and have an appreciation for funny, honest, yet not overly maudlin or emo tales of high school.
  3. You were a loser in high school

Episode 16: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Episode 16 Website CoverIts the sixteenth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re taking a look at The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthurn Conan Doyle.

You can listen here:

Required Reading iTunes Page

Required Reading Podcast Page at Two True Freaks

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If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadingcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com.

Episode 15: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Episode 15 Website CoverIt’s the fifteenth episode of Required Reading With Tom and Stella! This podcast, which is hosted by Tom Panarese (Pop Culture Affidavit, In Country) and Stella (Batgirl to Oracle: A Barbara Gordon Podcast, The Batman Universe) is two teachers talking about literature. Each episode, we will be taking a look at a single work, analyzing it, criticizing it and deciding if its worth its place in the canon.

This time around, we’re taking a look at Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

You can listen here:

Required Reading iTunes Page

Required Reading Podcast Page at Two True Freaks

Direct Download

If you like our podcast, feel free to like our Facebook page (just search for Required Reading with Tom and Stella), check out our Twitter feed at @reqreadingcast, or email us at requiredreadingcast@gmail.com.