If you’re not familiar with Booked., they’re an award-winning podcast hosted by Livius Nedin and Robb Olson…and one of the two shows I listen to when I’m being a treadmill rat at the gym. I always felt like the authors being covered by this show became part of an exclusive club, so I was thrilled that Livius and Robb took the time to read a.) a 450-page book (which is much longer in comparison to what they usually read) and b.) a book heavy on the religious themes (they’re both non-religious, so I can see how anything with “Christian” in it can be a bit of a turn-off). I myself am an atheist…something I found advantageous during the writing of the project because I didn’t have any sort of faith influencing me when it came to contrasting Christianity and…y’know…the other faith in the novel.
The thing I really loved about this review (and previous reviews of other books) is that it went far beyond “this is what we liked…this is what we didn’t like…here’s the rating.” Robb and Livius actually take the time to delve into theory and give their own respective interpretations about things. It’s kinda like listening to a book club discussion between two people.
For those of you that have read Good Sex, Great Prayers, this episode brings up a lot of interesting questions, especially when it comes to genre. I’m still wrestling with the whole Christian-erotica vs. erotic horror vs. transgressive erotica labels. It’s already out now, so I leave it up to the reader as to which bucket they want to put it in.
And for those of you who haven’t read the novel yet, this is an excellent primer beyond reading the synopsis and the few samples that are available online. I’ve been careful not to post any spoilers…perhaps too much so, and Robb and Livius do a fantastic job of providing intrigue without totally blowing the plot’s cover.
Without a doubt, my absolute favorite part of the show is hearing the guys read various excerpts–especially those from Billy Burke (bar none my favorite character to write in my 10+ years of writing). It was a fucking treat to listen to. You can bet your ass I’ll be reading tons of Billy at AWP in Minneapolis next year.
A big thanks to Robb and Livius for giving this book a chance…I will be sure to send over my next one, which will be much shorter and much less religious–I promise.