Catawampus Readings artwork

Catawampus Readings

27 episodes - English - Latest episode: over 3 years ago -

A literary podcast where the beginnings and introductions of stories, characters, and locations are picked apart to see what makes them tick. Support this podcast:

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Dragon Prince

October 28, 2020 20:00 - 12 minutes - 11.6 MB

I get the feeling I probably read this book before I was ready for it, so there were some concepts that just went right over my head. Still, it was an awesome book for 16-year-old me and an education in how other storytellers think about romance. I think this book - this whole series, actually - handled the integration of dragons into the worldbuilding very well, but I do wonder if they might not have tried a little too hard later on to keep dragons relevant to the story, even though it was...

Dealing With Dragons

October 21, 2020 20:00 - 12 minutes - 11.1 MB

If that title looks familiar, it's because we've looked at this book before. I really do love it, and if this isn't enough proof, then I guess I'll just make up a nice big sign. XD The two-month hiatus was almost completely unplanned, and I suspect it was in part due to several stress factors in my life, one of which was that I had lost my buffer for the podcast and my blog at the same time. With luck, this time around we'll be a little more on top of it. In other news, I'm still consideri...

A Natural History of Dragons

July 08, 2020 19:00 - 15 minutes - 14.4 MB

I can't lie - I LOVE this series. It's amazing, and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who loves dragons and a slightly feminist look at an Edwardian worldview. It's pretty fantastic on all counts, and I've read it through three times already. That said, there is some confusion about the different names of the months and different year numbers, as they're presented in-universe and obviously never explained because no adult in that world would need month names and year numbers explained ...

Daughter of Dragons

July 01, 2020 20:00 - 14 minutes - 13.5 MB

Sorry if I sound a little funny today - it's been terrible for allergies recently, and I can't seem to clear my sinuses. XP Anyway, I hope that if you have time for it, you'll pick up a copy of Daughter of Dragons by Jack Campbell. It's a fantastic book, and I really like the way the author went out of his way to let the characters have organic interactions, even where it didn't advance the plot very much. It made them feel that much more real. If you end up reading it, let me know what yo...


June 24, 2020 19:00 - 14 minutes - 13.1 MB

Welcome to the end of the hiatus! I'm mixing things up by posting this episode two weeks early for patrons! It'll take some work to keep up with it, of course, but I think it's worth it, so my lovely patrons have a little more of a reward for their loyal support. Dragonflight is the first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, and I think it's one of my favorites, in part because it is incapable of contradicting established canon at this point. (The strong female lead ce...

The City of Ember

May 27, 2020 19:00 - 15 minutes - 14.5 MB

To anyone who likes stories about kids that act like kids but also save the world (like Harry Potter and The Books of Beginning) I would very much recommend this book. I couldn't actually finish its sequel, because I'm a biased hack, but I really liked this one. Also, because I forgot to add my rating for this introduction into the script until after I'd already finished recording, and I knew it was too long; I'm giving this introduction a slim 4 out of 5. It does what it needs to and it's ...

Island of the Blue Dolphins

May 20, 2020 19:00 - 12 minutes - 12 MB

Have you ever had a movie, book, or game that people have told you "you've got to try this" over and over, but you resisted because you were biased in some way? Or maybe it was a food that you were just convinced you wouldn't like. Or a place you never wanted to visit because people were always trying to get you to go there. Then you finally did try it. You watched the movie or ate the food or read the book - and suddenly regretted all those times you had the chance to experience this wonde...

Black Beauty

May 13, 2020 20:00 - 12 minutes - 11.2 MB

This book has come up in discussions several times in the past, but I've never covered the introduction, so I figured this was as good a way as any to wrap up our classics series. When I'm under pressure or when I'm feeling stressed, I'll often return to books that are familiar to me and reread them. This has made it so I'll read the Harry Potter series, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Black Beauty, and an assortment of other titles at least once a year, and I began to wonder a while back if this wa...

Where the Red Fern Grows

May 06, 2020 20:00 - 13 minutes - 12.6 MB

Or perhaps I should have called this one "where the red fern groans." Suffice to say I don't like this introduction at all, and I have very little objectivity to spare for this one. XP My biased opinions are going to get me in trouble one of these days. That said, I would like to go on the record to say that framing sequences can be used to great effect, and I think that if this particular opening hadn't taken so long to get to the point, then it would have been a much better introduction t...

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

April 29, 2020 19:00 - 12 minutes - 11.6 MB

We have finally reached the long-awaited series, though we're not digging in just yet. I intent to come back and do a mini-series on all seven books and how they contrast, but that's still on my to-do list. For now, we're just dipping our toes in with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. To be honest, I read these books more for the sake of nostalgia than for the quality of narrative. I would love to go back and rewrite these, but there's a eldritch copyright beast lurking in that corner ...

A Little Princess

April 22, 2020 21:00 - 13 minutes - 12.1 MB

When I was a kid, a movie based on this book was in my collection. I loved it, even though there were parts of it that honestly made me uncomfortable. Looking back at it, I think that movie actually helped me through losing my own father later on. I didn't get around to reading the book until much later - after college, I think - and it's now one of my favorites, though it comes in well below The Jungle Book and The Secret Garden, which I like better, though I'm not entirely sure why. But ...

The Jungle Book

April 15, 2020 21:00 - 13 minutes - 9.74 MB

I discovered and read The Jungle Book... I want to say the year that I graduated college? Somewhere around there. If you're not aware, I'm happy to inform you that one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Ralph Cosham, has recorded a version of this book and its sequel (as well as other favorite books of mine such as The Scarlet Pimpernel, Black Beauty, and Watership Down). I love love love this book, but I understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea, so I'd love to hear your feedback on ...

Old Yeller

April 08, 2020 18:00 - 13 minutes - 10 MB

This book is definitely going into my top 10 list for this year (so far - dun dun DUN!) just because I enjoyed all that interaction and action in the beginning, not to mention the narrative voice. I've got a couple more books on the list for this series on classics, so there are definitely some slots left for suggested works. If you have anything in mind you'd like to see, please let me know in the comments below, or by sending me an email at [email protected]! Background music was ...

David Copperfield

April 01, 2020 19:00 - 13 minutes - 9.74 MB

I won't say this is one of my favorite classics, but I will say that the introduction inspired a topic that I've wanted to talk about for quite some time. I've also decided to extend this run of classic books a little, if only because it's been so fun. One of you lovely Inklings requested that I look at a sequel, specifically to see how the introduction of the second or third book in a series might accommodate for new readers in comparison to the ways video games will do the same for new pla...

Treasure Island

March 25, 2020 19:00 - 13 minutes - 10.2 MB

Ho there and well come, my Inklings! We're continuing our digging into classics of the sort I avoided as a young thing with RL Stevenson's Treasure Island, which I must say I had a lot of fun with. If you have any suggestions for more books (classics or otherwise) that you remember from your childhood, I'd love to see them! Let me know in the comments below, or send me a message at [email protected]. Background music for the analysis portion of today's episode was provided by AShamal...

To Kill a Mockingbird

March 18, 2020 19:00 - 13 minutes - 10.3 MB

I was biased going into this one, so I don't think I was very fair in how I rated it. I'd love to hear from you lot about what you thought of the intro to this book and how engaging it was (or wasn't). Also, if you have any suggestions on what classics to look at later this month, I would love to hear them! Hit me up in the comments below, and I'll definitely give your suggestions a gander. As usual, the background music was provided by the wonderful AShamaluevMusic. --- Send in a voice...

Celeborn and Galadriel

March 11, 2020 18:00 - 11 minutes - 8.72 MB

I've finally come to terms with the fact that I can't maintain accents consistently. Hopefully the voices are still distinct enough that you know who's who. :) This wraps up our Tolkien miniseries, which I thoroughly enjoyed. At some point I would love to revisit this series and perhaps poke a nose into another book, just to see how thins compare. Let me know in the comments below if you have a book or series in mind for me! Until next week, stay awesome, my Inklings. We'll be on the looko...

Moria and Lothlorien

March 04, 2020 21:00 - 14 minutes - 10.7 MB

I have developed a theory! I think (and I could be wrong) that Tolkien describes places in ways that reflect the people that interact with it, rather than in terms of the place itself. I haven't been able to thoroughly test this theory, but I feel good about it. Maybe the appeal of forming a theory isn't in whether or not I'm right, but just in the act itself. :) Anyway, enjoy this episode, 4 of 5 in our Tolkien miniseries. We'll be back next week for a look at the introduction to Celeborn...


February 26, 2020 21:00 - 12 minutes - 16.7 MB

I've been looking forward to this episode for a couple weeks, and I think you can probably tell by how much time I spent talking about narrative shortcuts, because this intro is just full of them! I also want to apologize for the accent quality. I got in a rut and I just couldn't get out of it, so my character voices for this reading were Not The Best, but I'll work on it. And, since this series has been so much fun, I think I'll extend it for another little bit - I've got two more episode...

Frodo and Gandalf

February 19, 2020 20:00 - 14 minutes - 17.8 MB

Do you want to know a secret? Come closer. I don't like listening to myself sing. I actually like the sound of my voice when I'm talking, and I can happily listen to my own podcast without feeling like cringing like so many people do - even those who record podcasts as part of their job. But I don't like the sound of my own singing. XP It never sounds good to me. Anyway, I hope this episode is fun for you. It was certainly a blast for me. I'm looking forward to next week and Strider's int...

The Long Expected Party

February 12, 2020 19:00 - 13 minutes - 18.5 MB

Welcome to Part 2 in our series on the introductions and beginnings in The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can easily foresee 3 or 4 more episodes, concerning Frodo and his friends, Gandalf, and Aragorn at the very least. I'd also like to do an episode concerning the Council of Elrond and the scenes around it, where Frodo is meeting many new characters, and if you guys don't mind, a final episode splitting up the introductions of the Balrog in Moria and Celeborn and Galadriel in ...

Concerning Hobbits

February 05, 2020 18:55 - 11 minutes - 14.7 MB

By request from one of you marvelous Inklings, we're doing a deep dive over the next few weeks into the beginnings and introductions in J.R.R. Tolkein's The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm having a lot of fun digging into this book, which isn't at all hurt by the fact that I love this book. :) I hope you lot enjoy it as well. And remember, if you have any requests, suggestions, or points on which you disagree with me, please leave them in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you. As usual...

Acorna the Unicorn Girl

January 30, 2020 22:07 - 13 minutes - 12.3 MB

This is one of my favorites from way back when, in high school when I had time to read a ton of books without resorting to audiobooks. :) Back then, I actually thought listening to an audiobook didn't count as "reading," but I've outgrown that idea. Content Warning: This episode discusses suicide. If that's a hard topic, skip this episode and meet up with us again next week. The background music was (as usual) supplied by AShamaluevMusic. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters....

A Game of Thrones

January 23, 2020 18:53 - 14 minutes - 13.7 MB

I've been hanging on to this book for a while, because I wanted to give it the attention it deserves. Then I went and squandered it on a day like today when I didn't have quite the time to give it the attention I'd hoped.  Oh, well.  We'll come back to it at some point. Maybe in a year, I'll come back to this and disagree with myself. That would be interesting. --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast: https://podcasters.s...

The Book of Three

January 15, 2020 19:57 - 12 minutes - 12 MB

A quick peek at a story based on Welsh mythology, with a pinch of literary criticism on the side for flavor. Hope you liked it! I have no idea what I'm going to do next week, but I'm sure it'll be something brilliant. Just... don't quote me on that. :) As per usual, the background music was provided by the wonderful AShamaluevMusic. --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

Little House on the Prairie

January 08, 2020 20:00 - 14 minutes - 13.7 MB

We're got a double-feature today! Little House on the Prairie, and my preferred equivalent, Sarah, Plain and Tall. I think the contrast between the two speaks for itself, though I also speak for and about it. At length. I hope you lot enjoy this episode. I had to rush to get it done in time. :) Enjoy your New Year and the weeks to come. May your 2020 be simply amazing. As usual, the background music was provided by AShamaluevMusic. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotif...

The Circle of Magic

January 01, 2020 18:00 - 12 minutes - 11.2 MB

I am horribly biased about this one, as you might be able to tell by all I said within. But that's something I will simply need to deal with as I get older. *shrugs* I love these books, okay? Don't judge me. All told, though, I think this look at the foundation of my reading career has been eye-opening. I didn't realize the books I loved as a kid has so much in common. Which makes me wonder... what other impacts has this had on my taste in books? This is something I think I'll have to loo...


A Game of Thrones
1 Episode
The Book of Three
1 Episode