Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are you a POD person?

Hank Phillippi Ryan:  I love this photo. It's unusual because--I'm not talking. (Joke.) Anyway I'm listening to the brilliant Cari Dubiel, at the NEO-SinC  (I know, I think it's funny too, but we love them!)  "Killer Heat" event at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga Public Library in Cleveland!  (I said that all in one breath.)

It was a fabulous jam-backed day, wall to wall people, and Cari and I presented an hour just for mystery lovers. Our goal--to do our bit for discoverability. To give readers a whole wonderful list of books to read. So we chatted about some of our current faves, and why we were reading them, and also asked the audience for suggestions. It was like one big book club, and it was a real treat.  

Here's a link to the list of just SOME of the books we discussed. Can you predict why? Do you agree that they're discussable? (Do you think discussable is a word?)

Defending Jacob – William Landay
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The 500 – Matthew Quirk
Don’t Ever Get Old – Daniel Friedman
Rage Against the Dying – Becky Masterman
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary – Susan Elia Macneal
Black Fridays – Michael Sears
Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton – Elizabeth Silver
Dare Me – Megan Abbott
The Burning Air – Erin Kelly
Always Watching – Chevy Stevens
Blood Orange – Karen Keskinen

Anyway! The thing about Cari--not only is she the Assistant Manager, Adult Public Services, at Twinsburg Public Library in Twinsburg, Ohio. She has two blogs of her own: a personal blog, Walking Identity Crisis, and an official Twinsburg Public Library blog, The ABC Book Reviews: A Beth and Cari Production
Not THIS kind of pod person!

And she's a real pod person. Not that kind. She does a podcast. A what? Yeah, a podcast. About books! Cool, huh?  So I invited her over to chat about it!

Hello, fans of Jungle Red!  I’m here today to talk about my podcast, The ABC Book Reviews.  If you’re not already a podcast listener, they’re a great way to pass the time while driving, running, or washing the dishes.  Much like audiobooks, they give you something to focus on and get excited about if you’re not entirely excited about the task you’re doing. 

Why listen to our podcast?  I could start by telling you that last year, it was chosen as one of the best book podcasts out there by the Wall Street Journal Online.  But that would just be boastful of me.  Instead, I’ll talk about the appeal – why it’s worth your time.  The hosts are me (Cari Dubiel) and Beth Hatch.  We’re both librarians as well as writers, and we talk about the latest books we’re reading, and why you should read (or not read) them too.  We love mysteries, so if you’re looking for another good one, chances are we’ll talk about one or two.  But we also talk about a wide variety of genres, so if you’re looking for new reading recommendations, we’re the place to go for that, too.

Our podcasts are funny (we like to believe that, at least).  We’ve been described as “two girls chatting over a cup of coffee” or “two girls chatting in the back of the bus.”  Two girls chatting… that’s the gist of it.  It’s like you’re overhearing our conversation.  There’s a fun feeling to that, isn’t there?  I always want to join people’s conversations when I’m in public.  I realize that probably makes me creepy, but especially if they’re talking about books, I want to know what they think.

We also go on tangents.  We’re both moms, so we talk a lot about parenting.  We’re writers, so we spend a lot of time deconstructing books, figuring out why we like or don’t like them.  Beth is really into the paleo diet and exercise.  So I guarantee that you’ll take away a long list of reads from every show, but you may also learn something completely off the wall, like how to get a baby to go to sleep (I’m still not sure exactly how that works) or the trials and tribulations of living with a vinyl hoarder (that would be my husband).  We don’t censor ourselves, either, so you may hear some interesting stories about weird things that happen in the library.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

HANK: Wait. Wait. I have LOTS of questions.
Like: What is a podcast?  How does it even work? Why are they called podcasts?

Cari: Podcasts are audio files that live online.  They're called podcasts because most of them were designed to be downloaded to iPods.  They are kind of like mini radio shows.  There are lots of different formats for them - sometimes it's just a person talking into a microphone - sometimes it's cohosts (like us) - sometimes it's a whole panel.  Most people download them from iTunes onto an iPod or iPhone, but you can also listen to them on the web or on a phone or MP3 player that's not an Apple brand.

HANK: Whose idea was this--and how did you pick the title?

CARI: My old boss at the library had purchased the recording equipment with the intent to do a "library podcast."  He thought people would be interested in listening to a podcast about library news and events.  Well, we found that in the town we serve, the audience was very narrow.  Podcasts appeal to a niche group: people who commute, exercise, travel, knit, etc.  They want something to listen to to pass the time.  So in order to get a broader audience, we needed to expand the topic past Twinsburg.  We thought it would be fun to sit around and talk about books, so we decided to try it and see what happened.  Beth came up with the title since our names started with B and C.  

HANK: Were you frightened the first time?
CARI: Not at all.  I was a DJ on my college radio station, so I was used to being on the microphone, and we didn't really think anyone would ever listen to it.  Now I know better.

HANK: How do you decide what to talk about? Where do you record them?
CARI: We generally have a rough idea when we start, but go on a lot of tangents. We do a lot of "what are you reading" podcasts because people love to get new ideas for books to read, and they want to hear personal recommendations.  Occasionally we will see a news article and want to talk about it, or we'll be reading a bunch of books on a certain topic and want to highlight it (say, funny books, or mysteries).  We usually record either at my library or at Beth's, but occasionally we will record on Skype if we don't have time to get together.  Beth used to work with me at Twinsburg, but she got another job, so we see each other less.

HANK: Do things always go the way you planned? Do you edit or change them? How often is there a new one? HOw would people know?
CARI: We do edit out the "ums" and if we end up going on a tangent that might offend people, we edit that out too.  We can't swear or say anything that would make the library look bad.  But other than that, they're pretty much straight from the mic.  We try to update twice a month, but sometimes it's harder since we're at different libraries now.  We update our blog, Facebook, and Goodreads when we have a new podcast, or you can subscribe to our iTunes feed if you are a regular podcast listener.  There is also an archive of 100+ episodes.  We have had people talk about how they "binge listen" and go back and hear everything we did!

HANK: How has it changed your life, doing these?
CARI: Now there are a bunch of people around the world who know who we are and that we love books.  They've read books because of us, and their lives (I hope) have been changed by their enjoyment of those books and of the podcast.  I also hope they love libraries just a little more, too.  

HANK: That is so exciting! And works so perfectly.   So--do you all listen to podcasts? I have to admit it's a new experience for you have a favorite one? I'm off to binge-listen to Cari....and hey, I'll give a collection of books to one lucky commenter! Because reading is what it's all about.

How do you find Beth and Cari?
Cari says:
Find us on iTunes, subscribe in an RSS reader, follow  on Facebook or Goodreads – there are plenty of ways to join the conversation.  Thanks to the fabulous Hank Phillippi Ryan for the opportunity to share my podcast with you.  Happy listening!


  1. Well, this podcast thing is definitely new to me [and now I’ll have to check it out] . . . .
    But I have to say the idea of a program with two librarians sharing book recommendations while “chatting over coffee” [anything that includes coffee gets my vote] actually sounds quite fascinating . . . .

  2. I love podcasts and don't do anything else while I'm listening to one. Podcasts and audiobooks are the primary way I read.

    My favorite podcast is BBC's Ouch! Disability Talk Show -- Once a month Rob Crossan and Kate Monaghan "present the programme you didn’t know you wanted to hear." It's about disability from a different and very funny point of view and wacky presentation.

    If you don't have a disability it might not be funny. I don't know, but I've never met anyone disabled who didn't fall apart laughing when they listened to it.

    The presenters have disabilities and go at current events in a way I never heard before. They have interviews, discussions and sometimes a quiz. My favorites are when they call a listener and then they have to guess what their disability is. I laugh the whole hour. I'm scheming now how to get them to call me, because I don't think they'll ever be able to guess. I need a wardrobe upgrade, and I'm hoping to win a Disability Bitch tee shirt.

    Right now you probably think I'm very strange. I am kind of. It goes with my disability. At least one of them. I have several. Once a month it can be a lot of fun to be disabled and laugh at the world with other people who live it. Between podcasts you have to try to buckle up and blend in. That makes me a little snarky.

    Anyway, Cari, I look forward to listening to your podcast. Sounds like a lot of fun. I love books and libraries, so you're on.

  3. So interesting to have you here Cari--will definitely download some of your podcasts for dog-walking.

    How do you choose what you read next?

    (And Reine, a disability bitch t-shirt? LOL!)

  4. Wow, that is quite a list of amazing books. Readers of any one of them would come away happy. Lots to discuss within those books.

    As for podcasts, I listen now and then, but have never found something that I felt I needed to follow regularly.

    That may have changed today!

    I will certainly be checking out Cari's show and once again thank Jungle Red for leading us in the right direction.

  5. Cari, This is an interesting concept. How do you and Beth choose the books you talk about? (Full disclosure: I'm a debut author and trying to learn all I can about how people get their books "out there.")

  6. OH,Terry...the answer we all want to hear...

    Somehow, downloading a podcast seems like a complicated it?

  7. Hey Cari, glad to "see" you again (don't know if you remember me from Killer Heat).

    I am iffy on podcasts - only because I've never found one I love. Well, that's not true - one of my old college friar friends does a faith-based reflection that's pretty good.

    I'm with Terry (for pretty much the same reason) - how do you decide what to talk about?

    And Hank, not difficult to download at all. The easiest way is to subscribe to the podcast via an app on your phone - new episodes just show up when they are posted. But there is usually also a "listen now" button/link on web pages or a "download" button if you are on a smartphone/iPod.

  8. See, Mary, to me, that sounds difficult. :-)

  9. Now, THAT's a great reading list! I like podcasts for treadmilling or walking in parks where I don't have to worry so much about situational awareness. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know about ABC, Cari!

  10. I love podcasts and this sounds like a terrific one, Cari. I'll be listening! And that list includes lots of my favorites - they're all so discussable! Great book group books.

  11. Hi Carrie! I've already started listening to your latest podcast--couldn't resist anything about Jim Butcher, as I'm huge fan.

    The podcast is such fun. I'm thrilled to have discovered you. (Thanks, Hank!)

    But, technical question: I'm a PC/Android person, so don't use iTunes. I can't see anywhere on your website to subscribe to it as an RSS feed--am I blind? And when I search for it on the RSS reader on my tablet (Feedly) I can't find it. I'm sure this is a big "duh", but, help!

  12. Oh this is a great post, Hank! And thanks for sharing, Cari.

    I have a friend who swears by podcasts, but I haven't gotten into it yet. I'm daunted by the task of hunting down podcasts I might like. But now I can at least start with yours, Cari.

    I, like Terri Shames, am a debut author (rather, will be in March 2014) so I'm researching this new word in my vocabulary -- "discoverability." Which I also find daunting! :-) Same question: How to you choose books?

    Our discoverability quotient certainly grows the more books we have out there, but as a debut author -- ? How the heck do we getting going?

    I would love to hear about other favorite podcasts you listen to, Cari, especially about writing, the writing life, authors, etcetera...anything really.

    Thanks! Lisa

  13. Hallie, you are so cutting edge. I can't picture you with earbuds.

    When do you all listen to podcasts?

  14. Hank, I haven't really figured out when to listen, either. I don't do earbuds well because I'm deaf in one ear, and I like to think when I drive (traffic allowing) and when I walk.

    I'll try listening while doing kitchen chores...

  15. Whoops, typos-ville above. Sorry about that. Trying to do everything too fast today. :-)

  16. The winner of Terry Shames book is GIGI PANADIAN!! Whoa..lovely!

    And Gigi, Terry will deliver it to you personally! (Customer service is our middle name at Jungle Red!)

  17. Although I like the idea of a library podcast(actually, I LOVE the idea), I don't know how I could take advantage of it: I don't have an IPod or smartphone and currently the only way I can get on line is via my Kindle or a visit to...the library. (A "thank you" to all the libraries that provide Internet access for their patrons.)I suppose I can take ear phones with me to the library and listen to your library podcast that way, right?!

    Reine, my sister would KILL for that tee shirt!

  18. Hank, my magazine reading time became my podcast listening time when I switched to having to read mostly by audio. To me podcasts are magazine articles only sometimes are a lot more fun like the Beeb's Ouch! Sometimes they are like radio shows.

    I usually never find them podcasts when they're called radio shows, I understand why people sometimes call their podcasts radio shows, but it just gets confusing.

    I usually listen at my computer at the same desk where I used to read magazines. Sometimes I listen or on my iPad or iPhone on the patio.

    All I can say to anyone who finds it confusing is that I don't think it is. And really if I can do it can't be difficult. I'd be happy to help anyone who is having a problem figuring it out for the first time, so you'll see after that it's very easy.

    About smart phones or non-iPhones, I started listening to podcasts when I had a smart phone and a PC.

  19. Also, I subscribe to some magazines and newspapers that are delivered via podcast rather than print. I get mine through my state library. Some can be subscribed to via their local library.

  20. Deb Romano, you can just listen on your computer. Go to the website and click on the podcast you want to hear. It's easy.

  21. Off to the dentist! Cross your fingers and I'll be back soon..

  22. Hey folks! I'm overwhelmed by the number of wonderful comments and support! I'm so glad you're excited about the podcast and are going to listen :-) Let me go through and pick out your questions so I can answer them... I guess it's a good thing I'm off today and the baby's at the sitter!

  23. OK, let me see if I can hit the high points...

    How do we choose - It's tough, I gotta say, when there are so many awesome books out there. My Goodreads list is full to bursting. Especially since I read so widely. A lot of it depends on my mood. Sometimes I need something fast-paced and puzzle-y; other times, I need something more reflective or informative; other times, I just want to read a good vampire book. I imagine that most of the authors we talk about don't even know we're talking about them, but that leads me to...

    How to help debut authors: We do get a lot of requests from debut authors, so much so that I wrote a post about it. (Full disclosure - My blog is not updated nearly as often as it used to be, and it needs a physical makeover, but I think the info is still valuable).
    To me, the personal connection is the most important. You have to get me to care about promoting you and your book. And you do that by being truly interested in the podcast and its listeners. I am big on building meaningful relationships. If I want to see your book succeed, I'll be enthusiastic about it.

    Listening via Feedly - I have a beef about this. I'm not a Mac person either, and I'm still bitter about Google Reader going away. You used to be able to subscribe just by putting the URL into Google Reader. I will figure out what happened with Feedly and get back to you guys. I want all the Android people to be able to listen too!

    If you don't have a "smart thing" - I like to listen to podcasts while I'm at work, just straight from the computer with earbuds. You can listen right on the website. I see people doing this in the computer lab at work all the time.

    Other favorite podcasts: Books on the Nightstand is a great one -
    Also just started listening to

    We will have some guest authors on the podcast starting in August, too.

  24. Aha! The link to us is wrong in the blog. The correct site is

    And the feed for Feedly is:

    However - I still don't see a link to the correct RSS feed on our website. I'll post it ASAP!

  25. Also (Sigh) the latest podcast isn't showing up on the RSS feed. I am not sure why. When I get back to the library, I'll take a look at it and fix it. So go to for the latest one (or Facebook) but you can definitely get all the old ones right from Feedly now! Whew. Nothing like some publicity to get me panicking about technology :-) Normally that kind of thing doesn't faze me!

  26. Yes, yes, we're all clamoring for the podcast now!

    Feedly, huh. Happily, I learn something new every day...

  27. Anyway, just added the Feedly app to my Droid, so I probably should figure out how to add it to my computer, too. BTW, ran a search for ABCBookreview via the Feedly app on my phone, found it and signed up. My first Feedly feed. Also, here's hoping I did it right. :)

  28. Yay! Feedly is fun for many things. I do miss Google Reader though.

  29. I also downloaded a Podcast app BeyondPod. I didn't see many free podcast apps for Droid, but this one offers the fully featured version for a week for free, then dials service back to a free version after the free period ends. ABCBookReview is also accessible via BeyondPod.