Sunday, January 3, 2021

Standing Ovation for The Book Cougars



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Gather round, gather round, gather round! If you don’t know Emily and Chris, so thrilled to introduce you!

 

Emily Fine and Chris Wolak—and more details below—are podcasters, also known as the Book Cougars. Their first broadcast was in 2016, and it debuted as

 Isn’t that the BEST? They are smart, and savvy, and research their shows like mad. They work SO HARD! They are brilliant, and witty, and funny—and serious about their work. 

I was so honored to be interviewed by them—and we all know what a difference it makes to have a conversation with people who really know their stuff. What a treat. So of course I asked them to tell us how it all happened…and their story is amazing. 


 Our friendship was young when we decided to jump into a creative project together. We are both originally from the Midwest (Emily Ohio, Chris Illinois) and moved to Guilford, CT about six months apart. Bookish friends we had in common put us in touch, and we met for the first time in the summer of 2016 at a local coffee shop and hit it off. 

A couple weeks later we met for lunch. Our next meet up was a big jump for a new friendship — we hit the road and drove up to Lenox, MA to Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount, for a Speak Up Storytelling event held in the great author’s former stables. As middle-aged women, we knew our budding friendship in our newly adopted state was something special. 

 On October 29, 2016 we ventured up to the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont to see Ruth Franklin discuss her biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. Mind you, Northshire is not our local indie bookstore, it is over 6 hours roundtrip from Guilford. 

But for us this was our idea of how to spend a beautiful fall day. Start early in the morning, drive 3+ hours, browse a bookstore, buy some books, listen to a compelling, intelligent author talk about another amazing woman, get back in the car and drive another 3+ hours to arrive home. 

All in the name of literature and friendship.

 Perhaps the best part, though, was our own endless bookish chatter. We hit on so many topics — books we have read and want to read, authors we have met, literary sites we have visited — and our banter was so easy. 

Emily and Chris recording

On that drive home from Northshire, Emily turned to Chris and said, “We should start a literary podcast!”

Did either of us have any experience? Well, Chris worked as a manager for Borders Books back in its heyday and has written a bookish blog since 2010; Emily created websites in the early days of the internet. 


We were both avid readers and enthusiastic listeners of podcasts. Other than that, no. 

 Yet, we persisted, and the idea grew wings. We had our first laughter filled meeting in early November to flesh out lots of how to’s. 

What are the steps to creating a podcast? How does your recording get from your computer onto Apple iTunes so folks can listen from a podcast app on their cellphone? How do we create a website and what content should be posted to it? What social media platforms should we use? What should we talk about? How often should we record? Most importantly, like new parents, what do we name this podcast?! 

Our brainstorming session on what to name our new baby left us with aching sides from all the laughter. We landed on Book Cougars because it made us laugh out loud, but also because it was a way to reclaim the word “cougar” that often has negative connotations for women. 

 On December 6, 2016 we posted our first episode of the Book Cougars: Two Middle-Aged Women on the Hunt for a Good Read. It was recorded on a cell phone. Chris learned how to edit the audio file using Garage Band, which came free with her laptop. Emily did some research on how to upload an audio file online and created a website utilizing Squarespace. 

 The Book Cougars have been going strong ever since. We celebrated our 4th anniversary this December!

 We post episodes every-other-Tuesday. Segments include discussing what we are reading and Biblio Adventures we have been on. Sadly, in the era of COVID-19, there have been no recent trips to Northshire Bookstore, but we do talk about all the fantastic virtual events we are attending. Which we fondly refer to as Couch Biblio Adventures. 

YAY!

We also feature author interviews, called Author Spotlights. On Episode 115 we had the pleasure of hosting one of Jungle Red’s own, Hank Phillippi Ryan. 

 This is a passion project. Neither of us has quit our day job. But what is so fun, really, as middle-aged women, is that we are continuing to learn and grow. 

First, there was the steep learning curve around creating a podcast. 

Early on we figured out that recording on a cell phone was not ideal. We purchased fancy equipment and learned how to use it. From inception, the workload split naturally, along equal lines that matched our separate skill sets. For the most part, Emily manages communications and Chris manages technical aspects and we split social media promotion.

 Over the years, we have hosted live events with authors at bookstores and on stage at the Mohegan Sun and talked off mic with industry folks in the know. We have co-hosted a live virtual author event with Book Club on the Go. We have gained entry to Book Expo, the yearly book industry tradeshow in New York City, proudly donning our media badges. We have also have a YouTube channel to help promote the podcast and authors we interview. 

 Podcasts have really taken off in 2020, with both increased listenership and additional podcast offerings. We continue to enjoy being the creative forces behind the Book Cougars, filling the podcast and our friendship with endless bookish banter.

 HANK: All in the name of literature and friendship. Oh, isn’t this SO great? What a story! Reds and readers, how are you on podcasts? What ones do you listen to? What questions do you have for Emily and Chris?

116 comments:

  1. What an exciting . . . and inspiring . . . story, Emily and Chris. Congratulations to you . . . this certainly sounds like a match made in heaven!

    I know next to nothing about podcasts . . . and I’m clueless about what to ask.
    But Book Cougars sound like so much fun I believe I’ll have to find a way to listen in . . . .

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    1. It’s like..radio on your phone or computer! Go back to the blog and click, for instance, on my name by Emily and Chris holding up my book. That’ll take you right to it!

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    2. I heard about podcasts but never listened to one. Like Joan, I had no patucular interest and no idea how.
      I'll do as you say Hank and try this one. Thank you for introducing us to Emily and Chris.

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    3. Particular and not patucular, sorry

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    4. Joan, podcasts are a lovely way to add another form of entertainment to your life. And goodness knows we could all use a little more entertainment these days! As Hank suggests, you can listen to the podcast from your computer at www.bookcougars.com or from your tablet or cellphone via the podcast app that allows you to download each individual episode. You can subscribe to the podcast so that you are updated each time there is a new episode.
      Our podcast releases a new episode every other Tuesday. Hank's episode is #115 - https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2020/episode115.

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  2. I enjoyed hearing the story behind the podcast. I must admit, I haven't ventured too far into the world of podcasts. I am behind on season 2 of Murder Book. Woefully behind. The only one I listen to regularly is All Things Cozy.

    I will have to give yours a try.

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    1. Yes both great! But the cool thing is that the broadcasts are always available!

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    2. Mark, give Hank's interview a listen. You won't regret it!
      https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2020/episode115

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  3. I loved reading about how this podcast came into existence. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts, all science fiction TV (The Signal, Firefly Talk, The Scapecast, The Babylon Podcast) or Celtic music (Pub Songs Podcast, The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast) related.

    These days I really only listen to the Tuning Into Sci-Fi TV podcast which has been running seemingly forever.

    When I first started listening to podcasts, I imagined that it might be something I might like to do. But I don't have the time to learn the technical side of things and I'm really not passionate enough about any one subject to be able to do a regularly scheduled episode each week or two. Which is kind of funny considering I have the Cassette Chronicles series I write for one website which was almost weekly for all of last year.

    I'm all for podcasts, any promotion for something the hosts love is never a bad thing.

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    1. I've listened to the first few episodes of The Babylon Podcast as well. I've got a very long ways to go with that one.

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    2. Jay, I have also been listening to some sci-fi podcasts for the first time. mainly related to Star Trek. Wow, 2020 had over 30 hours of new Star Trek with Picard, Lower Decks and Discovery Season 3, so it was interesting to listen to some enthusiastic (and not-so enthusiastic) dissections of the new episodes.

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    3. Jay and Mark, I adored Babylon 5, absolutely was addicted to it when it was on tv. Is that what the Babylon podcast is about? Also, love, love love Star Trek, some of the offshoots better than others. I especially love TNG.
      So, what are these podcasts? Discussions of characters and plots?

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    4. Mark, I didn't discover The Babylon Podcast until late in its run. I should do a re-listen to the whole show but who has the time these days?

      Grace, sadly I've never listened to any Star Trek specific podcasts. I've never really felt the need to do that. I'm really glad that Star Trek Picard did so well. I had to wait until DVD to see it but it was really good overall. I wasn't crazy about how the first season ended but can't please everyone I guess. I haven't seen Lower Decks or any of Discovery.

      Hank, the Tuning Into Sci-Fi TV podcast is really good. Each week they give a brief thought about the week's (or a couple weeks) of episodes from the various genre shows that have aired, talk about various news items and then they talk about a few episodes in-depth. They have a Tuner Minute segment which features one of the crew talking about a specific topic before the three of them debate it and invite listener feedback. I've been featured on a number of recent episodes weighing in on some of the topics they bring up. If you are into genre TV, it's a really good clearinghouse for talking about a number of shows as opposed to a single one.

      Judy, The Babylon Podcast is all about Babylon 5. And while there are varied ideas of what podcasts will talk about, discussions of episodes and such usually makes up a good portion of each episode.

      But then you have other features like news about show related events, interviews with people involved in the creation of the show and lots of other stuff.

      On the award-winning podcast The Signal (for Firefly and the movie Serenity), they had not only the interviews, news segments and discussions of the plots of each episode and The Big Damn Movie but music segments, speculative segments, discussions on technical aspects of how things work in the 'Verse, original content based off the show like audio dramas, segments on gaming, how to speak Chinese, recipes for the food featured in the show and so much more. It's a fully immersive experience to be sure. It ran for 10 years and each year had a theme to it with a new intro based on the them each year. I've been working on doing a re-listen to the show and I am continually surprised by just how much material there is to enjoy with that one. I was even featured three times with feedback I sent in. Once for a regular feature they had called "What's Your Serenity?" and twice for the regular listener feedback segments.

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    5. Wow, so many great suggestions!
      Can't wait to give some of these a listen.
      Thank you!

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    6. Jay, I was not thrilled about the ending of Picard either, nor what happened to Hugh mid-season but that's ok. Lower Decks was a pleasant surprise. I was not expecting much and it's obvious Mike McMahon (the creator/EP) is a huge TNG fan. Also the writers paid a lot of fan service including plenty of Easter eggs from all the previous TV series and films (Prime and Kelvin). I basically listened to the podcasts and summaries to catch all those that I missed. Lower Decks is also the only new Star Trek show that you could randomly watch 1 episode since it is not a serialized arc that carries through the whole season. As for Discovery Season 3, I have a lot of mixed feelings about how this season. In some ways, they seem to have found their footing in season 3 but still have not odd clunker episodes within their new story ARC. It won't stop me from watching Discovery Season 4 next year, esp since they will probably leave things on a season ending cliffhanger this week.

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  4. This is all so fascinating. I love reading how your podcast came about, Emily and Chris. Taking your passion and sharing it this way while working with your friend sounds like so much fun. Of course, I know it’s a lot of work, too, but for book lovers there’s nothing better than spending time on books. I will have to check out Book Cougars, a name hat is so cool.

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    1. Yes it is so much fun! I used to think about a Reds podcast—but the Cougars are proof it’s SO MUCH work—not just the show itself, but all the production and planning! Whoa.

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    2. But the Reds might team up with the Cougars for an occasional podcast event, no? Cougar Red would be a lovely title.

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    4. Kathy, it takes a lot of time to get an episode completed, but we love talking about books so much that it doesn't really feel like work!

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    5. Gigi, Cougar Red or Red Cougar. ;)

      PS: We have already inducted Hank as an honorary Book Cougar.

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  5. Fascinating story. I have a passion for books, bookstores, and authors and have driven hours to see and hear authors back in the day. I love the virtual events we have today. I look forward to checking out your podcast!

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    1. Oh wonderful! Yes definitely check it out! You’d adore it . ( And First Chapter Fun and The Back Room, too! Do you know of those?)

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    2. Nice to meet a fellow Biblio Adventurer! We miss going to events in person, but have been enjoying the multitude of online offerings including Hank's "The Back Room" events.

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  6. Love hearing how things get started and the success of it all.

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    1. Oh you would really love it! I know you and Kristopher do show on Facebook —that shows you how much work it is! Xxxx

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  7. Bravo, Emily and Chris! I love that you followed this dream and made it happen. And around the edges of day jobs - will you share what you each do for work?

    I also love Northshire and have signed there a couple of times when I was on a writing retreat in Chester.

    I've been interviewed on a couple of podcasts, but mostly I don't listen to them. I don't have long car rides any more (barely even short ones) and when I walk I like to listen to the birds and the characters in my head. My son and his wife, in their early thirties, listen to quite a few.

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    1. Such a fantastic book store! I adored my time there—and oooh, a great restaurant, too. And I bought way too many things. I can’t remember how I got there though... hmmmm.

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    2. Hi Edith - Thank you!
      Chris helps to manage her wife Laura's business as a life coach (laurathoma.com).
      I am a business owner with a focus on the philanthropic sector - most of my work is with foundations on the grantmaking side of things - and I also help entrepreneurs/small business owners.
      Being self-employed offers a level of flexibility that does help keep the Book Cougars going. We work a lot of weekends and odd hours!

      And, yay to Northshire. One of our all-time favorite stores.

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  8. Congratulations Emily and Chris on turning your passion and fo!lowing your dreams on creating the Book Cougars podcast! Thanks for sharing your journey and all the steps needed to make it happen.

    I only started listening to some new mystery fiction podcasts last year during the pandemic shutdowns:

    THE COZY CORNER by Alexia Gordon (she also always writes the Gethesemane Brown mysteries)
    https://anchor.fm/alexia-gordon

    CRIME WRITERS OF COLOR by the Crime Writers of Color group led by Kellye Garrett, Gigi Pandian and Walter Mosley
    https://www.crimewritersofcolor.com/podcast



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    1. Two great podcasts! And there’s a hilarious one called True Crime Obsessed.

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    2. HANK: Thanks, I will check this one out.

      And I will say that podcasts (and audiobooks) were a bright light when I was most sick with COVID last spring and summer. Extreme fatigue and headaches meant that I could not read but I could LISTEN to a podcast episode or audiobook while doing chores at home. I could not do such multitasking and watch TV or a movie, so I pretty much gave up on those as ways to occupy my time.

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    3. It is so sad to hear how you came to podcasts—poor thing! Xxx But glad you had them....

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    4. Another non-mystery fiction podcast I found is called THE WELL.
      As mentioned under Jay's post, I listened to several STAR TREK podcasts and this one is hosted by new Star Trek actor Anson Mount and his best friend.

      BUT the podcast are not about Star Trek (well except for a few episodes) but rather what inspires people to do creative things. It is a lot of fun listening for a nerd (like me).
      https://thewellpod.com/

      https://thewellpod.com/

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    5. Grace, thanks for the podcast suggestions. So sorry to hear about your experience with COVID and hope you are feeling better.

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    6. EMILY, I listened to your podcast with Hank and the holiday gift suggestions were great. You and Chris have a nice rapport/chemistry together, and your passion for books shines through. I will definitely listen to other episodes of the Book Cougars (great name, BTW)!

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  9. Welcome Emily and Chris! Love hearing about your journey. We are all equally book mad on Jungle Red. I would love to hear about how you choose your subjects? (And when this pandemic is over, can we have coffee? I'm in Madison half the year!)

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    1. Oh Roberta, you are such a perfect guest for them! Yes yes yes you should get together! You would all be instant pals!

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    2. Lucy/Roberta - Your books have been mentioned on a couple of our episodes.

      Episode 57 we went on a joint jaunt to RJ Julia's to hear you, Hallie, and Rhys:
      https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2018/episode-57
      We also put a couple of video clips of the event on our Book Tube channel:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vxg-71AKeA
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKJZdMfkZmk

      In addition, Our Mystery Man (John Valeri) gave you a shout out on Episode 60:
      https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2018/episode-60

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  10. I feel right at home in Luddite-ville, and I rarely to never listen to podcasts. I know I'm missing something, just not sure what. To be fair, I don't listen to audio books either unless I'm driving across the country -- not happening at present.

    Congratulations on the the development of your friendship and your project. I promise to go have a listen later. Ad thank all of you who have posted links to your favorites. I'll check those out too.

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    1. Do! Just click on the link in my name that’s by the photo of Emily and Chris holding my books and it will take you right there! And all the blue links will take you to the main page. Hope you love!

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    2. The good news is you have hours of entertainment ahead of you! Enjoy.

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  11. Welcome, Emily and Chris! Your story is inspiring and fun.

    I have not taken up following any podcasts, largely because it seems like it is an activity that would consume the time I now spend with audiobooks. But I have long suspected both my son and my husband would enjoy them very much if they ever got started on them. My question is, how does one find what's out there in the world of podcasts? Several people have mentioned bookish podcast titles here, but if I wanted to find other topics to point them to, where would I look to find recommendations? If anyone can point me to good sources of podcast reviews or recommendations, I would be grateful.

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    1. SUSAN: There are several lists that are regularly updated, and you can search for podcasts by category:
      https://toppodcast.com/top-podcasts/
      https://www.podcastinsights.com/top-us-podcasts/

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    2. Thank you, Grace! I knew someone on the Reds site would know a good source. As Hank said, this is perfect.

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    3. Susan: I learn about podcasts from Podcast Playlist on CBC radio; the hosts and guests feature their favourite or new podcasts out there. So many to choose from! https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastplaylist

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    4. Susan - You can also utilize the search feature within the podcast app and search by keyword. Similar to searching for a book in the library catalog. For example, if you want to listen to a podcast about cozy mysteries you can do a search with those keywords.

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  12. I love your story! What you're doing is a real gift to authors, plus it sounds like fun and you guys have great chemistry. I'll be tuning in, that's for sure! And isn't Guilford home to a terrific peach farm, and an art center, and our own Lucy Burdette lives within shouting distance (half the year)...

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    1. When it’s normal again , sigh, we should ALL meet for lunch. Oh, I am swooning with the thought!

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    2. I have not listened to podcasts yet but it’s been on my to-do list. I plan to listen to the one with Hank.

      And I don’t live far from Guilford, so...

      DebRo

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    3. Hallie - Yes to all of the above. We love Guilford for all of those reasons.
      PS: You were mentioned on Episode 57. We went on a joint jaunt to RJ Julia's to hear you, Lucy, and Rhys:
      https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2018/episode-57
      We also put a couple of video clips of the event on our Book Tube channel:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vxg-71AKeA
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKJZdMfkZmk

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  13. One of my daughters listens to true crime podcasts. She did something to my phone so I could listen while cranking out the miles on my rowing machine. I'll try to connect with your podcast.

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    1. Oh that’s a perfect podcast time! And you know how impressed I am by your rowing:-) xx

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    2. Margaret - We hope you do! Ditto Hank's sentiments about the rowing, too!

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  14. Hi from West Hartford, Chris and Emily. Guilford is just a hop, skip and jump from here. Your podcast sounds like loads of fun for you and your guests. I think using Cougars in the name is inspired! I will definitely tune in. When cooking and baking, I usually listen to audiobooks but I could mix it up a bit and listen to podcasts, too. I love First Chapter Fun and also adore The Back Room where ordinary people get to meet extraordinary authors.

    During this year, I have gone to several "meet the author events" that have been held by bookstores, like the Poisoned Pen. These are terrific opportunities to hear about where authors' ideas come from and also how their books and characters develop. I read more last year than ever before and think that I'll probably continue apace this year, as well.

    Your friendship and the development of your podcast is a great story. Thanks for sharing it here.

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    1. Oh fabulous! Thank you! We have so much fun..
      and yes, PP is amazing!

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    2. And oh breaking news! The Reds will be at PP for Valentines Day! Watch this space for updates! Xxx

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    3. I just checked, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday so I don't have to work around work - Hooray!

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    4. Judy - I talk about cooking and baking on the podcast! We hope you tune in.
      One of the *only* outcomes of COVID that has been a positive is the pivot that indie bookstores have made to offering online events. It is amazing to be able to attend author events at bookstores across the country. BUT, we are really missing going to events in person and cannot wait until that is a possibility again!

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  15. My comment disappeared. I hate that so much - I don't know what I did or why it happened. But I am totally fascinated how you two did such a wonderful thing. The only podcasts I have listened to were all about Grantchester. The notifications came in an email from my PBS station so I didn't have to go searching. But I will follow your instructions and see if I can't figure out how to listen. I am sure they will be just my kind of thing!

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    1. WHY does that happen? So weird—and thank you for being persistent!
      Just click on any of the links in the blog and they will take you there!

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    2. Please do give it a listen!
      Here's the link to Hank's epsiode:
      https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1/2020/episode115

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  16. Chris and Emily, your podcast project is a perfect collaboration for good friends. I've been listening this morning, and your voices are very appealing.

    My middle daughter is the podcast queen, which she listens to on her long runs. She has steered me to several, including some with science topics, but my favorite is This American Life, for the sheer variety of subjects covered.

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    1. Karen: This American Life is a classic. I love listening to it.

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    2. Oh I always forget about that—I will have to find it, too!

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    3. Karen - Thanks for listening!
      This American Life is a classic.
      And yay to your daughter. My kids give me great entertainment suggestions.

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  17. What a terrific story, Emily and Chris. I'll be checking out your podcast via my phone later today, for sure. I'm a huge fan of anything radio and love having a new (to me) podcast recommended. Creating my own podcast is on my personal bucket list, and you've inspired me to believe I could actually do it...

    One of my favourites this past summer was Dolly Parton's America (https://www.npr.org/podcasts/765024913/dolly-parton-s-america) via NPR. I even downloaded the episodes to my phone and have listened to them several times over. It's a fascinating deep dive into all things Dolly Parton, including a university class on her and her influence.

    For those of you new to podcasts, I listen to them on my phone, often with earbuds in while doing chores. Unlike live radio, I get to choose exactly what I want to listen to when I'm ready for some 'ear entertainment' and I can always go back and play it again if I've missed something along the way. So great.

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    1. I should add that I use the CBC Radio's 'Listen' app to catch a huge variety of shows from Canada's public broadcaster. I'm presuming NPR must have an app, also. It's the best of both worlds -- live radio and segment-specific listening when I want it. It's really fab.

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    2. Yes, good point! It’s like radio only not like radio :-)

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    3. Amanda - The Book Cougars are HUGE Dolly Parton fans. She has gotten several mentions on the podcast over the years. Check out Episodes 48, 50, and 52 for Dolly book talk.

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  18. What a fantastic tale of travel and friendship! I have not yet become a podcast devotee. This post may change that.

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  19. What a wonderful story of friendship! And it sounds like a great podcast. I'm off to check it out.

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  20. Love your name! When I first heard the term "cougars" I thought it was referring to the local university's team and their fans. Well, I got made fun of over that! I've never listened to podcasts. I've heard of many interesting sounding ones but have no idea how to tune into them. Plus my ADD discourages my just sitting and listening. Hence no audio books either unless we're on a road trip. You ladies sound like you're on a fun trip and I salute you for your love of books!

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    1. Click on a link in the blog to hear it on your phone or computer! So easy! and that is so funny about the cougar name :-)

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    2. My favorite thing to do is listen while I walk, cook, and clean!
      I am not very good at sitting still either.

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  21. I was slow to podcasts, but now I follow a few:

    Dana Kaye's "Your Breakout Book" for marketing
    A spiritual reflection from a Franciscan friar at my alma mater, "Clouds & Sun"
    Unlikable Female Characters
    A Cozy Corner - Alexia Gordon
    Late-Bloomer Living - stories from people in middle-age or beyond who've taken up "the thing they've always wanted to do"
    Writer's Detective Bureau - tips from a cop for writers

    I'm woefully behind on most of them. I'll have to look up The Book Cougars!

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    1. What a great list. Particularly intrigues by Late-Bloomer Living.
      Thank you!

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  22. What was that term Ann used? Luddite-ville - I think that's a fair description of me today. I don't think I've listen to one. Are First Chapter Fun and The Back Room similar? Like radio but not radio? I'll need to check out the link. I'm the old person in the office, many of my much younger colleagues have ear buds in place all day long. I'm uncomfortable putting them in for meetings so I don't disturb others. Yup, Luddite-ville.

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    1. First Chapter Fun is on Facebook--go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/firstchapterfun
      And The Back Room is on Zoom :-) got to the website bskp.org to check it out!

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    2. And FCF and TBR are more like...TV but not TV!

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    3. Hi Deana - If you are on this website I suspect you aren't a Luddite! You can listen to podcasts directly from your computer, tablet, or phone. Whatever device you used to access this website. The Book Cougars podcast episodes are available here: https://www.bookcougars.com/blog-1

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  23. If I was to listen to a book related podcast, it would have to be one that was focused on mysteries and thrillers since that is where I focus most of my reading.

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  24. I love the things middle-aged women get up to when they are free of their children and become invisible to the male eye. We are let off our chains and have the freedom to create in ways we never dreamed of before! Congratulations to you two for finding each other and nurturing your passion for books into a positive thing for book lovers!

    I listen to a few podcasts--mostly rebroadcasts of NPR interviews and an occasional opinion podcast. It's a good way to engage my brain when I'm doing something that only requires my eyes and my hands. I'll have to check The Book Cougars out!

    And now I have all kinds of geeky questions like, what kind of mic do you use, and do you record from a closet? I do voice over work for the radio broadcasts of archival Dallas Winds concerts, and have had to learn the rudiments of Garage Band this past year. I'm still working on "my sound." One audio engineer I know suggested I set up my mic and computer in a closet, so the fabric surfaces give me a softer, warmer sound. It's a learning curve, for sure. I salute you both for your regular podcasting schedule!

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    1. Thanks for checking out our podcast, Gigi! Isn’t middle age the best? Though we have vastly different paths coming to it, it’s a great time to celebrate self and learn new things!

      I love geeky tech talk (although I still consider myself very much a beginner). Improving our sounds quality has been an ongoing learning experience. Shortly after we first started, we used a single Blue Snowball mic and eventually purchased a baffle to help with sound quality (and we put a fluffy towel on the table where we sat). Thanks to our amazing Patreon supporters, we eventually were able to upgrade to Shure SM58 mics and a Zoom H6 recorder, which produce excellent sound quality. There’s also no need for a baffle with the Shure SM58s.

      These days we are back to recording with Blue Snowball mics. Since we’re recording from our separate homes, we each have a Snowball connected to our laptop and record via video. It certainly isn’t studio quality sound, but it is decent podcast quality.

      There’s only been one time when I had to record in the closet and that was due to gale winds rattling the house. Normally, we don’t mind some “life noises” here and there. However, my wife is in theater and has occasionally recorded snippets in the closet when it's a sound file that is going to be combined with a studio quality recording. In your line of work, recording in a closet might be the best option. I’ve also heard of people recording under blankets if they don’t have a large enough closet. Ultimately, I guess it boils down to the needs of the end product.

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  25. I love podcasts, and had no idea Book Cougars existed! The last podcast I listened to was Tides of History by Patrick Wyman, and I listened to it this morning (after Zoom Church) while I was giving my kitchen a much-needed cleaning. I can highly recommend it for history lovers.

    And I have to say, driving three hours through New England, hearing a wonderful author talk about another wonderful author, buying books and going home while discussing reads sounds like the perfect day to me!

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    1. Julia - We do hope you give the Book Cougars a try.
      Listening to podcasts while cleaning is the ONLY way for me to clean now.
      It somehow makes it a fun activity. I also listen while cooking and walking.

      PS: It was a perfect day!

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  26. Hi, Emily and Chris! What a fun post today! I love your story, and your name. I have listened to a few podcasts. Milk Street Radio has fascinating programs on food every Friday (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/christopher-kimballs-milk-street-radio/) for the foodies among us. I haven't listened to any mystery specific podcasts however, so am going to check yours out right now!

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    1. DEBS: Thanks for the link to the Milk Street Radio food podcast. Funny enough, I have been cooking several recipes from Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, and I see he is interviewed on the latest episode (January 1). And I had wondered where Christopher Kimball had gone to after abruptly leaving America's Test Kitchen a few years ago!

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    2. Deborah - Thank you!
      We talk about all manner of books, not just mystery, and I LOVE to talk about food in general, baking, and cookbooks on the podcast.

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    3. Emily, Milk Street is also a magazine. It's very focused on world cuisines.

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    4. Deborah, I love Milk Street, too!

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  27. This is amazing! I am so impressed with you two, and the name Book Cougars is hilarious! I used to live in New Haven and Branford, thus the setting for one of my series. Do you see yourselves doing even more with the podcast when you retire?

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    1. I'm not sure that we are the types that will ever "retire." We have so much fun with all aspects of our lives and are devoted to being lifelong learners. We do, however, fantasize about making the podcast a bigger part of our daily life, as we both love it so much. And we definitely like the idea of reading for a living!

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  28. It's wonderful to meet new book lovers and bond over our mutual passion. I'm definitely putting the Book Cougars on my listening list.

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