Welcome to Infinite TBR, the podcast where we try not to buy more books!
E0: Intro to ITBR – Infinite TBR
TBR, for those not in the know, stands for “to be read.” It’s a fairly common abbreviation that includes all the books you own that you’ve been meaning to get around to. With bookworms/addicts like Smack and Gabi… well, we own a lot of unread books. Not because we don’t read! Smack is very proud of the fact that she reads more than 150 books every year, and Gabi plows through a perfectly reasonable 52+. It’s just that the intake is perpetually higher than the outtake. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So the goal of this podcast is to encourage us to read some of those unread books we’ve got lying around. We want to decrease the size of our TBR piles before we die of natural causes.
We’re going to put out episodes about once per month, discussing the books we’ve recently read that are more emotionally pressing. We have a lot of overlap in the books we buy, so the original goal of this podcast (in December 2019) was to pick out a book that we both owned, read it, and discuss it on the podcast.
Then the pandemic hit, and we got really worried that our favorite local independent bookstore (Mysterious Galaxy) would go under. We bought a lot of books during lockdown, and honestly, getting giant packages of books was pretty awesome.
So since our original recording (we recorded our intro episode three times because it kept getting eaten by the cloud), we’ve shifted our goal away from not buying any books at all. We won’t buy any books specifically to discuss on the podcast, but the world is a different place, and not comfort-buying books is just unreasonable.
Who are we?
Smack is a financial writer by day and a fiction writer by night. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program and she attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UCSD in 2012. She has published a few short stories, the links to which can be found here. With respect to the podcast, this means that Smack approaches her reading from a writerly perspective.
Gabi is a whale acoustician, which means she listens to whale noises all day for her work–basically, she works as a navy contractor to help keep track of whale populations. She’s a scientist, but also a longtime avid reader, and her approach to our podcast discussions reflect that. If there’s any science in her fiction or fantasy, she is On It in a way that leaves Smack in the dust. Gabi also has a much-beloved demon cat.
We met in undergrad in 2008 (more than a decade ago!!) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
What genres do we read?
Mostly speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but also all of the various subgenres that spin out from those. Everything from talking animals to space operas and military science fiction! We also read a fair amount of poetry, romance, and nonfiction, including political, history, and writing books.
Our spoiler policy
We do our best to talk about spoilers, but inevitably there will be moments where we just gotta say what we gotta say. In those cases, we’re going to insert notes into the podcast (“Future Gabi here to let you know that we’re going to discuss spoilers for the next thirty seconds…” etc.). We’ll also include the time stamps in our show notes.
DNF stands for “did not finish.” We’re big believers in not reading books you don’t enjoy (for whatever reason). Gabi tends to give the book to the halfway mark to prove itself–if she’s not enjoying it by then, finishing it is just a waste of time. Life is too short when there are so many books to read!
On the other hand, if Smack makes it to the halfway mark, she’ll probably just push through to the end. She likes to use Gabi’s mother’s method of making it through the first hundred pages, but also she can’t quite ignore the pressure of reading a physical book that she paid money for. (Not so much ebooks, which she tends to get on the cheap.)
Other things we cover
Opinions on physical books vs. ebooks vs. audiobooks, tropes we’re tired of, how many books we read at a time, and our reading habits before and during travel, among other delights.
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa