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July 8, 2020 @ 4:46 am

Ep. 53 Building The Table For Diverse Authors with Julia Royston 7-8-20

When they think about the publishing industry, many readers can immediately call to mind the big outfits: HarperCollins, Random House, and MacMillan. But there are many small publishing companies scattered all across the country, and even locally.

Our guest today, Julia Royston, is a former school librarian who began her first publishing company as a way to publish her own books in the exact way she wanted them. She jokes that she has “control issues”. But those issues led her to become an entrepreneur who now owns and operates two publishing companies that have been around for over 12 years, in an age when most businesses are lucky to make it past the 3-5 year mark. BK Royston Publishing and Royal Media and Publishing, located in Southern Indiana, are her two full service imprints that primarily publish black authors; one focusing on children’s, inspirational, and religious books and the other publishing more mainstream fiction such as mysteries, urban fiction, and romance.

In this week’s episode, she talks to us about why it’s so important to have more diverse books in libraries and schools, what the biggest challenge was to starting her publishing company, and how she looks for creative ways such as virtual book fairs to try to promote her authors in the COVID era.

Books and Links Discussed in this episode:

1- Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
2- Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
3- A Bag of Marbles by Joseph Joffo
4- Marianne the Librarian by Julia Royston
5- The Book of David: My East Harlem Love Story by Betty Winston Baye'
6- Terrance the Terrific by Julia Royston
7- Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
8- Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers by Russell Brunson
9- Grace Over Grind: How Grace Will Take Your Business Where Grinding Can't by Shae Bynes
10- Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

Julia Royston's podcast on BuzzSprout:
Live Your Best Life

YouTube Channel:
BK RoystonPublishing

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July 1, 2020 @ 6:04 am

Ep. 52 Jane Is For Everyone with Amanda Beverly

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
These words, from Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are, perhap, some of the reasons why many readers swoon over his character and develop a love for Austen and her works. Other readers, though, like our guest this week, Amanda Beverly, see their families or people they know in the quirky individuals who make up Austen’s communities.

Whatever your reason for liking Austen’s world, there is a way you can immerse yourself in it, which is through The Jane Austen Festival, an annual event that, due to COVID, is virtual this year. Running from July10-12, the festival includes a variety of workshops, author talks, and Q&A that helps attendees get a taste of what the Regency Period and Austen are like.

In our episode this week, Amanda talks about how she became involved with the Jane Austen Society of North America--Greater Louisville Region and what their meetings are like, how it seems the things she can learn about Jane Austen’s books and her time period are endless, and why newbies shouldn’t feel intimidated, and why the Louisville chapter of the society is known as the Fashion region.

Book Discussed in This Episode

Jane Austen books
1- Pride and Prejudice
2- Sense and Sensibility
3- Emma
4- Persuasion
5- Northanger Abbey

Other books discussed
1- Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
2- The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
3- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
4- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
5- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
6- Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters
7- Among the Janeites : A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe
8- Unmarriageable by Sonia Kamal
9- This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope by Shayla Dawson
10- Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson
11- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
12- Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs by Jennifer Finney Boylan
13- This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Movies mentioned:
1- Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth - 1995 miniseries
2- Bride and Prejudice (Bollywood) - 2004
3- Clueless - 1995

Podcasts mentioned:
1- Bonnets at Dawn


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.



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June 24, 2020 @ 6:16 am

Ep. 51 Writers of the Apocalypse with Giselle Spurgeon 6-24-20

Are you a reader that shies away from dystopian or pandemic themed books because they just seem too scary in our current reality or do you “lean in” to the darkness and find it “fun”?

Our guest this week, Giselle Spurgeon, is a reader who has long had a fascination with this sub-genre of work.

COVID-19 has affected book-loving people differently. Some of them couldn't focus on reading their books because they felt like they needed to constantly stay informed by watching the news but others dove headfirst into books and reading as an escape. There are even some readers, like Giselle, who have spent a lot of their reading life preparing for this moment of catastrophe; readers who enjoy pandemic, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, which includes any horrible event that turns a fictional world on its head. Whether it is a virus that runs out of control, a nuclear disaster, or an asteroid that smashes into Earth, this genre is dystopian in nature but also in many ways, hopeful.

Giselle talks to us about how she had to make herself stop reading as a kid so she could get her homework completed, why sometimes immersing yourself in a book while important things are happening in the world can seem like a dismissive act, and how dystopian fiction is just another way for her to have control over the chaotic world around her.

Books Discussed In This Episode:

Izzy Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voight
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
The End of October by Lawrence Wright
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
On The Beach by Nevil Shute
One Second After by William R. Forstchen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Life As We Know It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Ashfall by Mike Mulin
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
The Stand by Stephen King
Wool by Hugh Howey
Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Z for Zachariah by Robert O' Brien
Children of Men by P. D. James
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
A Song For a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
The Maze Runner by Richard Dashner
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
The Fountain of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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June 17, 2020 @ 6:07 am

Ep. 50 Between The Holler and the Hills with Bobi Conn

This week we branch out away from Louisville and venture out into the state to the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, where our guest this week resides. Bobi Conn is a technical writer by day and author whose first book, In The Shadow of the Valley, was published this past May by Little A Publishing, the literary imprint for Amazon. Her memoir of growing up in a holler on the outskirts of Morehead KY conveys a tension between the beauty of the landscape in contrast to her family’s poverty, her father’s drug addiction and his abuse of Bobi, her brother, and their mother. The memoir is Bobi’s attempt to have some control over her own life’s story. In fact, she never strived to be a memoirist. Her true literary love lies more with poetry and short stories. But, something powerful inside her needed to be released and her journey to write it as her creative writing thesis in graduate school to 12 years later publishing it and also narrating the audiobook version of that story is what we will talk about today.

Bobi discusses why she thinks magical realism is a great way to tell stories set in Appalachia, why the term “holler” has such significance among the people who live in this region, why her Granny’s house is a metaphor for her life’s journey, and what stories she finds in the classic country music she listened to on the radio as a kid.

Books Discussed in this Episode:

In The Shadow of the Valley by Bobi Conn
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

Hill Women by Cassie Chambers

The Odyssey by Homer
The Tradition by Jericho Brown
The Best We Could Do by Thi But
Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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June 10, 2020 @ 6:05 am

Ep. 49 Reading For Summer Sun and Solidarity With Sam Miller 6-10-20

It’s officially summer. The kids are done with school and it feels like time to relax a little after a stressful spring. Wouldn’t we all like to be sitting on a beach, by a lake, or on a shaded porch reading the perfect book? But not everyone’s plans are what they once were with the uncertainty that has plagued us in 2020. Maybe our biggest escape is through the pages of a book. Our guest this week is someone we trust to help us with finding that book. We are excited to welcome back friend of the show and bookseller Sam Miller, from Carmichael’s books here in Louisville KY.

When we planned this week’s episode weeks ago, we wanted to talk about summer reading, and in our minds we envisioned beach reads and books that people read for pure enjoyment. But with the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the protests that are occurring in response to those, we realized that summer reading for many people might look different than it usually does.

The Perks of Being a Book Lover has always been about books, reading, and sharing that reading with others. Reading, for us, has been about connection with others. And perhaps the most important part of the experience has been sitting back and being quiet. Listening to what others have to tell us. What their experiences can teach us and help us understand.

Early in our show, we were able to see the film Toni Morrison: The Pieces I am at the Speed Cinema and listen to the discussion about Morrison’s role in literature. Throughout her career as both an editor and author, Morrison said a lot of important things about what reading can do. In an interview in 2003, Morrison said: “Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.”

Carrie and I at Perks of Being a Book Lover believe that black authors matter. Black voices matter. Black lives matter.

Books Discussed in this Episode:
1- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
2- Beach Read by Emily Henry
3- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
4- All Adults Here by Emma Straub
5- Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
6- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
7- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
8- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
9- Untamed by Glennan Doyle
10- The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson
11- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
12- Gifts From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
13- The Dry by Jane Harper
14- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
15- This is Chance: The Shaking of An All American City, A Voice that Held it Together by Jonathan Mooallem
16- The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McCissack
17- Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan
18- Well-Read Black Girl : Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves Compiled by Glory Edim
19- Harlem by Langston Hughes
20- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
21- Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
22- How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
23- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Children's lit version)
24- The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Richard Rothstein
25- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
26- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
27- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
28- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
29- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
30- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
31- The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963, By Christopher Paul Curtis
32- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
33- Any book by James Baldwin


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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June 3, 2020 @ 5:47 am

Ep 48 The History Scene, Stephen King, and the Big Screen with James Markert 6-3-20

Our guest this week, James Markert, is a Renaissance man. He was a tennis pro for over 20 years, a bookstore owner, a screenwriter, and the author of 5 historical fiction novels. His first novel, A White Wind Blew, focused on some local Louisville history with the story of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, one of the largest facilities in the country for tuberculosis patients during the TB epidemic in the early 1900s. Now Waverly Hills is known internationally for being the home of the haunted but James’ imagines what life was like for doctors and patients inside its walls. With the success of that book, James went on to write novels about Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, a chapel in the woods of South Carolina during World War 1, a bourbon distillery after the end of Prohibition, and a hotel for Alzheimer’s patients in California after World War 2. His books are known for combining history with magical realism.

Markert has also written multiple screenplays with one being made into a movie and has recently given writing TV shows a try.

James talks to us about the downfalls of doing too much research before writing historical fiction, strange things that happen on the movie set of indie films when you are the screenwriter, what books his high school English teacher introduced him to which turned him into a voracious reader, and what genre he originally wanted to write.

Books Discussed In This Episode:

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert
What Blooms From Dust by James Markert
All Things Bright and Strange by James Markert
Angel's Share by James Markert
A White Wind Blew by James Markert
The Fireman by Joe Hill
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Locke and Key by Joe Hill
The Body by Stephen King
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
The Cartel by Don Winslow
The Outsider by Stephen King
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
If It Bleeds by Stephen King
Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard (short story)

TV Shows mentioned
Justified (Hulu)
Locke and Key (Netflix)


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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May 27, 2020 @ 6:20 am

Ep. 47 An Anniversary, A Bored Teen Host, and Some Books 5-27-20

When Carrie and I began recording The Perks of Being a Book Lover, we called it our half-assed idea. One year later, we are still half-assing our way through it, although we think we have learned some things and gotten more adept at using microphones, troubleshooting the recording technology, and asking interesting questions of our guests. It was a year filled with laughter, frustrations, and climbing learning curves.

We thought it would be fun for our 1-year anniversary recording and 47th episode to put ourselves in the hot-seat, and fortunately, Carrie’s daughter, Norah, agreed to ask us the questions. Like a lot of 16-year-olds, she was excited to do it the night before but seemed to be completely bored and uninterested during the actual interview. She yawned and Pinterest-ed her way through our answers, which may be what a lot of our listeners do as well as they listen to it.

In this episode, we discuss how we started the show, some of our favorite experiences with guests, and what dictatorial book choices we’d make if we had the power.

Books We Discuss In This Episode:
1- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
2- Sula by Toni Morrison
3- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
4- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
5- The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
6- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
7- March by Geraldine Brooks
8- A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
9- Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anne Quindlen
10- The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
11- The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
12- The Glass Lake by Maeve BInchy
13- The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
14- Me by Elton John
15- Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
16- Daisy and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
17- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Anne Shaffer
18- The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
19- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
20- American Born Chinese by Gene Yuen Yang
21- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
22- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
23- he Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
24- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
25- White Teeth by Zadie Smith
26- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
27- 1984 by George Orwell
28- It by Stephen King
29- Drood by Dan Simmons
30- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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May 20, 2020 @ 6:04 am

Ep. 46 The Greenhouse that Sows Literary Seeds with Hannah Rose Neuhauser 5-20-20

When I think of a greenhouse, I envision small seeds sprouting roots and then green shoots slowly rising toward the sunlight. The progress to grow may be slow at first but soon becomes rapidly transformational as the plant drinks in the nourishment of the heat, moisture, and sunlight in the greenhouse cocoon.

Our guest this week, Hannah Rose Neuhauser, is the co-founder and program director of The Young Author’s Greenhouse, an organization inspired by the 826 Valencia writing organization for children and teens launched by author Dave Eggers. The Louisville greenhouse, located in the Portland neighborhood, nurtures student writers in an imaginative writing space which includes a storefront called The Opposite Shop where you can find jars of sunshine and magic fish scales. But moving from the Shop through the portal into the organization’s writing center, young writers enter a world where they are taken seriously by mentors who question and instill confidence. One of the coolest programs offered by The Young Author’s Greenhouse is an annual song-writing event with Jim James, leader of the rock band My Morning Jacket, and Teddy Abrams, the young hip conductor of the Louisville Orchestra.

Hannah Rose tells us what book she read in college that inspired her to start this nonprofit journey, what skill is more important than writing for volunteers with the Young Author’s Greenhouse, and what perk of the program can entice even reluctant young writers to put their words on paper.

Books mentioned in this episode:

1- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
2- If you Can See the Stars, There is Still Light by The Young Author's Greenhouse
3- Into the Wolf-Dark Shadows by The Young Author's Greenhouse
4- Know My Name by Chanel Miller
5- The Last Wish by Andrezej Sapkowski (Short Stories)
6- Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
7- Bluets by Maggie Nelson
8- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Online Article mentioned:
Flattened by the Curve

TV shows mentioned:
1- Derry Girls on Netflix
2- Sex Education on Netflix
3- Schitt's Creek on Hulu
4- Seinfeld on Hulu


You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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May 13, 2020 @ 6:26 am

Ep. 45 The Quarantine Quest for a Book Club with Robin Weiss 5-13-20

We all had big plans for our quarantine free time, right? Maybe we wanted to Marie Kondo organize the whole house, learn how to make beautiful loaves of bread, or begin training for that marathon you’ve had on your bucket list.

Our guest today, Robin Weiss, had a different kind of quarantine goal. She was determined to revitalize her reading life. This mother of 9 who is also a professor of public health as well as a childbirth expert and doula, fell out of love with reading when she attended grad school. In the intervening years, her knowledge of new titles and authors got stuck in a time warp where she left off in the 1990s. So, she formed an online quarantine bookclub with fellow readers across the country to help get her literary groove back.

Robin talks to us about what past favorite authors she is happy to discover have published new books in recent years, what benefits the group gets from meeting weekly versus monthly, whether her bookclub is experiencing trauma bonding, and what happens when the quarantine is over.

Books discussed in this episode:

1- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
2- It By Stephen King
3- The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
4- On The Beach by Nevil Shute
5- The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
6- The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille
7- The General's Daughter by Nelson DeMille
8- The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver
9- The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (short stories)
10- Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski (short stories)
11- Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski (novel)
12- The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
13- The Braid by Laetitia Colombani

You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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May 6, 2020 @ 6:42 am

Ep. 44 Postcards From The Edge of Reading with Anita Martin

We probably all have memories of picking up a 25 cent postcard at a cheesy souvenir shop on a summer vacation to send to a friend or family member back home. The first postcard was invented by an Englishman in 1840 but now these iconic colorful cards have whole websites, youtube videos, and pinterest boards devoted to them with themes such as the best ways to write a meaningful message in just a few lines, postcards as a writing process, and 8 reasons you should be sending postcards right now.

Our guest today, Anita Martin, puts much time and energy into melding 2 of her favorite things; postcards and books. Her website Postcards and Authors invites bibliophiles of all types, including writers, book clubs, and bookish podcasts to send a postcard that lets readers get a glimpse of who they are.

Anita talks to us about how picking out a postcard can give you insight into a person’s personality, how books are just one facet of her desire to be a lifelong learner, what genre initially gave her the desire to always have a book in her hand, and how one author’s signature on his postcard made it one of her favorites.

Books Discussed in this Episode:
1- Roots by Alex Haley
2- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
3- The Flying Cutterbucks by Kathleen M. Rodgers
4- Akata Witch and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
5- The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antartica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
6- The Last Painting of Sara DeVos by Dominic Smith
7- It's Great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi

You can find us on FB, instagram (@perksofbeingabookloverpod) and on our blog site at

Perks airs on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and every Wednesday at 6 pm, Thursdays at 6 am and 12 pm. We have purchased the rights to the theme music used.

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