Episode 16: Leigh Ann Porter and Stories Uncensored

On this week’s dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, I talk books and reading with Leigh Ann Porter. She’s a friend of mine as well as the host of the Speech Uncensored Podcast. She’s a self-professed nerd who loves learning new things. And she’s always ready for a good escapist read or thrilling saga.
Be sure to check out her podcast at https://www.speechuncensored.com/ and her instagram @speechuncensored 
I do use affiliate links in my blog posts, so I may be compensated by Bookshop.org or Amazon if you make purchases through my links. Thanks! 

Leigh Ann has always been obsessed with knowledge, education, and learning. Her first favorite reading experience was when she was getting A Child's First Library of Learning books in the mail. It would come in the mail, and she'd plop down on the couch and read the whole thing in one sitting.

"It was like I could live 10 different lives in the span of an hour, reading a book. I just thought it was the bee's knees!" 
On the professional side of things, Leigh Ann Porter MA, CCC-SLP is a Speech and Language Pathologist at a local hospital in Kansas City and is the host of the Speech Uncensored podcast. On the show she interviews other SLPs and medical professionals and some of her episodes even count as continuing education credits for medical professionals! You can check out her website here, and her Instagram here. She even has a merch shop that sells podcast stickers!!! I love that she does this podcast because it's just one more way she's using her desire to learn and educate to help those around her.

For entertainment, enjoyment and escapism, she loves reading fiction. She also is always on the lookout for relevant, helpful research articles to help her do her job as an SLP and podcast host better. We talk about what mediums we read in. I always have an audiobook, a digital book, and a physical book going simultaneously. Leigh Ann reads almost exclusively on her phone and especially loves using the Libby App to find and read books.

Her favorite genres are YA, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy because they do such a terrific job of merging adventure, action, and mystery in the context of interpersonal relationships. There are always interesting characters and complex worlds you can get lost in. She likes books that get complicated because she gets to see how characters work through their problems. (Or don't!) She appreciates the complexity of characters because they're not all good or all bad, you like them, you hate them, you wonder if you can trust them. She really enjoys living vicariously though characters. Leigh Ann says, "If we were perfect communicators in our lives, it would be so boring! No, we are living interesting lives people!"

Sometimes she will avoid tear-jerker films because "I don't feel like crying today." But thinks it is incredible that people can write things that have such an emotional impact on people.

What Leigh Ann Likes to Read

A few months ago when the pandemic started, Leigh Ann got the opportunity to do a readers advisory list with a local librarian, Katy. Leigh Ann told her several books she was interested in, and Katy recommended more books to read in those themes and genres.  Leigh Ann asked for books like the following:

Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Currently reading The Paradox series by Rachel Bach. The first book is called Fortune's Pawn, and is an action-packed space adventure.
Sagas and long series - books like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Leigh Ann says, "I love a story that doesn't stop. I get mad if an author only writes one book. They create this big, beautiful world and then just write one book and boom, they're done. And I'm like, what? No, keep going! Don't stop!"

 Magical realism - authors like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Books like The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
The Longmire series by Craig Johnson (also a tv series)

Malcom Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast - loves how he educates through storytelling. Living history, changes to history, unexpected aspects of history.

Sarah J. Maas's works - she writes both YA and Adult fiction, such as A Court of Thorns and Roses and House of Earth and Blood
Leigh Bardugo's books - Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows - her character development and rich worlds she creates are fascinating and interesting. Leigh Ann wants to just sit inside her mind and find out how she comes up with her layered, complex ideas.

Books Leigh Ann Recommends

Name of the Wind series by Patrick Rothfuss - beautiful, haunting narrative poetry. This one is long, at about 600 pages and is part of a series. This isn't the first time I've been recommended this book, so I'm definitely going to have to read it this time.

The Goblin Emperor - Laura has read this one already thanks to a recommendation from Katy. We both enjoyed the court intrigue and intricate world the author built. Very well-done sci-fi!
The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan - Leigh Ann mentioned this to her husband Chase, but when explaining the plot out loud it sound really crazy, but while reading it's really engrossing. Warriors who eat gunpowder to give themselves increased powers.
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg one of her favorites as a kid, and also an award winner. (This same author also wrote The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler) I am excited about re-reading this one because I haven't read it since I was little either! I remember enjoying this author.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (also a Disney movie) - Leigh Ann loved how true she was to herself. I still need to read the book, but I watched the Disney movie last weekend and enjoyed it. I've been a fan of Grace VanderWaal since she was on America's Got Talent. 

 While we were talking book recommendations, I mentioned I'm currently reading Code Name Helene in part of the answer to Leigh Ann's question about being a sensitive reader. This one was okay for me but did have some torture scenes that were too much. I would love to be able to watch the show The Good Doctor because I love the premise but will pass out every time they start doing heart surgery! 😵 Leigh Ann says in that case to definitely not to read Outlander.

Books Laura Recommends

The Mirror Visitor series by Christelle Dabos - first book is A Winter's Promise. Originally written in French. Massive world building and lots court intrigue. Ophelia is an outsider and doesn't know who to trust. She can also travel through mirrors! The Goblin Emperor reminded me of this book a blit.
The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson - first book is The Final Empire. I was reminded of this series when Leigh Ann was talking about the Powder Mage books. Sanderson is a prolific contributor to the sci-fi/fantasy genre. One of my friends recommended this series to me (Thanks, Joshua!) and I found the first book very interesting. I think Leigh Ann would really enjoy it because it is a saga with lots of world building and character development.
The Sands of Arawiya series by Hafsah Faisal - first book is We Hunt The Flame. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and cannot wait for the second book to be released in January. We Hunt the Flame is set in a fantasy world inspired by old-world Arabia and the characters speak Arabic.  Zafira hunts in the dark woods to feed her family and village, until one day she sets off on a magic quest to restore magic to the suffering kingdom. 

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima - first book is called The Demon King. I started reading this series because my husband Ryan enjoyed them, and they sound right up Leigh Ann's alley. Fantasy YA with a romantic subplot.

The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas - first book is The Burning Sky I started reading this series thanks to Corrine from church! I try not to get it mixed up with the Seven Realms series in my head because I was reading the two series at the same time. Iolanthe discovers accidentally that she is a powerful elemental mage, and she and the heir to the kingdom must band together to battle the villain and save the day.
Vanessa Michael Munroe series by Taylor Stevens - first book is called The Informationist. I read this one thanks to a recommendation from Katy (our favorite librarian!) This thrilling book centers on Vanessa Michael Munroe, who has been tasked with finding a missing woman. All is not as it appears, and she must figure out who to trust before it is too late. (content warning: one scene especially is pretty violent and gory, so reader beware.)
The Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn - first book is A Curious Beginning.  I discovered this series thanks to the Stay At Home Book Tour that Anne Bogel hosted this spring. Book talk by the author here. Veronica Speewell is a butterfly hunter in Victorian England that keeps finding herself in mysterious situations that need solving. She's a strong independent woman and I love her so much. I was 100% Leigh Ann would love her too.

Until next time, with lots of literary love from my library to yours!


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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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