Episode 17: Hannah Wright | Books, Tropes, and Podcasts (Oh My!)

On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, I get to talk to one of my  good friends and fellow podcaster, Hannah Wright. We met in college. She's the creator of the Inn Between Podcast, as well as a chemist, a podcast listener, and an avid reader. She and her cat, Moth Man, are from Colorado. We had such a fun time talking books and podcasts. 

Find and follow Inn Between Podcast:
Twitter: @inn_between_

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Hannah Wright: scientist & podcaster extraordinaire. 

Hannah and I met in college in our very first class in the honors program. We were assigned to a mentorship group led by Esther Carey. We quickly became friends, beyond what was required by our coursework. Soon after that, we decided to form a "sorority" that we called Lambda Eta Epsilon. (The name is inspired by the closest Greek letters for our initials, L, H, & E). After college, Hannah went to grad school in Montana and Esther lived and worked in Uganda for several years. Now Hannah is in Colorado, I'm in Kansas, and Esther is in Texas. That makes keeping up a bit easier with each other these days! 

Laura, Hannah & Esther after Hannah played a role in a university theater production

Exploring the beautiful surroundings of our college town...this was a surprise birthday party for me! 

Esther made us all matching photo frames before she left for Uganda following graduation. 

During the podcast we talked about tropes, which Hannah defined as repeated patterns in stories! This lead to discussions about Shrek, The Ella Enchanted book versus movie, and the Prince Caspian book versus movie. Laura was currently reading Beach Read and enjoyed how it was self-aware and played with tropes. 

Books Hannah read recently:

  • Pooh and the Philosophers (John Tyerman Williams) - a satirical take on philosophy, assuming that Winnie the Pooh is the greatest philosopher of all time. 
  • It Devours! (Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor) - Slipstream fiction, weird because it is Nightvale. Very enjoyable and surprisingly insightful about science and religion in a way that didn't write off either of them. Thoughtful. And weird. 
  • Carry On (Rainbow Rowell) - a series that Rowell wrote after suggesting they existed in previous books. There are three books and the 3rd isn't out yet! 
  • Best of All Possible Worlds (Karen Lord) - sci-fi romance. Gentle and wholesome romance between two adults that grew slowly into something rock solid and beautiful. Hannah loved it. 
  • Persuasion (Austen) - Hannah really liked this classic. She may read Emma next. Reading classics does take more focus to read, but they're worth it. 
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Kwame Mbalia) and other Rick Riordan Presents books - Tristan Strong has elements of African mythology. Hannah is in the middle of it and is enjoying it so far. She is so happy about the series Rick Riordan Presents because it's publishing many diverse authors and including their native mythologies.
  • Rereading Percy Jackson Series (Rick Riordan) 

Hannah was one of my bridesmaids in the wedding and Esther got to attend! 

We are always very serious. 

Hannah's fiction podcast, Inn Between 

I love Hannah's diverse taste in books. I literally never know what she is going to be reading or writing. She agrees, saying "neither do I!" 

Hannah loves to write and has been doing so since she wrote a few paragraph story on her dad's word processor about a hummingbird and a stamp collection. The thing that she is writing right now is a fiction podcast called Inn Between.  It's about five very different adventurers who come together and learn to be friends and eventually found family. We don't see their actual adventures, just what happens in the Inn afterward. It's very focused on character development. It has sound effects, adventure and humor. She's loving writing this for many reasons, but one of them is because she always wants herself and her characters to grow up into the truest versions of themselves. 

There are many podcasts where people get together and play Dungeons and Dragons. Hannah enjoys listening to them and got some of the idea for her show from that. "I love some of those podcasts, but some of them I'm just like, can we just skip the battles and the dice rolling and get to the part where you confess your love?! This is taking too long and I'm impatient!" 

I was so excited when I found out that her podcast had sound effects and such high production value. Hannah said "The value of telling a story in a new medium is that you get to be immersive."

Childhood listening favorites: 

Books Hannah recommended to Laura:

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Burrows) - an epistolary novel taking place on an island following WWII. The book is interested in how we recover and heal from difficult experiences, the development of relationships of the people on the island. I've seen the movie, but need to read the book! Could be a very cathartic read in these difficult times. 
  • All the Crooked Saints (Maggie Stiefvater) - Magical realism about a miracle-worker and his family. A quiet and odd meditation on the lines between magic and religion, people caring for each other, and how even the helpers need help sometimes. 
  • Witches Abroad (Terry Pratchett) - People are telling stories "wrong" and it is messing with the fabric of reality. So Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat must leave home to address this issue. (Reader advisory: Some of the black characters are represented as sterotypes and not given enough time to be fully fleshed out). Hannah also recommends Wyrd Sisters  which is kind of shakespearean, and Lords and Ladies (about the fay and/or elves) 
Several years ago, Hannah recommended The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner to me. I read and enjoyed them and we will both gladly read them repeatedly. 

We talked about Terry Pratchett's work and how Laura needs to read more of it. According to Hannah, Night Watch his novel that turns into a commentary on police brutality. Laura has read the Tiffany Aching books ( Wee Free MenA Hat Full of SkyWintersmithI Shall Wear MidnightThe Shepherd's Crown) and Unseen Academicals

Books Laura Recommended to Hannah:  

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft - the 2020 Newbery Award winner, a graphic novel about a black boy at a new school and his experience. Great reading for kids and adults 
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord - A cheesy YA romance that also has some interesting points about the role of technology in teen's lives, marketing, and public relations. Two teens end up falling in love as they are running their parents' business Twitter accounts during a "Wendy's Clapback" style Twitter fight. 
  • Podcast and Book recommendation: By the Book podcast and How to Be Fine: What We Learned from Living By The Rules of 50 Self-Help Books by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer. I think Hannah will like this just because the podcast sounds fascinating and I really enjoyed the book. We talked about how it's interesting to read books where people take ideas to their logical conclusion, which reminded Hannah of A Year of Living Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Evans Held
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - thought provoking post-apocalyptic fiction with a traveling symphony performing Shakespeare. The longer it's been since I've read this book, the more I appreciate it. Probably something to do with the fact that our community is currently enduring a pandemic. 
  • I think Hannah would love a few series as well. The Thursday Next series and The Last Dragonslayer series by Jasper Fforde; and the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn come to mind. 

Podcasts Hannah mentioned:

  • Call of the Flame - and epic high fantasy podcast. 
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed - John Green, who you may know from writing The Fault in Our Stars, is taking some aspect of the planet and reviewing it. Touching episodes that make Hannah cry. She especially appreciated the show about the caves with art in France, where he concluded "it's almost as through art is not optional for humanity." 
  • Victoriocity - this podcast recommendation was inspired by me mentioning the Veronica Speedwell series. A team in Oxford solving mysteries in a steampunk Victorian world. Part dystopian, part hopeful and delightful. 
  • Fanwars: The Empire Claps Back  - two Star Wars fans go from hate to love in this internet romcom podcast. 

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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