Episode 36: Alexis DeJoy | To Love and To Loathe

On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, our guest is Alexis DeJoy. Alexis is a comedian, book nerd, and podcaster and I'm delighted to be talking with her today on The Library Laura Podcast. We talk about holiday books and movies, romance tropes, a book that she loves which I happen to loathe, and so much more! 

Find and follow Alexis @dejoyofyourlife and check out Alexis and Heather's podcast The Roasting Booth, (@theroastingbooth on Instagram) where they watch, discuss, and roast rom-coms together. 

Find all the books we talked about on today's episode on my Bookshop.org Shop!

Find and follow me @library.laura on Instagram and Facebook

Are you looking for last-minute holiday gifts? You can always buy your loved one a Bookshop.org Gift Card! If you want to give me credit for the gift card purchase through their affiliate program, first go to my shop by clicking this link or searching Library Laura, then visit https://bookshop.org/gift_cards to make your purchase! Easy peasy :) 

Alexis DeJoy, today's guest on The Library Laura Podcast! She's a comedian, podcaster, and book nerd extraordinaire. 

Alexis just graduated from college this year, and since she's home with no rehearsals or homework, she was pleasantly surprised with the extra reading time this year.

When I asked where her love of reading started, she said she's been reading non-stop since she learned as a kid. She was obsessed with the Junie B. Jones series and read all of them many times as a child 

"I didn't read any cool books," Alexis joked. She explained that hasn't read Harry Potter but has seen the movies and might decide to read them. She did read the first Percy Jackson book and she liked The Mysterious Benedict Society. Alexis loves to read and reread The Hunger Games.

She's been seeking books in the dark academia genre that will give her the same reading experience as The Secret History by Donna Tartt. The characters are such horrible people, but she still wanted them to succeed in their task. She loves the duality and the imagery, and how it makes her feel smart when she reads this because it's written so densely. The progression of terrible things that happen kept her enthralled and made her want to read more. She explained, "It's funny because as a person I'm pretty tame and easily freaked out, but then when I'm reading I'm like, yes, give me all the horrible things!" 

I try not to rag on books too much on this podcast, but I believe I've mentioned that the book I dislike the most is in fact The Secret History (hahaha) and part of it is just how dark the whole plotline is and how unlikable I found all the characters. I just think it's so funny that we are having this conversation and she loves the book that I loathe! 

So, without further ado, some book recommendations I think Alexis might like based on her enjoyment of The Secret History: 

The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo 

Dreaming of the Bones (book 5 in Deborah Crombie's mystery series) has some similar plot elements to The Secret History.  I do recommend reading this series in order due to the overarching character development! 

On the subject of dark academia, I mentioned that Alexis might enjoy Bernadette Banner's YouTube videos. Here's one... (see what I mean?!) 

Alexis is trying to finish her Goodreads goal "because I'm too competitive with myself not to have a goal!" which is 25 books and she's super close to finishing it. 

She just started reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which is over 1000 pages long. It's very good so far and she highly recommends it. But as it is "the longest book in the world"...in the interest of finishing her goal, she might switch to some shorter books to finish out the year strong. 

Alexis told us a little bit more about the podcast she co-hosts, called The Roasting Booth. She and her former college roommate will watch rom-com movies and then discuss / roast / tear them to shreds on each episode of this long-form podcast. 

They are doing several Christmas themed episodes in the month of December. They watched The Spirit of Christmas and The Holiday, and plan on two (?) more as well. 

I mentioned I enjoyed watching The Christmas Chronicle on Netflix, which has a sassy santa with a high-tech sleigh. Of course, everyone loves Elf. Alexis and her family in particular love the Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer version that is claymation, and it seems like they quote it year round.  We also talked about the Home Alone Series! Alexis has seen Home Alone, but as a kid they had a VHS of one of the sequels (she's pretty sure it's #4) that they watched way more than the original. 

That was particularly funny to me, because my sister and I watched the tar out of Cinderella 2 at one point, and we quote it quite a lot. So I relate! 

I asked Alexis whether there were tropes in Christmas movies that she finds particularly easy to roast, or anything super cheesy that she secretly loves. Here's some things she mentioned! 

  • The Grand Gesture
  • The "miracle of Christmas" or "it will take a miracle to...." and then it happens
  • Someone's parent is always dead
  • A girl running and/or a person with a camera 
  • Man takes off his shirt
  • One conversation would have solved this whole problem and the movie would have been 2 minutes long
  • The person they're with in the beginning is never the one they end up with in the end 
I have a love-hate relationship with the romance genre as a general because of the lack of communication...If they would just tell each other what happened, the truth, how they feel, confess their love, etc. the whole thing would have been solved! But then there wouldn't be a story to tell. So I understand why...it just bugs me sometimes! 

I asked Alexis if there are any holiday romance books she's enjoyed reading! I mentioned I'd read a few romance books that I was disappointed in (more on that in Episode 35!) especially One Day in December, which I had hoped would be a feel-good holiday romance, but it was, well, not. So...I am on the hunt for a romance I'm actually going to enjoy rather than cringe my way through ;) 

She particularly likes period romances, especially Jane Austen. She loves the high stakes and the emotional longing. Sense and Sensibility is a good example of this, and Alexis loves it! 

Alexis really liked The Holiday (movie) that they watched for the podcast, and especially that their characters seemed really real, and the protagonists were friends first before they fell in love. I love a good friends first story! (probably because that's how it was with me and my husband!) 

Alexis recommended God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. While it's not set during Christmas, she appreciates the fact that this guy ends up being super generous with his wealth, which people think is crazy. It's an interesting commentary on wealth, generosity, and what defines insanity. Thanks to these themes of giving, she always wants to read it around Christmas! 

That reminded me of Harry's Trees, which has themes of generosity and magic, but again is not really set around Christmas at all. I think it would be an enjoyable read this time of year though! 

Reflecting on the books she has read this year, she especially appreciated The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. She already loved Something Wicked This Way Comes, especially around Halloween. Alexis mentioned that she isn't hugely interested or knowledgable about space, but she found this progression of short stories about what would happen if we were to colonize Mars to be fascinating. The worldbuilding was great and it interweaves characters really well. 

I just read Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes that is also set in space, and while it's not as high of literary value as something like Ray Bradbury, it's still a fun read. Psychic space cats, interspecies romance, and lots of space opera style action and adventure! 

Alexis also loves Neil Gaiman.  She said, "I would be so mad if I came on a podcast about books and didn't say his name once!" 

I loved reading The Graveyard Book (and honestly that's about the darkest I prefer to go!) and Alexis enjoyed that one as well. She also really likes Coraline, which she described as a good mix between dark and spooky, but also childlike wonder. She enjoys re-watching that movie as well, although the story differs from the book pretty significantly. I'm excited about the recent release of a Gaiman picture book called Pirate Stew

Alexis also remembers enjoying Ocean at the End of the Lane but can't quite remember how scary it is. It's about a kid that meets a family of witches who live down the road and they end up going on adventures that would be quite frightening if you were the kids doing them, but are lots of fun to read about. 

Talking about witches made me think of how much I loved reading the Once and Future Witches last month. 

Neverwhere is another Gaiman book that Alexis enjoyed reading, even if she did have to go into a room where her roommate was to keep from being scared of the villains and their evil deeds! 

All this talk about Gaiman and his quirky brilliance made me think that Alexis might enjoy Terry Pratchett. She actually already has his books on her to-be-read list, but keeps not starting them. (Relatable!!) 

We finished out the episode by talking more about Harry Potter and why the books are so much more in depth than the movies. We imagined how long the movies would have to be if they took the same approach as the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice!? And we talked about how we've heard the audiobook versions of Harry Potter are great, and you can find them all on Libro.FM or at your local library! 

It was so much fun to connect with Alexis over book and podcasting, two of our favorite things. If you have any book suggestions for us, drop them in the comments below or come visit us on social media! 

With lots of literary love from my library to yours, have a very Merry Christmas! 

~ Laura


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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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