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Episode 21: Clan of the Cave Bear

Ayla is an anatomically modern human (is it technically Cro Magnon?  This is set in modern day Ukraine. To the Wikipedia!) orphaned and raised by a tribe of psychic Neanderthals.  This one isn't the one with all the doin' it (evidently that is Valley of the Horses which also has a bunch of blonde dudes who shop at Cave-REI), it's the one with a ton of rape and abuse in it. (A note: the cave I was talking about extensively is Shanidar.  Shalimar is, of course, a perfume.  Apologies.) So the fun thing about this book, and the factor that I know made everybody's mom love it, is the great research Auel put into it.  (Shades of Savage Ecstacy, y'all.)  She really knew her shit, at least about the state of research into Homo neanderthalensis in the late 70's - but since then there have been amazing finds and a lot of research using tools unavailable when Auel started writing.  Some of which, by the way, match her fiction.  (Uh, not the psychic part.  But the fucking…

Episode 7: "Hearts Alight"



This is a tiny little Bodice Tipplers Extracurricular Mini-Episode - we're going off the reservation and reading a modern book!  Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper is a cute little gay romance Hanukkah novella about a sad sack guy who falls in love with a golem.  It's adorable and sweet and you'll read it in an afternoon and you should go do so.

Please do not think we don't know when Hanukkah is, or that we think it's at Christmas - we're just late and suck.  Happy super-early Hanukkah!

The rapeometer in this book is again set to ZERO!  (In fact, there is no sex in this book.)  There is a lot of pottery painting and some Dungeons and Dragons, however.



Want to read more books rooted in Jewish history, folklore, and mythology?

Spinning Silver: A Novel by [Novik, Naomi]Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is a fractured retelling of Rumplestiltstkin where the protagonist is a teenaged girl who has taken over her father's moneylending business.  It's a fantasy setting but the Jewish characters are based on historical Jewish communities and cultures.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by [Kay, Guy Gavriel]
I really, really hate it when a fantasy novel chickens out and has people in it who are clearly Jewish or Muslim or any other non-Christian religion but they make up a fakesauce name.  The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay does this but it's otherwise SO good that I'll list it here.  It's broadly about the Reconquista of Spain and the expulsion and forced conversion of Jewish and Muslim communities there.  It's wonderful and well researched but it's not in "our Spain" with "our world history", it's one of those weirdly fictionalized renamed books.  There are several protagonists but you're going to love Jehane ben Ishak, a young Jewish (oh sorry "Kindath") aspiring doctor, and you will definitely cry at the end.


The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) by [Wecker, Helene]The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker combines Jewish and Muslim folklore into a book that everybody (including Courtney) says is really good but I haven't read yet.  You should also go read it and join the line of people telling me how good it is.

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