S2 E7: Books that got us through the pandemic

We talked about it, and we’ve decided that the pandemic is over. For now, at least. And we wanted to celebrate that by talking about what helped get us through it. Each other, of course, but also what we read.

Basically, Aileen thought up the topic of this episode as an excuse to re-read Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Cleverly written as the oral history of a 70’s rock band as it is (mis) remembered by the characters, this book was funny, insightful, and such a welcome distraction from the pandemic when Aileen lived in New York City, that it will forever have her undying love. A solid reco for anyone who needs a smart distraction from their own lives.

Lauren talked about Ross Poldark, the first book in the Poldark series by Winston Graham. This historical romance written in 1945 is the progenitor of not one, but two TV series. Lauren is in it for the characters, as always, and those found in the Poldark series are captivating. With twelve novels in all, Lauren had plenty of reading to lose herself in while the world went bananas.

Alisa went non-fiction, which we usually stay away from, but the truth is that Alisa just couldn’t get emotionally invested in anything during the pandemic. One of her reads was I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi. This book is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but also good exercise for the mind and soul. Ajayi makes us question our deep-set biases with loving guidance, always reminding the reader that we’re all just trying to be good people even if we all suck a little sometimes.

Josie was writing like a mad woman all through the pandemic so she couldn’t handle reading fiction either. Like Alisa, she also just didn’t have the emotional bandwidth. One her reads was The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr. It’s the story of Luca Turn, a biochemist and perfume lover who not only turns the industry of scent upside-down, but also writes poetic perfume reviews. Josie found the story and the science behind it engrossing. She also loved the descriptive words he used and found herself picturing scents in her head…and buying way too many perfumes online!

The following transcript was translated by an AI program so unfortunately, we can’t vouch for its accuracy.

Josie: [00:00:00] I’m recording it right now. Yeah. He shut off the light on me.

Aileen: I saw that

Josie: he’s just like my dad, wherever he goes, he shuts off lights and he like checks faucets. It’s so weird.

Aileen: I don’t do faucets by turn lights off constantly.

Josie: Yeah. He just walks through the house, switching off lights. Even if there are people in there.

Aileen: It’s like a hobby of mine. like lights on. Gotta turn it off. Well, and then we gotta it from the, from PSE and G about how our like electric bill is a lot lower than other houses in the area. And I felt like I won. I’m like, that’s me.

Josie: Hello and welcome to fiction between friends, a podcast, dedicated to books and book lovers like us. I’m Josephine Angelini

Lauren: I’m Lauren Sanchez.

Alisa: I’m Alisa Hillfinger,

Aileen: and Aileen Calderon,

Josie: we’re four childhood friends from the suburbs of Massachusetts.

Lauren: I’ve always loved to read almost as much as we love to talk to each other.

Alisa: We started this podcast as a way to celebrate how a really good book can come into your life and change it.

Aileen: So if you’re looking for fun and engaging conversations about books, stick around.

Josie: This is fiction between friends. And we’re glad you’ve joined us.

Josie: Welcome back. This is episode seven, season two. I’m Josephine Angelini. And joining me are my dear friends. Aileen Calderon.

Aileen: Hello?

Josie: Lauren Sanchez

Lauren: Hello?

Josie: And Alisa Hilfinger.

Alisa: Hi.

Josie: So how’s everyone doing while you all try to cut me off while I’m doing my intro speech, I’m putting on my special voice to do it

Aileen: Can you do different voices each time? Can we put it in requests?

Josie: well, I can do my Duffy duck voice.

Aileen: Like a mini mouse, maybe sexy mini mouse.

Josie: a sexy mini mouse. She’s not sexy though. she has like, a very unsexy voice.

Lauren: says who that’s your opinion.

Josie: says who Lauren, is this something we should know about?

Lauren: mini mouse is not my thing at all.

Aileen: she’s more into Mickey.

Alisa: But I appreciate that you are open to it being somebody’s thing

Lauren: Josie’s in the red.

Aileen: Yeah, she is

Josie: no, I’m in


I’m in the green

now. Oh, red, green.

red, green.

Aileen: Nope. Red you’re. So red,

Josie: Ooh.

Aileen: your internet sucks. Josie

Josie: I don’t know what’s going on. It used to be great, [00:02:00] but it’s been acting up. I don’t know what’s going on with it,

Aileen: blame


Josie: I was, all pissed off cuz I was, was on my Peloton and I’m like, and then my music cuts out and everything freezes and I’m like, I’m on a hill.

This is important

Alisa: that would be super annoying.

Josie: it’s super annoying. Like when the internet cuts out and all of a sudden

your instructor, who’s like getting you through it with so many positive words is just like this I’m oh,

Aileen: Can I say something wildly inappropriate related to Peloton?

Josie: please.

Aileen: it’s gotta be between you and me Josie. Cuz we’re the only ones who Peloton Cody Rigsby

have his shorts been extra tight recently.

Josie: unbelievable. And he’s always talking about how they’re riding up.

Aileen: and I feel like the camera is angled right there and I’m noticing things I never noticed before. And I’m like, when did that happen?

Josie: He’s got male camel to

Aileen: the dude is hung like a horse,

Lauren: I’m so witness

Alisa: Just get the app. Lauren, you don’t need the bike

Lauren: or just a picture

Alisa: right? [00:03:00] Screenshot

Josie: arm holding an apple.

Lauren: oh my God.

Alisa: okay. Now I have a visual.

Josie: you’ve never heard of that one.

That one’s so old.

Aileen: older than me apparently.

Josie: A baby’s arm holding an apple.

Aileen: so this week we all read books that got us through the pandemic and I feel like I need to acknowledge the pandemic isn’t officially over yet. I don’t think I’ve lost track, but it feels we’re heading in that direction and things are not as dire and awful and we’re all coming out of hiding.

 it was such a stressful, awful time. I finally feel okay. after like two years of

Alisa: I know. Well, I feel better.

Aileen: Yeah.

Alisa: know what okay is, but I feel better,

Aileen: yeah. More hopeful or somewhat hopeful. Yeah. I feel like the things that I did to that helped me get through, I went for walks, lots of walks. Like I had to get outta the house and just cuz it, that felt like the safest place you could be just outside, walking around, moving. I needed that texting like with you get like our

text messages were like, I needed that and

Josie: Oh yeah. You guys like totally kept [00:04:00] me glued together.

Lauren: Same.

Aileen: Yeah. Okay. So my book that I picked, and this is one that I read during the pandemic, and I just reread it for this, and I love it during the pandemic. And I still love it. Now, even when I’m more sane and of the right mind, it was Daisy Jones in the six by Taylor Jenkins read. Um, it’s such a good book. It’s a fun book.

It’s about sex and rock and roll. So, I mean, what’s not to love about that. And it’s the story of a band, a fictitious band in the seventies called Daisy Jones in the six. And it’s about their rise to fame and their sort of gradual gradual decline. One of the things that makes it so interesting is it’s told.

Like an oral history. So the entire book is just like members of the band talking about what they remember from certain periods of time.

Like, there is no like scene description or anything. It’s just all the, all the members of the band, just talking about things that happen and incidences, Um, it starts, I’m trying to turn my Kindle

Josie: There’s aren’t that many books that are written like an oral [00:05:00] history. That’s very, that’s fascinating.

Like that’s

a, that’s a line that not many books take.

Aileen: it’s, I’ve never read a book. That’s done it and it does it. So, I mean, I read it twice and it, even though I know what happens every step of the way, this time, I was still

Alisa: you mean if you know what happens at the end, it doesn’t ruin anything for reading the.

Aileen: man, I’m not endorsing your weird way of Alyssa. Um, but the thing that makes it, so it starts, so there’s Daisy Jones and it starts talking about her and she’s just sort of this beautiful free spirit and a groupie, but also a brilliant singer. She likes to walk around barefoot and wander into clubs. And, you know, she does a lot of drugs throughout the entire

Alisa: It’s the seventies.

Aileen: and then there’s the six, which is Billy Dunn and his brother Graham and the four other members. And they’re, they’re the six. And eventually it talks about how they come together to form this band. And it, it just kinda has all the elements you would want from a book talking about a rock band. Um, and one of the things that makes it really [00:06:00] interesting in the way that she chose tell the story is that people are not reliable narrators.

So you get multiple perspectives on the same thing that happens. So you’re never really sure what the real story is, but it’s interesting just getting all these different points of view,

Josie: Faulkner’s as dying. Does

Alisa: Yeah, but that


a stupid book that we had to read in English class. So nobody liked it.

Aileen: don’t ruin it, Josie

Josie: It’s like misremembered, it’s a misremembered experience in a lot of ways. Like everybody sort of has their view of what happens and everyone’s wrong.

Aileen: and you know what? I love that.

I love did you guys ever, did you guys ever, watch the show? The affair?

Alisa: no.

Josie: no,

Aileen: So it was a story of an affair, but each episode was split into two and each one would be told by a different person’s point of view. So you get two totally different perspectives on the same scene.

And it’s like, the characters would be wearing different clothes in the first scene versus the second, because that’s what people remembered and

Lauren: Yeah. Oh, that’s so


Aileen: Yeah,

Josie: Memory is such a weird thing. it really is.

[00:07:00] It changes every time you touch, every time you touch a memory, it changes it a little bit. It’s the, it’s the weirdest thing.

Aileen: Yeah. I mean, not to get too, this is a, kind of fucked up to bring up. But I think that’s kind of what happened with a lot of me too situations. I think there were a lot of men who thought that what they were doing was okay and not offensive.

And then you hear the women’s side and you’re like, what the hell were you think, dude? But I think people just have very different perspectives on what’s. Okay. And are unaware when they make people uncomfortable. And I know it’s really interesting when you get multiple perspectives on the same point of view.

So I think this passage that I’m gonna read demonstrates that I don’t really remember what it is. Um, So Billy, we get off stage and rod comes up to me with this real tall fat guy in a suit. And he says, Billy, I want you to meet Teddy price. First thing Teddy says is, and you have to remember, he had this real thick, upper crust, British accent. Uh, you’ve got a hell of a talent for writing about that girl. Karen says watching Billy, it felt a little bit like watching a dog, find a master. He wanted to please him wanted the record deal. You could feel it dripping [00:08:00] off him. Warren Teddy price was UGLi as sin, a face only a mother could love. I’m just messing around.

He was ugly though. I like that. He didn’t seem to care. Karen. That’s the glory of being a man and ugly for face. Isn’t the end of you, Billy. I shook Teddy’s hand and he asked me if I had any more songs. Like the one he’d heard. I said, yes, sir. He said, where do you see this band in five years, 10 years.

And I said, we’ll be the biggest band in the world. Warren. I signed my first pair of tits that night. This girl comes up to me and unbuttoned her shirt and says, sign me. So I signed her. Let me tell you that’s a memory you have for a lifetime. So it’s just like this, like whoever was interviewing them, ask them about this one moment in time.

And it’s just interesting how they all have. There are different things. They remember, they remember it

Alisa: Mm.

Josie: And it’s

Lauren: Kind of like El

Josie: in such different voices. Anyway. Sorry Lauren. Go ahead.

Lauren: Oh no, I was just gonna say kind of like when I was singing that song about Moses and we were leaving the school and

do you remember that?

Aileen: when Moses was in Jesus land or whatever,

Lauren: Yeah. You

Josie: Oh


Lauren: I remember that very differently.

Aileen: Wait, does that have to do with

Lauren: just that your memory’s very different than [00:09:00] mine.

Alisa: okay. And I don’t have a memory of this.

Lauren: I thought I sounded really good singing that song about Moses leaving as I was walking down the middle school.

Aileen: that’s your parallel to this? Um, yeah. It’s like you

Josie: it’s really hard to write in those different voices. it’s hard to write in multiple voices to begin with, to tell a story, but then to also see it from the same moment, it from different points of view simultaneously is really hard. I don’t know, but it’s super cool. you just don’t see many books written that way. I mean, that’s

Aileen: It reminds me of, uh, almost famous.

Josie: Yeah.

Alisa: what I was thinking of when you said that. Yeah.

Aileen: is my all time

Alisa: Is it?

Aileen: I freaking love that movie. Oh my God. Yes. I’ve seen it so many times. I think it’s so well written and so well cast and just, I don’t know. I love everything about it. So, I mean, obviously it’s like a similar plot.

It’s about a band. Um, but yeah. Kind of reminds me of that, but it’s just, it’s, I mean, it’s a really quick read. Like I flew through this book and, but it’s just so engrosing, she develops her characters really well. And like to Josie’s point, I think that’s really difficult [00:10:00] cont

considering you’re just hearing them talk.

That’s all you’re hearing. You’re hearing them tell their story and they’re being interviewed about something that happens like 30 years of go. So there’s also

like whatever memory is left of that. this, this is just, this is a Daisy and Daisy is just she’s flighty, she’s high and wasted all the time, but gorgeous and super talented.

So, uh, it’s just a quote from her also I’d started sleeping with Hank, which wasn’t a great move on my part, but to be blunt, I was drunk or high a lot of the time back then. And it’s a bit hazy. I don’t even think I was attracted to Hank or even liked him all that much. He was a little short, had a square job, but he had a nice smile, I guess.

Really? He just seemed to be there all the time.

Josie: Why was it a good

pandemic read? That was

Alisa: yeah. What drew you to it? If that

was the first time you read it, what drew you to it to read it?

Aileen: because anytime I looked for a book during the pandemic, I didn’t want anything like upsetting. I didn’t want

anything that was gonna be sad. I didn’t wanna add to the trauma that was already going on in the world. I wanted something that would kind of take [00:11:00] me from my reality and put me somewhere else.

And I wanted it to be light and, and entertaining. And I think I read this one. I mean, I would go on Amazon and like, there was something about someone dying or a war of like, Nope, I’m not gonna read that. And this one is like, oh, rock band in the seventies. Okay. That sounds like it’s gonna be fun and interesting.

And that’s what it was. It was a really, really fun book to read and nothing that happened in it. I mean, they’re like moments that happen, but it’s done in kind of a lighthearted way, I would say. And it, it was so removed from like my world that it just, it was, it was entertaining and fun and it was exactly what I needed during the pandemic.

And apparently this week too, because I read it again.

Josie: So in the, in the entertainment industry, there was when the pandemic first happened, everybody was like, oh, this book is so prescient. That’s talking about exactly what this thing and those books didn’t do as well as everybody projected that they would do. And neither did the TV shows. Everybody went straight to comedy.

Everybody went straight to

the tiger king. Like I

don’t, I want something that’s so bizarre. And that [00:12:00] is so like

kinda low stakes. Like, you don’t want anything super high stakes, cuz everything was so emotionally charged, but you wanted it to be just enough that you got invested. You know what I mean?


Aileen: Yes. You, you wanted to be just distracted, like you

needed like a good

Alisa: Escapism.

Aileen: distract. Yes. And so yeah, this, this was exactly the, I actually went on and found every book of hers I could find and almost all of them.

Lauren: oh, really? Can you tell us her, her name again? The author.

Aileen: Taylor Jenkins Reed, She also wrote a book called she tend, she she’s from LA. She bases all of her books in LA. It’s a lot of stuff about celebrities. Um, Malibu rising was another one I read. And there’s like this washed up rock star in that one. Um, I think it’s the seven husbands of, uh,

Alisa: Oh, yes. One of my students was reading that on the plane to Ecuador and I took a picture of it so that I could remember it and try and read it.

Aileen: it’s fascinating, you know, there’s like a fun twist at the end and yeah, they’re just her, her writing is, is great.

She’s really, really fun. Um, this one is being made into, I think, a limited series on [00:13:00] Hulu and you read it and you’re like, I can totally see, like, of course it is.

Alisa: Did anyone else watch the first season of Bridgeton though?

Josie: like mad,

cuz it was great. Just extraction from, you know,

Aileen: wait, one more thing. One more thing about the book. The author actually wrote a lot of the songs.

So at the end of the book, she’s actually, there are

lyrics for, I think, six or seven of the songs. So I’m super curious to hear what

Alisa: right.

Aileen: actually are. She also does a good job. Like not only does she have these seven main characters, just going back and forth between them sharing their memories.

she also puts in like rock critics and like their manager and like a guy from the rolling stones. And it’s written like you would actually like, like an album review would actually be written. Like she just, she does a really good job of like changing voices and like representing different people. So

I. I. highly recommend it.

It’s just like, if you want a light fun read, that’s really well written, which seems to be my thing. If another pandemic hits, I highly recommend Josie Daisy Jones and the six.

Alisa: Okay.

Aileen: [00:14:00] Uh, all right, Lauren, what was your pandemic escape or read

Lauren: so I read or, or rather I reread, um, the, the first book in the Pollar series called Ross Pollar by Winston Graham and, uh, PBS, I, I guess it’s masterpiece had done, you know, a remake of that series. So I guess it was done in like 75, 19 75 originally And I had watched the series on, PBS when it first came out and really liked it.

And you know, how I’m very character

driven. So I always fall in love with


the characters and I wanna follow them. And so when the show ends, I get kind of sad and depressed and I look for other ways to reconnect with them. So I decided to read this Ross Pollar book, Which takes place between 17 83, 17 87 in the first book, I believe.

So. It it’s, Ross is a, Gentry, he’s a landowner in England, but it starts out he’s comes home from the, the revolutionary war, uh, the American revolution, um, back to England. So it was a really

interesting perspective

for us, you know, watching you, [00:15:00] we, we may read books or, uh, see a TV series or a movie of people in the revolutionary war here in the states, but to actually like from the English soldiers perspective, it’s different.

So, yeah, so he’s living in Cornwall, England, and he returns home and his dad has died. He’s got this land and he is, you know, he’s the owner of these mines, in Cornwall. And he comes home to find out that his Bero who thought he was dead, has now remarried his very, you know, his cousin is very, he’s very close to and he’s just like devastated.

Yeah. So there’s some drama. Um, but Ross is a very interesting character because even though he’s Gentry he’s land owner, he’s a mind owner. He, he, um, advocates for like the impoverished for the people who have less than him. he’s a bit of a rebel. He gets himself in trouble a lot. and so one day he comes upon this, uh, minor beating his daughter in the marketplace or something like that, decides where everyone would be beating their daughter.

And he decides to [00:16:00] take her home and make her. Like his maid. And he already has two family servants who were trying to sell off all his stuff while he was after his dad died, like making some money, you know, but he keeps them in service. And so now he has the, the two servants in this maid and it’s quite a dynamic.

he eventually reconciles the loss of his betroth. his cousin does die, but at this point he decides to marry Demelza and I honestly can’t tell you why he does


Aileen: Right. Who who’s she?

Lauren: DeMel is the maid.

Josie: Oh,

Lauren: Oh, I’m so sorry. Did I not

tell you? DeMel Is the maid?

Josie: story?

Lauren: It’s a love story. Of course. It’s a love

Aileen: this is so Schwartzenegger

wait. So, so Lauren, what made a, a good pandemic read? Like what

Lauren: Mm-hmm well, it was romance, you know, I do like that. I do like historical fiction. of course I love the romance and, uh, I liked that Demelza was from a poor family and he’s, you know, wealthy or not wealthy, but land owner. And so the dynamic there, and then, you know, the way people are looking at them, like, whoa, you’re a land owner and you’re marrying this cheap hussy off the street, you know, whatever, but why did [00:17:00] I read it?

Okay. I read it because I love romance novels as you know.

Josie: wrong with that.

Lauren: not quite like paperback from the supermarket kind of romance

Alisa: There, there maybe was more character development and less


Lauren: I don’t remember about,

Aileen: chicken bear

on I 20.

Alisa: What happened to his betroth? Because the cousin died, who married his betroth and when you

said the cousin died, you kind of said it in a way that was like, Bastard got what was coming to him.

Lauren: No, he

liked his cousin.

He liked his cousin.

Aileen: So is that, is that part of the appeal? Like what

was your like pandemic? Why like, did your reading style change during the pandemic? Did you start wanting to read different types

Lauren: Well, you know, I like series, so no, I, I read about the same. I like series the book did have some humor in it. Like it, it, and it was just, the characters are just so special. I read almost all of the, I know I read all of the books in that series. There’s um, I think I wrote it down

somewhere. Oh, that’s a good question. A lot. There are a lot of books

in that [00:18:00] series. yeah, we’ll say 10.

Josie: Because how do you keep that’s the one thing that I know. So I’m, I’m like six books in a seven book series deep right now.

Alisa: Wait reading

Josie: like a strong love story writing.

I’m sort of

Aileen: Good question Alyssa.

Josie: yeah. but it’s, it’s really hard. like, how many breakups and get backs together.

Can you

do to keep the romance moving

type of thing? I always wonder how other authors go about that,

Lauren: there’s a lot going on in these books.

And at one point, um, there’s friction in in the RO in the relationship between Demelza and Ross, he had, he’s never, he never quite gets over Elizabeth, but he does love Demelza. You know what I mean?

Josie: mm-hmm

Lauren: she has an affair.

Aileen: Oh,

Lauren: I know. So,

Josie: that’s

Lauren: yeah, but they have


Josie: the effect.

Aileen: did you read more or less during the pandemic or the same?

Lauren: I basically stopped reading and I haven’t got back to it.

I listen to books now.

Aileen: Oh, that happened during the pandemic.

how come?

Lauren: I don’t know, [00:19:00] I just can’t. I’m so easily distracted. I mean, outside of P dark I’m so distractable, I can’t

plus I’m also getting my masters and that doesn’t,

you know, I’m

I am I

and I really enjoy listening to people. a story.

Alisa: you know what I miss though about when, when I listened to a book, because I listened to a book last week, I love listening to the listening to podcasts. but I really like seeing words on pages. There’s something

about being able to like visually wrap myself around a word on a page or

see the layout of how something’s written because sometimes authors will very intentionally write something in a particular way on the page.

And that all of that is lost. If it’s just auditory.

Josie: yep.

Aileen: that’s true. You’re, you’re listening to someone else’s translation of the book

in a way.

Alisa: Yeah.

Lauren: Yeah.

I am hoping I can get back into reading a physical book at some point in my life.

Aileen: I feel, I feel like feeling distracted was a pretty common thing. Like I definitely just felt [00:20:00] like I couldn’t focus on anything ever. I totally get that. All right, Alyssa, what was, what was your book? What was your

Alisa: So same kind of thing. Like in the pandemic, my attention span really shortened

and I found myself not really being able to invest emotionally in much of anything. So I


Aileen: Yes.

Alisa: stuff that I could do in little bites. And so I found that I read a lot of magazines.

Because right. Smaller articles standalone, um, Lauren, our

Lauren: yes.

Alisa: favorite librarian friend, had sent me a link to a blog that,

um, yeah, Erica Engel hop had created and it was,

um, gory details. So like I bought this book on a whim because Lauren sent me a link to one of the articles and it’s adventures from the dark side of science and each chapter is a standalone

Aileen: that right there sounds like something I would stay far away from, especially during

Lauren: That sounds so Alyssa.

Alisa: right? Oh, no,

it’s so

fun [00:21:00] because it’s all, you know, science based stuff. And you can read to chapter, you can read the chapters in any order. Um, so this was the kind of stuff that I was drawn to then

Aileen: So, so nonfic nonfiction.

Alisa: lot of nonfiction,

Aileen: Do you normally read

Alisa: Yeah. I, I, I normally read

nonfiction. This podcast is a big, stretch for me outside of

my normal

Aileen: I did not know that.

Alisa: Yeah.

Josie: Oh, you read, quit like a woman. I read that too.

Alisa: Um, so then, and I haven’t even gotten to the book that I’m gonna talk about yet. So then

on Twitter, I see that Chrisy Tegan is all, all about how she wants to stop drinking. And so in the pandemic, I drank a lot. ,

Josie: Oh yeah.

Alisa: I, I,

mean, let’s

call a spade, a spade, like we were

buying wine by the box and it

Aileen: We’re like the world is ending. What else are we gonna do?

Alisa: you know, I mean, it just, oh my gosh, it was a time. And I was like, you know, I think I’d like to renegotiate my relationship with alcohol. and so, yeah, I, I read this book, quit like a woman, and again, it’s like, [00:22:00] I could read it in little bits and I, I don’t know. It just, it was, it was easier to. Process, um, because it wasn’t a story.

It was, you know, I, I don’t know. Anyway, so the book that I’m actually gonna talk about nonfiction it’s, I’m judging you the do better manual by


Yeah. She’s awesome.


AJE. Yeah, she, a pair

like was, uh, for 13 years had been a blogger and she would write, I think episode recaps for, oh, I’m blanking

on the TV show.


I have a really wonderful friend, Elizabeth, Karen, who I met in graduate school and she mailed this book to me and I had it by my bedside and I started reading it. And this again is the kind of book that’s divided into sections. You don’t have to read it in order. And it’s all about like throwing shade at the world in judging people for being idiots, which during the pandemic was fabulous. it, it like it filled every urge in your [00:23:00] body of like, why are you being an asshole? Why can’t you just be a normal human being? So her, her, her whole approach is that she really wants people to be better human beings

and her topics are deep. I mean, her focus is racism, feminism, homophobia.

She’s talking about real issues and,

Lauren: I wanna read that. That sounds really

Alisa: She breaks the book down into four sections, there’s life, culture, social media, and fame. And she really also believes that humor is a way to communicate with people because it, connects you, it breaks down your guard and it allows you to hear ideas that might oppose your ideas, but

you hear in a way that isn’t threatening.

Um, she is very much all about her Nigerian, heritage and being Nigerian. She says Nigerians are very funny people and it, they they’re blunt, but they’re funny. And

Aileen: sounds like my type

Alisa: Yes. I think you really would, would like this book. So like the first chapter, [00:24:00] basically is an introduction to like humans are the worst in general and then the next chapter

is right.

Aileen: agree.

Alisa: Um, different friendship styles. And why must you suck at friendship? And she goes through like the friend who competes with me, the friend who only calls when they need something. the friend you can’t actually trust the friend. You don’t really know the friend who is mean the friend

Aileen: She needs some new


Lauren: I

was gonna say, you guys are like, not on that.

Alisa: I

know. Um, I know. I

was reading this and I was like, wait, which friend am I? Am I the horrible friend who never calls? And

Josie: no, Alyssa, you are a fantastic friend.

Alisa: oh, thanks. I D

occasionally I text the friend who will one day get us beat up or arrested. That’s a lie by the way.


Josie: me.


Aileen: take that honor. thank you.

Alisa: but I say that fondly, a

good thing, right? Because then she starts with, this is the friend who pushes you out of your comfort zone. so that

Lauren: That would be too

Alisa: but she talks about friendship.

Lauren: those text [00:25:00] messages.

Alisa: Okay. let’s get

Aileen: I’m trying to play my role guys.

Alisa: then it’s about standards of beauty. and this chapter titled under the knife starts with, you know, how I know we’ve all crossed over the point of no return from doing the most, with the absolute least anal bleach exists. And so then she’s talking about the day I saw an ad for anal bleach. I knew we had passed the point of no return done a double black flip to the beginning and run three more victory laps. We are at the point where we are so bent on perfection, that we will lighten the inner sanct of our assholes to achieve better beauty.

And so she go on to,

you know, that’s her humorous,

Josie: true.

Alisa: you know, and we’re doing

Aileen: I’m sorry. Wait, can we pause for a minute? Anal bleaching is ridiculous.

Josie: Yeah. That’s the

Lauren: never

Josie: thing I’ve ever heard

Lauren: even heard of

that. Like, what is

Aileen: Why?

Alisa: And it sounds uncomfortable

Lauren: I don’t want. Anybody to look

Josie: No, I don’t, I don’t think anybody needs to go sniff it around

Aileen: But also, so I assume if you get your your [00:26:00] anus bleach, you assume someone is coming. Like I had a butthole with you a lot,

you know, that’s a common occurrence.


are you doing naked, yoga all the time? Are you into

Alisa: oh God Lauren don’t Google that. Do you, do you

Aileen: yeah. You, you get that in your browser history. Lauren

Lauren: everything,


Josie: it at the Google at the.

library go.

Alisa: Do it on a private server, but even if it were a certain industry or a certain person who was trying to put forth a better. Image of this body part, right? She’s, she’s calling it all out and it goes on to say, you know, we’re doing all of these things because we live in a world that has dropped a metric ton of pressure on us to be beautiful and made the definition of beauty, incredibly narrow and impressively unreachable.

I’m judging us for our shallow are impossible beauty standards in our desperation to reach them. So she has these,

you know, humorous points, but then she brings it round to,[00:27:00]

Lauren: Right.

Alisa: you know, serious stuff and you get sucked in. And then before you realize it, you’re like, oh, we’re now talking about racism. Um, in the intro to her chapter about racism, she first identifies all of her.

 Space. And, and she says, I’m a Nigerian born American raised black woman who is straight I’m Christian, I’m walking without any assistance. And I’ve never been poor. This is how I identify myself. And these are the spaces I take up. Each piece of my identity is important to me and has absolutely played a role in who I am and where I am today.

And she goes on to talk about how some of these things in her identity has made her life easier. Some of these things has made her life harder, and then she discusses identity markers in general and then says I’m judging all of us for being shitty humans by being culture vs homophobia with jackasses, racist, trolls, sexist, douche bags, and born again hypocrites.

 So she has opinions.

Josie: I love it too. I love it. [00:28:00]

Aileen: And that’s probably how she sells her books partially, too.

Alisa: Right.

Um, it’s, it’s very conversational. The way the book is presented, she has all these little, footnotes where she uses words that she would’ve used growing up that are, um, kind of like slang. I’m trying to find one where, she’ll like mush a bunch of words

Josie: how old is she?


she younger than us?

Alisa: question.

Oh yeah.

She’s younger than us.

Josie: like gen X or okay. Or like everyone’s younger than us.

Alisa: I think she was work. She was in college in 2003 because she originally was going to school to be a doctor. And then one of her chemistry classes, she just was like, no, we’re not doing this. yeah. So 10, you know, 10 ish, years younger. And actually the tweet that she sent out today, because she’s a voracious tweeter writer, blogger, and the one she se sent out today made me think of you, Josie.

It was, if you wanna be a writer, you have to write, you can’t be precious with your words. You have to write, you [00:29:00] have to edit, you have to be able to rewrite. She said, but my most importantly, you just need to write. So I thought

Josie: down and do it. Yeah.

Alisa: Oh, then she talks about feminism and how, feminism hasn’t started any wars, but it’s battles are mostly fought by self righteous white women who don’t even realize that their work often only benefits people like them. And it,

you, well, she calls a spade, a spade and is like,

okay, there are certain things where systems of oppression are trying to be dismantled, but. They aren’t as inclusive as people think they are. And so, you know, she’ll come at you and she’ll say like, okay, feminism with capital F really is just rich white women.

But then the rest of the chapter is talking about a more inclusive definition of feminism and how men are feminists and, you know, really, and anyone who wants to do anything that supports their personal identity is truly what feminism is. And you shouldn’t be judging anyone for it.

Josie: But I

Aileen: I mean everyone should. [00:30:00] I mean, everyone should be a feminist. Like it’s a thinking that people everyone’s equal. Like all genders are equal,

Josie: right, but

there’s, there’s often this this tunnel vision for any type of cause with a capital C. So, you know, you

can have people who are anti-racist and they’re huge misogynists. And just because you’re left leaning in one area of your thinking doesn’t mean that you’re left leaning in any other area.

You can have a feminist racist, you can have a homophobic, person of color. I mean, it just doesn’t. people tend to lump li liberalism into one thing. So if you are, you know, if you are, pro. Gay rights, like say are a huge Crusader for gay rights. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re also a huge feminist. So,

it’s like one doesn’t necessarily mean that

you’re open to anything else.

Aileen: well, well, people are, people


Josie: that doesn’t mean, yeah.

Aileen: Yeah, but I mean, white, white women have historically helped white women. I, which I think is what her point is. Like the feminist movement was started by white women was very focused on helping white women succeed [00:31:00] and wasn’t focused on

Alisa: Right.

Josie: Right,

Alisa: and and she also talks about how with the racism piece, you can be not overtly racist and still act in racist ways because of implicit bias that has been in you that you don’t even realize. And so

she talks about ways to, you know, recognize if you’re walking down the street. One of the examples she gives is if you’re walking down the street and you clutch your purse a little closer to you, when you pass a group of people who don’t look like you, you know, that’s the implicit bias inside of you that no, you may not be a racist, but you have to uncondition yourself to respond to in this way to people who don’t look like you.

But you know, you don’t realize that you’re being schooled on all of these beliefs, because the way she delivers it is through humor and everyday relatable scenarios, and she doesn’t make you feel bad, you know, it’s like, okay, humanity sucks. And because you’re a human, you kind of suck [00:32:00] because you don’t have a choice, but we can all try to do better.

And she even calls herself out. You know, she’s like, I I’m throwing shade at myself because I know that I do X, Y, and Z as well, but I’m trying to do better. So it, I mean, it just, it was, I guess it was kind of a fun read. I mean, there were spots where I was laughing out loud. And you don’t have to read it all at once.

And there are different sections that, you know, you may relate to more than others. Sh uh, she talks about social media fame. And at that point , at that point, I was like, yeah, that doesn’t really apply to me. I’m not, I’m not really in the demographic.

That I mean, I deleted my Facebook. Like I don’t have Facebook.

I have a private Instagram, and I have like seven people that I follow. Three of whom are on this zoom. Um, you know,

Aileen: Where, where your

Alisa: you are my influencers. Um,

Josie: I think it’s really interesting cuz it’s like, I don’t know about myself personally. I keep finding new corners of myself [00:33:00] that were conditioned into us certain way of thinking that I’m

having to unlearn

Alisa: mm-hmm

Lauren: oh yeah.

Josie: All just all these different assumptions. It’s like, just because I’m married to a man who’s first language of Spanish and he’s Puerto Rican.

It doesn’t mean that I still don’t have bio biases

towards people whose first language wasn’t English. It’s like this

weird thing. Like you.

keep having to uncover all of these

places in yourself where you’re like, where did I learn that you, you know.


where, where did that come from? know,

Lauren: Yeah.

Josie: it

is really hilarious when he says young instead of jungle,

Alisa: Aw.

Lauren: Oh yeah. Or yellow Orim I used to say, um,


Josie: Yellow.

Lauren: Yellow. Hello?

Josie: for yellow, the color.

Oh, that’s so cute. Yeah. He goes, so they’re running through the jungle and I’m like, whoa. Time out jungle.

Alisa: And, and the other thing is we need better representation of diversity in things that we see. And so the type, the TV shows the children’s books, the,

you know,

Lauren: I do feel like it is getting

Alisa: it is.

Aileen: it totally is. But [00:34:00] even, even like insecure the book that the HB have, you guys watched insecure,

Josie: Bits

and pieces.

Aileen: it’s really good. ISA Ray is awesome. And she, she wrote it and she’s like a it’s. It is. It’s about, um, it’s just about black people living their lives in LA, but they’re all like fairly successful and kind of figuring out life. And it’s just the type of show there. You’re used to seeing white people as the main characters instead of white people, as black people.

And you’re like hearing the way that they speak and you’re seeing their experiences, which are very different from white people’s experiences. And there’s never been a show like that before, which is so crazy,

Alisa: And one of the vanity fair articles that I read during the pandemic was an interview with ISA Ray talking about this show and the development of it and the pressure that she got to add. White people like the, at one point, you know, people higher up said what I think to make this more palatable.

We, we need to have some more white characters. And she basically was like, screw you. Like, this is the real story. We’re not, we’re not catering. [00:35:00] God, I don’t even know what, but it, that was a fascinating article. It was, it was

really good.

Josie: to demographics, right?


Aileen: But I mean, think about how, when it took for her to basically probably walk into these rooms, filled with powerful white people and be

Alisa: uh, powerful white men,

Aileen: way.

Josie: Yeah.

Aileen: yes. yes. Yeah,

Josie: men.

Exactly. And they’d be like, we love

your idea. What a great story. Can we make everyone white?

Alisa: right? Can we

change it?

Josie: no.

Aileen: she. Like she, she stuck by it and did what did it her way. And it did really, really fucking well. And that is gonna set the stage for future, you know, black creators, which is amazing.

Alisa: Right. Because I think we all, I think most of us want to be good human beings and we recognize that being a good human being is making room for other stories. And. Other voices that aren’t ours, that we can’t relate to. And so we can’t judge and we can’t write it because we don’t know it. and so, you know, that’s where this book comes in.

That’s where this TV show comes in. You know, we’re trying to do better. Thank you, [00:36:00] lovey

Josie, what it was yours,

you also did

Josie: So

Alisa: right?

Josie: I did, I did a non-fiction book, totally different from yours. So I did the emperor of scent by, um,

The emperor sent by Chandler Burr. It’s the story of Luca and Luin is a biophysicist and a bio electronics


Aileen: Whoa.

Josie: Professor, but he’s all he wrote. This cult hit, um, French perfume guide called Pao the guide, and he grew up loving scent and being fascinated with scent. Now, when I’ve started reading this book, the reason why I was reading it was because I just, I was writing a ton. Like I was writing so much at the time I was writing for hours and hours a day.

I was cranking out books that haven’t even come out yet. And. I couldn’t read, like when I go through periods of intense writing, I find it very difficult to read other people’s writing. Not because I think I’m gonna steal their ideas, but because I think I’m gonna steal their cadence.

that sounds weird.

Alisa: No, that doesn’t sound


Josie: when you read [00:37:00] other people’s books and your brain starts getting into the way that they structure and the way that they describe stuff, the way their main characters sound it, you tend to start, you adopt it. Or at least I do, like I have this very chameleon mind who just gets lost in the characters, in their worlds.

And I find myself sometimes that I’ll like, start to adopt the way that they go about their pros or their, and I’m like, okay, I can’t do that. So I take a step back from reading, but I can always read, um, nonfiction. And what I loved about this It’s this great story about not only the science behind scent and we know nothing about scent, we know everything about vision.

All these Nobel prizes have been put out. We, we know exactly what frequency of light. So you see this color or that color. We know everything about hearing, about how hearing vibrations travel through. We know about nerve endings and touch scent. We, we kind of know butt kiss about it. We don’t even know how it works.

Everything. Yeah, nothing. They say it’s about shape. So, you know, all enzymes in the [00:38:00] body, the way that perfumers go about it right now is the shape of the molecule. They say it fits into receptors in your nose. They don’t know what the they’ve never found those receptors. And also so sent it doesn’t work, lock and key, because.

There’s something about, like, it almost works like a spectrometer, like atoms, we’re sensing atoms. First of all, you recognize scent far more quickly. It takes a while for enzymes to be released into your system and to find the food and fit together with them and all that stuff. you smell a scent and it’s instantaneous.

There’s no way for that, that type of chemical process to be going on to be, what is that makes sense? you read these descriptions of ascent, like the powdery ethereal, they use these words, they’re describing things like, you know exactly what fried eggs and gasoline would smell like.

And then you imagine smelling it, it?

goes directly into your brain. Lucky scent is like this scent bar out here in California. But you obviously, during the pandemic, I couldn’t go to lucky scent and like smell.

stuff. And I’m kind of like a scent junkie.

Alisa: I


Josie: little bit of perfume.

Lauren: Yeah.[00:39:00]

Josie: I even wear perfume to bed. Like I

always have. Yeah. I put perfume on before I go to bed. it.

helps me sleep. I dream better. It’s like, I like this. I like when I wake up in the middle of the night, I want a particular scent around me and it’s not bad breath.

I don’t want bad breath.

I wanna smell perfume. I don’t wanna smell all the farts in the Dutch oven. I want perfume.

Aileen: Let me know when you figure out how to get away from that. Maybe I


Josie: know. Right. Woo. You gotta wave it up. but, um, I I love it and I love the way that scent describes stuff. And I love thinking about it because it is this visceral experience. So anyway, I was like on lucky scent, I was on their website all the time and

Aileen: wait, is lucky sent.

Josie: perfume.

Aileen: a it’s a perfume place.

Josie: It’s a perfume bar. Yeah.

And so I’m like reading all of their descriptions of scent and I’m getting super into it and I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna sample that. And I’m gonna sample that. And I’m getting all this stuff in the mail and I’m smelling it. And it was very therapeutic for me. During the pandemic, like to have all of these different senses around [00:40:00] me, but also to, for myself to be smelling stuff and saying, how would I describe it?

Because it was almost like this writer exercise for me,

but with no stakes, like when you’re writing stuff, you’re like, is my pros too. Purple. Am I going too far? Am I,

you know,

Aileen: my is my

Josie: no ARB

Aileen: that mean?

Josie: purplely pros are sort of like the rambunctious young man get it’s like when you’re using words that you just don’t need to use, you’re, it’s

all superfluous stuff and you’re going overboard.

Like she screamed until her throat was bloody and raw and it’s like, you don’t need all that crap in your ring. You know what I mean? She yelled, you know,


Lauren: Josie, a couple things you’re making me think of there’s this perfume called wet pavement.

is the first thing. yeah.

yeah. Right. I mean, who doesn’t love the way that smells. Yeah.

Josie: There’s this, there’s this old French perfume that’s called after the

rainstorm. And like, you just know exactly what a meadow smells like after


rainstorm. And he was talking about all this stuff and it just brings great, beautiful imagery into your head [00:41:00] with no stakes for me, like no emotional connection, no ties, nothing where I would get too connected to characters who are gonna die. I just, I couldn’t handle it during

the pandemic. And I like, I wanna ex I wanna read cuz some of these are just so beautiful. Oh he also, he, so he wrote this guide and it turned out to be this huge best seller. This was how good his no was Lu ATAR. And they called him like, he.

Could smell stuff and describe it instantly. So this is a quote from the book one day he was in Franco’s office and Franco Carron is this woman. She’s a perfume. She’s a woman who designs perfumes for one of these huge companies. And, you know, they just, they’re only seven of them in the world. And every scent that you smell from your, dryer sheets to your shampoo, to your, to your Clorox bleach, they create the molecules that make scent in stuff.

Anyway. So he

was in Fran wall Carol’s office and she asked him what he thought of a new fragrance. It was something she’d created for Escada. He inhaled, it said it was wonderful that it was like one of those silks that has those two [00:42:00] colors to it, depending upon how the light strikes it. Carol Arone gave him a long look.

She reached into her desk and pulled out the brief from the people at Escada and handed it to him. The brief Escada says, this is the scent that we want. Sh she pointed read here, read there. He read, we wanted to smell like the silks that have two colors in them, depending on the light.

Alisa: Holy

Josie: Can you believe that?

How do you smell that? That’s


I wanna know.

Aileen: mean?

Josie: You know what it means? It’s a chameleon scent, so it looks red, it looks green,

it looks

red, you

Alisa: No, and it would have to be


Josie: when, and when he just like, this is how he dis like he talks about, Paradox by JMO. This is like his review. And, and this is in the book that he wrote beauty itself as with faces is not simple. Perfumes can be handsome, graceful, gorgeous comely, radiant, stunning reader, beware paradox is to paraphrase something once said about something’s music, a perfume of almost unbearable loveliness. I don’t know. It’s just the way that he describes perfumes and [00:43:00] his love affair with them on top of the fact that he’s this brilliant biochemist. It just, I, I, it was something that was very freeing for me. And I was like, damn, I wanna smell that. I wanna know what

that smells like. And I wanna, I wanna get to the point where I can be that honest and that almost clairvoyant about describing stuff.

So it was

just wonderful for me. And

I spent way too much money on


Alisa: So I have a brief perfume story. after 48 hours of being in the same clothes, headed into the next 24 hours, being in the same clothes without a shower during our trip home, when flight was canceled, one of

the chap, one of the other chaperones, and I were like, just grossed out by our


Josie: just your scent.

Yeah. Where you are.

Alisa: And we were doing laps around the Houston airport, cuz we were there for 13 hours and there was nothing else to do. And we walked through the duty free shop and we looked at each other and we were like the perfume, we can freshen up . And so

Josie: Yeah.

Alisa: we went through and they [00:44:00]

didn’t have any of my normal like sense that I would, I would normally wear.

So I had to go through and smell a whole bunch and find something new. And so I did find something and I put it all over myself and I sprayed a couple on the little paper swatches and like stuck them in various bags that I had. Um, yeah, but it, but it was like, yeah, it, I was like, ah, yeah, we can at least try and smell good. Even in our sta three day old


Josie: And he talks a lot about that too. About how Europeans have a different idea of what smells good. And they always have like these little nasty Dan notes in them, like C or something. They like, they like that. They talk a lot about, oh, it smells sort of like a woman who neglects herself. so it’s like a woman who doesn’t bathe very much.

And they like, they like the smell of crevices, you know what I mean? And Americans don’t like

Alisa: Can we have

Josie: all the time.

Alisa: we need

that as a quote for this episode, they like [00:45:00] the smell of crevices. Is it a

Aileen: before or after bleaching

Alisa: Is it, uh,

Josie: no, but Americans, we tend to scrub it and shave it. You, you know what I mean? Like, no matter What it is we

scrub it first and shave it after. And then we like, and we like things like white linen. And

Alisa: Lauren sent a text of a book that you should read perfume. The story of a

Josie: it?

Lauren: By Patrick

Suskin you have got to read that book.

Josie: okay. I will.

Aileen: Josie did in your book, did they get into like, um, um, sent in the connection to memory at all?

Josie: all?

the time, but they talk a lot about how that’s one of the reasons why they know it. Can’t just be the molecule thing. It’s like this instantaneous thing. And it, so another thing that they talk about is that 1% of our genes are dedicated to scent. Like in our DNA and that’s an enormous amount. The only other

system in your body that has that many genes dedicated to it is your immune system.

And we all know how

important that is. So it’s like, there’s something about scent that was [00:46:00] evolutionarily

Alisa: important,

Josie: to us as people

Aileen: It probably, it probably kept us safe at some point, you know, you

Josie: safe, but so much more. It also must have been, it must have been about safety. It must have been about how we bond to each other, like

Alisa: right?

Josie: that

Lauren: I, I agree with that Like my father, I I can tell you that there’s certain smells that remind me of my dad. And one of them is the smell of a pack of camel cigarettes in a

she pocket, like that smell or just lit cigarette reminds me of my dad. And, and I love the way

that smells

Josie: Yeah.

A lot of people love the smell of nicotine

for that reason. And for tobacco, tobacco is a huge

perfumes scent.

Lauren: me of my dad.


Alisa: and even

David, it was a very strong connection with David and my scent. And when he would be little, even up through ages where I was surprised that he would, you know, admit this, like nine and 10, 11 years old, and it would be a hot day and it would be towards the end of the day, I’d been sweating, whatever, and he’d come over and get near me and he would say, oh, I, I love how you [00:47:00] smell.

I love that smell. And he would bury his face in my armpit. And even as a baby, he, if, if I took something that I had slept in and I put it near him, he would have a

physical reaction of, of becoming more calm. He was, he’s always been receptive to my natural

Josie: We all are where it goes Right.


our emotions. Like scent generates emotions in us. And there’s gotta be a, a

reason for that. Like some sort of evolutionary reason for

that, but

we still don’t know.

how scent works. Isn’t that, amazing?

Lauren: Well, that, that it is amazing, but like, think about dogs. dogs. can smell way better than us.

Josie: it


smoke cancer.

Alisa: I know.

Do you think we had

more more scent

receptors when, you know, at some point earlier in our evolution,

Josie: and I think it must have dropped off for whatever

reason. I mean, I don’t, I, I don’t know. I got into this just because I was like, yeah. Why, why does scent do all this stuff to us? Why, why can’t we smell so many different things? Like when you think about, okay, there are all these colors in the world, but you can only mix [00:48:00] so many of them until they become muddy.

There are certain perfumes that have over a hundred different molecular. Parts to them. So like a hundred different sense to them. And you can tell

the difference, like if you, if one of them is missing, people know immediately, you know, it’s

like how can we be that in tune with something that we don’t even understand?

Lauren: Does

he talk about, the connection between scent and taste

Josie: Yeah.

But taste is like this poor side thing. You can only really taste sweet sour, salt,

umami, and the sweet sour, salt umami. And, but you can’t even really taste spice like heat that just sort of happens in your mouth.

But scent is what gives you your ability to taste all? of these different things

Alisa: Although, there’s

a guy I work with who has no sense of smell. He was born

without a sense of smell, he does have some sense of taste. He can differentiate between foods and says that he has flavors and things like that. But there definitely is an enhancement of taste because of smell. I know that because of


Josie: and all another thing in COVID. Everybody was losing it. That was [00:49:00] another thing I wanted to talk about. I was fascinated by it because I was like, why is everyone losing their sense of smell? Why is everyone losing their sense of taste with this thing? So I was reading this book and ordering all these perfumes and just being like, and also a little paranoid, like I


Alisa: right.

Aileen: well, it’s create. Oh, I was gonna say what I was gonna it’s crazy. How much of what we smell is artificial now. Like

there aren’t that many natural sense. Like if you’re just in your house, you’re not really smelling anything natural. I mean, if you go out in nature, obviously then it’s natural. But most of what we smell is like

Josie: That that’s another huge component of this book. So there are these companies that man, they create these molecules, right. And they say that it’s all based on shape, except the problem is that’s not really how it works. So they’ll make a molecule, that’s shaped in one particular way and they’ll make another molecule that’s shaped almost exactly like it in one will smell like eggs.

And the other one will smell like cut grass. And it doesn’t make any sense. So we know that, but they say it’s still shape. And then they patent these molecules and they put millions of dollars [00:50:00] into developing them and make billions of dollars off of selling them. And if shape, isn’t the way that we

test sent my, like in this enzymatic way.

If it’s not based on the shape of the molecules, if it is all this other stuff that Luter says it is, if it’s like quantumly based, why is my kid freaking screaming upstairs?

What the hell is going on? Everyone hears her, the whole neighborhood hears her. What the heck is

going on up there. Anyway, there are billions of dollars at stake, and there are lots of people and a Nobel prize is definitely gonna be given out to whoever

figures this out.

It’s a high stakes thing. And it’s sort of like, why don’t we know why don’t we have an answer to this yet? You know, like

Alisa: You have a visitor

Josie: heck is going on with my kid.

I don’t know.

Aileen: her?

Josie: It kind of sounds like that. Doesn’t

Alisa: yep.

Aileen: it sounds like she’s beating him.

Josie: Yeah. Maybe, she she’s a



Aileen: maybe that’s our cue.

Josie: I know. I know.

Anyway, it was, it was wonderful. It was a distraction, but it wasn’t, it allowed me to think about something outside of my work, but still be.

Close to

it. You know what I mean?[00:51:00]

It’s pretty cool.

Lauren: That was really

smart of you to, to

read that and apply it

Josie: I got lucky. anyway. Thanks

you guys. that was fun, but

everyone’s exhausted. Lawrence pale is a ghost and falling into

Lauren: Uh,

Aileen: I feel like we always end on someone about to fall


Josie: I know we’re not doing that anymore. We’re gonna have to start doing these earlier

Alisa: I know.

Aileen: All right.

Alisa: Well, Alene

Aileen: ladies.

Alisa: happy



Aileen: Oh yeah.

Josie: birthday.

Lauren: three

Aileen: I know, I feel like my birthday always sneaks up on me. Like I’m always ready for other people’s birthdays. And then all of a sudden March comes and I’m like, oh shit, I have one of those two. And it always is like, weird to me. I don’t know.

I should be used to it by now. I’ve been

Alisa: Yeah, well on your calendar, you know, the family calendar you need to write in. I am princess for the day. Treat me accordingly.

Aileen: I think it’s cute that you think we have a family calendar and there we, that organized, although recently I have, I’ve been like, we should get one of those. So that’s, that’s more motivation to do it,

Alisa: just make a poster. Then

Josie: ladies. Thank you



Lauren: All


Josie: to you.

Alisa: Happy

Lauren: Lee.

Aileen: Thank you.

Josie: birthday, Eileen.

Aileen: Thank you.


Lauren: Bye.

Josie: You’ve been listening to fiction between friends to find the show notes for this episode, or to subscribe and get new episodes delivered automatically. Visit fiction between friends.com. Also, if you happen to have a moment and you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please help support our podcast by leaving a review on apple podcasts.

We would be immensely grateful. Thank you for listening.

5 comments on “S2 E7: Books that got us through the pandemic

  1. SHAUNA says:

    Lauren, I LOVE Poldark, show and books. I read all the books over the last couple of year as well. So good!

    That’s one of the things I love about your show. You always seem to pick books that I want to read or have read that I can hear other peoples opinions about. And introduce me to new ones that I never would have considered like The Emperor of Scent. You make everything so interesting!

    Have a good week!

    1. Emma says:

      alright first things first, happy (belated) birthday aileen!! so glad you’re with us!

      i actually went on a mission during the first lockdown and reread almost all the books on my shelf. it was actually really nice to revisit these familiar worlds (including starcrossed by the way lol) and get reminded of the times when i first read those books, in arguably calmer, happier times. which in turn made the first lockdown a pretty good time for me too, i guess 😀

      scents are so interesting! and now i really want to look into specific preferences for scent in different cultures and do research on that as if i don’t already have enough projects on my hands…
      also can we talk about how crazy perfume ads are? those spots are always some weird mini movies…

      anyways, thanks for getting me through my cleaning today with this wonderful episode! already miss ya ladies, but i’ll hopefully hear you again in two weeks!

      lots of love, emma

      1. Josie says:

        Hi Emma!

        So glad you got a re-read out of Starcrossed! I’m a big re-reader (obviously) and I love going back to my bookshelf for series I love. It’s so comforting.

        I’m still obsessed with scent, btw. I think I’m going to have to do Suskind’s “Perfume” just so I can feed my strange interest in all things scent related.

        And, yes, why are perfume ads so strange?! I never really thought about it before but they’re all so creepy. They take themselves way too seriously. It’s perfume, y’all, you haven’t cracked the code to human consciousness. Take it down a notch.

    2. Lauren Sanchez says:

      Hi Shauna! I actually read all the Poldark books, like one after the other after the other! I never did finish the TV series, though! I will have to revisit that. One thing about me as a reader is that when it gets into politics, as it does in the Poldark book series, I kind of, well, skip that part entirely. My brain just shuts down!

      So glad to meet another Poldark fan! YAY!

  2. Aileen says:

    Thanks for the bday wishes! It was so nice to have a before times type of celebration.

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