One Star Review T-Shirt Shop Now Open!


Hello there friends and listeners!

We’re happy to announce three great things!

  • First, Christa’s excellent husband redid our logo, so we decided to launch our delightful new look with our custom One Star Review T-Shirt Shop. Yes, you can now get your own #OralHistoryPodcast shirts, three of which feature our favorite lines from lousy reviews of our books.
  • Second,  we’re happy to announce that we’ll be donating all of our t-shirt profits to Scarleteen in an effort to support the good work they do in educating teenagers and young adults about sex. If you don’t know what Scarleteen does, holy shit, do you have some good stuff ahead of you, so click HERE to learn more.
  • Third, we’ll be wearing our shirts at the ALAN workshop next week in Atlanta, so if you’ll be there, come over and say hello. We love meeting our listeners and we’re excited to show off our One Star Review tees and hear what you’ve been reading lately.

Thank you so much for listening and, as always, feel free to email us with your thoughts and questions:

feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com




Episode 18: Sexual Content in YA Books


In this episode of The Oral History Podcast, we discuss censorship issues surrounding content in young adult literature and how this affects librarians, editors, authors and teachers, as well as how people who support open fair access to all kinds of books can respond to book challenges and other kinds of content suppression. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Tell us what you think on Twitter @ChristaDesir, or via email (feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com).

Click to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.


Our Current Reads

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour


— Our TinyLetter serves as a companion piece for each episode and guess what: you can subscribe right here!

— Become a part of #OralHistory with one of our four custom One Star Review t-shirts. Order here. 


Some links regarding VOYA content warning: here, here, here, and here
School Library Journal’s series on libraries and censorship
A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
“Mom, what are Polekatz?”
At The Edge of The Universe by Shaun Hutchinson


“Whoa. That was a lot of opinions.  I have a lot of feelings about them. Think I’ll leave a comment here or email yall my thoughts: feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com”

Episode 17: YA Sex Scenes


Episode 17: We discuss craft issues and questions involved in YA sex scenes, whether you’re reading them or writing them, and reference several titles in the process.

Click to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.


Our Current Reads


Women In Clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Shulavits and Leanne Shapton
Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,  by Maia Szalavitz
The Careful Undressing of Love, by Corey Ann Haydu


The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
Never Look An American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American, by Okey Ndibe
Rani Patel in Full Effect, by Sonia Patel


— Our TinyLetter serves as a companion piece for each episode and guess what: you can subscribe here

— We’re working on an episode about censorship and YA fiction, and how this has occurred at any point in the publication or distribution process, whether you are an author, editor, teacher or librarian. We can keep each submission anonymous if preferred.  We’d love to hear from you! Email here.


“Let’s break it all down for you.”

Books and Other References

Thief of Shadows, by Elizabeth Hoyt
Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series ,by J.R. Ward
My Year Zero, by Rachel Gold
Three Truths and A Lie, by Brent Hartinger
Underneath Everything, by Marcy Beller Paul
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates
Smooth Talk movie
“Welcome to the New America: Straight-ish, heteroflexible, and pansexual” 
See No Color, by Shannon Gibney
The Cheating Episode that Carrie’s “condom stalemate” anecdote referenced
The concept of lunarception
Uses For Boys, by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (and why it contains one of Christa’s favorite sex scenes)

Craft Talk Questions

— What is this character’s relationship with masturbation and their body?
— What has this character been taught about sex and desire?
— How does my character express affection?
— What does this character find attractive in general (attraction not being limited to physical beauty but often this is a marker of what complements the character, what he/she is lacking and seeks in a partner for balance)?
— Is this character able to be open about their sexual identity with their families and community?
— How has this character been shown love and support by others?
— Are there certain societal ideal beauty standards in this character’s world? How do they compare to these ideals?
— What kinds of words does this character use to describe any sort of sensory responses?

Some Good Poems About Sex

“What Saves Us” by Bruce Weigl from What Saves Us, Triquarterly, 1992.
“Groceries” by Cathy Smith Bowers, from Traveling in Time of Danger, Iris Press, 1999.
“Everything We Do” by Peter Meinke, from Liquid Paper: New and Selected Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991.
“Foreplay” by Tony Gloeggler, from One Wish Left, Pavement Saw Press, 2002.
“The Widening” by Carol Moldaw from The Widening, Etruscan Press, 2008.
“First Blowjob” by Meg Kearney, from Never Before: Poems about first experiences, edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Four Way Books, 2005.
“God and the G-Spot” by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love, BOA Editions, 2002.
“Adolescence” by Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks, Knopf, 2004.
“Poem to my First Lover” by Sharon Olds, from The Dead and The Living, Knopf, 1995.
“First Sex” by Sharon Olds, from The Gold Cell, Knopf, 1995
“Last Gods” by Galway Kinnell, When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone, Knopf, 1990.
“Life Story” by Tennessee Williams, The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams, copyright © 1937, 1956, 1964, 2002 by The University of the South.


Don’t look at us like that. Just tell us what you think! feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com

Episode 16: Clean Reads & Porn


Episode 16:  We discuss the idea of “clean reads” as well as porn in fiction and in the lives of adolescents. Don’t panic: we’re not recommending porn films but just examining the role porn plays in adolescent and adult sexuality with respect to formal and informal methods of transmitting information about sexual health and identity. 

Click to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.


Our Current Reads

Erin’s Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century by Hasia R. Diner
The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
All In Pieces by Suzanne Young

“All this talk of Clean Reads makes a person feel dirty.”


an example of a publisher seeking “Clean Reads
Common Sense Media
School Library Journal
It by Stephen King (and the sex scene at the end of the story)

Recommended Books (listed in the order in which they were discussed)

Adam by Ariel Schrag
Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
Cruddy by Lynda Barry
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Deathday Letter by Shaun Hutchinson

==> Subscribe to our companion thematical TinyLetter for each podcast! <==

“Gotta jump in the splash quick, but if you’ve feedback on the show, send yr thoughts to feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com. Carrie and Christa love that shit.”

Episode 15: Romance Tropes









Episode 15: In this show, we depart from our usual analysis of YA literature and instead discuss adult romance-novel tropes that persistently beguile and bedevil us.

click to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher


Our Current Reads


Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the Red Army Faction by Stephan Aust
Orleans by Sherrie L. Smith


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn

   “Translation: All this twaddle merely is saying, ‘Hi, I’m Andreas Baader, a sociopathic dick.'”



What the hell is a “manther” anyway?
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Roxane Gay’s Outlander recaps: here, here, & here


                          “I feel so objectified.”

Romance Trope: The Virgin Hero 

Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Off-Campus by Amy Jo Cousins
Taking Him by Jackie Ashenden

Romance Trope: The Indestructible Male

The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
The Master by Kresley Cole
Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare


“Your torture tactics are nothing compared to the Midwestern accents of these dames, Le Chiffre!”

Want more? Subscribe to our accompanying TinyLetter for further discussion on this episode!


Episode 14: Femininity


Episode 14:  This is a companion piece to our episode on Masculinity, where we discuss femininity and some of its trappings as we’ve experienced them throughout our lives: lingerie, fake nails, cheerleaders, fathers and daughters, make-up, the meanings behind gendered concepts, the gender binary and the ritual of “getting ready.”

click to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher


Our Current Reads


“The Dead” in Dubliners by James Joyce
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase


The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne
Snow by Orhan Pamuk


==> Subscribe to our companion thematical TinyLetter for each podcast! <==


Against Our Will, by Susan Brownmiller
Another Round, Episode 45: Practical Tactical Brilliance (with Lin-Manuel Miranda)
by Susan Brownmiller
Symptoms of Being Humanby Jeff Garvin


Recommended Reads (listed in the order in which they were discussed)

Exit, Pursued by a Bearby EK Johnston
See No Color, by Shannon Gibney
Dare Me, by Megan Abbott
Afterparty, by Ann Redisch Stampler
The Forbidden Orchidby Sharon Biggs Waller
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banksby E. Lockhart

So? How did everything measure up? Tell us what you think! feedback AT theoralhistorypodcast DOT com

Podcasts We Like

"Get your fine self in here, baby."

“Gimme some of that podcast love, baby…”


Everyone and their mother has a podcast lately. It’s both wonderful and terrible, because much like the Amazon e-book store, it’s quite a slog finding good ones.

Of course, we vainly and whole-heartedly recommend our own show, The Oral History Podcast, but here is a list of ones we listen to regularly ourselves. What’s interesting is what they all have in common, too. Scroll down to the bottom of the list if you can’t figure it out…

Another Round
Description: “Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.”
Additional Thoughts: “Heben and Tracy are funny as hell, display much candor on mental illness and self-care issues, and are excellent interviewers.” – Christa
main show page

Death Sex & Money
Description: “A podcast hosted by Anna Sale about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.”
Additional Thoughts: “Anna Sale is a bomb interviewer who finds lots of fascinating people to talk to and who has introduced me to a ton of artists and performers I wouldn’t know about otherwise. Stories are followed up on and listener-submitted stories are featured in every episode. It’s a very intimate look at how people feel about death sex and/or money and I never miss a show.” – Carrie
main show page

Double X Gabfest
Description: “Audio programming from Double X, Slate’s blog founded by women but not just for women.”
Additional Thoughts: “A good highlight reel of current events as they affect women and feminism, with lots of discussion on feminist debates, new and old, as well as a close look at popular culture and books. I especially enjoy June Thomas’ insight on, well, EVERYTHING. A good starting place for baby feminists and culture critics.” – Carrie
main show page

How To Make Me Come
Description: “”How to Make Me Come” explores issues linked to and inspired by female orgasm.”
Additional Thoughts: “Very candid discussion of the sexual lives and thoughts of real people. There were only 19 episodes made, unfortunately, but the open discussion is singular and fresh, and a concept I hope others will reprise.” – Carrie
main show page

In Bed With Susie Bright
Description: “In Bed is Susie’s notorious weekly audio show – all about sex, culture, media, and politics- from a refreshingly sexual point of view! You can’t hear it on the radio – you can only get it on the Internet. Commercial-free. Uncensored.”
Additional Thoughts: “You have to pay to listen to this show, but it’s well worth the money. Get a taste with some free samples available here. Susie Bright has one of the best minds when it comes to sexual politics and culture. Invest in your own sexual self-interest & listen.” – Carrie
main show page

A Novel Chat
Description: “Follow along with Aneeqah, Willa, and Emily as they discuss all things young adult books. Featuring insightful yet fun conversations, you’ll get to hear about various young adult novels, and the themes surrounding them. If you’re looking to find your next read or just listen in on a fun conversation, then tune in for some good times. From reading to publishing to all things life, these gals will sure to keep you entertained and also make you think a little deeper about a variety of books.”
Additional Thoughts: “This is a very new show and one produced by actual teenaged readers. I’m excited to see what they’ll produce next and will definitely be referring it to my teenaged students.” – Carrie
main show page

On Being
Description: “On Being takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you’ll love to meet. Updated every Thursday, Krista Tippett with a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.”
Additional Thoughts: I have listened to this show since 2001, when it was called “Speaking of Faith” and though I’ve got no religious life at the moment, I still find it a fascinating listen. I especially like the shows that get super exegetical about religious texts because though I don’t miss most of my former religious life, I do miss listening to smart people hold forth on the Bible.” – Carrie
main show page

Only Human
Description: “Only Human is a podcast about making the most of our health, whether we’re training for a marathon, overcoming an illness, or trying not to go broke paying for healthcare. Hosted by Mary Harris, Only Human is a show where we’re not afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, and experiment with possible solutions.”
Additional Thoughts: “I’m not a big fan of medical anything (shows set in hospitals, going to hospitals) but this is a very short, thoughtful look at health issues, both familiar and weird, which is a nice combination for a podcast, I think.” – Carrie
main show page

This Creative Life
Description: “Author Sara Zarr in conversation with other writers, with a focus on the practical and psychological aspects of creativity, the creative process, and the strange landscape where art meets commerce. Past guests include the author of If I Stay, Gayle Forman; literary agent Michael Bourret; and filmmaker Scott Derrickson.”
Additional Thoughts:  “A thoughtful look at creative process and creative obstacles, as well as discussion of living a creative life and how this kind of career affects all areas of one’s life.” – Christa
main show page

got yr ears on

“I got my ears on and I’m listening to every word you say, sweetheart.”




…what do all these podcasts have in common?

female content creators, hello