Welcome to Teachin' Books, a podcast all about the ways people teach, learn, and work with literature.

1.23 Failure in/and Teaching

Today I'm talkin' FAILURE. With contributions from friends, colleagues, listeners who shared their stories and thoughts about failure, as well as my own experiences and ideas, this episode gets into: the “meta” experience of failing to read enough about failure to do an episode on it; learning in theory...

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1.22 Louise Halfe – Sky Dancer’s Blue Marrow and “Body Politics”

On today's solo episode of Teachin' Books, I'm talking about the work of acclaimed poet Louise Bernice Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer. In particular, I'm talking about an excerpt from Blue Marrow and a short poem called “Body Politics” from Bear Bones & Feathers. For the former:...

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1.21 Interview with Lucy Hinnie / Teaching Shakespeare: Comedy and History

We're back to teachin' Shakespeeeeeare today! This episode features an interview with my lovely friend and brilliant human Dr. Lucy Hinnie! Lucy is currently Wikimedian-in-Residence at the British Library, and is completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Saskatchewan.  In the course of our convo about the second-year...

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1.20 Interview with Khodi Dill / Spoken Word Poetry and “Grey,” Picture Books, and Education

Teachin' Books is back with an exciting interview with Khodi Dill, who is author of the picture book Welcome to the Cypher (available for pre-order now!) and a Bahamian-Canadian writer, spoken word artist, and anti-racist educator living and working on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatoon. Check it out, y'all!...

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1.19 End-of-Term Tips

How do you wrap up the term in a good way? What do you do in the final days of class, whether remote or in-person? What atmosphere do you try to create?  This episode includes thoughts in response to those questions, featuring fantastic tips by Ashley Gagnon-Shaw, Jocelyne Vogt,...

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1.18 Interview with Wendy Roy / On Researching, Writing, and Publishing The Next Instalment

Heeey y’all! On today’s episode of Teachin’ Books, we’re talking about something a bit different: research, writing, and publishing as forms of teaching and learning.  The episode features part of the book launch for The Next Instalment:  Serials, Sequels, and Adaptations of Nellie L. McClung, L.M. Montgomery, and Mazo...

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1.17 Listener Q&A / Catch-Up Episode!

Today's episode is a bit of a catch-up / breather: I'm answering a few listener questions and emails and, along the way, returning to some of the podcast's ongoing topics of interest. Topics like… statue activism, book clubs (I ask: why do some last and some don't?), recording the...

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1.16 Interview with Jordan Bolay / Dungeons and Dragons

It's heeeeeere! I'm so excited to share this Teachin' Books episode on Dungeons and Dragons, featuring Jordan Bolay, who is an instructor of English at Pearson College UWC. Even if you're not a DnD player, I think you'll like our chat! We get into: DnD as an experiential learning...

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1.15 Robert Montgomery’s Public Poetry Installations

On today’s episode, I’m talking about the public poetry installations of London-based poet and artist Robert Montgomery. I use Montgomery’s work in my first-year undergrad poetry class to consider important dimensions of and questions brought up by public poetry, such as: how these poems blur the line between “art”...

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1.14 Interview with Rebekah Ludolph / Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child

Heeeeey y’all! We’re back to talkin’ about book clubs today as Ph.D. candidate Rebekah Ludolph shares her experience reading Hiromi Goto’s novel The Kappa Child (2001) in a book club that encourages the goal of reading to learn. At the same time, Rebekah complicates the idea of reading for...

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1.13 Janelle Monáe’s “Pynk” and Vivek Shraya’s “Part-time Woman”

I’ve been really excited to share this episode with you: today, I talk about teachin’ Janelle Monáe’s song/music video “Pynk” in combination with Vivek Shraya’s song/music video “Part-time Woman”! This is always a fun combo to teach. In this episode: teaching students methods of reading the visual dimensions of...

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1.12 Interview with Taylor Brown / Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian

On today’s episode of Teachin’ Books, undergraduate student Taylor Brown shares her experiences working as a tour guide while she was also reading and thinking through Thomas King’s 2012 non-fiction work The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Topics from our chat include: being...

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1.11 Jes Baker’s Landwhale

January sucks and I am here to talk about why! 😀 If you need a more positive tagline than that, I can’t help you. In this episode, I talk about teachin’ Jes Baker’s memoir Landwhale: On Turning Insults into Nicknames, Why Body Image is Hard, and How Diets Can...

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1.10 Interview with Tara Chambers / Andre Alexis’s Fifteen Dogs

Teachin’ Books is baaaaack! It appears it’s a new, but still garbage, year — yay?! On today’s episode, I chat with my friend Tara Chambers about a novel we both teach in undergraduate classes: Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis. Tara talks about teachin’ this novel in a class themed...

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Holiday special!

I’m back from hiatus to share with you this sweet and joy-filled Holiday special episode, which I recorded with my mom Kathy and my cousin Whitney! We planned to just “shoot the shit,” as they say, about topics like books and reading, family and parenting, and the holidays. And...

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1.9 Interview with Jocelyne Vogt / Harold Cardinal’s “A Canadian What the Hell It’s All About”

It’s the last official episode of 2020! As I mention in this episode and the last, I’m taking a break from producing the podcast, and I’ll be back in January 2021. On this episode, I’m chatting with Jocelyne Vogt about teaching Harold Cardinal’s essay “A Canadian What the Hell...

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1.8 Douglas Coupland’s JPod

Nearing the one-year anniversary — if such a term applies — of my dissertation defence, I am taking this opportunity to mark the occasion by chatting about an author I’ve spent around a decade of my life studying: Douglas Coupland. In this episode, I talk about teachin’ Coupland’s novel...

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1.7 Interview with Anita Smith / William Shakespeare’s & Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’s As You Like It

We’re talkin’ Shakespeare today! In this episode, I chat with theatre artist Anita Smith about her production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’s 2019 season. We talk about the parallels between directing and teaching, about why she chose Alice in Wonderland as a...

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1.6 Interview with Catherine Nygren / The Stanley Parable

Y’all. Today we’re teachin’ VIDEO GAAAMES and I’m so excited! I’m not really a big gamer, but I loved chatting with Catherine Nygren about the ways she incorporates The Stanley Parable into her intro to literature classes. To download The Stanley Parable, or to access a free demo and/or...

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1.5 Instapoetry

Heyyy all! I’m talkin’ about Instapoetry in today’s episode of Teachin’ Books. In particular, I share three short exercises I use to teach Instapoetry, two of which (in response to a listener request (!!!)) were designed for online teaching environments. I also chat a bit about the debates that...

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1.4 Interview with Alice Munro Book Club members / Alice Munro’s Dear Life

In this episode of Teachin’ Books, I talk to a few members from the lovely Alice Munro book club I’ve been participating in this year: Sarah Roger, Taylor Graham, Tracy Ware, Sandra Hoenle, and Bob Thacker. We chat about Alice Munro’s short story collection Dear Life and, in general,...

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1.3 Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

In this episode of Teachin’ Books, I talk to… myself!… about teaching Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novelNever Let Me Go. Get the novel through your library or local bookstore. In Saskatoon, I like Turning the Tide and McNally Robinson. There’s also the film adaptation. Check out Dorothy Ellen Palmer’s work...

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1.2 Interview with Joanne Leow / David Chariandy’s Brother

In this episode of Teachin’ Books, host Jessica McDonald talks to Dr. Joanne Leow, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan, about teaching David Chariandy’s novel Brother. Find out more about David Chariandy’s novel Brother. You can find Karina Vernon’s edited anthology The Black Prairie Archives at...

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1.1 Interview with Jade McDougall / Marilyn Dumont’s “Letter to Sir John A Macdonald”

In this first official / full-length episode of Teachin’ Books, host Jessica McDonald talks to Ph.D. candidate and instructor Jade McDougall about teaching Marilyn Dumont’s “Letter to Sir John A Macdonald.” So, today we’re teachin’ POEMS, y’all. Find more about Jade here. Find Marilyn Dumont’s poem “Letter to Sir...

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0.0 Trailer / Intro & Intentions

Welcome to Teachin’ Books! In this first episode / minisode / trailer (who can decide?), host Jessica McDonald chats about her intentions for the podcast and about what you can expect in future episodes. See more about Dissonant Methods: Undoing Discipline in the Humanities Classroom, edited by Ada S....

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About the Podcaster

Jessica McDonald, Host and Creator

Hi! Thanks for checkin’ out the podcast.

I’m Jessica, a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2020-2021) in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. I teach regularly at the University of Saskatchewan, where I received my Ph.D. in English in 2019. You can find more info about my research here.

When I’m not teaching, researching, or podcasting, I like to cook needlessly elaborate meals, make lots of lists, write silly poems, and, in the summers, pretend I know how to play slo-pitch.

Find me at the accounts below or use the contact form here to get in touch.