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Summer Readalong: Jane Eyre with Vanessa Zoltan and Lauren Sandler


On the left is a photo of a ragged copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and on the right is the logo for the podcast Hot & Bothered

This summer, as part of my classics challenge, I’ve decided to take on Jane Eyre.


I began reading this classic novel during the pandemic and then dropped it. I just couldn’t get into it! Jane is such a tragic figure and the language is so antiquated, and I finally thought, ugh, I don’t want to read this. So I stopped.


But a compelling podcaster whom I admire LOVES Jane Eyre. And this summer she is hosting an entire podcast season dedicated to Jane Eyre called Hot & Bothered Season 3: On Eyre.


Vanessa Zoltan, a humanistic atheist chaplain, created the podcast Hot and Bothered a few years ago with the purpose of reading and writing romance novels as a sacred practice. The first season involved interviews with romance novel writers and experts, writing prompts, and conversations with her friends, including her mother. It was heartfelt, fun, and thought-provoking.


Vanessa and her friend Julia Argy then veered into pandemic-inspired rom-com territory with a season of Hot and Bothered called Twilight in Quarantine, which was a goofy and fun foray into Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series—until Eclipse, which is possibly the worst book ever written. During quarantine though, this podcast was exactly what I needed.


On Friday July 2nd, Vanessa and her friend, author Lauren Sandler, embark on a new season of Hot and Bothered entitled On Eyre.


Vanessa considers Jane Eyre to be the best romance novel of all time. Because she loves it so much, I’m giving it a second shot, reading it along with her podcast so I can enjoy all the fodder Vanessa and Lauren will provide.


Maybe you’re like me—you’ve never read Jane Eyre, or you tried and gave up, and you need a reading buddy to enrich the reading experience and follow through.


Maybe you’re like Vanessa—you’ve read Jane Eyre, and you loved it too! Perhaps this summer you can revisit Jane Eyre and add a new layer of understanding onto a favorite character and her story.


No matter how you’ve related to the novel in the past, I invite you to join Vanessa and Lauren as they guide us through Jane Eyre. And I invite you to join me as I read it, listen to the podcast, and respond here at Babble of the Books.


On Eyre premieres Friday July 2nd on all podcast platforms. Follow this link to listen to the trailer.


Need a copy of Jane Eyre? Be green and buy used! Or, if you want a new, clean copy for yourself, check out www.indiebound.org to connect with your local independent bookstore and place an order.


A black cat lies on a gray blanket and looks up at the camera. In front of the cat lies a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This is our newly adopted cat Olive posing with a copy of Jane Eyre that I borrowed from my sister-in-law. (Thanks, Maria!)

July 2nd! On Eyre!


Until then, happy (summer) reading.


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