The SSR Podcast / www.instagram.com
Elizabeth Entenman
September 12, 2018 3:01 pm

Remember SSR time in elementary school? It was a quiet, relaxing part of the day devoted to our favorite things: books. Those 20 blissful minutes were silent, sustained, and full of reading. If you’ve ever sat at your desk as an adult and thought, I wish I could take a break for some SSR right about now, fear not. You might not be able to crack open a book at work, but you can listen to The SSR Podcast.

The SSR Podcast is the brainchild of Alli Hoff Kosik, one of the biggest bookworms around. Kosik studied journalism in college and worked in book publishing at Penguin Random House for almost five years. After she left her job to get back to her writing roots in the freelance world, she found herself craving a more structured way to talk about books — specifically, literary throwbacks from middle school and high school. And thus, The SSR Podcast was born.

The SSR Podcast is built around the idea that even if you weren’t a big reader as a kid, most of us still share certain childhood reading experiences. Every episode offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane; episodes range from Animal Farm to Goosebumps. Oh, and in this case, “SSR” doesn’t just stand for “silent sustained reading” — it also stands for “shit she read.” We see what you did there, Alli.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the way that media — especially pop culture — overlaps with the way we see and experience the world, and the media we consume as kids is obviously really formative,” Kosik told HelloGiggles. “Since books have always been my preferred form of media, I just became obsessed with the idea of finding out how messed up, hilarious, or genuinely wonderful some of the books I was exposed to as a kid really were.”

Every week, Kosik welcomes a guest to discuss a book from their childhood or teenage years.

Sometimes, it’s a beloved favorite; other times, it’s a title the guest missed out on reading. In every episode, they discuss what it’s like to visit a text intended for kids as an adult. Spoiler alert: Your favorite books aren’t always as charming as you remember.

“Sometimes, we fangirl over characters. Other times, we rant about how anti-feminist we’ve realized these books really are. Generally speaking, the show is honest, funny, and nostalgic.”

To Kosik, The SSR Podcast is about more than just revisiting literary throwbacks.

It’s also a way for women to revisit strong influences from their childhoods and have a platform for conversations about important topics like gender politics.

“There aren’t enough spaces where millennial women can reflect in a totally honest way about the influences that shaped them — to laugh at the funny, feel grateful for the good, and embrace the shock that comes when you realize how problematic some of these things were. There are so many great conversations happening in 2018 about gender politics, diversity, sex, and more, and rereading books from our younger days through the lens of those conversations makes for some fascinating, hilarious, and often upsetting dialogue.”

Some of Kosik’s favorite literary throwbacks so far will probably be yours, too.

“I really loved coming back to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, because I realized there’s so much more to the story of these four young women than I knew as a tween. I also have a new appreciation for Ella Enchanted, who I’ve discovered is a total feminist hero!”

You can listen to new episodes of SSR every Tuesday on iTunes, Stitcher, and the SSR Podcast website.

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