Podcast Spotlight: ‘Celebrity Book Club’ With Claribel A. Ortega and Ryan La Sala


What’s up, hot queens? Does it feel like you’ve watched the entirety of every streaming platform, read every book, and listened to every podcast since the start of quarantine and need something to spice up your life? Well, look no further, because Celebrity Book Club is just the right podcast to bring some joy and entertainment into your life.

In Celebrity Book Club, authors Claribel A. Ortega (Ghost Squad) and Ryan La Sala (Be Dazzled) delve into the world of celebrity penned books. They seek out the most obscure, ridiculous, and poorly reviewed books written by celebrities and analyze what works, what doesn’t, and offer other commentary. Their first book is Modelland by Tyra Banks. Read the summary below.

“No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.

But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.”

Now, you may have a lot of questions about Modelland, and trust me, Claribel and Ryan do, too, and they ask every single one in the podcast. As they go through the book and discuss the antics and other goings on of the story, providing amusing commentary about the book. But they don’t only make joking remarks about the often nonsensical events of the story; they take time to provide thoughtful analysis and critique. With each episode, they raise important points about how a character could’ve done something differently to fit better within the story, or why aspects of the book are harmful and what how those aspects could be fixed. They essentially create a “what not to do” for both aspiring and veteran authors. They also mention their own books and how they relate to the analyses.

Another aspect that works in the podcast’s favor is Ryan and Claribel’s decision to go chapter by chapter. When they initially announced the podcast, I was expecting them to discuss bigger portions of the book per episode. However, I’m glad they went with the approach they did. Regardless of how short or long a chapter is, they dedicate the time to do deep dives into each one, curating insightful critique about the characters, the plot, the writing in general, and so much more. The chapter-by-chapter approach almost makes it feel as though you’ve read each chapter, too, and is a great way to keep you interested if actually reading the book isn’t something you plan on doing. (But to be honest, their discussions on the book may just give you the push you need to satisfy your curiosity.)

Beyond the analysis of Modelland, Celebrity Book Club has a lot going for it to keep you listening. The camaraderie between Claribel and Ryan stands out and listening to them interact is a delight to listen to. No matter how the book confuses or frustrates them, it’s clear they enjoy doing the podcast together, bringing a bright spot to your day. Their intro to the podcast is also entertaining to hear at the start of every episode. They’ve found ways to keep the podcast interesting with a special interlude episode featuring author Phil Stamper that carries into the rest of the podcast, and their episode titles only boost the humor. Celebrity Book Club is a podcast you don’t want to miss.

Episodes of Celebrity Book Club drop every Friday. You can listen to the podcast now on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you listen to podcasts. Make sure to follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates. You can follow Claribel on Twitter, Instagram, and find their website here. You can find Ryan on Twitter, Instagram, and visit his website here.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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