What Should I Read Next? Podcast

At yoga yesterday, our instructor threw down the challenge to set our intentions for the year. As longtime readers know, I ditched resolutions a few years ago, but I like the idea of intentions.

Intentions are optimistic, judgment free, and have success already baked in.

My intentions for this year are joy—I’m ready to feel light-hearted and free—yoga, and reading.

Jane Eyre collection

To that end, it was an absolute delight to be a guest on the What Should I Read Next? podcast with Anne Bogel, the bright, charming, almost-sorta-librarian behind the web site Modern Mrs. Darcy. Her site is a treasure trove of excellent book recommendations and insight into how to live a sweet life. And her podcast is guaranteed to have you increasing your To Be Read pile.

In our conversation, we talked about my three favorite books—yes, Jane Eyre was one of them—and I snuck in a few more authors and series that I love. Narrowing my list to three was so hard! That’s like trying to choose a favorite recipe. I like a smorgasbord! I also enjoyed the catharsis of spitting out the bile of a book that I hate with a white-hot passion. Then Anne recommended three books she thought I would like, and I knew she totally got me when she suggested The Golem and the Jinni; it’s already in the “Favorites” folder on my Kindle. Our chat was one of my favorite parts of December.

Listen to the What Should I Read Next podcast

Reading Is Sexy: Jane Eyre and Jane Austen

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Reading Day: The Ultimate Staycation

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  • Brian says:


    I like the idea, but, question – is it a lot of Jane Austen discussion or does she talk about other authors? The podcast sounds interesting in theory, but I can’t say I’m a Jane Austen fan…

    • That’s a good question! I’ve listened to about 10 episodes so far, and I haven’t heard any discussions of Jane Austen. Each episode features a guest talking about their three favorite books and a book they hate, then Anne recommends new reads, based on the guest’s reading history. Because each guest is different, the book discussion are far-ranging and super interesting. You can read the descriptions of each episode, including a list of the books discussed, on her site. Hardly any Austen to be seen 😉

  • Joni says:

    It’s so fun when two things Ilove come together! I’ve been a big fan of your blog and books for years, and have been a die-hard listener of WSIRN since its first episode. Your episode was definitely one of my favorites, and it sounds we like have similar tastes in books (though I actually ended up being glad I stuck with The Goldfinch… gasp!). I can’t wait to check out some of the picks I learned about on your episode!

    • I’ve been working my way through the WSIRN archives, and I’m loving it so much. It’s become my go-to podcast on walks which means I’ll soon be caught up and then I’ll have to wait each week. NO! Such torture.

      I’m very happy you’re glad you stuck with The Goldfinch.I love how different books touch people in different ways. I mean, it definitely made an impact on me, and I actually loved deconstructing WHY didn’t enjoy it. I have to say, the really loved the beginning. And Hobie. I loved Hobie.

  • Diana Thorne says:

    I LOVED this podcast – I can’t believe I never thought to looks for a podcast on reading. I was a kid who honestly didn’t know how to get places in my home town because if I was in the car (or anywhere, really) I was reading, and not paying attention to anything else. I’ve let “life” get in the way, and would really love nothing more than to have the time and funds to just go be an English Lit major for no particular reason. I figure a cost effective compromise would be to join the MMD book club, for now.

    AND I loved you on the podcast! Although I was holding my breath in trepidation that you would say your most hated book was Pride and Prejudice. I would forgive you for it if it was, but I’m glad it wasn’t. 🙂

    • Hooray! I’m so happy you liked it. I really enjoyed talking about books like that — such a treat! I used to roller skate to the library in my hometown, so I feel you about reading a lot as a kid! I’ve daydreamed about becoming a Bronte scholar just for fun. HA! So impractical, but I love the idea. The MMD book club looks fantastic, right?!

      Don’t be mad: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. I’m so firmly on Team Charlotte Bronte, I have a hard time with Jane Austen. But I 100% love people who love Jane Austen.

      • Diana Thorne says:

        I get it. I reread Jane Eyre last year, and it was hard in some ways coming from such a Team Austen frame of reference. I appreciated it, but I had to try harder to identify with characters. (I was extremely indignant on Jane’s behalf, mostly). I think they’re so very different, and yet, If You Liked one, you almost always get the other recommended to you. I just don’t get that leap!

        TBH, I haven’t loved all the Austen I’ve read. P&P is far and away my favorite, and I think it’s because Elizabeth Bennet is just so damn likable. Witty yet oblivious, smart yet not smart enough to avoid the plot. Pretty, but not too pretty. (the 1996 BBC adaptation certainly doesn’t hurt, either).

  • Kelli says:

    I LOVED hearing you in this episode! 19 copies of Jane Eyre! I discovered you back in the day when I had a crazy idea to look into the Whole 9! Crazy to think that I learned about the Paleo lifestyle and found health from the Whole 9. I need to know more about your treasured footnoted Jane Eyre. Was it footnoted by the publisher or was it a used book that was footnoted by the previous reader? My daughter wants to love it, and struggles with understanding the old english language. Good luck with your move! And I much prefer Austen’s Persuasion to P&P… who of us doesn’t second guess our decisions from time to time?

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed that podcast! i would talk to Anne about books every week if she would let me — I just loved doing it!

      I’m pretty sure that this is the version of Jane Eyre: http://amzn.to/2iv3zLM but it’s been a long time.

      Perhaps I should give Persuasion a try. I’ve been thinking that I need to attempt Jane Austen again, especially because so many people I like—and whose taste seems to overlap with mine—love her work.

  • Karen Dell'Apa says:

    I just bought The Historian today after I saw you recommended it. We are due an icestorm here for the next two days, so a sofa, a book and a few emergency candles to read by sounds pretty perfect to me. Obviously if we are in danger, I will put the book down! I read of your passion for Jane Eyre…I am a Brit who has somehow ended up in Nebraska to live, but my hometown (Scarborough) is in the county of Yorkshire, where the Bronte’s lived at Haworth, and of course as you know where the sisters’ books were set. If you have never been, at some point you must, it truly is the most magnificent place in the world, it is as bleak and windswept as you have read about, but then you get the beautiful summer days where you go out for a drive on a one lane country road and happen upon a picture perfect village, and you find the pub (which takes a minute because there’s only 10 cottages, a 300 year old church and a pub for miles around…) and take your drinks out into the walled garden and sit and gaze upon the greenest, loveliest hills and valleys you can imagine. Okay, there, I made myself homesick! But truly, at some point, take a trip there, if you never have before, and drink the place in with your own eyes. I look forward to getting lost in The Historian tomorrow! Your cookbooks are superb too by the way, we have gone a bit minimalist since we moved here and yours and nomnompaleo are the only ones that survived the purge!

    • Ooooh! I hope you like The Historian. There’s one tiny section toward the end where it gets a teeny bit bogged down, but I love it so much, I just overlook that part. Please let me know what you think of it either way; I’m curious!

      From Bronte country to Nebraska! There must be a very good story in there somewhere. My husband Dave and I have a visit to Haworth on our must-do list. We’re moving to Prague in April, so a trip to England will definitely happen in the next few years. Thank you so much for the recommendations and descriptions; I really can’t wait to go.

      I’m very honored that my cookbooks made the cut and so happy that the recipes are working for you! I’m minimizing my collection right now for our move, and it’s a brutal process 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Mel,

    I just heard your episode of WSIRN and loved it. Thanks for being so real and personable. I also love Erik Larson and recently read a couple books by Catherine Bailey that are true stories that read like fiction. I think you might like this one:

    The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret By Catherine Bailey

    I believe Catherine Bailey to be a non-fiction equivalent of Louise Penny. This book has strong narrative drive, a gripping mystery, and thoughtful examinations of the human psyche. Bailey, through meticulous research uncovers events previously lost to history. The choices and actions of the principals in this book linger long after you finish reading. Time period WWI. Excited for you and your upcoming move!

    • Thank you so much for this recommendation! You’re right — that sounds like something I would love. I just downloaded a sample to my Kindle, and I’ve been thinking I should read more about WWI, so this is very exciting. I’ll post back here after I’ve read it!

  • Melissa says:

    Loved hearing your interview! Thanks for turning me on to a “new” podcast! I love listening to them on my commute… this one has me scrambling for a pen!