WSIRN Ep 30: 4-star books with 4-star endings for an ISTJ Type A Upholder (with Amy Johnson)

WSIRN Ep 30: 4-star books with 4-star endings for an ISTJ Type A Upholder (with Amy Johnson)

It's Tuesday, which means a new episode of What Should I Read Next!

Today’s guest is Amy Johnson. Amy grew up in a big family in a small town in rural Colorado. (How small was that town? Amy says there were literally more books in her home than people in her town.) These days, Amy lives in Salt Lake City with her family, and describes herself as an ISTJ Type A Upholder. She’s read a ton, and choosing books for her was a joy and a challenge.

amy johnson

Connect with Amy on her blog Sunlit Pages, instagram, and twitter.

Books discussed in this episode: 

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The Boys in the Boat by James Daniel Brown
Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool
Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel
Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
• Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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47 comments

  1. Greg says:

    A big “thank you” to you! I cannot tell you how excited I am to listen to this podcast on the drive home tonight! You are talking to an ISTJ! Someone like my Meyers-Briggs type! It seems like almost everyone on podcasts that I listen to these days is more along the extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceptive lines. Nothing wrong with that, just wanted to hear about someone who was an ISTJ.

    I just finished “The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” on audio. It was the ISTJ recommendation on a blog post matching Meyers-Briggs personality types with books. I did enjoy it, more than I thought that I would. So, I am looking forward to hear why you recommended the above books.

    Thanks again.

  2. Sara K says:

    Amy’s comments on the last 4 pages of State of Wonder are intriguing! I picked that book up from the library a few months ago but didn’t have a chance to read it. I may just have to do so and risk having the same reaction at the end just to find out 🙂

    I am also going to pick up Seabiscuit. I loved, loved, loved The Boys in the Boat (one of those who raved about the audiobook) and Unbroken as well (though that one is harder to get through).

  3. Melanie says:

    My reaction to State of Wonder was similar to Amy’s. I know that many people love, love, love Ann Patchett, but after reading a few of her books I’ve discovered that the endings, in my opinion, leave something to be desired. I’m so excited to hear that Laura Hillenbrand is working on a new book! I’m looking forward to reading Navigating Early, The Thirteenth Tale, and The Marvels.

  4. MaryAnn says:

    Bill Bryson’s early travel books are so funny – I remember having to actually put the book down while I laughed – and I rarely see them mentioned anymore. I’m looking forward to checking out a few other titles on this list.

  5. Eve says:

    Wanted to mention that there is a young readers version of The Boys in the Boat. My husband just read it with my daughter & they LOVED it! I did the audio version and am so glad!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Anne, it was a joy to hear your podcast get a shoutout on another one I listen to called 2knit lit chicks where the hosts’ byline is “if you can’t knit with a good friend, you can always knit with a good book.” They are prolific readers like you and Barb gave your podcast rave reviews.

  7. Kristie says:

    As another ISTJ, I perked up when I saw the title for this episode. I also really enjoy middle grade fiction. I’m adding a few more books to my TBR list!

  8. Sarah says:

    Anne, I just added every single one of your recommendations from this episode to my TBR list! (And actually, Seabiscuit is already sitting on my bedside table! Just finished Unbroken a couple of weeks ago…SO good!)
    Amy’s reaction to the Patchett book sounds like my reaction to Bel Canto. I spent all that time falling in love with the characters (even the “bad guys”) but was so disappointed with the ending. That’s the only Patchett book I’ve read, but I’m starting to wonder if she feels that her themes are more important than her readers’ connections to her characters…or maybe she does that intentionally so that her themes are all the more poignant?? You need to try to set up an interview with her some time. 😉

    Oh, and is there any chance you could create a post in the fall that lists several books like Rebecca (creepy but not scary)? I read Rebecca in 8th grade and again a few years ago, but this episode made me want to re-read it this fall. I’d love to include it in a fun, creepy book flight!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Loved this podcast. I had just finished reading “State of Wonder”, and had the same reaction about the ending. Also, many of the books mentioned are ones I have read or are on my “want to read” list. “The Boys in the Boat” has been passed around our family (my children are all grown), and everyone has loved it! My son even went and got a kayak (I know it is not the same thing) because he became so obsessed with the book.

  10. Tracy says:

    Great podcast. I knew you were going to recommend Seabiscut to her. It’s a great book. Love The Thirteenth Tale too. Again, I must recommend The Jacky Faber series to one who loves Middle School fiction. She won’t be disappointed and Jacky Faber may become one of her top five literary characters. Don’t be dissuaded by the title of the first one – Bloody Jack. The audio versions are outstanding. I would read them any other way. Also, im going to download audio of Rebecca right now.

  11. Julia says:

    I just started listening to this podcast and loving it already! I’m always on the hunt for a good book to read. If Amy likes middle school fiction, two of my favorites are The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine and Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. They are fantastic!

    • Julia – Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve read The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine and The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt (and loved them both), but haven’t read either of the two you mentioned (although they’ve been on my to-read list for a long time). Thanks for bumping them up closer to the top!

  12. kerri fernandez says:

    I feel like I’m listening to myself on this one!!! I am a mother a 4 boys and these are some of my FAVORITE books! I recommend Boys in the Boat to everyone. I just finished Moon over Manifest and loved it. I made a goal to read 100 books this year and this added a few new ones to my list 🙂 Thanks for doing these podcasts – your show is my “leave me alone time” – my boys hear your voice and know to keep moving!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Seabiscuit is one of my all time favorite reads. My goodness Hillenbrand can put you in the moment. I found myself rooting for Seabiscuit in the big race.

  14. Anne, thanks so much for having me on the show! It was so much fun, and I’m excited to read your recommendations! (I was hoping The Thirteenth Tale would come in before I left on my trip, but no such luck.)

    And thank you, everyone, for your kind comments! I’m sorry I’ve been so slow to respond to them, but I was thrilled to hear from so many of you!

  15. Lisa says:

    I loved this episode and have just finished Navigating Early (after reading Moon over Manifest last week). I hadn’t heard of Clare Vanderpool before, but I adored both books. They were sweet without being cloying, inspiring while being real, and thoughtful while being easily readable. And funny sometimes! So grateful to have learned about them. Thank you!

  16. Jocelyn says:

    Seabiscuit is one of the best books I have read this year. I love horses, I love underdogs. But I think the real reason I loved this book so much was that I felt like I was there … in the depression years … in a very turbulent time in history with events in Europe spiraling towards war (though that is not mentioned as far as I can remember) and getting caught up in the excitement of rooting for this awesome horse. What is that about? No seriously? I am NOT a group person. I am a loner. I mistrust crowds. I am well aware that groups of people are stupid whilst the individuals might be very smart. I even deliberately avoid books that everyone else loves and raves about (which is why I didn’t read this book a long time ago). But when I read this book I felt like I would totally have been reading the paper, listening to the radio, waiting to find out if Seabiscuit and Red had won.

    A similar book is ‘The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation’ by Elizabeth Letts which I listened to as an audio book narrated by Bronson Pinchot and it was amazing. Remember Pinchot? He was the character of Balki in that sitcom ‘Perfect Strangers’ from the mid 80’s when I was about 13. His voice is fantastic and I really think it added to my enjoyment of the story.

    Another book is ‘One Summer: America, 1927’ by Bill Bryson. I read the hardcover but Bryson narrates the audio version. I think reading it was better for me because as in all his books there is just so much information and I was constantly side tracked with looking up more information and flipping back and forth and re-reading sections I loved. A big part of the book is about baseball and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. I also don’t like sports and as I am not American everything I know about baseball I learned from movies or fiction (so I know that there is diamond on the field and the uniforms are funny … hahahah … okay so I do know a bit more than that but still …. it’s not much). These two guys could not be more different from each other but they were friends (well Ruth was friends with just about everyone) but I loved them both so much.

  17. Karen says:

    Loved this episode! (Yes, I’m behind. I usually am.)

    I also started listening on the recommendation from 2 KnitLit Chicks’ Barb since I was looking for a podcast with great book recommendations after the demise of the Books on the Nightstand Podcast.

    This podcast was great! I have more books on my Goodreads To Be Read list!

    One middle grades book that has stuck with me for years (okay, decades) is Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli. I was newly graduated (I was one of those “returned to college after my kids were in school” students) and starting a 6 week subbing gig when the teacher told me we would be starting a new book for 5th grade that nobody in the district had taught yet. This meant I would need to develop all of the materials. The kids (and I) were blown away by the book and had some amazing class discussions and projects come out of it. It’s a “modern classic” now, but since it deals with racism and disunity in a community, it’s still very timely. (How sad these are still issues that need to be addressed over 25 years later!)

  18. Cara Von Tress says:

    I’ve been delightedly making my way through your podcasts (and I’ll be sad when I catch up and have only one per week on my feed!) I’ve never commented before…but I think Amy would enjoy “The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet” by Reif Larsen. It has a quirky, underdog boy protagonist who’s easy to root for.

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