WSIRN Ep 43: Fiction FOMO and curing Hamilton hangover with Sarah Stewart Holland

WSIRN Ep 43: Fiction FOMO and curing Hamilton hangover with Sarah Stewart Holland

Who's ready for a new episode of What Should I Read Next? 

 Today I’m happy to welcome my friend and fellow podcaster Sarah Stewart Holland to the show. You may already know Sarah from her blog Bluegrass Redhead or her show, Pantsuit Politics. Sarah is drawn to nonfiction and wants to read more fiction, but tends to grab what's new and hot in fiction for fear of missing out, instead of intentionally selecting it. One of her big strengths is "input," and she loves reading about all kinds of topics to scratch that informational itch.And she's obsessed with Hamilton, so of course we go there.

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Connect with Sarah on twitter, instagram, and facebook, and follow Pantsuit Politics on twitter @pantsuitpolitic.

If you're reading this by email, click over to the blog to listen to this episode.

Books discussed in this episode (alphabetically):

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, by Jennifer Senior
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson
The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
The Girls, Emma Cline
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance
The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
The Nest, by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
11.22.63, by Stephen King

Also mentioned:

Pantsuit Politics podcast
• Sarah’s guest post on MMD: "Bundling books & friends, two of my favorite things."
Hamilton: Cast Recording
• Quote from Natalie Babbitt via Overdue Podcast Ep. 199 - “[People might be surprised to find out] that I believe that writing books is a long way from being important. The most important thing anyone can do is be a teacher. As for those of us who write books, I often think we should all stop for 50 years. There are so many wonderful books to read and not enough time to get around to all of them, but we writers just keep cranking them out. All we can hope for is that readers can find just a little time for them anyway."

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Do YOU have an idea for what Sarah should read next? Tell us in comments!

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28 comments

  1. Tammy says:

    Loved this podcast and the ease of the conversation today.
    I must say I am not a fan of the new order of the books. I enjoyed that the books were in order of the mention on the podcast so I can keep them straight in my mind and refer to them easily.

    I wasn’t sure what nonfiction to read next and now I know after this session!

    • Sara K says:

      I agree! I understand that some people didn’t like the spoilerish nature of having the books in order, but it is so much harder to keep straight which books have been discussed already when they are in alphabetical order. I’m just so happy to have a new episode each week that I don’t even care 🙂

      • Tammy says:

        Agreed! I have to download the episode from the website every Tuesday because I cannot wait for Stitcher to catch up! I am SOOOO thankful for weekly episodes. WSIRN is my favorite podcast…Book Riot’s ALL THE BOOKS is second.

  2. Sara K says:

    I have now added a few more BIG books to my reading list! Gah! I seriously need a few more hours in the day just to devote to reading.

    I am working on the Alexander Hamilton biography as well, but like Sarah said at the end of the episode, I am in a crunch to finish my reading challenges for the year so I need to focus on the books that fit my challenge right now. I am hoping to really dive in after new years. Of course, now I have the Abraham Lincoln book (916 pages!) on my list, and I need to finally check out 11/22/63 🙂

    My hope next year is to read fewer books but focus on some large, historical biography books. We’ll see how that goes…

  3. Kellee says:

    New listener here. I’ve been looking for a book podcast for a while, and this one hit all the right notes. I’m also an “Input” person and have recently come to accept that I will never read ALL the books I want to read.. they just keep getting added to my TBR list (sigh). I also love Hamilton and was so excited to hear more discussion on it

  4. Elizabeth Brink says:

    I’m so glad Sarah loves Hamilton and especially ‘Wait For It’. I love it, too! I finally got my co-worker to start listening to it, and I keep pouncing on him in the kitchen to find out where he’s at. Here’s hoping my enthusiasm isn’t off-putting. 😉

  5. Manda says:

    I’m recommending Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard for today’s guest. It’s about Garfield’s assassination, and it’s so good that you forget you’re reading history and you just get caught up in the story. One of my favorite books!

  6. Mary says:

    I like when you present the books in the order in which they are mentioned rather than alphabetically. Just say in’. 😉

  7. Mary says:

    Ah, how good this podcast is! I live close to Paducah, too! Sarah, do you have a favorite bookstore there?
    I recommend “Truman” by David McCullough! Fascinating!

  8. Renee says:

    I loved this episode so much! Oh, how I wish I lived in Kentucky (And I would totally read the books if I was in your book club!)! My boys (5 & 8) and I went on a super Hamilton kick this summer. Such fun!
    I loved 11/22/63 so much! I listened to it on audio, which I really enjoyed.
    One of my favorite non-fiction books is The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. It’s all about how we as humans learn language.

  9. Kim says:

    I think it is totally fine to recommend a book for book club you have already read. Then you know it is good and worth discussing. I’ve been in book clubs that did both ways. You run a greater risk if no one has read it yet. Unless it is an author you know is great. And being able to discuss is key. There are great books that don’t lend well to discussion. And mediocre ones that could have a big discussion. My two cents.

  10. Teddie says:

    Loved that she hated her book club members not reading the books. My 12 member book club became a dinner club, so we disbanded and became a four member book club. I’m so happy to say we all read the books, and discuss them over dinner!!

  11. Melanie says:

    What Sarah said about being an input person really resonated with me. I’m very good at downtime (physically) but I am absolutely horrible at silence (mental downtime). I’m always reading or listening to something and I’m happiest when I have something to research. I just went back and looked at my StrengthsFinder results, and sure enough, Input is one of my themes. Also, book FOMO is totally a thing. I want to have an opinion on the books everyone is talking about, so new releases often get pushed to the top of my queue at the expense of older books.

  12. Megan C. says:

    Is there a way to compress the audio file for the podcast? I can only download the file on a wifi network due to iTunes file size restrictions. Thanks!

    P.S. LOVE the podcast! Keep up the good work.

  13. Kathryn Zeuthen says:

    I have become addicted to this podcast! It is the first one I listen to when it is released. Of course, my wallet is a little thinner from buying so many new books but oh well! I enjoyed this talk but have a question.

    This may be a silly question but what is FOMO?

  14. Kim says:

    Anything including Hamilton is a fave of mine! Reading through the biography now (slowly but surely). Saving my pennies to see the show when it’s on its national tour! 🙂

  15. Honey says:

    I preferred the books in order too!
    Made it much easier to take notes and purchase books that I’m interested in.
    I look forward to the podcast each week.

  16. Hilary says:

    You’ll never make everyone happy listing the books. I prefer them alphabetized, myself.
    I have a question to those who’ve read “Being Mortal”. I’m on page 75 or so and I am just not finding this book to be anything but SUUUUUUPER depressing. It must get somewhat better, right? I’m losing hope. I’ll give it to page 100 but otherwise, I’m calling it off. I don’t want to read a book that is depressing for no other sake than to *be* depressing.

  17. Britany says:

    Ok- after this episode I’ve added Hillbilly Elegy and Team of Rivals. So many books, so little time. I’d love for publishers to hold off on a year of writing just to give us a chance to catch up! Also, I just took the strengthsfinder assessment at work a few weeks ago and my number 1 strength was Input. So interesting to hear from another Input person…

  18. Becca says:

    I am totally late to this party. I followed Gretchen Rubin to this podcast, because she is one of my favorite authors. But Sarah just might be my reading soul mate after hearing her on this podcast. All Joy and No Fun – YES! Being Mortal – YES! Hamilton the book, the musical, and of course the Hamil-Tome book about the musical. Hamilton has definitely made it a challenge to meet my own reading challenge this year, but even so I moved on to Chernow’s Washington bio anyway it is also great. I just want to throw out one of my recent favorite fiction series for Sarah – the Maisie Dobbs mystery series. I’m not much of a mystery person, but I got onto this because of its relation to WWI, because who doesn’t love to coordinate their reading with historical anniversaries?! And there is still one year left to get in all of that WWI-related reading while we are still in the 100-year anniversary period. I’m enjoying this podcast and will be checking out Pantsuit Politics next…

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