WSIRN Ep 101: What I wish I’d known before starting a books and reading podcast (100 episodes later)

Readers, today marks a big What Should I Read Next milestone: it’s our 101st episode of the podcast.

The first episode of What Should I Read Next aired on Tuesday, January 12, 2016. Our guest was Jamie Golden. Her favorites were Persuasion, Me Before You, and 11/22/63. She hated Go Set a Watchman, and *I* recommended The Man in the High CastleA Man Called Ove, and Bel Canto. For the record, she enjoyed them all.

What Should I Read Next #101: What I wish I'd known before starting a books and reading podcast (100 episodes later)

We have 100 (!!) episodes behind us now. In today’s episode, we’re taking a look back at memorable moments and favorite guest stories, reading-saved-my-life emails and memorable two-star reviews, what I wish I’d handled differently in the first one hundred episodes, and what we’re cooking up for the future. We also answer your frequently asked questions, share a few bloopers and behind-the-scenes stories, and sneak in a few fun surprises.

I hope you enjoy today’s look back. Readers, thanks for joining us on this amazing ride, and for reminding us today and every Tuesday why it is so good to be among people who are reading. (More on that in today’s episode!)

What Should I Read Next #101: What I wish I'd known before starting a books and reading podcast (100 episodes later)

Episodes we’re looking back on:

Ep 31: Lifetime favorite books & reading for a living (with Adam Verner)
Ep 1: Books that inspire crying jags and sleepless nights (with Jamie Golden)
Ep 61: When the plot comes full circle (with Will Bogel)
Ep 32: Literature as a fun escape and daily companion (with Julie Smith)
Ep 37: Reading as a couple & the best books YOU read this Summer (with Kristin & Kurt Franke)
Ep 23: Honeymoon reading (with Mallory Rees)
Ep 8: The power of books, & what makes a great YA novel (with Preston  Yancey)
Ep 27: Books good enough to make you turn off the TV (with Kendra Adachi)

Also mentioned: 

The Lazy Genius podcast
The Next Right Thing podcast (with Emily P. Freeman)
Arrowhead rubber eraser caps from CW Pencil Enterprise

Thanks for joining us for our century episode! Please tell me about YOUR favorite moments and what you’re hoping for in the next hundred episodes in comments.


Leave A Comment
  1. Merissa says:

    Can we please have a house tour? Every picture you post of your house is so beautiful. I love the book jackets on the wall!!

  2. Sarah says:

    I still remember the epiphany I had when someone on the podcast mentioned that people actually wrote books about food that weren’t cookbooks. I was shocked! I’ve read at least 4 food memoirs since then and a ton of other stuff too. Because of all the great recommendations on this podcast I’ve read more this year than I ever have before! Thanks Anne for making this podcast the best thing about Tuesdays 🙂

  3. Marilyn Bronson says:

    Hey Anne, love your podcast and have listened to every episode! Thank you so much for all the reading inspiration you have shared. I have a question about today’s episode regarding a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion you mentioned reading. You did not give the title and I was hoping you can share some of your favorites with us. Thanks again!

    • Jacelyn McGowan says:

      Yes! This would be great to know. There are SO many Austen retellings, and I do not know where to start. I feel that some might be done well or really interesting and some might be a waste of time.

  4. Jacelyn McGowan says:

    Also, I think this is at least the second time I’ve heard Anne mention that people no longer leave comments. My husband and I just LOVE reading the comments section. Oftentimes, the comments are more fascinating than the article or blog post. I hope they never fully disappear. Clearly, you can see I am doing my part. 🙂
    Anne, congratulations on your 100 episodes milestone! I’ve listened to every single one. Even the one that was good, of course, but just not for me.

  5. Daniel says:

    I have been listening for a long time, and I never knew there were comments! Loved this epsiode! And every episode too. Anne mentions her son’s assigned reading list. Is that list available? Or was more of it mentioned in another episode?

  6. So excited to hear that Gretchen Rubin is coming back! As an adult who loves children’s books, I absolutely loved her kidlit episode! (and the whole rest of that kidlit mini-series) If my podcast queue runs low or I’m feeling like I need a little boost of children’s literature love, I go back and listen to a few of those over again 🙂

  7. Elvira says:

    Hi Anne,
    I am reading your blog for quite a while now, but I never ever saw myself as a podcast listener. Until last Monday, the day I decided to take the bike to work (70 minutes). I prepared well and decided to give podcasts a try. I’m hooked now and I’m spending every minute when it’s socially acceptable with headphones on, enjoying your podcast. Really, it feels like coming home. I’ve been feeling so torn between work and family life lately, that I have a hard time to come back to myself, my pure me. And when I manage, however I turn it, that would always involve books. Thank you for making me feel whole again, for giving me the feeling to have found my tribe (even if I have a different mother tongue, I feel like we al speak the same language: books). I hardly ever have time to spend at your great book club forum, but I’ll never cancel my subscription. It would be as if I burned my parents’ house down. Plus, the readers there made me discover Litsy, which made me feel even more part of a community of readers.
    I’m so much enjoying the podcasts (and going back through them) and the references you mention under the blog posts. It’s such a comforting idea I’ll never ever be out of ideas on my TBR, or new things to discover. Your guests are such interesting people and I’m always thinking “oh waw, that’s a really good question!” when I hear you talking to them.
    Happy 101th podcast and 1001 times thank you. I hope this will be a never ending story…

  8. Katie says:


    I was introduced to your show by my sweet sister a few weeks ago while trading some good podcast recommendations. I have loved every episode I tried and am now a subscriber :).

    I currently live in Tokyo, Japan as a wife of a pastor, mother of a 2 year old, and student of the Japanese language :). Tokyo train commutes are long and in my current life I can only consume books while on crowded trains or on jogs through the neighborhood. So I have become pretty much exclusively an audiobook “reader”. I listened to the episode What Should I Listen To Next?, and have since cried while running because I was listening to A Man Called Ove.

    I would love more great audiobook recommendations. Especially those not set in America as I am trying to avoid homesickness as much as possible. Any Japanese themes or settings would be an amazing bonus!

    Thanks for the relaxing and inspiring podcast to bring into my weekly list.

  9. Christine says:

    Wanted to come here to say Happy 101st episode and also to add my thanks to the very long list of readers who have been so entertained and enlightened by your wonderful podcast. I absolutely love feeling part of a bookish community and look forward every week to getting to know another reader. You were so right to extend the length of the podcasts so that we could all have time to get to know the readers; I love that aspect and always find that even if I think I’m not going to be as interested in a particular episode because of the guest’s taste in books, I always learn something new and find something interesting about their reading life. I think readers just love to hear other readers talk about books! So thank you for bringing that to us every week!

  10. Ellen says:

    I loved this episode and enjoyed it during a decent chunk of a 3-hour drive I had the day it came out. I discovered the podcast around the end of 2016 and have thoroughly enjoyed every episode. Thank you so much for giving my reading life the lift that it so desperately needed!

  11. Anne, I’ve only been a listener for three or four months, but I look forward each week to listening to your podcasts. It is wonderful to find a virtual community of readers. I live in the country and though I once belonged to a book club group, I just didn’t feel at home with them.

    I agree your voice is soothing. I teach acting and other theatre classes, and let me say that some of the tech podcasters my husband listens to could take lessons from you. Not only is the tone of your voice nice, but you don’t fill silent spaces with uh, or aaaand, or any other annoying verbal ticks.

    After listening to this episode, I want to go back to the beginning and listen to all the episodes I missed because not only do I get great ideas for books to read, but many comments by your guests have helped me with my writing as well.

    Oh, and I loved your book, Reading People.

  12. Gretchen S says:

    Congratulations on your milestone and hoping that there will be many more such celebrations! Your guests are thoughtful and interesting and I look forward to the podcast every week.

    Do you think it might be workable to add a very short recap feature to individual episodes which lets us know true reactions to the recommendations (or comments!). Perhaps this would be less work than collecting lots of comments for just one episode. I may be an outlier here — I was one of the few people (I guess!) who listened to those episodes.

  13. Elizabeth Lloyd says:

    Hi Anne, Thank you for a great podcast. I am total bibliophile and your podcast opens a whole new world of books to me. I have just listened to episode 101 and you said the ‘re-cap episodes’ don’t rate well. Personally, I am quite interested in hearing if your recommendations have been successful with your guests. Maybe you could do a quick catch up with guests and do a ‘spot catch up’ section where you check back in on a guest and if they have read and liked/disliked your recommendations? Might be easier than a whole episode? I am quite excited you have an ‘Aussie’ on the podcast soon, being a fellow Aussie myself. Keep up the great work Anne!

  14. Daniel says:

    Hi Anne, just wanted to say that I am really enjoying your podcast. I am new to the world of podcasts and have only subscribed to 4 (including yours) that I see as worth listening too. Although I have only been listening to the last 3 episodes and have not listened further back, I enjoy the general chat with your guest (or producer!) and have added a few of the recommended books onto my goodreads app.
    Am looking forward to the chat with the Australian guest coming up, as is Elizabeth, and I hope it will diversify some readers out there with our selection of books and authors!
    Thanks for creating the podcast!

  15. Amy says:

    Some future podcast episode ideas could be:
    -another follow up episode to see what readers thought of your recommendations

    -a guilty pleasure episode.. what are books that readers are embarrassed to admit they love!? That would be so fun!

    Thank you for all you put into this podcast and blog- I am a fan and love following along with you on your journey with books!

  16. Teri Hyrkas says:

    HI Anne!
    Congratulations on your 101st podcast! I met Ginger Horton (fabulous!) this summer at the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, NM. We were both participants in a seminar on Flannery O’Connor taught by Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. Ginger told all of us Flannery Glensters about the MMD website, and from the website, I followed the links to your WSIRN podcast. Have so enjoyed listening to your interviews while taking notes on the books discussed.
    I heard your listener’s comment and story about “Crossing To Safety” by Wallace Stegner. Also heard you say that you liked that book. Have you read Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Angle of Repose” (Doubleday, 1971)? As much as I liked “Crossing to Safety,” I loved “Angle of Repose.” Stegner skillfully tucked the historically true story of a Quaker Victorian woman’s life as an artist in the Wild West into a fictional generational narrative of her “descendants”. He based his historical fiction on the letters of the main character, Mary Hallock Foote, re-named Susan Burling Ward in Stegner’s book. Stegner used the letters with the family’s permission. Even though it would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972, the family was very upset with the book and Stegner. Lawyers got involved; messiness ensued.
    The family wrote their own non-fiction book on the same subject. I own a copy: “A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West: The Reminiscences of Mary Hallock Foote,” (The Huntington Library, 1972). It is dry as dander. Stegner’s “Angle of Repose,” on the other hand, is marvelous. I have moderated three book club discussions on it, one of them an international book forum discussion online. I think you would enjoy it.
    Again, congratulations on reaching the century mark for your podcasts!

  17. Claire says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of your podcast ever since I discovered it…oh, last November, I think? The first episode I listened to was Episode 11: What’s going on beneath the surface with Meredith Schwartz. Meredith identified herself as an INFJ, which is what I am too. When you analyzed her reading life (you mentioned the thread of self-discovery, what’s going on in the characters’ hearts and minds) I thought, “That is absolutely spot-on for me.” And from that moment I was hooked. I listened to the podcast every free moment I had until I’d caught up to the current episode.

    But speaking of Myers-Briggs personality types, why do those lists of “Here’s what book genre you should read if you’re this type” always pair fantasy with INFJ?? Is there something wrong with me if fantasy isn’t my favorite? Is that like a litmus test for being INFJ??

    Granted, some of the reasons given for matching certain genres with certain personality types seem off, like the authors of those lists mightn’t have had a great grasp of Myers-Briggs. So I’m curious…if you drew up one of those lists, what would it look like? I’d love it if you did a podcast episode on that! Or maybe a blog post, if not enough of your listeners are into Myers-Briggs. Please please please 🙂

  18. Jeff C says:

    Happy 100 episodes!
    In case it hasn’t been suggested, maybe instead of full episodes revisiting 3 or 4 or 5 previous guests, maybe just revisit 1 prior guest for 10 min at the end of each episode. That spreads out the work and maybe doesn’t drop download counts and we still get to hear “therest of the story” 🙂

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