WSIRN Ep 15: the audacity to tell people what to read with Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon

WSIRN Ep 15: the audacity to tell people what to read with Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon

It’s the first bonus episode of What Should I Read Next!

Today I’m talking with Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon of, an online reading site and book club for women. Under Marybeth and Ariel’s leadership, She Reads does a terrific job of highlighting excellent titles you’ve never heard of.

What Should I Read Next #15: the audacity to tell people what to read with Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon

These women are writers as well as curators and reviewers: Ariel is the author of Flight of Dreams and The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress. (Loved them both.) Marybeth is the author of The Things We Wish Were True, coming September 1. (Can’t wait to read it!)

This is a special episode: it’s WSIRN’s first freewheeling conversation about book recommendations and the reading life. Anne talks with Marybeth and Ariel about how they became a go-to book resource for thousands of readers, why you have to be a little bossy to recommend books (and why Marybeth and Ariel are overqualified for the job), and how they keep reading FUN even when—and especially when—it’s a job.

Check out their reading site at, or on facebook and twitter. Readers will also want to follow them individually. Follow Marybeth Whalen on facebook, instagram, and twitter. Connect with Ariel Lawhon on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

Books discussed in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
The Help by Katherine Stockett
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos
The Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon (audio edition)
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher
No One Knows by J. T. Ellison
Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright

Also mentioned in this episode: 

Why the 40-something woman is at risk of an affair by Jane Green
• The She Reads book club at
When our selection process gets personal by Marybeth Whalen

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9 comments | Comment


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  1. B J says:

    This was my fav episode so far and I’ve listened to them all. All of the books were more in keeping with the way I read. And I agree with them. I have always been a voracious reader, as soon as I finish one book, I start another, sometimes 2. I had decided that this year, I would read more “classics” and I have found that I am not enjoying reading as much, and I am not reading as much. Instead of sitting down to read, I have been watching TV or a movie. Reading is no fun when I feel I have to read something.

  2. Amanda says:

    I wish Marybeth would have told us what that book was that she did not want to recommend but review. I hate to be left hanging like that… 🙁
    But I loved this discussion/pod cast. It’s a nice break from the usual format which is nice once in a while.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I love the matchmaking aspect of the podcast, so I was really disappointed when that didn’t happen this episode. I wish I’d known it was just an interview from the get-go by the episode title. It wasn’t a bad interview, and I am interested in their site now, but the topic wasn’t relevant to me as an everyday reader who doesn’t write books or book reviews. If this podcast is meant for writers/reviewers I think it’s a great topic, but if it’s meant for the average reader it’s not that applicable. The behind the scenes of recommending books can be interesting, but I feel like it’s touched on enough in regular episodes that it didn’t really need a whole episode. But I really love the regular episodes, so keep it up!

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