WSIRN Ep 164: The couple that reads together … needs to find books they’ll both LOVE

Chelsey and Curtis are childhood sweethearts looking to connect over a good book… and possibly, across an ocean. But their reading taste might not be as compatible as their personalities, so I definitely have my work cut out for me. Today we’re getting brutally honest about their least-favorite books (I think Chelsey’s will shock you), Curtis gives us a peek at his favorites from the Army’s required reading list, and I push them both out of their comfort zone with my recommendations.


What Should I Read Next #164: The couple that reads together ... needs to find books they'll both LOVE with Chelsey and Curtis

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Books mentioned in this episode:
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Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Gates of Fire, by Stephen Pressfield (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Autobiography of Malcom X, by Malcom X (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Theft of Swords, by Michael J. Sullivan (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• The Game of Thrones series, by George R. R. Martin (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Faye (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborn from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, by Stephen Ambrose (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Anne of Green Gables series, by L. M. Montgomery (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gaboldon (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Outsider, by Stephen King (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
• The Red Rising series, by Pierce Brown (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
A Deeper Darkness, by J.T. Ellison (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Circe, by Madeline Miller (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
The Iliad, by Homer (AmazonBarnes and Noble)
Montana 1948, by Larry Watson (AmazonBarnes and Noble)

Also mentioned:

He Read, She Read, Ep 1: Hardy Boy meets Nancy Drew


What do YOU think Chelsey and Curtis should read together next? Tell us in the comments!


Leave A Comment
  1. Ginger says:

    From a Jane Austen-loving woman married to a history loving military man (though Navy, here), I loved hearing your favorites, some of which I’ve/we’ve read and some new.

    I can’t stop recommending The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss because I’d been saying for years I couldn’t particularly get into fantasy until Rothfuss. I could not put it down.

  2. Victoria says:

    Loved this episode! A YA novel you might both like is Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – I found this unputdownable! It’s in the genre of ‘what it would have been like if the Nazi’s had won the war. This is not a genre I have generally enjoyed, but this is really brilliant – fast paced, great characters. A book I still think about often two years on!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I didn’t read Little Women until I was an adult, and I didn’t love it either. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t have the same emotional connection as I did to Anne of Green Gables (and other LM Montgomery heroines). So I hear you Chelsey! I actually think the movie versions (especially the Winona Ryder version) and the Little Women musical capture the essence of the story and the character of Jo March much better than the original story.

    Also, have you two read any books by Lynne Olson like Citizens of London and Last Hope Island? Both about WWII, very readable, and so thoughtfully written.

  4. Gloria says:

    I am mostly familiar with Little Women from the BBC radio production that our local library has and that we have listened to as a family several times. I must say that beyond it being a touching story (if a little bland) I didn’t think much of it – until I read Geraldine Brook’s March, which is a historical fiction account of Mr. March’s side of the story and I highly recommend it. I love seeing another perspective and this is a much more grim, honest perspective. And of course the historical aspects were fascinating. Happy reading!

  5. Erin Henry says:

    I would highly recommend the Way of Kings and Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson for Curtis. And The Parasoul Protectorate for Chelsey. And maybe together they would like Urban Fantasy in which case I’d recommend the Steelheart Trilogy and the Dresden Files.

  6. Katrina H says:

    This was such a great episode. I added Gates of Fire to my son’s wish list as he is a high school freshman in JROTC and I thought this book sounded right up his alley. I’d never heard of it before. Thanks for the recommendation! Also, I love English teachers! He has a great one this year who has really inspired him to read more deeply.

  7. Bethany says:

    Little Women is the book I keep on my shelf as a reminder that not finishing a book I’m hating is rarely (if ever) worthwhile and that if I can read that boring monster of a book I can read anything.

  8. Maureen says:

    I’m with you Chelsey! I read Little Women for the first time as an adult (on audiobook, too) and was so bored I had to will myself to finish. Love Anne of Green Gables, though!

    My husband and I have very different reading lives, but overlap in our our venn diagram is non-fiction survival books. These are classics, but if you haven’t read them, I recommend “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer and “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing. Both read like novels and have enough poetry in their prose to keep me reading. They also have a lot to say about leadership, tribalism, and human nature, which I think could appeal to your husband’s historical bent. A fiction pick in the same vein is “Station Eleven” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  9. Amy says:

    First of all, I LOVE learning that others were less than enthralled by Little Women. I’m mainly commenting because I tracked down the T-shirt you reference from the book tour, and Bookshelf Tees is no longer in business and I am so upset that I didn’t learn about this company before now! Love the podcast!

  10. Victoria says:

    My husband and I have similar reading tastes and we enjoyed reading and discussing Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” more than any other book.

  11. Danielle says:

    For Curtis, I recommend The Gentlemen Bastard series by Scott Lynch (the first Book is ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’). I actually really disliked the Michael J. Sullivan series because I thought it was derivative of Scott Lynch’s series. Read it! You won’t regret it (and each one is really long, if that’s a selling point).

  12. Katherine says:

    If you liked “Homegoing,” have you read “Pachinko”? It’s another generational, sweeping novel, but based on the colonization of Korea by Japan.

    Also, I see “Song of Achilles,” and “Circe” mentioned- I loved both of those! I just finished “The Silence of the Girls,” about the Trojan War from Briseis’ perspective. It checks the box of both being based on Greek epics AND a different perspective!

    I added “Gates of Fire” to my TBR list and I’ll certainly be sharing it with my (Air Force) husband as well. Loved this episode!

  13. Katherine Gates says:

    Recently just discovered YA this year and can’t believe I haven’t read more of it so I’m definitely on Curtis’s viewpoint that initially believing it wouldn’t be for me. The Hate U Give. AMAZING!

    One book that I think you both might enjoy is Refugee by Alan Gratz. Three different story lines in three different time periods all displaced by their own countries. I loved the war aspect of it but I also just really loved the individual stories. While it is fiction, it really gives a human emotion aspect that I just adored.

  14. Tasha says:

    For Curtis I would love to recommend Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. Two Cree snipers on the battlefields of WW1. I read and loved Gates of Fire and Band of Brothers and I think this is another great read to add to that list.

    For Chelsea and Curtis, what about We Are Not Such Things: The Murder of a Young American, a South African Township, and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation. And another is Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin. Both 5 star reads for me.

    And then for Chelsea, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. Also, Half-Blood Blues.

  15. Megan says:

    Just started listening and I love it already! Two thoughts: My first thought for Curtis and Chelsey to read together is Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. They might not like it, but there are WWII references and it’s a surprisingly quick read and well written. It’s short though.
    Second, if Chelsey wants to give Louisa May Alcott another chance, I really liked Eight Cousins. I loved Anne of Green Gables about the time I loved Eight Cousins and I was pretty meh about Little Women.

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