WSIRN Ep 172: How many re-reads is too many re-reads?

Today I’m getting to know Sean Larkin, a self-proclaimed “slow reader” and stay-at-home-parent. If you don’t relate to 100-book reading goals or refreshing your feed for the latest book news, Sean is the kindred reading spirit you’ve been waiting to hear from!We’re chatting about the book that made him nostalgic for a time period before he was born, calculating price-per-page at the library book sale, the longstanding bookish obsession he’s passing on to his wife and kids, and so much more. Let’s get to it!


What Should I Read Next #172: How many re-reads is too many re-reads? with Sean Larkin
photo by Jerome De Perlinghi

You can check out Sean Larkin’s photography work on Instagram and his website.


Books mentioned in this episode:
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If you’d like to support your local indie, check out And by all means, go grab one of these from your local library!

Different Seasons, by Stephen King
The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, by Anne Bogel
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkein
Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
11/22/63, by Stephen King
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True love and High Adventure, by William Goldman
Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson
Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, by Cheryl B. Klein
Underground Airlines, by Ben Winters
Golden State, by Ben Winters
Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Also mentioned:

WSIRN Ep 105: Reading makes the whole day better, feat. Rider Strong


 What do YOU think Sean would enjoy reading next? Tell us in the comments section!


Leave A Comment
  1. Dorothy says:

    Hi Anne and Sean!
    It was so refreshing to hear from someone who loves books as much as I do yet also has a similar reading speed, and also great to hear Anne say it’s like a shoe size. I love listening to all the episodes, but I often get down on myself because my TBR list is so long and I want bigger reading goals, but I can’t find myself making it through more than 1 or 2 books a month. Sean’s two non- fiction favorites are also mine! With that I recommend any of Jon Krakauer’s other books or Bill Bryson’s (a few on my shelves tbr). I also loved 11/22/63 and so I really think Sean would enjoy The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Another Stephen King I’d recommend is Joyland, which was wonderful as an audiobook.

    • Kate says:

      I immediately thought of Joyland as a non-horror but very atmospheric King novel.
      Sean, you may also like A Prayer for Owen Meany as a quirky but thought-provoking page-tuner. The ending made me very angry, but I still recommend people read it 🙂

    • Sean Larkin says:

      I have The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Joyland both on my TBR. I am excited to read those in the near future. I also have a copy of Into Thin Air that I will likely read soon; can’t wait!

  2. Kassie Joslin says:

    Enjoyed this episode! I get discouraged by people who can read 100 books in a year (mostly jealous of all they get to read!!). So this was a nice change of pace. A few other books that also seem in Sean’s wheelhouse are:
    1.Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
    2. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
    3. Boys in the Boat- do this as an audiobook with the kids, great nonfiction read and gripping narrative style.

  3. There is no such thing as too many re-reads. I have many books that I re-read, some yearly, others every couple years or so. Re-reading a favorite book is pure comfort.

    Sean should definitely check out The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. It’s non-fiction, came out two or three years ago, and I was hooked immediately. It’s a total page turner and fascinating.

  4. Sara K says:

    I just wanted to pop in and say hooray for the Green Valley Book Fair! I live a little over an hour away from it and try to visit at least a couple times a year.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Wonderful podcast as always! I listened this morning as I chopped and froze peppers, and then prepared carrots and potatoes for tonight’s dinner. If Sean enjoyed Into the Wild and wants more outdoorsy reads, I also recommend Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster. I’m not normally an outdoorsy reader, nor do I really care for books that keep you on the edge of your seat, but Jon Krakauer’s style made me love every part of this book. He puts you right there on the mountain itself, to the point where you’ll hear a noise and you’ll look up, surprised to see your kids and your living room, and not dangerous craggy peaks and a pile of frozen bodies. It’s all of the adventure with none of the risk to the reader, and I think Sean would enjoy this a lot.

  6. Glenda says:

    I love doing re-reads of favorite books/book series. It’s like old home week, as they say =).

    I ditto the recommendations for Into Thin Air and The Stranger in the Woods — I found both quite fascinating, and Into Thin Air had me on the edge of my seat.

    About people being on their phones and tablets when waiting somewhere: it’s not uncommon for me to use the Kindle app on my phone (or, less often, my tablet) if I’m waiting somewhere and didn’t take my Kindle with me. I seldom read hardback or paperbacks anymore, and when I do it’s only at home. I typically leave home with only my phone, wallet, and keys (no purse or tote bag), so that’s when I find it handy to use the Kindle app on my phone. As someone who used to always carry a hardback/paperback with me everywhere, I so enjoy being able to use my phone for reading a book when I’m out and about! Especially the days when I don’t otherwise seem to get very many pages read.

  7. Katie W says:

    Listening to the podcast now! My husband has been at home with our kids for over two years now. When I went back to work, it’s just how it worked out. Definitely not easy for him, but he does a fantastic job! In those two years he was also going to school to be a firefighter and paramedic. He will be starting that job soon, and will end up on a 24-on 48-off schedule. He’ll spend those 48 off at home with the kids during my work week 🙂

  8. Renea Mertens says:

    I’m so happy you said you read Neil Gaiman, because as you were talking, that was the author that kept popping in my head. I highly recommend Stardust and The Graveyard Book and Stardust. I enjoy Stephen King’s non horror books and really like the relationships in 11/22/63. I would recommend King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy. Its got detective work and great character relationships.

    • Renea Mertens says:

      And our household is non conventional as well. Both my husband and I work from home. We are able to both go to Dr. appointments or toddler gym time. It usually raises a couple eyebrows at first, but we both love that we are there to experience these activities with our kids!

  9. Kate says:

    I had a stay-at-home dad when I was growing up! My dad stayed home with my brother and me from the time I was about two because it was what worked best for our family.

  10. COURTNEY L says:

    I love this episode and couldn’t help thinking that Sean would enjoy Natural Born Heroes, by the same author as Born to Run, Christopher McDougall. I think he’d love the history of it as well as the adventure, plus it’s just really entertaining to read.\
    Also, so awesome that he’s a homeschooling dad! We have one in our homeschooling group and I think it’s a shame there aren’t many more!

  11. Elise says:

    It was so fun to hear some science fiction recommendations on the podcast today! Sci-fi is my favorite genre to watch, but I have a hard time finding sci-fi novels that I really love. I’m excited to check out Sleeping Giants now.
    Also, it was fun to hear Coraline getting some love – it was my introduction to Neil Gaiman, and it is still my favorite. It is so perfectly creepy and ultimately redemptive – I love that combination.

  12. Stacey says:

    I definitely think Sean should check out Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild, by James Campbell. This definitely checks the outdoorsy, nonfiction he was looking for, plus it sounds like something he and his daughter might enjoy doing someday.

    • Sean Larkin says:

      I wish you could have seen how much my eyes widened as I read the title of that book. I will definitely be checking that one out soon, it is right up our alley. That sounds like a trip that our whole family would love.

  13. Yvonne says:

    I have listened to the audiobook of On Writing narrated by Stephen King. Hearing his story in his own voice was compelling, especially when it comes to his addiction and recovery. I’d also recommend The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

  14. Marie says:

    I really related to Sean’s experience as a stay-at-home dad (my husband had similar experiences as a working-from home dad with flexible hours). I so appreciate that he spent precious time with our daughter when she was small but it could be tough sometimes being the lone dad at the park!
    I am also a lover of classic mysteries, and given that he loved “Seabiscuit,” I think he would love Dick Francis. Like Agatha Christie, his books are fastidiously constructed and written, plus they are page-turners (since that is also in Sean’s wheelhouse) and plus take you inside the world of horse racing – jockeys, horses, owners fans, etc. I like that each book stands on its own as well. As a start, I would recommend “Straight” – which doesn’t actually center around horses or racing, but centers on a jockey who inherits his brother’s estate and then finds that he is a wanted man as a result. So the character is dodging pursuers while trying to sort out who his brother really was and why they are after him.

  15. Diana says:

    Hi Shawn! My husband stayed at home with two of the three kids. Our eldest is now 8 and he raised her from 4mo old at home. Then I tried staying at home with our second (so hard! Not for me). And so he’s back at home raising our third. He wishes there were more spots for dads to hang out with kids where the mom’s don’t feel weird about a male around little kids. About the episode, it was an interesting episode. Can’t say I relate to the tastes of books discussed, but I appreciated the discussion!

  16. Cameo says:

    I absolutely loved this episode! I grew up with a stay at home dad in the 90s and it was wonderful. I have a great dad and its awesome to hear someone else having a similar experience to me.

  17. Jenny says:

    Highly recommend “438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea” by Jonathan Franklin. One of my favorite 2018 reads!

  18. Heather says:

    I LOVED this episode! The number of times I was either nodding my head or yelling YESSSS in my car was up there! I love hearing about other Harry Potter re-readers and And Then There Were None is one of my favorites!

  19. Hannah H. says:

    My husband is a stay-at-home dad for our two boys and I definitely get looks/comments like it’s so strange and I feel like I have to explain or justify when I shouldn’t have to! As Sean said, it’s just what makes the most sense for our family in the season we’re in.

    On a bookish note, I’m a big re-reader and Harry Potter and Agatha Christie are some of my favorites! And I’m reading The Princess Bride right now and totally can see his objections!

  20. Gloria says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I heard the description of Underground Airlines a couple years ago on the radio but couldn’t remember the name. Now I know and can read it. It has been bugging me.

  21. Janet says:

    My husband is the go to parent for our 12 year old boy (since 1st grade). Other parents, teachers, finally know to contact him for play dates, school events, etc. The funny coincidence that I can’t explain is that son’s 2 best friends also have dad’s in that role – (one is a professional photographer!). These guys have more flexible jobs so it just worked out. The dad’s are now tight and have created a well functioning network.
    Also – I love the book conversation. Great picks. I recommend Connie Willis.

  22. Cyn says:

    So much YES for the Themis Files recommendation! It’s very plot driven and told in a very interesting and arresting fashion. Even for a slow reader, this series should be a quick read. The audiobook is wonderful but I recommend reading the first one so you get used to it’s unique style. Warning! Definitely not a safe book for the kids to listen to though!

  23. Elly says:

    If you have trouble finding Second Sight by Cheryl Klein, she also has a more recent book about writing children and young adult books called The Magic a Words that may be easier to find since it wasn’t self-published. Though I don’t know how much overlap there is between the two…

  24. Wendy Derechin says:

    Since Sean mentioned Rider Strong, I think he might like his podcast Literary Disci. It’s fabulous and seems up his alley!

  25. Tana says:

    Have you heard of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King? Based on your love of 11-22-63 and mysteries, I think you’d love this one. Probably my favorite of his.

  26. Karen says:

    I, too, loved 11/22/63 and was excited to hear someone else rave about it. If Sean is looking to read more nonfiction, I would recommend Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann. For someone who doesn’t read a lot of nonfiction, this may be a good choice because it reads like a novel. It is a fascinating and wild story about a slice of American history and is a puzzle, which Sean said he liked.

  27. Sharon says:

    The book I thought of that Sean might enjoy is Watership Down. I thought of it after he said he wants to write the stories he has been telling his kids. That’s how the author of Watership Down began the story. I think he started telling it on a road trip and eventually, he created the novel from it. It’s also outdoorsy.

  28. Lisa says:

    As a fellow Princess Bride, the movie, fan I highly recommend the audio version of As You Wish by Cary Elwes. It’s a fascinating account of how the movie came to be and it’s read by Elwes why guest appearances by Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal and more. So much fun!

  29. Laura Salles Schwartz says:

    Loved this episode! Your choices are spot on and so many books I love or are on my TBR were mentioned, it felt like home. Agatha Christie is great and And then there were none is one of her best, for sure.

  30. Vanessa Forbes says:

    Hey Anne, did you and Sean ever figure out what it’s called to be nostalgic for a time period from before you were born? I read 11/22/63 (definitely one of my 3-books-I-love!) and I totally get what he means when he says this. I’m currently reading “Daisy Jones & The Six” and it’s happening again! I have such a longing to be back in the ‘70s…even though I was born in the 1989!! Whatever this feeling is called I think it speaks to the masterful storytelling of both Stephen King and Taylor Jenkins Reid – and of any other author that can transport you so immersively into a time and/or place that you’ve never known yourself.

  31. AJ says:

    Hearing you speak about how you are a stay at home dad and you make up stories for your daughter, I would definitely recommend “This Is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel (also a very good audiobook). The dad in that book was my favorite character that I have ever come across, he is also a stay at home dad and he makes up stories for his children.

  32. CINDI ERICKSON says:

    I’m not sure if it’s already been mentioned, but Cheryl Klein’s website says the book Anne recommended, ‘Second Sight’, has been republished through Norton as The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults and is available on Amazon.

  33. Tara says:

    Really enjoyed this episode! And totally geeked out when I heard you mention the Green Valley Book Fair… I live like 35 minutes away! 😀

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