WSIRN Ep 183: Baking, books, and other everyday magic

Today’s guest, Karuna Riazi, is here to talk about magic. The magic of carrying a book in your bag that can teleport you to another world, the magic of a beautiful translation, and the magical pairing of a hot cup of tea and a good story. We’re also chatting about pen names, how to keep a book journal if you’re a total perfectionist, and a host of other things, but at the root of it all is everyday magic, and the books I’m recommending Karuna pick up next are totally on-theme.

Let’s get to it!

What Should I Read Next #183: Baking, books, and other everyday magic with Karuna Riazi

Connect with Karuna Riazi: Book | Website | Twitter

Click here to read the full episode transcription (opens in a new tab).

Books mentioned in this episode:

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The Gauntlet, by Karuna Riazi
The Battle, by Karuna Riazi
• Author G. Willow Wilson (try Ms. Marvel)
• Author N. K. Jemisin (try The Inheritance Trilogy)
Shiver, by Maggie Stievater
We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour
Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi
Gingerbread, bu Helen Oyeyemi
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
Strange Weather in Tokyo, by Hiromi Kawakami
After Dark, by Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
Catch 22, by Joseph Heller
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
In the Woods, by Tana French
The Trespasser, by Tana French
Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
The Science of Breakable Things, by Tae Keller
Ayesha at Last, by Uzma Jalaluddin
The Time in Between, by Maria Duenas

Also mentioned: 
• Simon & Schuster’s Salaam imprint
Modern Mrs Darcy’s 2019 reading challenge
Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder challenge

What do YOU think Karuna should read next?
Let us know in the comment section below!


Leave A Comment
  1. Sara Velotta says:

    Is there any way Karuna would be willing to share her lemon bar recipe? 🙂 Also, I love Ann Patchett and was happy to hear her mentioned. I was not aware she had a new book coming out! Yay! Great episode!

    Thank you both!

  2. Trish says:

    I’ve just started using the Book Buddy app. I paid for the upgraded version ($4.99?). I tried a written journal but I found tracking on my phone easy and more convenient. The App includes sections for Tags, Notes, etc. Thank you WSIRN!

  3. S says:

    I just picked up Strange Weather in Tokyo last night…what timing!
    Regarding book journaling, I keep it super simple with just a page or 2 in my journal with that year’s list of books read or DNFd and a tab that lets me easily flip to that page. I capture title, author, and rating as well as if it was a pick from my IRL book club. I admire the pretty lists people maintain but it is just beyond my abilities. If I waited until I could put together a pretty book list page, I would be waiting forever.

  4. Ruth O says:

    Don’t know when it changed, but it just worked for me (hadn’t earlier!) I appreciate being able to read that. Thanks!

  5. Meghan says:

    This was a great episode! Some books I might recommend are: A Tale for the Time Being, The Snow Child, The Cave/The Cavern (Saramago), and Shadow of the Wind

  6. Angela says:

    Great episode! Some books Karuna might enjoy: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, books by Sarah Addison Allen (The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper, and Garden Spells).

  7. Anne-Grete says:

    Very nice episode:) I think Karuna will also like a bit magical books like Kate Atkinson Life after Life and Sarah Winman’s books like When God Was a Rabbit, maybe also Florida by Lauren Groff.

  8. Sue S says:

    I agree, great episode and such interesting range of topics, books, ideas about reading and writing.
    Karuna (and everyone!) I recommend Waking Lions by Ayelet Gunnar-Goshen.This is beautifully translated and is a combination of suspense/mystery/family/culture/view of violence and conflict. Many points of view we dont read about here including African refugees’.

  9. Lauren D. says:

    I loved this episode so much! Karuna, when you said, “Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi” I screamed “Yes!” even though I had a sleeping baby in the car. (So much for the “sleeping” part. Sheesh.) Anyhow, hearing you talk about that book reminded me of the Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantok. Have you read those? Thanks to both you and Anne for such a lovely conversation and for many wonderful book recommendations. I look forward to reading your books, too, Karuna.

  10. Sarah says:

    I HATED Catch-22 too. I had to read it for AP English over Christmas vacation. It was awful on so many levels.

  11. Karuna’s comment about her students reading To Kill a Mockingbird at too young of an age reminds me of my experience of my 6th grade teacher reading us “Animal Farm.” We were just FAR TOO YOUNG to understand the concepts in that book!

    I’ve recently started an analog book journal. I include a short paragraph with my thoughts on the book and will note 5-star reads. I change the color of ink each month so I can see which books were read in which months. I’ve become more of a minimalist since marrying a minimalist so I don’t own many books anymore, besides ones for our son. So this is a way to document what I’ve read. It was making me kind of sad that I didn’t have a bookshelf showing what I read and loved so this is my answer to that problem! I’m a perfectionist but since the reading journal is for my eyes only (I think it would bore most people!), I don’t put any pressure on myself to make it pretty.

  12. Leigh Kramer says:

    I have a very basic book log in a journal just for that purpose. It’s a numbered list and I only include the title, author, and date read. Very simple and easy to maintain. I started it in 2005 and I’m so glad I have the record!

  13. Amanda S says:

    Lucky to be a Canadian!! “Ayesha At Last” was published here last year! I’m going to pick it up from my library this week! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  14. Deborah says:

    Karin’s might enjoy using the Book Buddy app even though it’s digital and not analog. You scan the book and it takes a photo and you are able to rate it and also make notes as well as keeping track of if you e finished or are still reading.

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