WSIRN Ep 206: How to bypass the book hangover

WSIRN Ep 206: How to bypass the book hangover

My guest today is Jerrell Everett, a Florida reader who is serious about creating her ideal reading life. When Jerrell had kids and found herself picking up books less and less, she took action to maintain her reading life by enforcing a routine. And when she decided it was time to branch out from her comfort zone of nonfiction and introduce more novels into her rotation, she took action again… by reaching out to WSIRN for help. 

Today, Jerrell and I are talking about parenthood, complex family stories, and the tricky task of avoiding book hangovers. Let’s get to it! 

You can connect with Jerrell on Instagram and Goodreads.


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

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Books mentioned in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here. If you’d like to support your local indie, check out Indiebound.com. And by all means, go grab one of these from your local library!

Books mentioned:

Listening with My Heart, by Heather Whitestone
What To Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff
A Woman is No Man, by Etaf Rum 
The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin
The Dearly Beloved, by Cara Wall
The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready, by Meaghan O’Connell
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, by Anissa Gray
Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane
I Miss You When I Blink, by Mary Laura Philpott
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You, by Jess Connolly
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
Honor, by Elif Shafak
Three Daughters of Eve, by Elif Shafak
The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
Dominicana, by Angie Cruz

Also mentioned:
● The #ReadWithJenna book club, via the Today Show

Thanks to this week’s sponsors:

The Great Courses Plus is the streaming service that allows you to get curious about different time periods, different cultures and all kinds of different subjects like psychology, space, music, and literature. WSIRN listeners can get a full month of FREE unlimited access!

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What do YOU think Jerrell should read next?

25 comments | Comment

25 comments

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  1. Holli Leann Petersen says:

    I loved this episode, Jerrell. You have such a clearly defined sense of what you like and I found it so interesting to listen to your thoughts on books.

    Two books I want to recommend to you:

    1. The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia. I have been singing the praises of this book all year long. It’s great! The character development is on point! This is a sweeping, multi-generational saga about a family in Mexico during the Spanish Influenza and Mexican Revolution. There’s magical realism mixed in, but mostly there is this lovely unfolding of such beautiful characters.

    2.The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. These are characters that I still think about today. And, if you like books where the setting is another character in the book, then meet your new best friend, Newfoundland.

    Enjoy, Jerrell!

  2. Jessica Rodrigues says:

    Hi Jerrell, I loved listening to your conversation with Anne. I, too, have become a much more voracious reader since having my daughter, primarily on Kindle. I also live in Orange County, FL and wanted to let you know that the library system will deliver books to your home if you live in the county. As I haven’t found a branch I love in Orange County, this is how I pick up new reads. You can put them on hold online and then they deliver to your home. It always feels a little like a gift when I find a book from the library on my doorstep.

  3. Marla Jensen says:

    I’m a stay at home mom with two kids so i really connected a lot to what Jerrell said!I’m just going to throw out a few titles that I thought of. Three of them are historical fiction…
    1. The Pearl that Broke It’s shell by Nadia Hashimi
    2. A Place for us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    3. Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill
    4. The Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

    • Jerrell says:

      A Place For Us was one of my favorite reads of the year! I still want to cry whenever I think about it. Adding the rest of your recommendations to my list. Thanks!

  4. Molly says:

    Jerrell- I so enjoyed your episode and oh do I feel you so much! I have four littles and I smiled and nodded my head when you talked about reading while nursing….sometimes I am so sad when the nursing is over because the reading time gets harder to fit in, so then we have a mandatory everyone read time during like quiet/ nap time including mom. It gives me sanity and reminds me I have a brain. I also read through a book with my sister via the phone and it has been mainly non fiction and helps us both have conversations beyond parenting.
    Loved hearing your book story! Wally Lamb is one of my favorite family saga author.

  5. Torrie says:

    Jerrell, I loved hearing your conversation with Anne! You and I have similar tastes. I co-sign on Anne’s recommendation of Dominicana. Also, I am so excited to suggest a new memoir called Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma. I think this is right up your alley.

    Happy Reading!

  6. Rissie Lundberg says:

    Great episode! I’d like to recommend Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley. It’s another hard look at pregnancy with some humor mixed it. Happy reading!

  7. Sue says:

    For an audiobook, I just have to keep recommending “A Gentleman in Moscow” again and again and again…. it’s historical fiction, incredibly well written, with an endearing character and a unique story, plus the narrator voice is Perfect. This book gave me audiobook hangover!! Nothing else comes close…

  8. Jill W. says:

    Great episode. For an audiobook that hooks you and keeps your attention, I highly recommend Daisy Jones and the Six. It’s a full cast performance, and it’s great! My other favorites for audiobooks are Joshilyn Jackson and Neil Gaiman. Very different writers, but they read their own books on audio, and they are brilliant narrators. I often end up parked in the driveway listening for another 15 minutes or so before I can bear to stop.

    For family stories with fully developed characters, I love Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. The narrative structure takes about 50 pages or so to get used to, but, once you get the hang of it, it is brilliant. The Todd family still walks around in my head fully-formed. The related book, God in Ruins, is not for everyone, but as a fellow English major, I think you might like it as I did. Again she is playing with narrative structure (differently than in Life After Life) in a way that I find fascinating and will really make you think about the reading experience.

    Finally, I also highly recommend Marisa de los Santos’ series of books that begins with Love Walked In. They are fully engrossing family stories, and the characters are so well developed that several of them go on to have their own books in the loosely connect series. Her writing is so beautiful, but immediate and real. I love these books.

  9. Terrie says:

    Great talk this morning on my commute! I have a couple suggestions – I also love the character development in Ask Again, Yes (one of my faves this year!) and a similar story is Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. It’s not a family based story, but about 3 friends and is definitely a well written, character driven story. The other is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. This one is set in India and again is a very relationship based story about a wealthy Parsi woman, her servant of 20 years, granddaughters, love, betrayal, lies, power, class. Judging from the comments already, looks like your TBR just got quite a bit longer! I know mine did.

  10. Tina Patel says:

    With the new year upon us I would like some recommendations for daily devotional reads. I’m not a Christian, I’m a Hindu but was just wondering if there are any general religious Books to read. Thank you and loving the podcast

  11. Shannon says:

    I loved listening to this episode! I also have small kids and felt like I was listening to a kindred spirit. J. Courtney Sullivan is a good author to check out for books about families. I read Saints for All Occasions last year and sometimes still think about the characters. The Stationery Shop also might be up your alley as well.

  12. S says:

    Great episode! I can’t wait to hear what Jerrell thinks about The Most Fun… I had similar thoughts about The Last Romantics – some pieces of the story just seemed unnecessary!!

    I just finished Lovely War (a rec from last week’s podcast?) – I would highly recommend for Jerrell – the characters are sweet and the storyline moves forward at a great pace.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Jerrell,

    Welcome to Orlando! I was floored hearing this while driving my children to school this morning, especially the part of the Winter Park library. I am still on 2016 on the podcasts but I said what the helk lets hear this weeks, and wow, very cool to hear a local. I have a reciprocal card at Winter Park too. They had a great used bookstore on the first floor to, fyi. Just wanted to also mention the central branch of the downtown Orlando library does great programs as they are so big. I remember months ago it was “Come join Kate DiCamillo as she reads to us on a Tuesday afternoon.” Wow, blown away. You do have to have one of their cards to make reservations (even though you can check out books using the reciprocal card)but if they have space they allow reciprocal borrowers in those events. My library branch is the Maitland library which is small and sweet, you walk in and truly they all know your name. Lovely. Since you like to buy books, we have a great independent bookstore that just opened a larger store location on north park avenue called the Writers Block. On those days when you are going in for one but buy ten books, that is a great place to support. They host really neat author events around town too. Welcome to Orlando, enjoy the sunshine!
    PS-our book club just read where the crawdads sing and we loved. I am definitely checking out the Jess Connolly book that was recommended. Grateful, sounds perfect.

  14. Susan says:

    I also loved this episode! I think my taste is similar to Jerrell’s!

    I second the recommendation for Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – one of my favorites from 2016.

  15. Lauren says:

    Hi Jerrell! I loved listening in on your conversation with Anne. I grew up in Northern Virginia, too, but now live in the opposite corner of the country from you – Tacoma, Washington. While listening to this, I kept thinking of “A Place for Us” and then read in the comments that you’ve already read it. (Hooray!) I think that for an audiobook you might like “Cutting for Stone.” You have probably already heard Anne recommend it. It REALLY IS that good! Don’t wait. 🙂 One of my all-time favorite authors is Jhumpa Lahiri, and my favorite of her novels is “The Lowland.” A good place to start (with those evening short reading slots of yours) would be her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories, “Interpreter of Maladies.” Thank you for the recommendation of “A Woman is No Man” – that sounds RIGHT up my alley. Enjoy!

  16. Jenn in Ga says:

    I really enjoyed this episode, and Jerrell’s dilemma if how to integrate reading into her routine and how to overcome a book hangover were so relatable.

    Jerrell, I think you would also enjoy We Were The Lucky Ones, a WWII novel about a family dispersed by the Nazi invasion of Poland. Although fiction, it is based on 10 yrs of research by the granddaughter of one of the main characters, so the events, although fictionalized, actually happened. I cried at the end, both because it ends well and because I was sad it was over.

  17. Barbara Blom says:

    I too loved this episode…lots of common reading vibes with you Jerrell…although I am decades away from having 3 little ones…I still remember trying to squeeze in reading time. Don’t give up, there will be ebbs and flows, but the habit is life-affirming.
    I second the rec for Pachinko. I read it in 2017 and still tell anyone who will listen that it is a must read! Also second We Were the Lucky Ones, Cutting for Stone, A Place for Us and Home-going. All excellent reads for me.
    Regarding book hangovers: I participate in a number of reading challenges. I don’t satisfy every challenge every month, but there is always a plan for my next book. I use an excel spreadsheet to track the monthly challenges (I follow about 8, but only read 4 books/month) and plan a few weeks ahead which ones I’ll satisfy with which books. It’s a fun way to choose my next read. I usually limit myself to choose from my TBR, but sometimes the challenge sends me on a hunt for the right book and its delightful!

  18. Emily Murphy says:

    Was Heather Whitestone the Miss America you referred to? She was one of my favorite Miss Americas!!
    Loved the episode and relate to reading with small kids. I’m a mom of four, ranging from ages 9 to 1. I had my first two within 11 months of each other (ill-advised, I know, I know…) and put reading away for several years. But after picking it back up within the past few years, I certainly see it as one of my main self-care routines.

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