WSIRN Ep 275: How many book clubs is too many book clubs?

If you have a book club, Brigid Misselhorn is ready to join. Brigid says she is totally addicted to book clubs, but she’s not ready to change that. She loves participating in ALL of the book clubs and buddy reads for memorable conversation and a structured reading life.

As a naturally slow reader, Brigid has a bunch of tips for finishing all of those book club picks on time. In today’s podcast episode, we also discuss the origins of her book club addiction, the benefits of audiobooks, and balancing personal reading with book club reading. 

Have you been wishing for a book club invitation? We’re inviting you to the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, where you’ll find bookish kindred spirits ready to talk all things books and reading with you. 

We read one main selection and one bonus pairing together each month and meet to discuss them, often with the author. Plus we host live classes and events to help you get the most out of your reading life. We record all our author events and classes so you can join the conversation at your own pace, on your own schedule. 

Join us in the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club for conversation, classes, AND our upcoming summer reading guide unboxing, but also to make connections with fellow bookworms and talk about the books you love. Go to and sign up now. 

What Should I Read Next #275: How many book clubs is too many book clubs? with Brigid Misselhorn

You can follow Brigid on Instagram to see her latest buddy read.

ANNE: Hey readers. I’m Anne Bogel, and this is What Should I Read Next? Episode 275.

Welcome to the show that’s dedicated to helping you get more out of your reading life by exploring the all-important question: What should I read next?

We don’t get bossy on this show. What we WILL do here is give you the information you need to choose your next read. Every week we’ll talk all things books and reading, and do a little literary matchmaking with one guest.

Readers, today’s guest mentions that she waited and waited for an invitation to book club until a friend finally asked her to join. Have you been wishing for a book club invitation, too? We are inviting you to the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, where you’ll find bookish kindred spirits ready to talk all things books and reading with you.

We read one main selection and one bonus pairing together each month and meet to discuss them, often with the author. Plus we host live classes and events to help you get the most out of your reading life. We record all our author events and classes so you can join the conversation at your own pace, on your own schedule.

Join us in the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club for conversation, classes, AND our upcoming summer reading guide unboxing, but also to make connections with fellow bookworms and talk about the books you love. Go to and sign up now.

If you have a book club, today’s guest is ready to join. Brigid Misselhorn is totally addicted to book clubs, she says, but she’s not here to change that. She loves participating in ALL of the book clubs and buddy reads she can for memorable conversation and a structured reading life.

As a naturally slow reader, Brigid has a bunch of tips for finishing all of those book club picks on time. We also discuss the origins of her book club addiction, the benefits of audiobooks, and balancing personal reading with book club reading.

From graphic novels to gothic mysteries, today’s titles are a lot of fun, so let’s get to it!

ANNE: Brigid, welcome to the show.


BRIGID: Hi, Anne! Thank you so much for having me. I am over the moon to talk books with you today.

ANNE: Well it’s a pleasure. I can’t wait to dig in. Brigid, tell us a little about your reading life.

BRIGID: So I have been a bookworm pretty much for as long as I can remember. I worked … My very first job growing up was as a children’s librarian page. I would put away all the books and I … One of my jobs was literally to read the shelves to make sure everything was in order in the dewey decimal system and I would just spend half the time looking at books and adding books to my [LAUGHS] to be read even before I knew what a TBR was. And I’ve always been an escapist reader. I love books that just take me away or just let me see through someone else’s eyes for a little bit. I just find a lot of entertainment and value in reading and it’s probably my favorite hobby.

For many years I would kinda read on my own, in a vacuum I’d read books, and I wasn’t tracking them. Shortly after I met my husband about ten years ago, he suggested using Goodreads to me. So I started putting things on my actual TBR and stuff that I read so I was able to start tracking my reading, and it was kinda a whole new world for me. I’d never done that before. And I always really wanted to be in a book club, but never had been asked, and I’m kinda like a go getter or, you know, I end up leading projects but this was something that I was hoping that, you know, I wouldn’t have to do myself.

I had a friend shortly after we had our first daughter, she said, would you want to be in a book club with me? I have some other mom friends and we meet and we read two books a month and I said to her, I was like Corduroy in the children’s book, I was like this is what I’ve always wanted. I’ve always wanted someone to ask me to join one and then flash forward to today about six years later and I’m currently in six book clubs and buddy reads, [LAUGHS] so it’s become a bit of an addiction but a healthy one and something that brings so much joy to my reading life.

Being able to talk books with friends whether it’s a book that I loved or a book that wasn’t for me makes such a difference in my reading life. I love being able to get different takes on books from all the book clubbers, and I always walk away again with something that I didn’t notice whether or not it’s exciting or new or it’s something that wait, I didn’t like that either. So I think it’s made my reading life so much more enjoyable and so much more memorable to be in all these book clubs and buddy reads with friends.


ANNE: When you filled out your submission on and we saw the words book club addict, we thought oh, so many readers are going to relate to this or so many readers are going to get the nudge they need to do that thing they’ve been meaning to do for so long which is find a book club. I’d love to hear more about the impact joining these book clubs has had on your reading life.

BRIGID: Oh, goodness. Well I would say the first thing would be the amount I read for sure. You know, I went from reading maybe 30 books a year to closer to 50 and then this past year, especially with everything, I read over 100 books which was a first for me.

ANNE: You describe yourself as a slow reader.


ANNE: Tell me more about that.

BRIGID: I am a naturally slow reader especially on the page. I think it has to do with the fact that my comprehension, I’m really taking in almost every detail. But it is not unheard of for me to take a month to read a book. For example I’m currently reading Ready Player Two. I absolutely loved Ready Player One. I am savoring it for all its worth. It’s not a book club pick so I only pick it up here and there and I’m fine with that. Like I didn’t mind being a slow reader.

But to make sure that I make my reads for book clubs in time, I always, you know, have it in my Google calendar. Okay, make sure you’ve read this book by this date. But a lot of times it works out fine. I am able to catch snippets of time to read on audio as well, so what I normally do is have audiobook and I’ll have it either on page or on my e-reader, so if I’m not listening to it while doing dishes or walking or exercising or, you know, trying to cook dinner, then I’m reading it when I do have a chance to sit down and read. So that helps me to finish books a lot quicker. And listening to audio on like a little bit faster speed. I can’t do like 2x the speed. That’s way too fast. [LAUGHS] But you know, 1.4, 1.5 usually works for me and I think that’s actually faster than I can read on the page.


ANNE: Oh that’s interesting.

BRIGID: Now if it’s like a fast paced or for example like Mexican Gothic which was like a dip into horror for me. I don’t normally read super scary stuff, but those last 100 pages I read on the hardback and I just flew through those. So it definitely depends on the book but I would say I finish about four to eight books a month.

ANNE: Brigid, that’s good to hear and the reason that I asked and that we wanted to hear a little more about that is that we do hear from so many readers who say they are slow readers and they just assumed when we talk to guests on What Should I Read Next who are talking about books they love that they must read differently than our slow readers at home. It doesn’t make a difference how fast you read and there’s not really a lot you can do to read faster, but I mean you can have a vibrant reading life no matter how fast or slow you’re reading those books. As long as you are reading those books.

BRIGID: Definitely, and I make it a priority like Wednesday nights are book night at our house, so that makes a difference as well how much reading you can get in.

ANNE: What - what’s book night?

BRIGID: Uh, well it used to be book and beer. My husband and I would sit down, have a beer and each have our reading, whatever we were reading at the time, but lately it’s been more like book and tea as we get a little bit older. [LAUGHS] But yeah, we … On Wednesday nights we don’t turn the TV on unless we put on some sort of ambient video and we just sit with a beverage and we read.

ANNE: That sounds delightful.

BRIGID: It’s lovely. I look forward to it each week.

ANNE: I’d love to hear more about your book club addiction. Take me down the road that went from joining your first book club at your friend’s invitation to being a part of half dozen or maybe it’s more.


BRIGID: [LAUGHS] Yeah, it’s actually a bit more right now. It’s about seven. But yeah, I’m happy to take you down that road. The first one was the Novel Bunch. That is a group of my local mom friends and we talk books and we actually discuss two books a month. It’s been something that has just grown with me over the years and I have some really wonderful friends, and we were able to switch it to Zoom lately, so that’s been great, and now we do one book at each ... Twice a month, so that one is my original book club that I joined.

Then from there actually I read a blog post on Modern Mrs Darcy about romance books and it was a genre that I had not picked up before. That was just that little push I needed to kinda get more interested in them. A local bookstore was having a romance bookstore event back last February on Valentine’s Day and I went to it and the bookseller, Deborah, who was running it, was so wonderful and one of the authors they had was Well Met by Jen DeLuca, Jen DeLuca was there. She said well that’s the book we’re reading in our book club this month. You should join us. And so I did. And I didn’t know anyone from the group, but because Jen DeLuca lived a couple hours away from us, we were going to be doing it online. I was able to join this group online, you know, read along with them and it was great. We spoke to the author.

And so I started joining that book club each month, and Deborah has grown her book club so amazing over these past ten months whereas we do also a romance book club and then a bonus book club, so that one has two books a month as well and then almost weekly author chats. She’s a long time bookseller so she has lots of author friends and buddies come and talk to us. So that’s been really wonderful as well, and these are all people who live in mostly my area, but I’ve never actually got to meet in person.

And that kinda got me thinking then okay well with everything going on and so many virtual events at our fingertips maybe there’s another book club I want to join, so after following on Instagram and probably from your podcast as well, I ended up joining Bookmarks North Carolina romance book club [LAUGHS] with one of your past guests, Beth.

ANNE: Yes. I love them.

BRIGID: Yes. She is wonderful. Her and Katie run this wonderful romance book club, so I actually do two romance book clubs a month now. From going to have never read romance books and then getting that little push I needed to really falling in love with that genre and it’s different, you know, types of books. Then from there obviously a member of the Modern Mrs Darcy book club so another two books a month and that has been really fun. That is a new to me book club in like the past four months and a lot of times they’re books I’ve either read already or had on my TBR. Your picks are so good. So it’s always so exciting to get to chat about those and then see those author events come up, and then I got a six month membership for Christmas from my sister and brother-in-law to continue on as well, so that’s fun.


ANNE: Oh. That is fun. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

BRIGID: From there I joined Instagram through bookstagram, people I follow there, a couple of buddy reads over the years. Those have been really unique because they’re slightly different than a book club meaning like we talk about the book in segments. It’ll be scheduled, you know, we’re reading this book and we’ll talk about the first 100 pages on this date and then the next 100 pages, and that is unique because as much as I love reading an entire book and then getting together with everyone at the end to discuss what we thought, it’s great to read it in real time with people, you know, have these oh, what’s going to happen? Or what do you think this is? What do you think about this? And it also helps me catch things I might have missed. So I do a short story buddy read for that, and then I also have done a number of classic buddy reads including The Count of Monte Cristo last year which was great because I don’t think I would have ever picked that up without ....

ANNE: [LAUGHS] Which I’ve been meaning to read forever.

BRIGID: Yeah, me too, and it was fabulous. And without this like okay, by Friday, have these pages done, or these chapters done, I couldn’t put it down though. I accidentally started a buddy read of my own which I didn’t mean to do. [ANNE LAUGHS] You know, I had wanted to read Rebecca. I saw that they were redoing it for Netflix. I posted on my Instagram, hey, does anyone want to read with me? Some friends joined in and we loved it. Before I know it, you know, the end of our buddy read comes up at the end of month, and they’re all like well what are we reading next? So I said I don’t know, let’s read another mystery by a woman.

So we read … The next one was Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie and it’s become … We call ourselves Murder She Read. We pick one mystery gothic thriller that is written by a female author and we read it per month, so that has been awesome, and I just run that through group message on Instagram. And we just read The Dry by Jane Harper and that was really awesome. You know, we stopped halfway and then we all make our guesses on what’s going to happen. Obviously there’s people who can’t help but read ahead, but they know just not to spoil it for those who haven’t. And some of the fellow readers I’ve met through Modern Mrs Darcy’s book club actually have joined in on that Murder She Read buddy group too.


ANNE: That is wonderful, and also that is a lot of books. So having all these books that you are committed, I mean, I hope happily committed to on a regular basis, it sounds that would have a big impact on how you choose what to read next and what you’re able to read. Tell me about the mix of titles in your reading life right now.

BRIGID: I am a type of person who always has to have an audiobook and a hardback, an ebook, and also a graphic novel going and I found that what then as far as the book clubs, sometimes there is some serendipity where this month both Deborah’s book club and Bookmarks North Carolina’s romance book club both picked the same book and so I’m only reading one book for them. [LAUGHS] Or it happens to be a book I already read, which always is wonderful too and maybe just revisit.

But since I am committed to reading all these books per month or trying my best, sometimes I don’t make it or if it’s a pick that’s just outside what I’m interested in or just maybe too gory, I will just skip it. That’s the beauty of not running a lot of these book clubs myself. I can pick and choose, but for the most part I usually try to read all the books that are chosen.

That does leave less time for myself, so I find myself gravitating to books that are either shorter, like a graphic novel or something I can read more quickly or something that I just can’t wait to get my hands on and I’m willing to drop everything else and really focus on that book and maybe read it in a couple days which is usually unheard of for me with my slower reading. [LAUGHS]

ANNE: Well I’m excited to see what we can find to fit that … It’s not exactly an order. You’re not being bossy, Brigid, but to fill that need. How does that …

BRIGID: Yeah. I would love a book that I don’t really feel like I have to discuss with everyone else. Something that is just for me. Not that I ever feel pressured for any of these book clubs, it truly is a joy to me and it’s something that I wouldn’t change in the world, but I do like finding books that are just my own.

For example the three books we’re going to talk about, when my book club Novel Bunch asked well what books did you pick? And I told them, they were like Brigid, you never recommended any of those books to us. Come on. Why are you holding out? [BOTH LAUGH] So it was kinda funny that I realized that okay, well these are three non-book club picks and yet they’re the ones that … uh, three that I absolutely love.


ANNE: They’re books that belong to you alone.


ANNE: Well until today. [LAUGHS]

ANNE: Alright, Brigid. [LAUGHS] You know how this works. We’re going to talk about three books you love, one book you don’t, and what you’ve been reading lately and I’ll recommend three titles you should read next.


BRIGID: Oh, that sounds great. I cannot wait.

ANNE: Well I love the way you picked these. Tell me about your first selection.

BRIGID: Yes, so my first selection is one that just kinda blew me away when I first picked it up and that’s Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia. This book has pretty much everything I love. It’s a super fun puzzle, kinda mystery book and it’s got pop culture and awesome characters, fast paced, and has just the teeniest touch, well not teeniest, but touch of like the macabre, like I find myself recommending it to people all the time because it is lovely. I would say it’s Willy Wonka meets Indiana Jones.

ANNE: That’s a fun description.

BRIGID: Yeah, like set in a Westing Game. One of the wonderful things is the sense of place in this book. It is set in Boston around fall and Halloween time and there’s a little bit of Salem, Massachusetts also. We really get this feel of Boston, and the characters too are just so great.

Tuesday Mooney herself is one of those characters that otherwise just stuck with me. I feel like so many books that I read the main characters are flawed and you know, they never, the anti-hero types whereas, yes, she has her flaws, but like I couldn’t help but just root for her and want to be her. She’s like if you could cast in a movie like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, you know, she’s like this awesome, always wearing black, walking Google of a person, you know? [ANNE LAUGHS] She crosses paths with this, like, eccentric leader and his name is literally Vincent Pryce with a Y. So it’s kinda perfect, you know, and then the real Vincent Pryce also comes into play, so it’s just a really fun book and I can’t say enough good stuff about it.


ANNE: That sounds really good. That’s been on my radar forever because I really enjoyed Bellweather Rhapsody, but I’ve never read Tuesday Mooney.

BRIGID: And I’ve never read Bellweather Rhapsody.

ANNE: Or The Westing Game if we’re confessing things here. I’ve been meaning to read it for [LAUGHS] not quite a million years.

BRIGID: It’s something that I picked up recently in the past maybe year, year and a half. A friend had always listed it as one of her favorites growing up and I read it, and I mean, there’s probably a few things that are a little bit in today’s day and age, hm, off-color, but it is … It really holds up as a fun puzzle, you know, kinda that Knives Out feel or The Inheritance Games, a billionaire, millionaire eccentric person leaving their will in this puzzle mystery way. It’s really fun. I think you would love it, Anne.

ANNE: I was even ecstatic to find a copy in a little free library, not that I can’t just walk into the bookstore and buy it, but sometimes it feels like the universe is saying hey, Anne, here’s that book you’ve been thinking about. Brigid, tell us about book two.

BRIGID: So my next book is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. This is … I wanted to choose a graphic novel to talk about and far and away, this is my favorite graphic novel I have read. It actually helped me really fall in love with the genre, and now I find myself trying to find something like it and never being able to, you know, find a book to the same feel that I got when reading Nimona.

It’s fast paced, it’s fun, it’s a mashup too, and Noelle Stevenson, this was Noelle Stevenson’s webcomic that was turned into a graphic novel and compiled, and they just have a way of writing that is able to mashup this medieval type adventure but yet it’s set in this kinda futuristic sci-fi fantasy world. So while there’s knights and they’re having jousts, they’re also video screens and laser guns and banks and all these other things that you would not see normally in a medieval times adventure. And it’s about a hilarious little shapeshifter named Nimona. [ANNE LAUGHS]

Nimona is on point with her little jabs and jokes. She decides to go work for this finger quotes “villain”, you know, the evil villain or Black Heart, and it is just one of those things where I picked it up and I couldn’t put it down. You just want to know and it’s like fun, adventure, and then there’s like a little bit of great romance going on, enemies to lovers and just a little bit of sad. It’s touching, but it’s so heartfelt and it has a hopefulness to it as well. I love the backstory that’s told within it. I think Nimona is just in a league of its own when it comes to graphic novels. Noelle Stevenson is also known as the lead runner for the She-Ra show on Netflix.


ANNE: Oh, I didn’t know that.

BRIGID: Yeah. They ran that show which I think has had its final season at this point. They ran that show and it has that same kinda quirky, you know, humor but also tinge of heartbreak and redemption, so a great pairing for that.

ANNE: I’m glad to hear it. Brigid, what did you choose for your final favorite?

BRIGID: So for my final I chose Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Rainbow Rowell is one of those like auto-read authors for me and this one has my whole heart. It is a wonderful, wonderful, and just a little backstory, Rainbow Rowell wrote a book called Fangirl. Within it the main character Cath writes fanfiction about two characters Simon Snow and Baz from a series of fantasy books that she has read and loved. After Fangirl’s popularity, Rainbow Rowell wrote Carry On as an actual Simon Snow and Baz book. So it’s very meta. It’s, you know, a book written about a book within a book. Fanfiction within a book, and yet it is so wonderful of its own regard.

It’s a fantasy book. It’s set at a magical campus. Love those. Watford School and it takes place … It’s during the final year of Simon Snow, who is of course a chosen one. He has a vampire nemesis/roommate [LAUGHS] named Baz and they are fighting this evil creature known as The Insidious Humdrum. Again it has a lot of things that I love. Pop culture references, the magic they use are sayings like these aren’t the droids you’re looking for would be one of their magical spells. [ANNE LAUGHS] They have power because of normals, you know, knowing those statements. Just wonderful little nursery rhymes as their magical spells and I just love it.

It’s got mystery, magic, ghosts, and humor. It’s a fast paced from multiple perspectives. So each chapter kinda bounces from different characters throughout the book. And it is part of a trilogy and the third one will be coming out later this year. But Carry On by Rainbow Rowell just ooh, has my whole heart. [LAUGHS] I love that book.


ANNE: I like it. Now, Brigid, tell me about a book that was not for you.

BRIGID: One book that I didn’t like … I don’t normally finish books that I dislike, but one that I didn’t like and felt wholly unbenevolent about was Normal People by Sally Rooney. I mean, I really don’t have much to say about it other than I finished it and I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it.

ANNE: Was this book club or was this just for you?

BRIGID: This was a friend’s recommendation and it came available on my kindle, so I picked it up and she wanted to read it together kinda just the two of us and I did and I finished it because of that probably, but honestly, I probably would have put it down otherwise.

ANNE: Now this is contemporary realistic literary fiction, which is different than any of the other books you brought up so far. Coincidence? Not a coincidence? ‘Cause I also know I haven’t read Sally Rooney, but I know that the tone of this is different from the books you’ve mentioned so far as well.

BRIGID: I think there’s a connection there. But there are some contemporary, real, you know, that I do enjoy. I don’t know if The Poet X would be considered that since it’s in verse. I don’t mind if something’s contemporary or realist, but this one, I just … The characters didn’t, you know, didn’t pull me and just … I think it just wasn’t right for me.

ANNE: I think I also heard the word bleak applied to this one a lot.

BRIGID: Yeah. I’m not crazy about bleak stuff. I wouldn’t say that I hate it, but I do like a little hope at the end, even if the ending isn’t all tied in a bow. Only things that I really, really stay away from would be a horror, gore or like serial killer.

ANNE: Duly noted.

BRIGID: I do like thrillers but I don’t like a ton of bloody stuff.

ANNE: Okay. We can work with that, Brigid.

BRIGID: I know this is not probably popular, but this is a real spicy take and I’m almost like nervous to say, but since I listen to so many audiobooks, I have to say, I do not like audiobooks read by Julia Whelan, narrated by her, and that is many audiobooks nowadays. It seems like almost every book you see is read by her, and I have to say it’s probably a compliment to her because after listening to Educated, I can no longer listen to her narrate a book without thinking of Educated.


ANNE: Oh, that’s interesting.

BRIGID: When children are in peril and it’s because of a parent’s lack of active abuse, I have a difficulty enjoying a book like that. I will read them. They seem to be quite popular in book clubs [LAUGHS] but since listening to Educated, whenever I hear her narrate something like Beach Read or ... I just can’t get into it. Now if she’s with somebody else like in Daisy Jones and the Six where she’s the narrator and there’s other narrators as well, then it’s okay but honestly if I see her name, I will force myself to read that book only on page or on my kindle. I just can’t do anymore books narrated by her.

ANNE: That’s so interesting. Okay, she was too much the char … I mean there is no such thing as being too much the characters as an audiobook reader, but that has imprinted on your brain and it has changed the way you approach your audiobooks.

BRIGID: Without a doubt. I cannot get the images from that book that she so expertly narrated out of my head.

ANNE: She’s narrated a lot of big titles recently, and a lot of big ones coming up ...

BRIGID: So many.

ANNE: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue …

BRIGID: I just picked that up from the library because I saw it was her.

ANNE: Yeah. She has Julie Baxbaum’s new one ...

BRIGID: Oh really?

ANNE: … Kristin Hannah’s new one … So no children in peril on the page or by association.

BRIGID: Yeah, unless it’s like a Stranger Things vibe where they are able to defend themselves in some way. Then I’m good for it. [BOTH LAUGH]


ANNE: Okay. We can work with that. Brigid, what have you been reading lately?

BRIGID: Oh, goodness, so for my various … I mentioned earlier that I am reading North and South on buddy read with @StephanieReads, the classic novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’m also ... Just finished How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole for Deborah’s romance book club and Bookmarks North Carolina. And I enjoyed that, but it was a little slow paced for me. I would say How to Catch a Queen, I would’ve liked a little more action in that one and it takes a while to get its speed. And then I’m also reading for my own The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune.

ANNE: Interesting you should mention that.

BRIGID: I saw it everywhere. I have to say, I’ve not fallen in love with it the way that I thought I would but I’m enjoying it and I want to kinda wait to see where it goes. I feel like it is really in my wheelhouse, so I don’t know what’s quite missing yet, but I am enjoying it so far and I do love like the humor and these, you know, situation and the setting and like the unconventional romance that’s budding, so I do enjoy it. But I’m also reading Ready Player Two like I mentioned, taking my time with that one, finding the sequel … So far it’s lived up to my hopes because that doesn’t always happen, right? Lastly for my Novel Bunch club I’m listening to The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré.

ANNE: Brigid, what do you want to be different in your reading life?

BRIGID: Hm. I would start with what I want more of. I would really love more unique and fun graphic novels. Those are things that I can pick up in between book club reads, so I definitely think that would be something I would like more of. Stuff that I could just read and enjoy and love in a short amount of time, and then I think different would be a book that could be just my own. Something that I’ve read like I said with my three favorites, books that really weren’t book club picks, that I am able to fall in love with and not feel like I have to have a discussion about, and you know, being able to squeeze those in between my book club picks is important to me.

ANNE: Well we will see what we can do.

ANNE: Brigid, the books you loved were Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Not for you is Normal People by Sally Rooney, and we talked about how maybe bleak is not a descriptor you’re looking for, and then I’m going to tread carefully thinking about any kind of realistic contemporary literary fiction. And currently you’re reading a whole lot of books largely for book club and we’re looking for graphic novels that are fun, and then books that are just for you.

BRIGID: Yeah, I’d love, like, maybe one graphic novel recommendation, maybe even something that if other people were interested in reading, we could do as a little buddy read on Instagram, and then some books that are just for me.


ANNE: Okay. Let’s see what we can do. Based on the things that you said you enjoyed, have you read Mariko Tamaki? I’m thinking of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.

BRIGID: I have read that one. And I did love that one.

ANNE: Okay, I’m on the right track.

BRIGID: You are on the right track. I did love that book. I especially loved the illustrations in that one. She kinda uses a limited palette. And this is something we didn’t really talk about when I said I liked graphic novels, but I did find that one really beautiful to read as well with the images and color palette.

ANNE: Okay. Since you’ve already read Laura Dean, and I’ve already got Mariko Tamaki in my head and Noelle Stevenson, have you read The Lumberjane Series?


ANNE: All of them?!

BRIGID: No, I have read the completed edition of, like, the first three volumes, and I ... That one is so perfect as well because it has a little bit of magical and what’s going on fantasy and I do love the friendship between the characters, the setting of summer camp is so fun. I worked at summer camps growing up. That was one of my jobs teaching art at summer camps, so I loved that. But yeah I’ve read Lumberjanes.

ANNE: You know there are like 19 right?

BRIGID: Yeah. I need to keep going.

ANNE: And I think you’ve read the other one I was thinking would be perfect for you which is Check, Please.

BRIGID: I’m in the middle of the second one right now. That one is cute.

ANNE: Okay. In that case, I’m thinking about a different direction, which at first I was thinking this might be perfect for you because it’s so discussable and you could read it in book club. I’m thinking of the adult graphic memoir Good Talk by Mira Jacob.


BRIGID: Oh my gosh, this is one that I have on my TBR but have not read yet.

ANNE: So maybe the time is right and maybe the time is here.


ANNE: This is her follow up to her first book A Sleep Walker’s Guide to Dancing which actually I’ve been meaning to read for a long very time and have not yet.

BRIGID: I’ve never even heard of that one either.

ANNE: Okay, well if you like this, there’s a nice little trail you could go down afterwards. Good Talk came out last year, although early in the pandemic Mira Jacob wrote this really beautiful graphic essay about her family leaving New York City during the early, early period of the pandemic. [LAUGHS] Right after I was in New York actually which was a little chilling to read.

BRIGID: Oh, yes.

ANNE: She wrote a graphic essay showing her family debating do we stay? Do we go? They decide to leave and she illustrates their trip out of New York, driving across the country to stay with family that’s in the American southwest. But the thing I loved about that essay is so many people see that it’s illustrated and they think oh, I don’t read that genre, and it really introduced a lot of people to her work which was great, so look that up if you want a peek before the book. We know that you love graphic novels and graphic memoirs, Brigid, so this is a memoir in conversations is how she describes it and you said that you liked a spare style.


ANNE: The style of this book is really interesting. There’s photographic backgrounds and the illustrations are of the characters, but they’re framed in white, almost like they’re paper dolls or paper cut outs, so it’s really interesting and unusual. She made the things she wanted to make that didn’t exist before because it really served the story and her art and I know appreciating the genre that that could be something that really appeals to you.

But this is a graphic memoir and it’s about race and family and it unfolds through as the title promises a series of conversations and some are very, very serious, which actually this book was inspired by a piece that she wrote for Buzzfeed that went bananas on the internet. It was called 37 Difficult Questions for My Mixed-Race Son. Jacob is of Southeast Asian descent, and her husband is white and Jewish, so they have very different backgrounds. So they have a son, the one you would see in the New York essay of them fleeing New York City during the pandemic, and she wrote it in response to him asking when he was age 6, are there people who hate brown boys like me?



ANNE: So there’s some very serious conversations, but there’s also some that are just silly or heartwarming or even just kinda bizarre because it’s in conversations. But something that really works with this book is the kinds of conversations she portrays, like you see conversations with her son and conversations within her family, but also conversations with friends that let her kinda reflect on other conversations that have taken place and viewing through a slightly different lens.

I like the way one book reviewer put it, I think it was Kirkus that said this is a show stopping memoir about race in America. It’s beautifully done. This is the kind of book that people would read and discuss in a book club. It would make a wonderful book club selection, but it could also be just yours. How does that sound?

BRIGID: That sounds perfect. You had me at like the conversations range from race to the mundane to, you know, quirky stuff, that sounds wonderful, and especially being able to read about her relationship with her son sounds like it’s a collage that you’re looking at. I really like the sounds of that one.

ANNE: Well that was Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob. Okay, next you mentioned that you were reading The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, and I said oh, that’s interesting, and it’s because when you were describing your experience reading Rainbow Rowell books and also describing Nimona, I thought you know there’s a T.J. Klune book that could be good for you, but it’s not the Cerulean Sea. It’s The Extraordinaries, which came out later. Is this one you’re familiar with?

BRIGID: That is so funny. Yeah, I’ve heard of it, but again, I have not read it yet and I heard that it has a humor element and am definitely intrigued.

ANNE: Well this is like Carry On, but it puts a superhero spin on it. It’s also very much like The Incredibles, you know, the Pixar movie.



ANNE: This is about Nick Bell and he is not an extraordinary, but something that a lot of people don’t know is that he has this alter ego. He is the most popular fanfiction writer in the extraordinaries fandom which is like a big deal in Nova City where he lives. Okay, Brigid, let me think. What do I want you to know about this book?

BRIGID: Yeah, without spoilers, right? [LAUGHS]

ANNE: Always. So this is a YA novel that reads like a YA novel. Listeners, one of my favorite descriptions of YA novels ever still comes to Preston Yancy, one of our I think first ten What Should I Read Next guests where he just says like they’re big and they’re bold and the emotions are huge and it’s all like saturated color, like that would describe the tone of this book.

So Nick, he has an unrequited crush. His mom died in sad circumstances a few years back. He’s dealing with ADHD and he’s suddenly having friend troubles with his long time best friend. There’s a cute boy at school that’s also causing him a little bit of woe, which is where it’s important to jump in and say that T.J. Klune is a queer author who really writes queer characters and he really believes it’s important he says now more than ever to have accurate positive queer representation in stories and that is absolutely here.

Something else that I really noted is that in this book, Nick’s father is a police officer, and so there’s a scene where a police officer handles something — and it’s not Nick’s dad — but a police officer handles something differently than T.J. Klune said he would have chosen were he writing in 2020 than he did a couple of years ago when he actually wrote this book, and so he had a … There’s a piece online called something like a note about The Extraordinaries where he reflects on his writing process, what he would have changed, what he intends to do differently in the future, and how current events made him think about his work and how it reads to people and I just, for anybody who enjoys the behind the scenes of the writing process and who asks like [LAUGHS] what would writers take back if they were writing a certain book today? That’s a really interesting piece. And this did just come out in July of 2020.

And I have to tell you I listened to the audiobook, which is not narrated by Julia Whelan. This is the first book I listened to narrated by Michael Lesley, and I did really enjoy the book in that format. And honestly I think the only reason I picked that up is I did really enjoy The House on the Cerulean Sea. I see what you’re saying. I hope as you persevere like you’ll get your head around what’s happening and who the characters are and you’ll like care a little bit, but this one is more action oriented and I think that may be faster to grab you.

I think the only reason I picked this up is I had never read T.J. Klune before The House on the Cerulean Sea and I really enjoyed it and I thought oh, here’s a new audiobook on LibroFM. I guess I’ll give it a try, even though it’s not like a typical genre I read. Like superhero stories, it’s something I was willing to try but not like a go to of mine by any means. But it was a delightful departure. It’s not quite such a departure for you but I think it might be a delight. How does that sound?


BRIGID: It does sound delightful. I … Especially when you brought up the fact that there was a piece about what he would have changed. I love the idea of you know this superhero and struggles, it almost sounds like John Hughes meets superhero fanfic and it really does sound up my alley and I do like things that are great on audio and are going to make me laugh and you know, get sucked into the adventure as well. I cannot wait to pick that one up.

ANNE: Well I am happy to hear it. That was The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune and it’s the first in a planned trilogy. The next book is set to come out in Summer 2021.

BRIGID: Oh that’s great to know. And I do ... I also really do love being able to read more books by queer authors, about queer characters, I find that some of my favorite books are those type of romances and situations.

ANNE: I’m glad to hear it. Okay. Finally this is the one book I feel confident you haven’t read yet because it’s not out yet.


ANNE: You mentioned that you returned or finally read Rebecca recently?

BRIGID: Oh, I just finally read it for the first time and I absolutely loved it.

ANNE: Okay.

BRIGID: It was a classic that I’d been meaning to read for years and for some reason was like kinda daunted by, and then I picked it up and it felt so fresh, but yet also really, you know, got sucked into the setting and the time, the place, the characters, so yeah, I loved that one.

ANNE: You mentioned you read And Then There Were None for one of your book clubs.


BRIGID: For sure, Agatha Christie. Any sorta puzzle like that.

ANNE: Thriller writer J.T. Ellison has a new book coming out in March that has serious Rebecca vibes and also And Then There Were None. It seems like there’s a whole slew of books where terrible things happen at parties and gorgeous isolated locations [BRIGID LAUGHS] and this is one of them and I think you might be here for it.

BRIGID: I am. I am. Especially if it’s like Clue the movie or [ANNE LAUGHS] you know, The Hunting Party.

ANNE: All right, in that case, let me tell you more. This book is called Her Dark Lies and it opens right as the wedding of the year is about to take place at this gorgeous villa off the Italian coast and you know it’s a very exclusive guest list because there’s a Nashville artist, her name is Claire. She’s a painter, so she sees things through an artistic lens. She is marrying Jack. He is the son of a huge computer companies family, they are loaded. They have staff galore and security and notoriety and there’s lots of secrecy about what she can and can’t tell about the family because she’s about to be welcomed into the inner circle. They’re all really excited about this wedding.

But as the book begins, like nothing is going right. They’re approaching the island to get there for the first time to check in and enjoy it but it turns out that skeletal remains had been found that day and they think they know who they belong to and it can’t be a good sign … I mean, it can’t be a good omen that they’re showing up now. All the seriously sinister vibes are reminding Claire that she knows very little about her husband-to-be’s first wife who he was married to briefly, who died on the last day of their honeymoon ten years before. She doesn’t know the whole story there, but she feels like maybe stuff has been swept under the rug. Not - not like in a legal sense, but just that nobody wants to talk about it and that’s kinda creepy.

But as you get further into the story and you meet more of the cast of characters and you see more of what’s unfolding you realize that there are lots of characters with something to hide and then people start dying in mysterious ways and when you add that to the mysterious death that happened ten years ago and the just oppressive atmosphere like maybe we need to get off this island as soon as possible, this is not going well, and lots of twists and turns. I think this could be fun for you.

BRIGID: Oh my gosh. Definitely. And as a former art teacher and you know, I have my MFA in art, I always love when a character is a painter or has that artistic feel to it and as soon as you said like, you know, his first wife and that she died on the last day of their honeymoon, I’m hooked. I am hooked. I want to know what’s happening on this island for sure. I want to try to figure it out.


ANNE: Oh, that makes me so happy. I hope you love it. That is Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison.

BRIGID: Oh my gosh, that sounds really great. Right on the nose with that recommendation.

ANNE: Alright, Brigid, we talked about some good stuff today.

BRIGID: We sure did. So many wonderful books.

ANNE: We had Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation by Mira Jacob, The Extraordinaries, the superhero story by T.J. Klune, and Her Dark Lies, the thriller from J.T. Ellison, of those books what do you think you’ll read next?

BRIGID: Honestly, Anne, I’ll probably pick up all three. I’ll probably listen to The Extraordinaries, get my hands on a copy of the graphic novel Good Talk, and then I will get the hardcover or the ebook for Her Dark Lies.

ANNE: Well I am happy to hear it, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Brigid, thanks so much for talking books with me today.

BRIGID: You’re welcome. It was my pleasure. Such an honor.


ANNE: Hey readers, I hope you enjoyed my discussion with Brigid, and I’d love to hear what YOU think she should read next. That page is at and it’s where you’ll find the full list of titles we talked about today.

To support our show and get weekly bonus episodes, access to fun livestreams, and a peek behind the scenes, join our Patreon community at If you wish to do so, this is a great way to TANGIBLY support the show. Sign up to become a supporter at


Follow us on instagram @ whatshouldireadnext instagram. And if you don’t get our weekly newsletter, go to to sign up for our free weekly delivery.

Thanks to the people who make this show happen! What Should I Read Next is produced by Brenna Frederick, with sound design by Kellen Pechacek.

Readers, that’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening.

And as Rainer Maria Rilke said, “ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” Happy reading, everyone.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here.

• Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
• Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
• Well Met by Jen DeLuca
• Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
• The Dry by Jane Harper
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
• The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (if you love the book, watch Knives Out)
• Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
• The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (creator of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
• Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Normal People by Sally Rooney
• The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
• Educated by Tara Westover
• Beach Read by Emily Henry
• Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
• The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
• Admission by Julie Buxbaum
• The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 
• North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell 
• How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
• The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
• The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
• Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki
• The Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen
• Check Please Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
• Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
• The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob
• The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
• And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
• The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
• Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison

Also mentioned:

10 romance novels that are perfect for summer reading
• Bookmarks, NC’s Romance Book Club
The Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club
North and South buddy read with @stephaniereads
• “We Left New York With Clothes, Our Cat and Three Bottles of Disinfectant” by Mira Jacob
• “37 Difficult Questions From My Mixed-Race Son” by Mira Jacob
• “A Message about The Extraordinaries” from TJ Klune


Leave A Comment
  1. Georgia says:

    I am very impressed by anyone who is able to be in that many book clubs. I could only do that if I got to pick all the books we were reading!

    As I was listening, I thought of a book that Brigid might like – it has lots of art and some intrigue – The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. It’s a fictional story about the famous Isabella Stewart Gardener heist in which a reproduction artist gets commissioned to paint one of the missing paintings. Things get tense, and it’s got lots of detail about recreating a painting – how the character makes it look just so. I thought that stuff would be boring, but it was fascinating and as a former art teacher, you might find it riveting as well.

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you for listening, Georgia! Sometimes the fun is not picking the books and other times I do have some say in the picks. Also, I love how sometimes the books are such a surprising choice.
      And that is so funny you recommend The Art Forger, I have had it on my Nook reader for YEARS and have never read. I find that heist fascinating and love heist in general especially Art ones. Thank you so much for the recommendation and will need to move that one higher on my TBR!

  2. Emily Ip says:

    Listening to this episode, I couldn’t help but think of Diane Chamberlain’s, Big Lies in A Small Town would be perfect for Brigid!! It is an extremely engaging mystery based on a mysterious painting, race relations, and small town life. It’s fast paced and I couldn’t put it down!

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you for listen and for the recommendation, Emily! I have never heard of that heard of that book and will be checking it out for sure!

  3. Donna H. says:

    I loved this episode! My reading life has also completely changed due to book clubs and buddy reads so I was happy to hear Brigid talk about what they have brought to her life. I’d like to recommend Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce to her. It’s a Middle Grade mystery with a lot of humor and I thought it could be a nice quick read amongst her many book club picks!

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you, Donna! I feel the same way about buddy reads and book clubs: the friendships, the discussions, the great reads- Love it all! Adding this MG mystery to my list, it sounds awesome. Love a book with humor!

  4. Catherine says:

    One of my favorite episodes! I could never keep up with that many book clubs (though I always like to be in one or two), so I was very impressed, but mostly Brigid’s taste just really resonated with me. I read Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts a few weeks ago, and I can’t stop recommending it either. I think the intermittent forays into YA POV were another element that made me love it. 🙂

    Brigid didn’t mention any historical fiction, I don’t think, but since our taste seemed so aligned in general, I’ll throw out a recommendation for The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, which I just finished. I love books with a puzzle/code element, and it sounds like Brigid enjoys that too, and this novel about Bletchley Park code breakers in WWII was thrilling. I did it on audio, and loved the narrator (Saskia Maarleveld).

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you for listening Catherine and so glad to hear it was one of your favorite episodes! It does take some planning to keep up with them all PLUS its extremely helpful that most meet at different times on different days!
      Always fun to discuss Tuesday Mooney and glad to meet another reader who can’t stop recommending it. And agreed, her teen neighbor was one of the awesome characters in such an interesting book.
      The Rose Code sounds good, will definitely check it out!

  5. Colleen Bonilla says:

    I’m really looking forward to listening to this episode! I am a naturally slow reader and would LOVE to hear those tips on how to finish my book club reads on time!

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you Colleen!
      And an extra bonus tip I didn’t mention in the episode that helps me while reading a classic or more heavy book for a buddy read or a book club is to dedicate 30 min in the morning to it. For me, this looks like listening to the audio while taking my daughter on a walk in the stroller or while cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes after breakfast. After that, I may switch to a lighter or more plot driven book the rest of the day whenever I can sneak in a few pages.

  6. Tonja says:

    I loved this week’s episode. Brigid has such wonderful eclectic taste and when I hear her strongly recommend a book, I know I’m going to love it, even if I’m stepping outside of my normal genres.

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Thank you very much, Tonja! I am so happy to hear that, sharing and discussing great books is such a joy. Especially with friends and readers like you!

  7. Andrea says:

    I LOVED The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing and didn’t realize Mira Jacobs had another book out until this episode. I can’t wait to pick it up!

  8. Stephany says:

    As I was listening to this episode, I kept thinking The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson could be a book Brigid might enjoy. It’s a coming of age tale with lots of 1980s nostalgia, quirky/eccentric characters and great writing. The content isn’t as scary as the title would suggest but does cover some hefty themes like trauma and its impact on memory. Reviewers have likened it to Stranger Things but I think Stand By Me is a better comparison. It was a wonderful reading experience!

  9. Sarah says:

    Hi Brigid,
    I enjoyed your episode. I feel like you and I have similar reading tastes. For the record I liked the Extraordinaries more than The House on the Cerulean Sea, and I am a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell, especially Carry On. I adore that book. I’m also new to the graphic novel genre, but have really been enjoying what I’ve read so far. On that note, have you read Heartstopper by Alice Oseman? I think it has a lot of what you would like. It’s quite a gentle read. Three books so far, but a fourth due this year. You may have already stumbled upon it, since I’ve a feeling you’ve read quite a few more graphic novels than me, but if not I suggest you check it out.

    • Brigid says:

      The timing of your comment is perfect cause I just bought the second Volume of Heartstopper and I can’t wait to read it! I loved the first volume and am looking forward to seeing the upcoming Netflix adaptation!
      So glad you enjoyed the episode and it featured some of your favorites too. Thank you for listening!

  10. Wendy Curtis says:

    Hi Brigid! I enjoyed your episode and love your book choices! I was somewhat relieved to hear you say what you did regarding narrator Julia Whelan because I’ve been feeling the same way!! I feel bad because she is very popular and narrates a lot of books. I thought you should know you’re not alone!

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Hi and thank you Wendy! So glad I am not the only one, I just can’t do her audiobooks anymore! Happy for her to be so popular for those who do enjoy her narration 🙂

  11. Sarah Silvester says:

    Ahhhhhh, all 3 of her top 3 have my whole heart!!! I haven’t even finished the episode and I’m already commenting, haha!
    For fans of Noelle Stevenson, I’m assuming she’s read the Lumberjanes comics? If not, they are wonderful, and you can just start at volume 1 and continue right through until 16 or so I think. Comics can seem like a stretch if you’re coming from a full graphic novel, but the Lumberjanes series is easy to start and get into from number one, they’re usually available in the library. A graphic novel she might like is Cast no Shadow by Nick Tapalansky. A middle grade series that reminds me of them a bit is the Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon (the hamster princess series is wonderful too!) – they are for kids but they’re some of the most clever and funny books I’ve read, and are a great cross between graphic novel and “regular” book. If you like Carry On, then Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey is a darker version but fabulous (Enjoyed the audioboook) and A deadly Education by Naomi Novik, for SURE. Get on that! Also if you haven’t read the Nevermoor Series by Jessica Townsend, they are middle grade, but the MOST wonderful books – she’s published 3 so far and they are all brilliant. I believe they’ve surpassed even Harry Potter for me, shocking! Thanks for a wonderful episode.

    • Brigid Misselhorn says:

      Hi Sarah. YAY, thank you for listening! So glad you enjoyed it and we have similar favs! I love Lumberjanes! And have read Magic for Liars and enjoyed its noir feel. I will def add A deadly Education, Nevermoor (See this series everywhere!), and Cast no Shadow and Dragonbreath to my TBR. What fun recs 🙂

  12. CANDACE G CARTER says:

    This was a fun one! I have to suggest Fingersmith by Sarah Waters! It is a delightful twisty mystery set in Victorian England. I just finished it and loved it so much!

  13. Arlene says:

    What a great episode! Nimona is one of my all time favorites, and I can totally relate to trying to find another graphic novel to give you the same feeling, and just not being able to do it! But I keep trying! I also love Rainbow Rowell, although I liked Fangirl better than Carry On, I will read anything she writes. And I added so many books to my TBR!

  14. Jen Hansen says:

    This was a great episode and Brigid may have been the one to finally convince me to pick up my first graphic novel! Nimona sounds amazing so I put it on hold at the library.

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