WSIRN Ep 51: Gateway books to lifetime reading with The Baby-Sitters Club Club

One of my happier finds this past year has been Jack and Tanner’s delightfully ridiculous podcast The Baby-Sitters Club Club. It turns out I’m not the only thirty-something woman who counts these books as a crucial stepping stone on her road to lifelong booknerdery, and whose love for the works of Ann M. Martin still burns after for all these years.

I have you all to thank for this find—numerous blog comments about your favorite podcasts directed me to this project that explores the BSC books, week by week, one book at a time. Jack Shepherd and Tanner Greenring each have their own interesting stories of how they found the series, and why—as thirty-something men—they’ve chosen to devote a large chunk of their time and attention to the books. In this episode we dive into what this series means to readers of all ages, why these books have such staying power, which babysitter we most identify with, and what Jack and Tanner are reading when they’re not reading The Babysitters Club.

What Should I Read Next #51: Gateway books to lifetime reading with The Baby-Sitters Club Club

Ready to go binge episodes of The Babysitter’s Club Club? Subscribe via iTunes, follow the show on Twitter and Facebook, and get a daily dose of ridiculous by follow Jack and Tanner on Twitter. #BeeTheory

Books discussed in this episode: 

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The Babysitter’s Club series, by Ann M. Martin
The Sweet Valley High series, by Francine Pascal
Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King
Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing
The Riddle of the Labyrinth, by
The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin

What Should I Read Next #51: Gateway books to lifetime reading with The Baby-Sitters Club Club

Did your childhood favorites foretell what genres you enjoy now as an adult? Head to the comments and spill your memories!


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  1. Aya says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m a huge fan of this podcast and I’m so glad you invited them to yours!
    Hilarious pictures of them in their kimonos BTW 🙂

  2. Helen Harris says:

    Can I just say that this stack of Babysitter’s Club books made my day??? So nostalgic!!! I’m from Brazil (Rio), where I studied in the American School. Once a year, my family would travel to the US (usually Miami or NYC) and I would look forward to my annual trip to Borders. I would spend HOURS at Borders combing through the latest Babysitter’s Club books (and Sweet Valley Twins/High). My parents would always encourage me to buy books during our trips, so I would leave the bookstore with a pile of 10-12 books, weighing down my suitcase during the flight home. Seriously, it’s one of my best memories of our family vacations! Some people come to the US to shop for clothes and electronics. I would shop for books!

    • Elizabeth says:

      That is such great story, Helen! When my family went on road trips when I was growing up, I would take a stack of like 20 or 30 Baby-sitters Club books and read, read, read. It was lovely!

  3. Paula White says:

    I love this series of podcasts. I am getting ideas for my grandchildren for Christmas.
    You forgot “Touching the Void” in the list. Would this book be too intense for 14 year old boy?

  4. Jen says:

    Well, that was the perfect combination of bizarre and fun — I was laughing out loud in the car on my commute home! Off to check out their podcast now…

  5. Brie says:

    I still own ALL of the BSC books, including all of those special side series (mystery BSC, etc.). 🙂 I remember devouring each of these books as they came out in stores! How fun to learn that they still have a devoted following. This makes me want to go back and re-read them!

  6. Kristie says:

    I have certainly heard of The Baby-Sitter’s Club books before, but since I was 13 when they were first published, maybe that’s why they didn’t hit my radar at the time (I did read a lot of Sweet Valley High). Now I’m really intrigued, but my library doesn’t have them! They have just the very first as an ebook (I’ve already checked it out), and some graphic novels, but that’s it. I really enjoy kids’ books, but I don’t have any of my own to share these with. Maybe this is a series I could enjoy with friends’ kids I’m an honorary aunt to, if I decide I like the first one well enough? I just have to track them down!

    I’ve also casually collecting Choose Your Own Adventure books, so why not another series?

  7. Megan Miller says:

    These books got me hooked on reading as a kid!!! My Mom would take us to the library every Tuesday morning, and I would be crossing my fingers for a new BSC book to be in that I hadn’t read before! My Mom would help me comb the shelves, and I would start reading the second we were back in the car!

  8. Krista says:

    I loved this episode. It was so much fun to listen to those guys and you talk about The Babysitters Club. My favorite part was when they talked about which Babysitter they identified with! It has been a long time now, but I believe it was Christy for me.

  9. Theresa says:

    Thank you for this super fun episode. I was 10 in 1986 and read the Babysitter’s Club books as they hit the shelves. I am definitely tuning into the podcast. I just reserved Kristy’s Great Idea from the library.

  10. Leanne Sowul says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the Babysitters Club Club podcast! I’d never heard of it, but I’ve been devouring the episodes since I read this post. It’s so funny and fresh.
    I always thought I was the only adult who kept a secret stash of BSC books under my bed. I read them whenever I’m most stressed or overwhelmed- my husband knows them as a signal that I need a break. I credit Ann Martin as one of my inspirations for becoming a writer. I’m so glad there’s a whole world of people out there who think that series is as incredible as I do.

  11. Erin in CA says:

    I’m curious — I was born in 1972 and have never read even one BSC book. And I was a really avid reader as a kid! I did read Sweet Valley High, though. Okay, to satisfy my curiosity, I just looked it up, and the first one was published in 1986. Since I was turning 14 then, I’m too old for them, just like I was too old for NKOTB, LOL! My daughter (who is ten) loves the new graphic novels but doesn’t care for the straight novels.

  12. Kate says:

    Such a fun episode! I’m a little bit old for BSC but loved “club” series like The Secret Seven and Famous Five. I did read the first book and am struck by how different things are today when neighbors don’t just grab random nearby teens to watch their kids for a night out, but instead interview PhD candidates in child behavior and do thorough background checks. Sigh.
    I’m very intrigued by the space spiders and hieroglyphs books, too!

  13. Brooke says:

    I LOVE TBC! Like Anne, I also had the entire collection in paper book as a kid but got rid of them as I became an adult. (WHY?!??) I also let my Mom donate all of her original Nancy Drew books. (Young and dumb). I am searching the internet for some more Babysitters Club to fall in love with again. As I listened to this episode, I remembered some of the storylines and characters with fondness.

    Thanks Anne for showing the world that Kid Lit can have great purpose for adults!

  14. Rebekah says:

    What a fun episode and Thanks to the guys for their book recommendations. I picked up Endurance and The Riddle of the Labyrinth. Both are well written and fascinating reads. (Too fascinating. I keep staying up late reading and now have no idea how I will stay awake today.)

  15. Britany Arnold says:

    This episode is encouraging me to go back to my parent’s house and find all my old books and bring them home!! I absolutely LOVED this episode and want to re-read them all over again! Thank You 🙂

  16. Darcy says:

    My husband recommends “Annapurna” by Maurice Herzog for those liking “Into Thin Air”, “Touching the Void”, and “Endurance.”

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