WSIRN Ep 65: The joy of buying books on someone else’s dime

Hello readers, it’s Tuesday again! Time for a sparkling new episode of What Should I Read Next.

Today’s guest is Graylin Porter, World-Lit-major-with-a-Masters-in-Modern-&-Contemporary-Lit-turned-children’s-librarian who is expecting a new addition to her family very very soon (hint: it’s a baby!). Graylin shares a peek behind the library curtain with us, including the struggles of keeping a children’s section stocked, what she will miss most about the library when she leaves her position later this year, and the one genre her book club knows they can count on her to read.

This is another good one, readers. Enjoy!

What Should I Read Next #65: The joy of buying books on someone else's dime with Graylin Porter
You can connect with Graylin on her website,, and on Instagram @graylinsporter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

• The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
• Eloise, by Kay Thompson
• I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen
• Author Mo Willems
• The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
• Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates
• Running Wild, by J.G. Ballard
• The Mothers, by Britt Bennett
• The Neopolitan Novels, by Elena Ferrante
• Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan
• A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
• Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
• Fates & Furies, by Lauren Groff
• The Guineveres, by Sarah Domet
• Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. This is a new Book of the Month selection. Details here.
• 100 Artist Manifestos, by Alex Danchev
• Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey

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  1. Maudeen Haisch Wachsmith says:

    I have two recommendations for nonfiction for Graylin; both have been out for awhile.

    The first, because she mentioned being willing to read science, is The Immortal Life on Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It’s called a fascinating look at medicine and family. Basically it deals with “immortal” cells taken and used for medical research. I couldn’t put it down.

    The second, because of history and science, with a dark theme, is Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson which deals with weather and the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900. Actually, I don’t think Graylin could go wrong with any of Larson’s books.

  2. Janet Kemper says:

    Hi there,
    The two authors I thought of for non-fiction for you are Erik Larson and Mary Roach. Also a book called Brain on Fire may be interesting to you.

  3. Jacelyn says:

    This episode really resonated with me. I do not think I have very similar tastes as Graylin, but I enjoyed your discussions. I think this episode was the first in which I wish I was sitting down with you ladies and could discuss a couple of the books – A Gentleman in Moscow and The Neopolitan Quartet – in more depth with you.
    Anne, please never hesitate to go MFA-nerdy in any of your discussions! I loved hearing about Towles’ structure of the timeline for AGIM. I’m not MFA material, but the math girl in me loved it!
    I was pleased to hear Graylin’s explanation for why she was satisfied by the ending of The Neopolitan novels. I was SO annoyed, and SO done with those characters by the end of the 4th book. Okay, maybe I wanted to be done with them by the 2nd novel, but I kept going to see the resolution of the issue presented in the 1st book. After hearing Graylin’s explanation, I appreciated the ending much more and was more (not completely) satisfied.
    One more comment – Graylin mentioned reading lots of food or food memoir books. Many of Anne’s other guests talk about this genre of book. I am unfamiliar with this genre, but definitely intrigued. Where should I start?
    Thanks, again, for another great listening experience!

  4. BJ says:

    I loved Gentleman in Moscow, much more than ROC, but I too felt it dragged in the middle and actually put it aside for awhile and read something else but eventually picked it up again and really enjoyed it.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I feel like Graylin is my book soulmate! Everything she said about books could have come out of my mouth, except about Ian McEwan. I’ve tried several times and just can’t. She really won my heart when she hated Fates and Furies.
    Now I have to decide if I should read the Neopolitan books. I just bought the Rules of Civility ebook thru your kindle deals though and may have to read that next. Love the podcast and your addictive spicy nuts recipe, Anne!

  6. Melissa says:

    Anne, I loved that you shared about the structure of A Gentleman in Moscow! I did notice the chapter titles and wrote them all down as I read, but I did not realize the other structure secret! I love it when authors write in those ways! Many of my favorite books are those with a certain structure. While I liked A Gentleman in Moscow, you just helped me elevate it more!

  7. Katie VanGrootheest says:

    I really really really think that you should have the list of titles in order of listed! (maybe have a link so that its not a spoiler for people how like to be surprised.)

    I find I have to rewind so much to get the title and author of a book that sounds interesting, but that I may have missed those pertinent details.

    Also, when reviewing past episodes for a title that I was interested in, I forget the title/author details but may remember it was the 3rd recommmended (for example)

    There is no pleasing everyone, I know!!

  8. Elisabeth says:

    Loved this discussion. I’m binging old episodes, so I hope Graylin is still interested in suggestions since by now the new babe has arrived. I, too, loved Virgin Suicides. And, I love Ian McEwan. I hated to hear that she hated Fates & Furies, because when she first mentioned Virgin Suicides, that was my first thought. I love all the allusions to Greek drama in VS that were also used by Groff in F&F. Aside: My take on all the over-the-top dialogue and whatnot in F&F is that it’s a deliberate nod to the exaggerated drama of Greek comedy/tragedy.

    Anyway, my recommendations to Graylin are Perfume by Patrick Suskind and Serena by Ron Rash. Both are dark, relatively short (she mentioned she liked short) but thick with great writing.

    I echo what anther commenter said – never fear going nerdy.

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