WSIRN Ep 92: When you feel betrayed by the bestseller list

WSIRN Ep 92: When you feel betrayed by the bestseller list
Today’s guest pointed out that we haven’t talked to an abundance of East Coast readers, and today we’re making amends. Karen Weiss is a nurse practitioner in Maine who gets many of her best book recommendations from her teenage patients, and she returns the favor — it’s rare for a patient of any age to leave her office without a book recommendation. Karen loves chatting books so much she talked herself into a job at her local independent bookstore, so of course I needed to find out her secret. We also discuss Karen’s take on the book—or books—she hates, stunning writers, well-written mysteries, and the awful feeling when a best-seller betrays you.


What Should I Read Next #92: When you feel betrayed by the bestseller list with Karen Weiss

Books mentioned in this episode:

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• The Circus Ship, by Chris Van Dusen
• The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx
• A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
• The Jackson Brodie series, by Kate Atkinson
• A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore
• Sweetbitter, by Stephanie
• The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
• The Little French Bistro, by Nina George
• Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
• Girl In Disguise, by Greer Macallister
• Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart
• Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
• A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
• The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
• The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
• The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin
• Two if by Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard

What do YOU think Karen should read next? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Julie says:

    Great episode! I am also a nurse practitioner who has spent quite a lot of time in Maine -owned a home there for many years- and I loved Shipping News, the Kate Atkinson books and Olive Kitteridge so I think our tastes are very similar. Two books I recently read that are a bit off the beaten track but very funny, smart, well written with quirky families (in the best possible way) Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny and Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe. Also for Anne, the audio version of the Jackson Brodie Started Early Took My Dog was fantastic. Somewhat like the Robert Galbraith but funnier.

  2. Laura says:

    I’m on the Seacoast in NH, right near Maine and am going there this weekend. What’s the name of your store, I want to stop in!

  3. Hayley says:

    My kids LOVE The Circus Ship (we currently have it from the library and we read it multiple times daily!) – and I believe Chris van Dusen also illustrates the Mercy Watson books (also a household favourite)

  4. Lindsay says:

    Try “The Idiot” by Elif Batuman. One of my favorite literary fiction books of the year. Not plot driven but an awesome character study of someone who doesn’t fit in with society. Has a linguistics element that was so interesting & a early-mid 90s setting that talks interestingly about the advent of electronic communication. I’d recommend this book to almost no one because it’s definitely an acquired taste, but based on your preferences I bet you’d enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

  5. Kimberly Bunyard says:

    I absolutely loved today’s podcast and was excited to hear so many titles in so many contexts mentioned. I’m also a RN and one thing I’ve found over my career is that so many nurses love to read!
    I was disappointed they aren’t all linked in show notes? The Darker Shade of Magic series sounded so good and I’ll have to do another listen thru to write them down. along with all the Maine-centric titles mentioned.

  6. I have been WAITING to hear someone talk about The Shipping News! If you want something atmospheric, THIS is the book. Newfoundland is basically another character. I read The Shipping News in college and it’s been one of my all-time favs since. I feel the same way about it when I see it on the shelf. It brings back the feelings I had reading it and also that sweet time of my life.

    In that same vein, I’d also recommend Snow Falling on Cedars. It’s very atmospheric and moody and also features interesting characters that don’t quite fit in. Oh, and it throws in some history and love along the way, too.

  7. Amy says:

    Karen- have you read the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen? The books are in the fantasy genre and something I think teens would connect with. A Lord if the Rings feel but with a complex female heroine. Enjoyed this episode.

    • Karen Weiss says:

      Just finished the second in the Tearling Series. Thoroughly enjoying them. Thx for the recommendation!! Would love to hear any of your other fantasy favorites!

  8. Bethany says:

    When I play “Three books you love and one book you hate” in my mind, I always pick Sweetbitter as my “hate”, too! And I loved A Dirty Job! So I’m definitely going to add Karen’s other loves to my To Read list. Thank you Anne and Karen!

  9. Diana says:

    I’m definitely on the side of not liking Sweetbitter. It was not at all what I was expecting/looking for and totally agree that it was overly crude. That would be in contention for my hated book too!

  10. Laura Schwartz says:

    Loved the episode! If you’re a fantasy fan I highly recommend Robin Hobb’s Assassin books. It starts with Assassin’s Apprentice, and it’s a trilogy, followed by another trilogy, followed by another trilogy (last book hasn’t come out yet). It is incredible!

  11. Marion says:

    I just listened to this episode. I enjoyed Karen’s energy about being working in an indie bookstore. As a former bookseller, I have a great appreciation for those who (or have) worked in a bookstore. Also, I liked the fact that Karen mentioned she loves fantasy. I would like to recommend a novel by Jonathan Carroll. Carroll is one of my favorite novelists and his books blur the line between fantasy, surrealism, and literary fiction. My favorite is The Wooden Sea. A story of small-town cop who life changes when a three legged dog comes into his life. The cop is taken on a surreal trip of his past and reveals the importance of love. I really enjoyed The Wooden Sea and have recommended to literary fiction readers who don’t usually read fantasy but like some of those elements in their fiction. You can read my full review of The Wooden Sea here:

  12. Ellen W says:

    I felt the same way you did about Sweetbitter – I became annoyed at her constantly making poor decisions. There is a “cozy mystery” series based in Maine I have enjoyed about a woman named Candy Holliday – all the title are Town in A… (all food based).

  13. Donna H. says:

    This was such a great episode and had a nice variety of books. I was excited to hear A God in Ruins was one of your favorites (I literally sat here shouting ‘yes! yes!’. Based on that pick and some other comments you made I’d highly suggest one of my favorites from this year-The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. It’s historical fiction and is very well-written and has the added bonus of a great cover!

  14. Jenna says:

    You may also like Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman, the author who wrote A Man Called Ove! The main character is a woman who starts out a bit hard to love and easy to pity. It also pulls the heartstrings and makes you so happy (very much the feelings triggered in Ove).

    • Katie Toungette says:

      I quickly downloaded This one based on the podcast and just finished it. I LOVED IT. I definitely hope she reads it!!

    • Stacy says:

      I’ll chime in with my response – Maybe in Another Life is my favorite of hers, but basically any other book of hers is better than The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’ve read all five and loved the first four but was left disappointed with her latest. It was fine but just didn’t grab me the same way the others did.

  15. Courtney says:

    Gosh, I am so happy to hear someone recommend Christopher Moore. I think he has long been grossly underrated as an author. Karen is so right on when she says that he is laugh-out-loud funny. Karen recommended, “A Dirty Job” (which I second), but I would also chime in for “You Suck”, “The Stupidest Angel”, and “Lamb”. These are fun, irreverent, and clever.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I saved so many of the books from this episode to my TBR list! And I’m excited for a laugh out loud fantasy series! Have you read the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones? They are FANTASTIC on audio! I laughed my way through 10 on audio and could only get the 11th book on ebook (library app) and it felt so weird to “read” the characters and not hear them. It’s a fun series you should check out if you haven’t already!

  17. Karen Weiss says:

    I haven’t read the Charlie Davidson series but I’m adding it to the TBR (TBL?) list right now. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I originally read Dirty Job then listened to it. I don’t recommend the audio book. The reader was fair at best. 🙁 let me know what you think of it!!

  18. Jenni says:

    It’s interesting that Karen brought up the paucity of East Coast guests when I don’t recall you ever having a reader on from Los Angeles, where I was born, raised, and live? I submitted a guest form a year or so ago, but perhaps I should re-submit? 🙂

  19. Sonya Leonard says:

    Just got around to listening to this one. Loved it! I’m following you (I think) on Goodreads Karen (we have similar reading taste). I’m going to recommend Lilac Girls. You will “learn” something and be entertained. Should you ever want some Appalachian novel recommendations, let me know! That’s my neck of the woods.

    • karen weiss says:

      Hi Sonya! I’m so glad you enjoyed the episode. It was really fun to do! Thanks for the Lilac Girls recommendation. I’ve had several book store customers really enjoy it as well so I think I will pop that toward the top of the list. And yes, send Appalachian novel recommendations any time! I hope you have a great weekend! Karen

  20. Patricia Blaine says:

    I think Karen should read The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore. It’s a middle-grade novel about kids who discover friendship and solve a riddle in Maine. It’s cool getting a look into the life of the main character, who has two mothers.

  21. Marie-France Brunet says:

    I’m late to the game but I’m just now slowly making my way through all the previous episodes and I was SO excited to hear Christopher Moore mentioned in this episode!

    I’ve read pretty much all of his books, and they’re all oh so fun. If you’re looking for other quirky stories in that style, A. Lee Martinez is another good author to look up– the most recent book of his I read was called The Last Adventure of Constance Verity. It was a lot of fun!

    • karen weiss says:

      Hi Marie-France! So glad to receive your comment! I checked out A. Lee Martinez on Goodreads and she looks right up my alley. I’ve added The Last Adventure of Constance Verity to my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation! Karen

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