Readers, it’s a BIG week over here with a book launchAND the 300th episode of What Should I Read Next. Our fabulous team of readers is celebrating in our favorite way: book recommendations!
I’ve shared my WSIRN guest-inspired reads, and now it’s time to hear from the avid readers who keep things running behind the scenes.
I love getting book recommendations from this incredible crew who bring you amazing book content, week in and week out. Today, our team members are sharing books they had to read after hearing about them on the podcast, along with why they picked them up.
Our team members’ reading tastes are all over the map (you should see the variety in our “book talk” channel on Slack!), so there’s a mix of mystery, science fiction, and even picture books on today’s list.
If one of today’s titles intrigues you, go ahead and download the corresponding What Should I Read Next episode wherever you get your podcasts for more book recs and readerly conversation.
WSIRN-inspired reads from a team of devoted bookworms
From Donna: Back in 2017 when I heard Episode 72: Embarrassing bookworm confessions with Madeleine Riley, Louise Penny wasn’t recommended as much as she is today. When I heard Madeleine say she loved the books in this series so much that she read twelve of them in six months, I knew I had to read the first one. Anne warns the listeners that the first three books are a little slow, but I was hooked immediately by Still Life, and now the Inspector Gamache series is my favorite of all time. Louise Penny writes the following in the acknowledgements in Kingdom of the Blind about her books: “They’re about kindness, acceptance. Gratitude. They’re not so much about death, as life. And the consequences of the choices we make.” That’s what sets these books apart from other mystery series for me. More info →
From Will: I sat down with Anne in Episode 214: Deconstructing your best reading year yet to reflect on my reading life and get recommendations to keep the momentum going. Anne quickly mentioned, “I think you’d enjoy more William Kent Krueger,” and she was right. I have enjoyed more William Kent Krueger, and I’ve particularly loved the Cork O’Connor series. Cork is a sometimes down-on-his-luck detective exploring the boundary waters and navigating the tensions between a white community and an Anishinaabe reservation in Minnesota. There’s a lot of hunting, canoeing, and snow, but there’s also a good bit of philosophy, family, and religion. I’ve read about half of the 18 book series, and the familiarity of the characters and the little town helped me get back into the books when I was struggling to read last year. More info →
From Brenna: I put Wilson’s 2019 release on my TBR after hearing Anne recommend it to Brian Eichenberger in Episode 201: The hidden value of a terrible reading experience and finally got around to reading it in June. I thought it would simply be a weird and fun "filler" read—but it delivered on a much deeper level, and I found myself resonating with Lillian, a woman who takes a secretive nanny job she’s completely unprepared for, as well as the fiery children in her care. Wilson nails the themes of childhood trauma and chosen families without heavy-handedness. The writing is smart and aerodynamic—I flew through this in 24 hours! Since finishing Nothing to See Here I’ve read two more of Wilson’s books, and am on my way to being a completist. More info →
From Leigh: This recommendation came by way of Brenna, to Anne, to Kendra Adachi, and then to me when I listened to Episode 245: Finding the right mix for your reading life. It’s a murder mystery set at a magical high school! Of course I had to try it. I simultaneously wanted to protect private investigator Ivy’s sensitive heart while yelling at her to stop jumping to conclusions and focus on the case. And maybe deal with her drinking problem while she’s at it. I inhaled this story. With their fresh voice, snappy plot, and complex characterization, Sarah Gailey quickly became one of my go-to authors. More info →
From Shannan: In Episode 268: Our team’s best books of the year, Brenna convinced me to pick up my first Becky Chambers novel, the first book of four in her Wayfarers Series. Brenna said, “Not only was it a beautiful story, but I came away feeling better and thinking about ways that I wanted to live my life better…” I generally read to learn new things and become a better person, so I was curious to find out whether a sci-fi/fantasy book could deliver that experience for me. Well, did it ever! Chambers is my newest favorite author. I will read anything that she writes. More info →
From Holly: Anne recommended this to Elizabeth Cooper in Episode 244: You love to read—don't ruin it, and when she described it as an immersive, apocalyptic fantasy, I knew I needed to pick it up! I described this young adult novel to a friend as “Buffy meets Longmire meets The Hunger Games” and it's some of the most imaginative fantasy writing I've encountered in recent years. The main character, Maggie, is a monster hunter with special powers. When a young girl goes missing, she’s called upon to investigate, and you’re dropped right into the action with her. I was enraptured by the world-building and the Navajo mythologies that Roanhorse introduced, and I can't wait to read more in The Sixth World series. More info →
From Chelsey: I’m always on the lookout for new picture books to share with my nephews. When I heard Anne recommend this title for Sara’s collection in Episode 260: A little free library with a life of its own, I knew I needed it for “Aunt Bookworm Reading Time.” The illustrations—and the message—in this Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book are beautiful. It’s the story of a young boy named CJ and his grandma encountering a diverse group of passengers on a bus ride to their local soup kitchen. As they pass through the neighborhood, CJ has lots of questions for his grandma, and she answers them with honesty and care. More info →
What book landed on your To Be Read list because of What Should I Read Next? We can’t wait to hear what you picked up!
P.S. Keep track of your reading life with my new reading journal, in bookstores near you! If you’d like a signed copy, place an order from my local indie Carmichael’s Bookstore and include a note in the order comments for personalization.