WSIRN Ep 12: Life is hard but reading doesn’t have to be with Cara Strickland

It’s Tuesday, which means a new episode of What Should I Read Next!

Today I’m talking with Cara Strickland, a writer, food critic, and anxious cook who lives in the Pacific Northwest.

What Should I Read Next #12: Life is hard but reading doesn't have to be with Cara Strickland

This episode covers a lot of ground: Cara and I discuss singleness, sense of place, British chick lit, book boundaries, food writing, and of course, what Cara should read next.    

Connect with Cara Strickland on her blogfacebook, and twitter.

Books discussed in this episode:

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Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
• Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
The Clasp by Sloane Crosley
Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard
Altar Call by Hope Lyda
Hip to Be Square by Hope Lyda
Life, Libby, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cook by Kathleen Flinn
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Also mentioned in this episode: 

You Are Here stories
• One of Cara’s restaurant reviews
One of Cara’s food features
The Necklace by Guy du Maupassant

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Leave A Comment
  1. Sara K says:

    Oh, I added several more books to my TBR list after this episode!

    The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – I had heard this book title but didn’t know what it was about. I’m so glad you made me aware of it!

    The Kitchen Counter Cooking School – I’m a decent home cook, but lately I have struggled in motivating myself to cook. I’m hopeful this will inspire me to get back in the kitchen and start cooking for joy 🙂

    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – I have seen the movie and have considered reading the book, but today I officially added to my Goodreads list 🙂

  2. Caitlin says:

    The Honeymoon Hotel – I adore Hester Browne! I started reading her when I was at school with her Little Lady Agency series, and I adore the recurring theme of etiquette and being the best version of yourself.
    As a chick-lit reader from England, I can recommend Jojo Moyes (“Me Before You” is incredible, and “The Girl You Left Behind”) and Milly Johnson (“The Birds and the Bees” will always be my favorite but they are all brilliant). Also, some of Dorothy Koomson (“My Best Friend’s Girl”, “The Chocolate Run” and “The Cupid Effect” but I would avoid “The Ice Cream Girls” if you are set on chick-lit as it’s got a darker edge).

  3. Chelsea says:

    Great episode! Cara mentioned a strong female character (similar to the Sherlock Holmes character) at the very end, but I couldn’t write it down when listening, and it’s hard to skip to the last few minutes in Stitcher. Does anyone know who it was and what book(s) she was in?

  4. What a good one! I want to read all of these books now!

    I was wondering, Anne, if you’ve read anything by Erica Bauermeister? She wrote two terrific books about a cooking school and its home cook students – The School of Essential Ingredients and The Lost of Mixing. Personally I hated her book Joy for Beginners, but those other two were gold for me.

    • Anne says:

      I started Essential Ingredients but I didn’t get very far. (I think the timing was wrong: it was due back at the library and then I forgot about it. That happens sometimes. 🙂 ) Thanks for reminding me!

  5. Elizabeth Brink says:

    I also loved this episode, especially because I also live in Spokane! I have been reading the novels of D.E. Stevenson lately and love them! It’s British chick lit from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Here are some of the titles I’ve enjoyed:

    Celia’s House
    Listening Valley
    The Young Clementina
    Miss Buncle’s Book
    Miss Buncle Married
    The Two Mrs. Abbotts

    She’s got a bunch more, but these are the ones I’ve read and really, really enjoyed. 🙂

  6. I cannot tell enough book lovers about your podcast. It has opened my eyes to so many new authors. And, I considered myself well read. Well, I have a much brighter future, thanks to you Anne!

  7. Meghan says:

    Jean Webster’s books – Daddy Long-Legs and Dear Enemy to start – are wonderful for fans of Miss Pettigrew. They’re about young college women in the 1910s, and are kind of like wittier LM Montgomery, with more wry self awareness and madcap-ery. They’re set in the US, but definitely don’t let modern American chick lit color these – they’re delightful. Daddy Long-Legs is about a young orphan who is granted a college scholarship by an anonymous benefactor, with the condition she write him weekly letters.

  8. KT says:

    Beekeepers Apprentice is on of my very favorite books ever. I was so excited to hear you recommend it today. Just an FYI for Cara – if you like stories that are more gentle, you might want to avoid Laurie King’s other books. Her Mary Russell series is safe, but the two others of hers that I have read have much language, sex and violence. I was surprised because I adore her Mary Russell so (and definitely lean towards “more gentle” reads myself).

  9. K says:

    I love the Penderwick series and agree with Cara about the fourth in the series being very different from the first three. Elizabeth Enright’s children’s books are my favorites (The Four Story Mistake -a part of the Melendy quartet, Gone-Away Lake, and Thimble Summer). I re-read them often! Great podcast! My TBR list has grown.

  10. Jamie says:

    Tuesdays are now my favorite day of the week. Never thought I would wake up and think, “Eek! It’s Tuesday!” So thanks for that. 🙂

  11. Sandra m says:

    Hearing about Miss Pettigrew, a delightful book, reminded me of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. It also has English characters, is an older book and was made into a movie. It is best to read the book first.

  12. My reading tastes just seemed to mesh with Cara’s, and I found myself putting almost every book mentioned on my to-read list! I love that she loves the Penderwicks (me too!), and listening to her made me feel like I found a kindred spirit in reading.

  13. Traci says:

    If anyone else enjoys books about how place affects people, here are a few recommendations that came to mind when I heard the segment in the podcast about the book Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life. 1) Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities by Ryan Gravel (this one was particularly interesting to me due to much of the focus being on the Atlanta area where I live, but I think others would find it interesting also) and 2) This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick. 3) Another similar book and one of my all-time favorites is The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

  14. Peggy Kressin says:

    I am just getting started listening to your podcasts. I did get Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Oh my! It was hilarious! You do have to realize it was written in 1938 to overlook some racist comments.

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