Here are answers to all of your frequently asked questions about What Should I Read Next.

What inspired you to start this podcast?

The idea came from the literary matchmaking series that used to run on this blog. In that series, I asked readers to tell me three books they love, one book they don’t, and what they’re reading now, and I’d recommend three books they should read next.

I loved the series but found myself wanting to talk about their picks before I made any recommendations, and wishing there was an easy way for us to do that. I finally realized that a podcast was the perfect forum for the bookish conversations I’d been dreaming of.

How can I be a guest on the podcast?

We talk to a healthy mix of my reading pals, industry professionals, and regular readers—people who don’t read professionally, who’ve never been on a podcast, but listen to the show and are eager to talk books with me for an hour to get their own literary diagnosis and personalized book picks.

We have a submission form so that anyone can apply at anytime. Click here to view that form, and maybe fill it out for yourself. (You will not receive a confirmation email.) We send invitations by email to guests we think would be a good fit for the show.

Please know that we receive far more submissions than we can accommodate on the show. I would dearly love to talk to every single reader, but this is a weekly show, not an hourly one!

What kind of guests are you looking for?

We choose our guests with the big picture in mind. There are so many ways to be a reader, and our goal is that over time, every person listening will hear someone on the show whose reading taste matches their own. We also aim to feature a wide variety of guests—we’re looking for people of different ages, geographical locations, backgrounds, educational experience, ethnicity, career, season of life …. you name it.

And of course: we want to feature a wide variety of books. The first thing we look at—the most important factor in the applications we review—is the books. We’re looking for titles we haven’t discussed on the show before, or contrarian takes on books I’m known to adore. (When we see someone hates Crossing to Safety or Station Eleven, we sit up an take notice because I know that’s a great conversation waiting to happen.)

We’re also looking for guests with thoughtful takes on the book they don’t like. Discussing a book that didn’t work for you—whether or not you are able to articulate why that is at the moment—provides key insight into who you are as a reader. But not if you tell us that you don’t like 50 Shades because it’s explicit, or a certain cookbook because you don’t like to cook. (Yes, this happens.)

How do you recommend books to your guests? How long do you have to research before making recommendations?

In each episode, a guest tells me three books they love, one book they don’t, and what they’re reading now, and then I recommend three books they should read next. We record the episode as one conversation. There is no break between segments.

Every single time I sit down to record, I’m nervous that I’ll draw a blank and won’t have any idea what to recommend. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet, but knock on something quick because I’m recording a new episode today and I’m nervous, as always.

If you’d like to listen to me recommend books on the fly, check out one of the LIVE podcasts we’ve done: Ep 230: Don’t overthink your reading life, Ep 108: What Should I Read Next LIVE from Asheville, and Ep 76: Book people are the best people (LIVE!).

What was that book you or the guest mentioned?

There’s no need to worry about missing a title while you listen! We put together show notes for every episode that includes all the books we discussed and any other relevant links.

You’ll also notice a key with the book list: a heart next to a title indicates it’s one of the guest’s favorite books, the triangle indicates the book that wasn’t for them.

Are your episodes transcribed?

Yes! We started offering transcription with episode 163 and we’re working on the rest of the archives. Each episode’s transcript is included in the show notes.

What is the Patreon community?

The WSIRN Patreon is our group of loyal listeners that gathers together for community, conversation, and extras like bonus episodes, quarterly livestreams, cut material and bloopers, seasonal book previews, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Our patrons financially contribute a small amount each month towards making the show (podcasting is expensive, y’all), and for that we are so very grateful. (Patreon is just a platform: their technology makes it super-simple to deliver bonus audio to our patrons.)

WSIRN patrons immediately gain access to all of our past bonus episodes, printables, and events, as well as the WSIRN archive spreadsheet documenting favorites, hates, recommendations, and themes from every single episode, to make finding the perfect episode for your needs totally easy.

For an idea of what our bonus episodes are like, listen to Bonus Episode #41: Spectacular books by Black authors, which is available to the public.

How can I stay up to date on live events and other podcast news?

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter that we send out on Tuesdays. We do not send info about new episodes and special events out to blog subscribers, so make sure you’re on the WSIRN list if you want that news.)

Is WSIRN on social media?

We sure are! Follow on: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Where can I see you live?

Check my events page! We’re dreaming about future What Should I Read Next live shows once it’s safe to do so.

I’ve never listened to a podcast. How can I start?

It’s easier than ever to listen. You can:

  • Listen right on the podcast site. Just hit the little triangle to play!
  • Listen on Spotify. Search for “What Should I Read Next.”
  • Ask your home speaker—like Alexa—to play What Should I Read Next.
  • Listen on your phone. Every smart phone has a built in podcast player. Search “podcasts” to find the podcast player app and then search “What Should I Read Next.”
  • Subscribe via Stitcher | Apple Podcast | Overcast | Spotify | Google Podcast

Do you have any playlists?

We’ve put together a few Spotify playlists:

How can I get personalized book recommendations from Anne without coming on the show?

While I truly wish I could hook everyone up with books just right for them, there are not enough hours in the day. Responding to book recommendation requests would literally be my full time job—and then some.

However, there are plenty of book lists on this site, featuring a variety of genres and themes. Some of our popular categories include audiobooks, Literary Tourism, and Reading Challenge.

We used to occasionally share reader recommendation requests on Instagram, so that our smart listeners could chime in with their recommendations for your To Be Read list. Check out the index of past requests.

How does Anne choose the books for One Great Book?

One Great Book is my short-form podcast that we run in seasons.

The conversation on What Should I Read Next is driven by guests’ favorite and not-so-favorite books, but on One Great Book, I get to talk about my favorite books. In every episode—published on Fridays—I pull one standout selection off my personal bookshelves and tell you all about it in ten minutes or less.