WSIRN Ep 10: You can be a Serious Reader and still love Matt Damon with Janssen Bradshaw

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

Today I’m talking with Janssen Bradshaw, creator of the blog Everyday Reading, former children’s librarian, and modern mother who’s raising her three kids to be readers.

What Should I Read Next #10: You can be a Serious Reader and still love Matt Damon with Janssen Bradshaw

In this episode Janssen and I talk about how she reads books like other people watch television, why Janssen’s in danger of having her “real reader” badge taken away, and books with strong narrative drive and excellent plotting. We talk about happy books, books that require three boxes of Kleenex, and everything in between. 

Connect with Janssen on her bloginstagram, and twitter.

Books discussed in this episode:

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• One Summer by Bill Bryson
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Lake House by Kate Morton
• The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
• The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
• What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
• So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Also mentioned in this episode: 

• What avid readers do differentlyTry Audible for yourself: Click here to try Audible for yourself today and get two free audiobooks with your free 30-day trial. (My recent and current Audible listens from this episode are Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Watership Down by Richard Adams.

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Follow @whatshouldireadnext on instagram. Get even more book recommendations by signing up for the WSIRN newsletter.   Do YOU have an idea for what Janssen should read next? Tell us in comments!


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  1. Christine says:

    I can’t wait to listen to this! And it’s funny because I was thinking how Janssen would make a great guest. Perfect timing! 🙂

  2. I haven’t listened in yet, but looking at the list, I’m assuming Janssen is a Gary Schmidt fan. To that I give a big hurrah. His writing is tender, compassionate, and makes me long to do great things. Truly a master.

  3. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I’m so excited to listen to this as so many books I have read and a few I’ve loved will be mentioned!

  4. Caitlin says:

    Despite her not loving one of my favorite books (The Night Circus), really interesting show. I was thinking about looking for a book on public shaming just the other day when I was talking about the TED talk by Monica Lewinsky.

  5. Jenn Warren says:

    Idea for a questions for guests on the podcast:
    What is your favorite library?
    Where is your favorite bookstore?
    Someone asked Chris Grabenstein author Mr. Lemoncello’s Library the first question when my daughter and I heard him speak last week. If love to know for my travels with and without my kids.

  6. Grace says:

    Yay! It was so fun to listen to the two of you. Janssen and I have very similar tastes, so it’s nice to hear that someone loves The Martian as much as I do but also hates The Night Circus the way I do 🙂

  7. Melissa says:

    I love Tuesdays because they are WSIRN day!
    Whenever I listen to your podcast, I have Goodreads open too so I can add to my never-ending Want to Read list. Your podcast and the ever-expanding inventory of ebooks and audiobooks from my local library has made me read so much more than I expected thus far in 2016. Keep up the amazing work Anne!

  8. Amy says:

    I’m dying to know what the other choices for Janssen were, ‘dangling by a string and left for dead.’ Please tell us:) Love the podcasts, definitely a highlight of every week!

    • Julie says:

      me, too! I found these comments just to see if the other 2 choices were mentioned in these comments! please share, Anne…

  9. Girl in Boston says:

    I listened to Light Between Oceans on audio and thought it was just fine. I think it is interesting because I am also plot-driven, but I loved Night Circus. I am wondering if she might also like The Historian.

  10. Sara K says:

    Love the podcast – Tuesday is my favorite day of the week now! I am looking forward to hearing what you think of the Watership Down audiobook. I haven’t read it before either. I started it last year but didn’t finish. I don’t think it was because I didn’t like it, it was more of a format issue. I almost bought the audiobook last week. Would love to know your thoughts when you finish 🙂

  11. I follow Janssen’s blog, so I really enjoyed this week’s episode. I agree – plot is essential! And I also appreciate a good book about people in impossible situations. Great recommendations, Anne. I loved The Light Between Oceans and Big Little Lies. What was the YA book you almost recommended? I love YA. I’ve added So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed to my TBR list. I had it on my list at one point, but I must have removed it. It does sound fascinating.

  12. Okay, my life is fulfilled. When you first launched What Should I Read Next, I thought, “The one person I would LOVE to hear on this podcast is Janssen Bradshaw,” and here she is. Happy sigh.

    The episode itself exceeded even my (very high) expectations. It was just so much fun to hear you two chatting about books.

    I have to admit, I was surprised to hear you say that The Light Between Oceans does not have beautiful writing because I remember being blown away by the quality of the writing. I guess it wasn’t super flowery or presumptuous, but it really did take my breath away.

    So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed sounds super interesting, but I’m pretty sure it’s the type of book that would push all of MY buttons, so I’m not sure I could handle it.

  13. Lauren says:

    A recent favorite book totally fits the bill of impossible situations and great plot – City of Thieves, by David Benioff. It’s so wonderful. And sad, and scary, and profane, but wonderful. I had a big smile on my face at the end.

  14. Marcy says:

    I absolutely love your podcast & it’s so dangerous! My list of books to read gets several longer with every episode & these days it takes me a good couple of weeks to read one! I’m in trouble! But it’s good.

  15. Audra Reed says:

    Great episode! As a children’s librarian myself, I am ashamed to now say that I have never read The Wednesday Wars… but no worries, I placed a hold immediately! I recently read Orbiting Jupiter, his newest book, and it’s haunting reading makes me want to reread the book so I can better understand the characters throughout the novel. Rereading doesn’t happen for me, ever, so that is saying a lot!

    Also, what was the YA book at the end that you almost recommended? If you’re keeping that in your back pocket for another guest that’s fine, but I just had to ask! Tuesdays are my new favorite day of the week because of your podcast, keep up the good work!

  16. Nancy says:

    I so enjoy listening to your podcasts – each one of them has been great. I do have a problem though–when I go directly from your blog using the the turquoise rectangle to get to your podcast, there are very long pauses between about every five spoken words or so. Is any one else having this problem? I listen to many podcasts and this is the only one that reacts this way. Any advice?

  17. Jen says:

    I think Janssen would enjoy The Late Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow. I thought of it immediately when you were talking about women’s fiction with substance and plot.

  18. Lydia says:

    I’m binge listening to all of your segments and trying to figure out how to get in more of these suggestions. Is there any way that you can star the ones that you know are good to listen to? I’m wanting to try audiobooks but I’ve heard you say you wouldn’t risk certain ones because it might ruin the book. Thanks!!

  19. Suz says:

    I am so glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t enjoy Eat, Pray, Love or The Night Circus! Your podcasts are great. I binge-listened to them yesterday!

  20. Rebekah says:

    I just finished The Lake House by Kate Morton and was a little disappointed because I had most of the ending guessed 80 pages out. The Secret Keeper ending really did surprise me.

  21. Amanda Short says:

    I started out so excited about this podcast, but the conversations go so far into the plot of the books I feel like just need to read the last few chapters. The talk about The Martian and What Alice Forgot is a good example. I’ve read the books so it’s easy for me to pick out how very much detail was discussed, and Holy Toledo!

    Also, I know it’s a super old TV show so I don’t have much room to complain, but I have purposely avoided spoilers for The Office and this episode ruined it for me 🙁

  22. Julie says:

    I absolutely loved this podcast. Before suggesting the third book, you briefly discuss a book about a person on an adventure who is left behind. I believe you didn’t end up recommending the book because the story lacked plot. Just wondering what the title was. Thanks!

  23. Sarah says:

    Finally! Someone who also hated ‘The Night Circus’!! GAH! I think my book club kicked me out for not liking that one. Although . . . . “The Office” is basically one of the best shows of all time. Ha!

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