WSIRN Ep. 3: Books that make you feel smart (and not so smart) with Jacey Verdicchio

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

Anne chats with Jacey Verdicchio of The Balanced Wife and The Around the Table Podcast about books that make her feel smart, books that make her feel not so smart, and all the other books that she just loves to read.

We discuss the inner battle between reading what you love and reading what you feel like you should love. I recommend three bittersweet books that Jacey can enjoy without second-guessing herself about her taste.

Connect with Jacey on her blog, her podcast Around the Table,  instagram, and twitter.

Books Discussed in this Episode

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• Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
• Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
• Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
• Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
• Everyone is Beautiful: A Novel by Katherine Center
• Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff
• Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
• The Unfortunates: A Novel by Sophie McManus
• A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
• The Road by Cormac McCarthy
• Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill

Also mentioned in this episode:

The bored housewife as plot point
For an adult reader, the possible verdicts are five

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Leave A Comment
  1. Melissa says:

    Another great episode.
    This is so becoming my new favorite podcast.
    And I love how you are also leading me to new podcasts (but listening to more and more podcasts keeps me from audiobooks- gasps!).

    Keep up the great work Anne!

  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Anne! New reader and podcast listener here! Just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying “What Should I Read Next?” I love the concept and hearing about different people’s tastes in books. Even though there has been only three episodes, I’ve already added many books to my list. Thanks! Also, this is probably superficial, but I think you have a great voice for radio 🙂

  3. liz n. says:

    Oh, I really, really, really hope Jacey reads “The Road.” Even with its bleak setting, I think it’s McCarthy’s most beautifully-written book. I do notice that a lot of people miss the hopefulness in this story, especially through the eyes of the father. Those small, simple moments of joy that McCarthy allows his main characters are such precious ones for both the reader and the characters.

  4. Melanie says:

    Love the podcast. I thought the discussion of “bored housewife as plot device” was super interesting. The more people gush about Me Before You, though, the more I dislike it. I didn’t love the book to begin with, but somehow everyone else’s raving entrenches my dislike further and further. Not that that is anyone’s fault; I’m just being a grouch!

    I think I need to re-read The Road. I remember that I liked it and gave it a positive review, but I can’t remember much else about it.

  5. Karen says:

    I’m loving your podcasts! A Homemade Life by M. Wizenberg sounds like a book I would like to read. And I had never heard of it before. I’ve jotted it down on my list of books for my next book order. 🙂

  6. Courtney says:

    I saved your podcasts for a road trip I had to take for work. I knew they would be a treat and I was sooo right! I ADORE your podcasts. Nice job!!!!

  7. Margie says:

    I had never listened to a podcast before, and then on Saturday I listened to my first- yours! I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. It was so exciting to go through the list of different podcasts. Thanks.

  8. Heather says:

    Anne, another great podcast! The only issue for me is that Jacey sounded really faint to me, but your voice level was perfect (but if I turned it up louder to hear Jacey you were too loud). I obviously don’t know the reason for this, but just wanted to let you know (the other two there were no sound issues) :). I’m looking forward to next week’s podcast!

    • Katie says:

      I experienced that too, and it was really distracting.

      That aside, I adore this podcast! Thank you, Anne, for taking on another venture for us bibliophiles! And thank you, also, for mentioning first edition book clubs. I will be treating myself to a subscription (possibly to Ann Patchett’s Parnassus Bookstore in Nashville) for my upcoming birthday!

  9. Dorothy says:

    I’m loving your podcast! I think it has topped my favorites list along with Sorta Awesome and the Simple Show.

    Regarding the bored housewife as a plot point. I think it’s really interesting that it hasn’t been done in a captivating way quite yet. I wonder why that is. It has sparked my thoughts (even late at night!) I kept thinking of a Doctor Who episode which deals with a housewife as the protaganist,_the_Widow_and_the_Wardrobe_(TV_story)

    This episode is something of a stand-alone episode and it brings a family to a Narnia-type world. The strength of the mother is what saves the day. I really like that.

    Don’t you think, too that the Outlander deals with the character of a housewife trying to find her way in the world?

    Just my two cents on this topic.

  10. Nikki says:

    When you were discussing Ursula, Under (which I haven’t read, but probably will now), and talking about the interconectedness of people and events, I was immediately reminded of a quote from Station Eleven. There is a character in the book who was previously shot, and subsequently left wheel chair bound. The author, in explanation of the events that lead to his present day circumstances describes it in a way that really illustrates how seemingly unconnected people and events can culminate in really impactful ways. Here’s the quote:

    “standing on a stool on his wondrously functional pre-Libya legs, the bullet that would sever his spinal cord still twenty-five years away but already approaching: a woman giving birth to a child who will someday pull the trigger on a gun, a designer sketching the weapon or its precursor, a dictator making a decision that will spark in the fullness of time into the conflagration that Frank will go overseas to cover for Reuters, the pieces of a pattern drifting closer together.”

    I loved this way of piecing together the puzzle.

  11. Nicki says:

    Okay, I feel like I’m going crazy. I’ve listened to this episode twice now and I still don’t hear where Fates and Furies was mentioned. Was it a favorite? A hated? A recommendation? Trying to decide if I should read it or not.

    • Anne says:

      Oh no! You know, if you’ve listened to it twice and didn’t hear it then it must have been edited out on the final cut. (Jacey and I talked books for an hour!) It was one of Jacey’s current reads.

      I have complicated feelings about that one (which of course would make it a very interesting book to discuss on the podcast!)

      • Nicki says:

        So, my book club just picked Fates and Furies for our next read. Care to share your “complicated feelings”? Trying to decide if I should read or pass – especially given this review on my library’s website: “It is not about marriage. It is about a man, Lotto, (the Fates part of the book) who is obsessed with sex with so many sex scenes in the book that it verges on pornography. He is a failure as an actor, but somehow becomes a talented playwright. Meanwhile, his wife, Mathilde, is pure evil.” Thanks, Anne!

  12. Emily says:

    After hearing you mention Me Before You so many times, I decided to read it. Oh. My. Word. I can’t remember the last time I felt so compelled to finish this book. I fell in love with her storytelling and characters, and I cried so hard at the end that my family was concerned. Off I go to the library to hunt down her other books…

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