I’m home with the flu. Not fun. But the compensation has been giving myself permission to read and get caught up on podcasts (between naps and coughing fits).
My new favorite podcast, recommended by book blogger Teri Hyrkas (preachthestory.com/resources/open-table) is called “What Should I Read Next?” Check it out.
Each week, host Anne Bogel interviews a guest around these core questions: 1) What are three books you love? 2) What is one book you hate? 3) What are you reading now? 4) How would you like our reading life to change?
From this information, Bogel looks for themes or patterns. Then she makes her suggests a handful books she thinks the guest should read next. After chatting about each recommendation, she asked, “Okay, so what are you going to read next?” and has them pick which of the books sounds best to them.
“We don’t get bossy on this show,” she insists. Rather, she calls her work “literary matchmaking.”
And she claims to be doing it live—not taking a day to research and then get back to the guest. Teri Hyrkas has actually met Bogel’s research assistant, so I know she has help gathering options. I picture Bogel sitting at a computer during the taping, quickly working through a well-indexed catalog of all the books she has ever read (I’ve never heard her recommend a book she hasn’t read). Maybe the assistant is sitting at another computer during the taping session preparing options and instant-messaging them over to Bogel.
However they make it happen, it works! It’s fun to hear them chat back and forth about all the different titles that come up over the course of the hour. They typically say enough about each book for me to know whether I’d enjoy it.
I just listened to episode 111. The guests were a mother and daughter who have been reading together all the girl’s life. The daughter left for college this fall and was home on winter break. The two still hope to read together whenever life allows. I thought the recommendations were compelling.
“When Breath Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalanithni, was recommended since the girl is a science major. The author was a neurosurgeon who learned he had cancer and wrote a memoir of his experience. It’s a New York Times Bestseller and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The audiobook is five and a half hours long. People commenting online mention reading the book in one sitting and being moved by the compassion and the sadness and the insights into life and death.
Bogel gave this reading team numerous suggestions. The one they said they’ll choose to read next is “The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession” by Charlie Lovett, a time-travel mystery for people who love books.
ModernMrsDarcy.com is Bogel’s website. Notes and book recommendations from each podcast are posted there, along with reading challenges and many other types of book lists.
I just ordered a copy of Anne Bogel’s first book, which came out in September. It’s called “Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything.” I’ll let you know how I like it.
What are your favorite book podcasts?