I’ve picked up a new book podcast recently. I listen to a fair number of podcasts, but hadn’t found one about books. Anne Bogel from The Modern Mrs. Darcy recently started a podcast called “What Should I Read Next“. The premise behind the podcast is Anne asks her guest to provide three books they love and one book they hate, and she will then parse what kinds of books someone likes and give them three suggestions. My favorite part of the podcast is listening to her figure out the threads that tie favorite books together. It isn’t “you like suspense novels”. Instead, she figures out you like books written from a first-person point of view that exhibit a strong sense of place (or some such characteristics). I get new books from her website on a regular basis (and typically enjoy them), so I trust her judgement in suggesting books. Often, if I like the books the guest likes, I figure I have a good chance of liking the books Anne suggests. Here’s a couple of books I’ve picked up since the podcast started:
First off is Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. This book is about environmental issues, breast cancer and personal reflection, which touches many topics near and dear to my heart. It’s an older book (published in 1992), but it still covers an interesting time period in American history (nuclear bomb testing in Nevada). This book was a suggestion in Episode 17.
Next up is The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. In this book, the narrator envisions her life going forward in two different paths. In one path, she cheats on her long-term boyfriend, and in the other, she doesn’t. This book was a suggestion in Episode 23.
Next, I’m adding Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve seen this book reviewed in multiple locations and thought it sounded interesting, but it wasn’t until Episode 17 that I finally decided it was time to add it to my reading list. This is a post-apocalyptic story that bounces between the before and after the apocalypse. The main character is in a traveling Shakespeare company, determined to keep some culture alive, even after the world’s population is decimated.
Finally, in the most recent episode (#26), Anne talked about The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston. The guest wasn’t so sure the book sounded interesting, but I am willing to give it a try. It’s all about trying to measure and document the ecosystems surrounding and living on ancient redwoods. As a bonus, I’ve read another of his book (The Demon in the Freezer) and found his writing style very enjoyable and engaging.
I do recommend listening to the podcast. Anne makes the books sound absolutely fascinating, even if the Amazon descriptions aren’t as intriguing.
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