Sarah — who just had her baby!! — and I are delighted to welcome Anne Bogel as our special guest to the Best of Both Worlds podcast this week. Anne is the blogger behind the genius blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, which is where I get approximately 99 percent of my book recommendations. Well, that and her podcast, What Should I Read Next?, which answers that pressing question of, of course, what we should read next.
Anyway, in this episode, we discuss several topics:
Making time to read. Big shout out (again!) to the Kindle app, for turning those mindless 5 minutes of scrolling time into actual reading time. Anne and I have a funny exchange where she says you probably won’t read War and Peace in those bits of time, and I note how short the chapters are in War and Peace. You really could read Tolstoy while waiting for your conference call to start!
A book to read if you haven’t read in a while. Something short and easy but feels like you’ve still read something. Anne recommends Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly, which is a book of micro-memoirs that really get at the human condition. Got 2-10 minutes? You can read a chapter.
What makes a good book club book. There may not be as big an overlap between books you love reading and books you love discussing as you might think! A book everyone loved makes for a short conversation. Which is fine if you just want to skip to the wine and gossip portion of the evening, but if you want to chat about the book, go for surprise endings, difficult but relatable situations, or characters people have very strong and disparate feelings about.
Anne’s recommendations for Sarah’s maternity leave. What are some good books to tackle while parked on the couch nursing? She has a lot of good recommendations here (based on Sarah’s reading tastes).
What Anne learned about the publishing process from writing her own book, Reading People. People who review books get sent a lot of books from publishers. And even if you have no interest in the book, if you’re an author, you know how much work went into it. It’s hard to throw them out!
Anyway, it was a great conversation (and any WSIRN fans out there know Anne has a fabulous radio voice). Please check it out, and share with any fans of reading in your life.
And since this is a discussion thread, how about this: what recommendations do you have for Sarah to read while on maternity leave? She loved the Crazy Rich Asians series, likes Liane Moriarity, her most re-read book is Norwegian Wood, and she recently read and enjoyed Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety. What should she read next?
24 thoughts on “Podcast: Books with Modern Mrs. Darcy!”
If she likes Moriarity, she’d probably like Tana French. Great mysteries that take place in Ireland.
OOh I will have to check these out! I also love the Kate Atkinson mysteries about Jackson Brodie (first book was Case Histories) which are also mysteries set in the UK.
I just started listening to “In the Woods” on my commute. My SIL recommended it because I like the Louise Penny books. So far I’m enjoying it more than “The Cuckoo’s Calling” which Modern Mrs. Darcy recommends if you like Penny.
I was going to suggest Tana French, too!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a nice read.
On my maternity leave this summer I stuck to really light-hearted comfort food books. I love Maeve Binchy so read 3 or 4 of her books. I also read Liane Moriarty and Kate Atkinson. My favorite book of the year was “A Gentleman in Moscow” which is long but lovely.
Excited to listen to this podcast on my next commute to work! I met Anne when she was in New Orleans earlier this year- she was a delight and her book recommendations never lead me wrong.
I just finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I recommend it but probably not the best choice for maternity leave… I just checked out 5 more non-fiction books at the library this morning so that must be where I am in life right now.
@Natasha – for a long time, I was in non-fiction only mode. It’s taken a while to get out of it. I suspect having a bit more free time was a big part of the transition.
Hi Natasha! (I was surprised at how much I appreciated the book you just finished. I wasn’t inclined to pick it up but friends kept telling me that underneath the attention-grabbing title, there was good stuff in there.)
@Anne and Natasha – maybe I need to pick it up too! Although I feel like I’m already pretty good about not giving a &*^& about a great many things.
I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I hope you will write a blogspot about your top ten favorite books you’ve read this year.
@Linda M – great idea! There have definitely been some memorable ones. And less memorable ones too, of course.
I recommend “Yet, Home” by Irene Noor – it’s an awesome book that makes you think but is not too heavy. I also recommend it for a book club because it can spark so many discussions about how some of the little decisions we make affect our lives in small and big ways. I’ve reviewed it here: http://beingincommunity.com/yet-home-the-being-in-community-book-of-the-year-2017/. I also suggest this amazing memoir about running and fighting cancer for both you and Sarah, since you are both runners – “The Longest Mile” by Christine Meyer (who is also a doctor like Sarah!). I’ve reviewed that book here: http://beingincommunity.com/being-in-community-book-of-the-year-2016/.
I loved the discussion about book clubs this week! I have belonged to a great one since 2011. I wasn’t sure I would be able to manage being in the book club after I had kids, but the reality is that it’s one evening out a month and I’ve never had any trouble planning for it. We began as a group of four but now we’re seven. September-May, we gather monthly for a meal (usually dinner) and discuss a book. We read a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and we have a conversation every August in which we suggest titles and dates/times to meet, usually based on weekday evening schedules. We usually spend at least half an hour discussing the book, with a lengthy preamble for catching up. In my 20s I joined a book club where the sole purpose was discussing the selected book and, honestly, it wasn’t that fun. My current book club is really a social group; we all really like each other and the books are a pretense for our gatherings, but the group is just a great way for a busy group of women to keep up with each other and to read something unrelated to work.
Some titles we have really liked–and that inspired great conversations–recently included:
Stay With Me, by Ayobami Adebayo
Hunger, by Roxane Gay
Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
We also recently read Kan Hang’s The Vegetarian and it sparked a lot of discussion, but I wouldn’t say than anyone in our group liked it. At all. A year ago, we read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and that was another title that we all hated, but the conversation was great because we had so much to say about why.
@Robin – good for you for making it work. You’re completely right that once a month is sustainable and doable, even with kids.
I’ve got to check this podcast out! Since I love to read! I’ve read so many great books this year, but I’d recommend both the books I’m currently reading for humour and kindness- A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Wonder by Raquel J Palacio, if you haven’t read it already and finally, a huge congratulations to Sarah and blessings to the baby! I love hearing your podcasts and wishing the new member of the family lots of love and happiness!
Congratulations Sarah!! Book recos:
+1 for anything by Maeve Binchy – light but not trashy
Any novels by Marisa de los Santos
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – deep and hard to read sometimes but really nicely written
I am also a big fan of Moriarty. There is an Irish Moriarty too, called Sinead Moriarty who I highly recommend. Yes to Maeve Binchy and other Irish authors like Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan and Roisin Meaney too.
Another very unknown author (it seems to me) on American soil is Dorothy Koomson who is a British author I love.
Thanks for the reminder about Marisa de los Santos – I have one on my Kindle waiting for me.
For non-fiction, I recommend getting a couple of memoirs on audible like Born a Crime, Stories i only tell my friends and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother which is actually a great book club read 🙂
Great podcast! I listened while on the treadmill so I couldn’t write things down, but there were lots of books I wanted to write down.
What was your most re-read book? (It sounded great…. with a mention that it was a great way to read that author, vs their other work that became more avant garde or some such.)
What was Sarah’s mention of a non-fiction book that she enjoyed and read twice?
@Megan- thanks! I’ve re-read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. She’s a great writer, but some of her work is more…accessible than other works. Sarah has re-read David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Both books are worth checking out!
Great- I’m going to add both my to-do list. Thanks so much 🙂
Over Thanksgiving I read This Must Be The Place and loved it.