Way wayyyy back in WSIRN Episode 64, we ran a special episode called The next best thing to reading, in which 15 readers shared how they track their read-book lists, TBRs, and whatever other information interested them in their reading life. So many of those readers, and countless others of you in the comment section, mentioned a little website called Goodreads as an essential tool to organize your book life

Today on WSIRN, I’m thrilled to be joined by two readers with a unique perspective on summer reading. Suzanne Skyvara, Goodreads VP of Marketing & Editorial, and Danny Feekes, Goodreads Managing Editor, to have an in-depth chat about how star ratings, reviews, and other nuggets of information we share online help connect our fellow readers to their next great read, support the authors we love, and change the way we see the world. As you’ll hear in the episode I have become a much more active Goodreads user in the past year, click here to connect with me there.

Since Suzanne and Danny’s business is all books all the time, we’ll be taking turns in the matchmaking seat today. I’m recommending 3 titles I think they would really enjoy this summer, and they’re returning the favor with 3 books that might just be perfect for me. We went so overboard with book recommendations that we had to cut 5 or 6 books to keep this episode a manageable length!

We’re releasing all those extra recommendations as a bonus episode this Friday for our Patreon supporters, if you want to hear what recommendations ended up on the cutting room floor.

This conversation was a ton of fun, so let’s get to it

Two photos, one of Danny Fekes, a smiling blonde man wearing a collared shirt and sweater, and another or Suzanne Skyvara, a smiling dark blonde woman wearing a blue blouse and blue necklace.


Books mentioned in this episode:

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• Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
• The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
• Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
• So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
• How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
• Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
• American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
• We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
• Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed 
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
• The Boys in the Cave: Deep Inside the Impossible Rescue in Thailand by Matt Gutman
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
• Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
• Here For It: Or, How to save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas
• The Yield by Tara June Winch
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Beach Read by Emily Henry
• The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
• One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
• Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa

Thanks to this week’s sponsors:

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Simple changes to our daily routine made the week feel special. With Brooklinen towels, every shower feels like a spa treatment. Their plush and fluffy towels feel luxurious, cozy, and soft. It really is the simple comforts that make all the difference. Use promo code READNEXT for 10% off your first order at Brooklinen.com.

  1. Judy Gibson 2 years ago

    I was glad to hear you talk about the GR algorithm that comes up with suggested books to read, because sometimes they baffle me! Here’s the third of a recent Facebook post that greatly amused my friends. If you can explain it I want to know! (Oh, Anne! You like N. K. Jemison, so you’ll appreciate this.)

    “Okay, well, I thought I was done mocking Goodreads but then this–
    Goodreads: Because you’re reading The City We Became, we recommend الإكتئاب: اضطراب العصر الحديث فهمه وأساليب علاجه
    Me: Yeah, sure.”

  2. Do you ever cheer when someone else *dislikes* the same book you do? That was me today listening to Danny say that War & Peace was *not* for him. I love the Classics, and do not shy away from long books, but honestly, this was hours of my life that I’ll never get back. “Slog” was exactly how I felt! I’ve seen a few War & Peace read-alongs on Twitter & Instagram recently, and had to reign myself from jumping in to the group to ask “Why??” Anne, I know you will read it either way, since it *is* one of the Great Books, but no need to rush. 🙂 Thank you, Danny, for helping me feel less alone on this one!

  3. Donna H. 2 years ago

    I was very excited to hear Destiny of the Republic picked as a favorite. I love Candice Millard’s three nonfiction history books (they read like novels) and I was just saying to a couple of friends that I wish more people would know about her books!

    • Manda C 2 years ago

      Me too!!!

  4. Mary 2 years ago

    I loved War and Peace. I read it slowly and deliberately. Do give it a go, Anne! There is a lot to uncover! I do suggest keeping a character list because of the many Russian and European names.

  5. Nancy 2 years ago

    This was a great episode! I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sophie 2 years ago

    This episode was so great! Thanks!

  7. Brandon Harbeke 2 years ago

    I agree that Destiny of the Republic is a great book, especially for anyone reading through a bunch of presidential biographies. It is a breath of fresh air in that field of books.

    If I am looking on Goodreads for books, I do use 4.0 and above average rating as a guideline. There can be exceptions, but until my TBR gets much smaller (if it ever does), I need a way to limit my books to the best possible prospects. I was not as strict with this earlier in the year, and it led to a fair number of DNF’d books.

  8. Madelyn Ferris 2 years ago

    What a fun listen! I love the ones where the “experts” suggest for each other and lots and lots of books get mentioned.

  9. Claire Long 2 years ago

    Just to add weight to Anne’s recommendations, The Yield has just won Australia’s top literary award – the Miles Franklin. For interested readers a lot of recent book awards in Australia have honoured indigenous writers and their stories, including other nominees from this year and last years winner – Too much lip.

    • Author
      Anne 2 years ago

      I was so excited to see that announcement today!

  10. Ellen W 2 years ago

    It was fun to get some inside scoop on Goodreads. I like using Goodreads, but wish there was an option for half stars – lots of books are 3.5 or 4.5 reads.

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