Every once in a while I am completely and totally stunned by the internet. I make it no secret that I prefer just about anything (books, art museums, real life conversations, music, long walks, grocery stores) to the internet, especially when it comes to inspiration-seeking pursuits. Still, I must give the internet some credit because really great things can be found there. (Note: I am basically your great grandma when it comes to the internet. Except I won’t call you for help when trying to figure out how to use it. I just won’t use it (or will choose to use it less.)
Thanks to the internet, I recently started listening to Just the Right Book with Roxanne Coady, and I am in love. I love this podcast more than I can explain, yet I’m still going to try to explain it because it’s worth explaining - that’s how good this show happens to be! Worth explaining even though it’s unexplainable.
First of all, Roxanne Coady is a living legend. She’s the founder of RJ Julia Booksellers in CT, and she brings every ounce of her nearly 30 years of bookselling to the podcast. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s a great storyteller - she’s the ideal host.
Second, Just the Right Book gets the most interesting authors and book people on the show! I am constantly/consistently amazed by the guests. One of my favorite episodes features Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette. If you're at all interested in the way publishing works, you'd better listen.
Third, Roxanne asks the best questions. You know how everyone always talks about how they listen to Howard Stern because he’s just a great interviewer (uhhh, okay)? Well, Roxanne actually IS the best interviewer. She has the most unique way of pulling details and information out of people - it’s not confession, it’s not a therapy session, it’s just great talk about books, writing, inspiration, motivation, human beings, and more.
Fourth (I’ll stop after this point, I promise), Roxanne makes me want to read more. I didn’t think it was possible, as I am already never without a book, always reading in my spare minutes (rather than picking up my phone), always staying up way too late to squeeze in more reading time. Somehow, after listening to Roxanne talk about a book, no matter what the book is, I want to read it.
I highly recommend two author episodes because they led me to read two books I never would have considered reading without hearing about them from Roxanne.
The first is The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson.
It’s memoir. I didn’t even know I liked memoir until I read this book. Amy Dickinson is incredible. She's a gifted storyteller, and I would read ANYTHING she writes. Her interview with Roxanne is a gift. Listen and read.
Next? None other than John Grisham. I haven’t read a single word Grisham has ever written. And then I heard him on Just the Right Book and basically fell in love. What a great guy doing so much good in the world, not even including writing! He talked a lot about his writing rituals and how he manages to be so prolific. Hint: It has a lot to do with consistency. After hearing him on the podcast I immediately got a copy of Camino Island, his latest. I read it so fast and learned so much about plot advancement. Grisham excels at concision. Incredible.
And last thing about Just the Right Book. Not only is it a podcast, but it’s also a book selection service aimed at getting just the right book into your hands. The fine folks at RJ Julia ask you to answer a few questions about your reading preferences then (in my dreams this is what happens) Roxanne herself and hand picks a book according to your preferences then ships it to you.
I’m a member, and I just received my first book. Not only is it a book I’ve never read, it’s a book I’ve never even heard of that I actually want to read.