Every Book Has Its Reader

Spectacularly bad reads (and good ones too) from the Worst Bestsellers podcast creators


Kait Sudol and Renata Sancken are the local hosts and creators of the Worst Bestsellers podcast, which reviews bestselling books of questionable quality. On Tuesday, June 20, Sudol and Sacken will host a live taping of the show discussing their podcast journey with author Meredith Goldstein at the Freepoint Hotel in West Cambridge. Sudol and Sancken recently chatted with The Improper about some spectacularly bad books, must-pack beach reads and their favorite lines.

What is your all-time favorite book of questionable quality?

Kait Sudol: Nora Roberts’ Black Hills, which we both ended up really liking. It’s not going to win a Pulitzer or anything, but it was a pretty solid, fun mystery-type romance story. It actually made me read more Nora Roberts books after we were done with it.

Renata Sancken: My first thought is Twilight. I have so much fondness for the franchise itself and seeing the movie with friends in theaters. It’s just so ridiculous and fun. Also Nora Roberts’ Black Hills book I was most pleasantly surprised to read. 

What was a spectacularly bad recent read?

Sudol: The very, very worst one that we’ve done is a toss-up for me between Dianetics, which was just painful and awful, and The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.

Sancken: Red Queen was one we did recently. It’s a young adult series by Victoria Aveyard. We both thought it was derivative of a lot of other YA series.

What is the must-pack beach read for the summer?

Sudol: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. It’s a young adult, queer, sort of historical road trip feelIt was something I picked up and read very quickly and kinda wished it wasn’t over yet.

Sancken: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It’s YA, but if you’re an adult who likes YA, you’d enjoy it. It’s a fun romance story between two Indian American teens whose parents have arranged marriage for them. My other thing is I really like to read essay collections … One that just came in that I’ll read is One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter; it’s a collection of essays by Scaachi Koul.

The book you wish would disappear from the shelves forever?

Sudol: This is a hard question. It’s rough because one of the things we always say is that every book has a reader. There are books that I think are gross and painful and awful could be important to other people. That all being said, let’s go with Dianetics just because it is something harmful at the end of the day.

Sancken: It’s hard. In library science there’s this rule that every book has its reader and every reader has their book. Even something that I hate and is totally garbage probably has some good qualities for someone. With that said, Bill O’Reilly has a new book out called Old School.

Favorite place to read in the Boston area?

Sudol: I love sitting on the second floor of the Newton Library over by the windows where you can look out on this little tree and where the ducks are. It’s nice and quiet.

Sancken: One thing I like is just reading on T. I really like just having this time where I don’t have to drive and I just sit and read my Kindle and multitask. I’m getting somewhere and I’m reading. 

Favorite library and/or bookstore in Boston?

Sudol: Newton Free Library and Porter Square Books in Somerville.

Sancken: Trident Booksellers. In terms of libraries, I work at one out in the suburbs. I visited the main big BPL branch, which is really beautiful. I like their light-up lions in the children’s area, which is the best.

Favorite worst bestseller line?

Sudol: A lot of the catchphrases from 50 Shades of Grey are comically bad. There’s a point where Christian starts saying “Later baby” to Ana because his brother says it to his girlfriend. Theoretically they’re mocking it, but it just sounds so stupid.

Sancken: “Do I dazzle you?” and “You’re my personal brand of heroin.” Twilight is very quotable. ♦

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