Anne Bogel is not a librarian, teacher or book critic, yet hundreds of thousands of people are looking for what to read.
In 2011, Bogel launched Modern Mrs. Darcy, one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. The website, which has more than 900,000 pageviews per month, offers recommendations, advice, and quirky lists such as "17 books I've read in 24 hours or less." Readers can sign up for book journaling, join a book club and subscribe to a monthly newsletter. In 2016, Bogel launched the weekly podcast "What Should I Read Next?", Where guests share their favorite books – and the least-preferred books – and hear suggestions on what to read next.
In 2015, Bogel left her part-time job to make a full-time gig of her evolving reading empire, supported by advertising and sponsors. And last month, the forty-year-old mother of four published her second book, "I Read: The Joys and Dilemmas of the Reading Life," a charming meditation that draws on her years of studying the habits of her readers. (Her first book, "Reading People: How the world is changed by the lens of personality has changed everything," appeared last year.)
"My basic goal is to help people get more out of their reading lives," Bogel said in a telephone interview from home in Lexington, Ky. "Because I really think, if you can get more out of your reading life, you can not help but make more out of the rest of your life, and talking to people about books is a shortcut to talking about what really important – life and death and love and loss as well as questions about identity and decision-making. "
Bogel, who has a degree in Christian Education, has found podcasting to be the most satisfying way to answer their followers' most common question: Can you recommend a great book? She treats each guest's picks thoughtfully and analyzes the subtle threads among the readers' favorite books. "I do not want to say," Oh, you like World War II historical novels, let's stack a lot more of them, "she says." I'm looking for what you may not be aware of, but it's definitely there, and that often has to do with tone, character and theme. "
The favorites of the last guests included "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas, a Canadian mystery series and a book of fortune by Gretchen Rubin. Superficially, they do not have much in common. But Bogel recognized a propensity for books that explored what went on beneath the surface of the characters. Her recommendations included "Ballad of the Whiskey Robber" by Julian Rubinstein, a book about the truth about the stranger, about fiction about a Hungarian hockey goalie in the late 1990s; "The Image" by Tana French; and "Morningside Heights," the debut novel by Cheryl Mendelson, best known for her work on housekeeping.
So which books are so special for the woman who has made a career in reading – and has collected around 150 books a year? She easily names her favorite: "Crossing to Safety" by Wallace Stegner; "Hannah Coulter" and "Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry; and "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Almond. She is reluctant to publish a book that did not work for her, but focuses on Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights." Her recent readings include "Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver and Donald Shoup's textbook-style "The High Cost of Free Parking."
Bogel says she is proud that her work has helped to foster a community of readers. "I'm really pleased to hear from readers that they really are not alone," she says. "So many readers have told me that they were surprised that they know people who love reading. it just was not something that ever came up, because you do it yourself. "
Angela Hauptis author and editor in the district.