He Read She Read Podcast’s Chelsey and Curtis Take On The Bookish “Newlywed Game”

I listen to a lot of book podcasts.  A lot.  That’s why it’s a pretty big deal when a new book podcast immediately hops into my favorites and is one that I look forward to popping up in my feed every week.  You guys, Curtis and Chelsey, the husband and wife behind the He Read She Read podcast, are an absolute delight

From bookstore dates to auto-buy authors to bookworm pet peeves, each topic they discuss is so creative and fun. Their enthusiasm and passion are contagious and I love how they’re constantly making me think of new things and also want to jump in on their conversation!

You can find Chelsey individually on her Bookstagram account, and Curtis on his.  Follow the He Read She Read podcast on their podcast Instagram account and website and keep reading to learn more about these two and then see how they did at my bookish version of The Newlywed Game.  They did not see each other’s answers beforehand!

Introductions

How would you describe your reading taste? What makes you automatically excited to read something and what immediately causes you to be wary?

Chelsey: My reading taste is all over the place and constantly evolving. I do tend to reach for historical fiction or mystery when in doubt, but lately I’ve been loving essays, memoirs, and literary fiction. I get excited about a book if one of my favorite authors has a blurb on the front, or if it’s a retelling of classic literature. Unlike Curtis, I’m wary of giant tomes. It takes a lot of convincing for me to read something over 500 pages.

Curtis: MY READING LIFE IS MOSTLY NONFICTION (BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS) AND FANTASY. I LOVE 1,000 PAGE EPICS WITH COMPELLING CHARACTERS AND IMMERSIVE WORLDS. I GET EXCITED TO READ ANY BOOK THAT SAYS “PULITZER PRIZE WINNER” OR “NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER OR FINALIST” ON THE COVER.

How did you two meet and what’s a little bit of your love story?

Curtis: WE MET IN HIGH SCHOOL THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS, DATED DISTANCE FOR THE FIRST YEAR, THEN FOR 4 YEARS IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA WHILE WE WERE BOTH IN COLLEGE. WE ALWAYS LOVED GOING ON BOOKSTORE DATES AND I EVEN PROPOSED TO CHELSEY IN ONE OF OUR FAVORITE USED BOOKSTORES.

Chelsey: This checks out, but I would add that we met in the summer of 2008. I told my best friend that I was going to marry Curtis, and she gave me a look like, “You. Are. Crazy.” I wasn’t one to fall for a boy so quickly. Curtis was in college, and I was still attending high school in our small town, so we didn’t see each other for awhile. We connected again that winter, and once we discovered that we were both nerds who could talk about books one minute and make each other laugh the next…well, we decided it was meant to be. We’ve been together for almost eleven years.

What do you think is an important part about being a “couple who reads together”?

Chelsey: For us, reading is synonymous with learning and empathizing. I think that an important part about being a “couple who reads together” is being open to new ideas, different opinions, and personal growth. We’re not the same people we were in 2008, but that’s not a bad thing. Through books and reading, we’ve been able to grow together and communicate better along the way.

Curtis: READING AND TALKING ABOUT WHAT WE ARE LEARNING HAS BEEN PART OF OUR RELATIONSHIP FOR YEARS. NOW WITH THE PODCAST, FOR THE FIRST TIME WE’RE FOCUSED ON READING THE SAME THINGS (SOMETIMES OUTSIDE OUR COMFORT ZONES) AND CHALLENGING EACH OTHER.

What are the hardest and most fun parts about doing a podcast?

Chelsey: So far it’s mostly been fun! Occasionally we have a hard time coming up with fresh content. While we believe there can never be too many book podcasts, we also don’t want to just repeat the same thing that’s been done over and over. I think we have the most fun recording our book discussion episodes at the end of each month. They’ve evolved to the point where Curtis uses his history and research background to provide extra context while I put on my English teacher hat to investigate various literary aspects of the book. We’re always really happy after recording those because we get giddy about teaching each other and sharing what we learned.

Curtis: IT’S FUN TO BE CREATIVE TOGETHER AND TALK ABOUT BOOKS WE LOVE! THE HARD PART IS BALANCING RECORDING EPISODES WITH BOTH OF OUR MASTER’S PROGRAMS AND MY ARMY EDUCATION.

What’s a book you each would like us to try reading?

Chelsey: Maybe this is a little unfair because the book is out of print, but if you can find a copy, I highly recommend A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter. Ritter was a painter who married an Arctic explorer. In 1933, she joined her husband in Spitsbergen and kept a record of her daily life, harrowing adventures, and experiences with wildlife. It’s not exactly action-packed, but her descriptions are vivid and romantic. I can’t help but recommend it, and I look for copies of the book whenever we go to used bookstores.

Curtis: MY CURRENT READ THAT I’M ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH IS THE BULLY PULPIT BY DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN. IT COVERS THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT AS THEY DRIFT FROM FRIENDS AND ALLIES TO RIVALS FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION IN 1912. ROOSEVELT COINED THE TERM “BULLY PULPIT” TO DESCRIBE HOW THE PRESIDENT USES THE OFFICE AND THE PRESS TO PUSH HIS AGENDA.

Our Bookish “Newlywed Game”

First Up: Chelsey

Chelsey’s Own Answers

Your favorite book:
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I could read Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice over and over without getting sick of them.

Your beverage of choice while reading:
Tea or wine

Your book crush:
Jamie Fraser

The book world you’d most want to live in:
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Character you would be most likely to let accidentally fall off a cliff:
Marmee and all of the March sisters

Character you see yourself the most in:
Elizabeth Bennet. I can be really judgy, but it comes from a place of love and caring.  

Book you’ve read the most times:
Pride and Prejudice

Podcast you look forward to the most:
What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel

Best thing about being married to Curtis:
He makes me laugh, plus he is forever the optimist.

Curtis’s Guesses

Chelsey’s favorite book:
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

 

Chelsey’s beverage of choice while reading:
TEA

Chelsey’s book crush:
GILBERT BLYTHE

The book world Chelsey would most want to live in:
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

Character Chelsey would be most likely to let accidentally fall off a cliff:
GEORGE WICKHAM

Character Chelsey sees herself the most in:
ELIZABETH BENNETT

Book Chelsey has read the most times:
ROMEO AND JULIET (IF IT COUNTS AS A BOOK) OR PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Podcast Chelsey looks forward to the most:
WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT?

Best thing about being married to Curtis:
I’M HER BEST FRIEND WHO MAKES HER LAUGH

Next Up: Curtis

Curtis’s Own Answers

Your favorite book:
GATES OF FIRE by Steven Pressfield.

Your food of choice while reading:
COOKIES

Author you’d most want to meet:
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (talk about Leadership, Presidents, and baseball)

The book home you’d most want to own:
WINTERFELL. House Stark family home from Game of Thrones #winteriscoming #thenorthremembers

Book you wish you’d never picked up in the first place:
CATCHER IN THE RYE

Character I see the most of myself in:
HADRIAN BLACKWATER (THEFT OF SWORDS by Michael J Sullivan). He’s a former mercenary/soldier turned thief who has spent his whole life killing and now has a thieving business with his best friend Royce. And he carries two swords.

Book you are sick of hearing about from Chelsey:
LITTLE WOMEN!

Genre I’d choose if I could only ever read books from that genre:
NONFICTION AS LONG AS IT INCLUDES BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS NOT JUST ONE OR THE OTHER

Podcast you look forward to the most:
HARDCORE HISTORY

Best part about being married to Chelsey:
SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND AND MAKES ME LAUGH

Chelsey’s Answers

His favorite book:
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.

His food of choice while reading:
Cookies, peanut butter cups, generally anything sweet.

Author he’d most want to meet:
Michael J. Sullivan or Patrick Rothfuss

 

The book home he’d most want to own:
Winterfell

Book he wishes he’d never picked up in the first place:
The Catcher in the Rye

Character he sees himself the most in:
Probably someone from The Name of the Wind or another high fantasy novel I haven’t read yet.

 

Book he is sick of hearing about from you:
Maybe Educated? I’ve been talking about it a lot lately.

Genre he’d choose if he could only ever read books from that genre:
Fantasy

Podcast he looks forward to the most:
The Popcast with Knox and Jamie

Best part about being married to you:
I keep him grounded and make him laugh.

Thank you Chelsey and Curtis for all of your time with this. I know I had so much fun seeing your answers and you clearly know each other’s reading life in and out!  If you’re not already listening every week, be sure to check out He Read She Read wherever you listen to podcasts.


If you would like to join in on the fun on Imaginary Book Stack, please go to the submissions page!

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