4 Books to Read Right Now From Literary Hub!

4 Books to Read Right Now From Literary Hub!

We recently welcomed Irish fiction writer, journalist, and editor of LitHub‘s Bookmarks section, Dan Sheehan back to the show to dish on his recent column, books he is currently loving, and his favorite book of 2018!!

Books in this episode:

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

This episode was recorded on January 15th.

The One Book That Offers 5 Principles to Being Fearless!

The One Book That Offers 5 Principles to Being Fearless!

Over the last 20 years, the Case Foundation has contributed more than $100 million in funding to businesses and nonprofits that use entrepreneurship and innovation to drive social change.

As a co-founder of the foundation with her husband, Steve, Jean Case has discovered and embraced the role of being fearless as a key ingredient for everyone and anyone to realize their potential and purpose.

Jean was an early executive at America Online where she directed the marketing and branding as AOL brought the Internet to the world.

The entrepreneurial powerhouse joined us to discuss her inspiring first book, Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose where she outlines her guide to living fearlessly and why embracing your failures can lead to success.

Other books in this episode:

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Michelle Obama in Her Own Words: An Excerpt from “Becoming”

Michelle Obama in Her Own Words: An Excerpt from “Becoming”

3.4 million copies sold last year made Becoming by Michelle Obama the best-selling book of 2018! We are thrilled to share an excerpt of the memoir read by the former first lady herself.

Audio File Magazine says “In a rich, warm timbre, Michelle Obama treats us to reminiscences and reflections on her life as though we were friends seated in her living room. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, the insights of “the other Obama” are interesting due to the sheer fact of her uniqueness.”

A special thanks to our friends at Audio File Magazine for providing the clip. Please check them out at audiofilemagazine.com!

Listen Back With 3 of The New York Times Best Books of 2018

Listen Back With 3 of The New York Times Best Books of 2018

Last week we heard Pamela Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review discuss the 10 Best Books of 2018! But before you dive into your 2019 TBR pile, you might just want to take a look back at some of the best titles of this past year as chosen by the editors of the Times Book Review.

For this compilation episode, we revisit three bestselling non-fiction authors from The New York Times list who joined Roxanne on the podcast in 2018!

Books in this episode:

Educated by Tara Westover

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

5 Inspiring Book Picks From Roxanne!

5 Inspiring Book Picks From Roxanne!

From poems, toasts, and inspirational quotes that feed your heart and mind to brief body-bending exercises, these books will help you kick 2019 off right! Plus, they make perfect hostess gifts!

Books in this episode:

5-Minute Yoga: A More Energetic, Focused, and Balanced You in Just 5 Minutes a Day by Adams Media

Written in the Stars: Constellations, Facts, and Folklore by Alison Davies

A Little Book of Japanese Contentments: Ikigai, Forest Bathing, Wabi-sabi and More by Erin Niimi Longhurst

Family Celebrations: Poems, Toasts, and Traditions for Every Occasion by June Cotner & Nancy Tupper Ling

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018!

The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018!

2018 produced some spectacular literary page turners and if you are looking to catch up before you dive into your 2019 New Year’s reading resolutions, we’ve got you covered!

Pamela Paul, who is the editor of The New York Times Book Review and oversees book coverage at The New York Times recently joined Roxanne to discuss the top ten reads of 2018!

Check out The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018!

To purchase any of the books in this episode, please visit RJ Julia Booksellers

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

There There by Tommy Orange

Washington Black by Esi Edugyanv

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan Jobs

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

Check out Anne Bogel’s 15 inspiring and practical books to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions!

Check out Anne Bogel’s 2019 Reading Challenge here!

Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect New Year’s Eve Menu!

Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect New Year’s Eve Menu!

Say goodbye to 2018 in style with a marvelous meal curated exclusively for Just the Right Book listeners by culinary guru Dorie Greenspan!

The James Beard Award winner recently stopped by RJ Julia to talk about her thirteenth book Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cookentertaining for the holidays and why she put her doctorate on hold to bake cookies!

This episode of Just the Right Book is sponsored by Libro.fm Audiobooks. To receive 3 audiobook credits for $14.99 during your first month of membership just go to Libro.fm ( l – i – b – r – o – dot – f – m ) and enter code “RB ”


Ingredients for Cake

2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose our 2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup (200 grams) plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Finely grated zest of 1 small orange or 1 tangerine

1 cup (240 ml) neutral oil, such as canola

½ cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 pound (454 grams) parsnips, trimmed, peeled and grated (3 cups)

1 cup (120 grams) chopped pecans or other nuts, toasted or not

½ cup (50 grams) chopped fresh cranberries

Ingredients for Cranberry Filling

One 12-ounce (340-gram) bag cranberries (if frozen, don’t defrost)

¾ cup (150 grams) sugar

½ cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (or water)

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Ingredients for Frosting

¾ pound (340 grams) cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature

1½ sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces; 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature

6¼ cups (750 grams) confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325°F. (If your oven can’t hold three 9-inch cake pans on one rack, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds.) Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, dust the interiors with flour and tap out the excess; or use baker’s spray.

    1. Whisk the flour, coriander, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
    2. Put 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a small bowl and stir in the minced ginger and zest.
    3. Working in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the oil, the remaining 1 cup sugar and the brown sugar together on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture might look grainy, but that’s fine.
    4. One by one, beat in the eggs and then continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the ginger-zest mixture and any syrup that might be in the bowl. Turn off the mixer and add the our mixture all at once. Pulse the mixer to start incorporating the flour, then mix on low just until the dry ingredients almost disappear.
    5. Add the parsnips and nuts and mix to incorporate. Switch to a flexible spatula and gently fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and smooth the tops.
    6. Bake for 33 to 37 minutes, until the cakes are golden and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pans; the tops will feel springy to the touch and a tester inserted in the center will come out clean.
    7. If you’re baking on two racks or your oven has hot spots, rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom after 18 minutes. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides of the pans and turn the cakes out onto racks to cool to room temperature. (You can make the cakes a day ahead—wrap them well and keep them at room temperature.)


    1. Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture bubbles, many of the cranberries pop and the sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. The filling will thicken more as it cools.
    2. Scrape the filling into a bowl and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate if you’re not using immediately. (The filling can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in the fridge.)


Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt together on medium speed until very smooth; scrape the beater and bowl down frequently. Add the vanilla and beat to blend.


    1. If the tops of the cakes have mounded (these usually bake pretty at), you can slice away the crowns to even them. Place one-layer bottom side down on a cake plate.
    2. Using an o set spatula or a table knife, generously cover the top of the layer with frosting. Spoon half of the cranberry filling into the center of the frosting and spread it so that it comes to about an inch or two shy of the edges of the cake.
    3. Place the second layer on the cake, top side down. Cover with frosting and spread the remaining filling over it.
    4. Finish by placing the last layer on the cake, bottom side up. Cover the top layer with frosting, adding some swirls and whorls, if you’d like. If some of the cranberry filling oozed to the edges or maybe even spilled over a little, celebrate it! I love the casual look of this cake.
    5. You’ll have frosting left over, so you can frost the sides of the cake, if you’d like. I like to leave the sides bare or run just a very thin layer of frosting around them, a layer that looks almost sheer, kind of naked, but not quite. The cake can be served as soon as it’s assembled, but it’s easier to slice if you give it an hour or two in the fridge.


You can keep the cake at room temperature (not hot or humid) for a couple of days or, wrapped, in the refrigerator for at least 5 days. You can also freeze the cake. Freeze it, then wrap airtight; if you can manage it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.


For an even more festive cake, crown it with sugared cranberries—finishing it like this is beautiful for the holidays. Make a simple syrup by boiling ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water together, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drop in as many fresh cranberries as you’d like and roll them around to coat with syrup, then lift them out with a slotted spoon or mesh spider and transfer them to a rack. Let them set for about 1 hour—they’ll be sticky and tacky, and that’s what you want. Roll the cranberries around in a cup of sugar and then let them dry on a clean rack for another hour. Sugared berries are meant for the last minute—they’ll get syrupy in the refrigerator and won’t survive freezing.

13 Books for Your Holiday Shopping List!

13 Books for Your Holiday Shopping List!

Here at Just the Right Book Podcast we believe that books are the perfect gift for any occasion! So, we enlisted the help of two of our esteemed experts. This year’s gift guide should help you find the perfect book for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Publishing expert Michael Selleck and Andrew Brennan, the head book buyer for RJ Julia join Roxanne in browsing the bookshelves to give us their favorite picks for this holiday shopping season!

To purchase any of the books in this episode, please visit RJ Julia Booksellers

The Patch by John McPhee

Pine Barrens John McPhee

The Big fella: Babe Ruth and The World He Created by Jane Leavy

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben & Tim Flannery

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering The Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons

Ansel Adams and the American Landscape: A Biography by Jonathan Spaulding

Year Of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Biography Of Frederick Douglas by David Blight

This episode of Just the Right Book is sponsored by Libro.fm Audiobooks. To receive 3 audiobook credits for $14.99 during your first month of membership just go to Libro.fm ( l – i – b – r – o – dot – f – m ) and enter code “RB “

What The Founding Fathers Would Say About America Today

What The Founding Fathers Would Say About America Today

What did the words “the pursuit of happiness” and “we the people” mean then, and what do they mean now?

Joseph Ellis, an American history scholar and author of bestselling books about George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. All his books converged to inform us about the founding of our country and the founding of a continent-wide democracy.

Says Roxanne, “Professor Ellis has earned a Pulitzer, a national book award, and has brilliantly navigated the tricky balance of producing books of scholarly standards with widespread, enthusiastic, appreciative readership. He now brings these considerable skills to his new book, American Dialogue: The Founders and Us, which for the first time Mr. Ellis supplies our founding history to the present time, addressing critical issues like race, equality, the law, and global reach.”

Books in this episode:

American Dialogue: The Founders and Us by Joseph Ellis

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan

The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward

This episode is brought to you by care/of. For 25 percent off your first month of personalized care/of vitamins , visit takecareof.com and enter the promo code BOOK.

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

What to read next? What to read at all? This is the dilemma of all readers, whether they are reading one or 200 books a year. James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List includes many of the classics you might expect like Plato and Proust and covers fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel, biography, children’s books, history, and more.

Mustich who began his career in book-selling 40 years ago recently joined Roxanne in the Just the Right Book studios to talk about the book that has been called “the ultimate literary bucket-list” by the Washington Post.

Says Roxanne, “There’ve been lots of lists and books put together about what to read over the years, but none have done as charming and genre defying job as (James Mustich)..”

Enter our giveaway on Instagram for a chance to win this book!

To purchase any of the books in this episode, please visit RJ Julia Booksellers

Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Tale of the Genji by Lady Murasaki

An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

A Thousand Place to See Before You by Patricia Schultz

The Finland Station by Edmund Wilson

Growth & Form by D’arcy Wentworth Thompson

Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las by Hunter S. Thompson Vegas

Eloise by Kay Thompson

The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon

Odyssey by Homer

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban

Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Middlemarch by George Elliot

Memoir Mass for the Dead by William Gibson

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson