Amanda and Jenn discuss readings on motherhood, Star Wars read-alikes, novels about twins, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. My husband and I are going on a belated honeymoon adventure at the end of August/early September. We are starting in London, then heading to Croatia, and ending the trip in Tuscany. I am looking for books set in these places. I typically read contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers. I gravitate towards realistic - sorry, no Game of Thrones ;). I also enjoy a good memoir. Thank you so much for your recommendations!
(FYI, some favorites: Tell the Wolves I'm Home, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Dark Places, Burial Rites - thanks to you two!, The Poisonwood Bible, Dear Fang With Love)
2. Hi there! I'm having my first child, a boy, in August 2017. I'm not with the father (who will remain uninvolved), the baby was unplanned, and I will be transitioning from a full time job in downtown Nashville to a remote position in a tiny town in Ohio. I'm looking for books applicable to my situation (early thirties, single motherhood, liberal and cognizant of the need to raise a thoughtful, independent thinking, and respectful white son who is being born during a time when the country is under terrifying leadership). Fiction or non-fiction welcome! I'm a big fan of the site and can't wait to hear your suggestions.
3. Hi! I'm a college professor and my wife and I are expecting a baby in July, so I'll have a semester off for the first time in a long time. While I'm sure most of it will be spent sleepless with a baby, I'm also hoping to get in some good reading for fun. In the summer, I tend to love ridiculous sun-soaked literary fiction like The Vacationers and Seating Arrangements. Otherwise, I read/listen to a lot of sci-fi/fantasy and LGBTQ lit. I loved the Argonauts and would love to read more about queer families or parenting. I also recently read The Expanse series and All the Birds in the Sky. What should I read while I'm home with a little one to prevent me from being lonely and crazy?
4. My boyfriend is suuuuper into Star Wars. We first bonded over a love of reading, but the vast majority of his already-read pile is Star Wars novels - and there's nothing wrong with that, but I've been enjoying trying to expand his palate. He claims he'll try anything, just never knew where to start, and has already borrowed the Lunar Chronicles from me and really loved it. I also gave him Night Circus (because it's my favorite), but that one seemed to go over less well - his comment was "I can see why you love it so much." The thing I'm noticing, however, is that my personal collection leans much more towards fantasy and fairy tale retellings than sci fi, and I was wondering if you had any ideas of sci fi that *isn't* Star Wars that he might like. He especially enjoys explorations of people in the Empire, I know he was really excited for the recent book about Thrawn, and he loves Lost Stars by Claudia Grey.
Thanks in advance!
5. I have a yen to read more short stories, but I am finding myself at my wit's end trying to find any good collections that suit my reading interests.
I really fell in love with short stories recently reading "Diving Belles" by Lucy Wood, and then I absolutely loved "American Housewife" by Helen Ellis. Both these collections contained relatively short, engaging short stories. I think the common factor is that they are primarily about women, and are thoroughly charming. There is darkness without being too much of a downer, but they are not sappy "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type reads, which I don't judge, but don't enjoy.
I don't know if I have far too particular tastes, or I just don't know where to look next. I tried to read some Neil Gaiman short stories and I'm not really thrilled so far, although I am not giving up yet!
Help! I don't even know where to look next.
6. Hello! My older sister recently asked me for book recommendations because she feels like she doesn't have any hobbies. She is in a very different place in life than I am, so I'm not sure what to suggest. She works, is married, and has three kids, all under the age of 8, so she doesn't have a ton of free time. I think the last time she read fiction was 12 years ago, when we were living together and I had my books all over the apartment. Back then, she enjoyed historical fiction set in South Asia (e.g. The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan). She and her husband are now in the process of building a house, and she has always been very interested in interior design (she loves Pinterest and tells me I should have throw pillows). She also loves to cook and she took a baking class once. Any ideas? Her birthday is coming up in July so I hope you can answer before then. Thanks so much!
I'm a little worried that my request may be kind of tricky. I'd like to buy my Dad a book for his upcoming birthday. The problem is that while he enjoys reading, he is prefers short novels with straight-forward writing styles. I think that this is because he's dyslexic and gets a little overwhelmed when texts are too "flowery" in their writing style or have a reputation for being "intellectual." He tends to only read a couple books a year (usually the ones I give him) so I feel a bit of pressure!
I've had a lot of luck in the past with John Steinbeck (he liked the Pearl but loved Of Mice and Men). He enjoys books with historical elements. He's from Northern California and he gets a kick out of reading books set in landscapes that he knows and loves.
Are there books out there that fit some of these guidelines? I know that Steinbeck's canon has a lot of books with these elements, but I don't think my Dad will sit through East of Eden or the Grapes of Wrath, and I'd like to try something a little different.
Thank you so much!
8. I love reading stories about siblings, particularly twins. Got any suggestions?
Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian (out August 22 2017)
Behind the Throne KB Wagers
Girl at War by Sara Novic
NW by Zadie Smith
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Saga Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Tender by Sofia Samatar
Single Carefree Mellow by Katherine Heiny
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
The Girl From the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson (recommended by Liberty)
California by Edan Lepucki
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger
Amanda and Jenn discuss under the radar favorites, witchy reads, beautiful prose, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. My husband and I are venturing to Montreal, Quebec this summer and I find myself questioning if I have ever read a book set in Canada let alone Quebec or Montreal. I am looking for an engrossing book to take with me on the trip and would love your help finding something set in Canada or more specifically Quebec or Montreal. I will read just about anything but tend towards fiction, and this summer especially mystery and other page turnery type novels.
Thank you in advance!
2. Hello Bookriot!
As part of my reading goals, I am trying to read more diversely, so I decided to try and mirror America's racial dynamics in this year's 100 books (12% African American, 16% Hispanic/Latino, 5% Asian American, etc.)
So far I've read some fantastic classics - Beloved, The Color Purple, etc., but it's been a bit of a struggle to find books in my favorite genres. I read almost exclusively science fiction and science nonfiction, which are both dominated by white male authors. Do you have any suggestions for science fiction or nonfiction by non-white authors? I'd especially like to hear about some Hispanic/Latino authors, which I have been especially struggling to find.
3. I am looking for books for my 12 year old son. He used to be a 'reader' but he now he is only obsessed with playing video games. He loves all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and I have tried giving him books that have to do with video games like Ready Player One and Ender's Game. He started reading Ready Player One and he really liked it but he said it only makes him want to play more video games. He is very interested in History and Politics. He bought a History book just to read on his own and he watches the news and presidential debates. Can you recommend any books that will appeal to him? Thank you!
4. I recently looked at my daughter's reading list for school and noticed very few had female protagonists- and this is something my daughter has complained about before. She's in the fifth grade and an avid reader, but she keeps getting recommended and given books with male main characters. As a middle aged man children's books aren't admittedly in my wheelhouse, but I want to give my daughter books with strong female characters. Her favorite books are Harry Potter (obviously), Peter Pan, and The Once and Future King. She loves fantasy and adventure stories, and goes crazy over anything with witches. A friend recently gave her The Sisters Grimm and she finished all ten books within the month. She reads at a fairly high reading level (she recently read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and all three Lord of the Ring books) so I'm not afraid of giving her something a bit more difficult to read, but I would like to give her some fun children's books.
Thanks for the help- your show is wonderful and I look forward to hearing your recommendations.
5. Hello Jenn and Amanda,
I would like to start by saying that I adore this podcast and I look forward to it every week so thank you for that :) Now on to my question:
I have a YouTube channel called Under The Radar Books and I am always looking for books that are lesser known. I tend to read mostly literary fiction, but I am open to all kinds of genres. Some of my favorite 'under the radar' books are Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis and In The Mean Time by Paul Tremblay. I am hoping you guys can recommend some books that you think are extremely underhyped but wonderful.
Thank you in advance! I cannot wait to see what you come up with :)
6. I recently read Coffin Hill because it was recommended on this show, and I loved it. It didn't just remind me of my love of witches, but also family heritage/curses. Do you know of any good supernatural books that involve old families, and magic, and maybe curses?
I look forward to hearing your recommendations!
7. Hello! I'm a huge, huge fan of the show and I thought maybe you could help me with a problem I've been having, even though it isn't the most straightforward of questions. I would like to know what are some contemporary authors you would recommend based solely on their writing style. I've read mostly classics for ages and I'm afraid I'm missing out on a lot of good stuff. One of the things I like most in a book is unique and beautiful writing, so: where can I find that in contemporary lit? I'm sure it's everywhere, I just don't know where to look and could use some guiding. I know it's a vague question, sorry for that and thank you in advance!
8. Hi! I love the show (and have compiled a massive TBR list, thanks).
I find I've been having a hard time really enjoying YA like I used to. It's not that I'm older (although I am); it's because I find I now get annoyed by love shapes--triangles and squares where the heroine has all these men vying for her affection. Can you recommend any YA books that don't have love shapes? I usually like a bit of romance, but maybe just one-on-one relationships or keeping the romance way off to the side of the plot would help. Or possibly the solution is reading a YA that has no romance.
Some YA books that I love:
- A Girl of Fire and Thorns series
- The Raven Boys series
- The Mediator series (old, I know, but still a fav)
Thanks for your help!
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Death Going Down by María Angélica Bosco
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
Problems by Jade Sharma
Pym by Mat Johnson
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
The Graceling series by Kristin Cashore
Jenn, Sharifah, and guest author Aliette de Bodard give fantasy reading recommendations in this week's episode of Get Booked!
Amanda and Jenn discuss fiction about moms and dads, middle-grade books, asexual characters, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.