Amanda and Jenn discuss classic retellings, post-Hamilton reads, small town stories, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. We are a group of girlfriends from high school (28 years out!) and we're getting together in the fall for a reunion, something we've been doing every two years. We'd like to read a book in advance to discuss. Maybe it will be the beginning of a long-distance book club that meets in person every two years. What recommendations do you have? I'm thinking themes relating to family, friends, women's issues, current issues... Thanks so much!
2. My 1st grade daughter is a precocious reader and is currently reading at about a middle school level. Do you have book recommendations for her that are more advanced reading, yet not advanced topics? She's already read all the Little House on the Prairie books, The Penderwicks, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Roald Dahl, and a bunch others. I'm really looking for new series or newer books since she's read most of the books I read as a child!
3. Recently I read Rebecca and it is now one of my favorite novels. This is the second book I've read based on Jane Eyre- the other being Wide Sargasso Sea, another favorite of mine. Then recently Jenn recommended Longbourn, and I've started reading that. Now I want to read other books based off of classics. I tried looking into it a bit, but all I really found were Pride and Prejudice continuations that, quite honestly, didn't look like they were very well written. Any suggestions?
4. Okay, ladies. It's happened. I caught the Hamilton hype and nothing else matters anymore. I'm already listening to the Chernow bio on audio and loving it, but I just need more! Any suggestions for worthy biographies on prominent American figures? I'm particularly interested in presidential biographies or biographies of noteworthy women during the period. Thank you both so much! Love the show! :)
5. HELP! I'm in the middle of a terrible reading slump, and I've never been in one quite so extreme before. I'm in the middle of getting my masters degree in Classics at the moment, and between all the ancient greek, and dead white philosophers I just don't have the head space to read as much as I usually do, or even read the kind of books I usually read. Some of my favorite books are the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Secret History (which may or may not have made me want to become a classics major, and thus sealed my fate and slow decent into insanity), Frankenstein, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm open to any genre, as long as it's well written. I just need something that I can read for a little bit at night and clear my mind.
6. For some reason I seem to really love books that take place in small towns. I think it's because I enjoy when the location in a book becomes something like a living breathing character, and (as bias as this may sound?) I like exploring the close mindedness, and hatred that often manifests in small towns where everything is the same, and everyone knows each other.
Do you guys know of any books that explore those kind of themes, and where the location is very much a character in the novel?
7. HELP HELP HELP! My whole life I've been trying to convince my mother to read, but she's always told me she's not interested. She endless makes fun of my "snooty" literature (I read mainly classic literature, and a lot of ancient philosophy), and says books are boring. I gave up trying to convince her to read, but a few days ago so told me she'd be interested in reading something! The only problem is I don't know what she'll like. We have such different taste, and I know she'd hate all my favorite books.
She watches a lot of reality tv like The Housewives of Some Rich Neighborhood or Whatever, and The Kardashians. Is there a book equivalent to trashy reality TV? She also really likes shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Revenge. So I think she'd like a book that's over the top like a soap opera kind of?
Dreadnought by April Daniels
The Novice by Taran Matharu
The Secret Son by Laila Lalami
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
The Mothers by Brit Bennet
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Frazzled by Booki Vivat
Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Re Jane by Patricia Park
John Adams by David McCullough
Also please watch this video: the John Adams rap cut from Hamilton
Lafayette In the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (trigger warning: transphobia)
Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Blood Defense by Marcia Clark, recommended by Jamie Canaves
Amanda and Jenn discuss Infinite Jest read-alikes, Muslim protagonists, horror, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. I am trying to expand my perspective by reading more diversely, but my general disinterest in contemporary or literary fiction has been a major snag for me - particularly where African literature is concerned. I have tried to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but really struggled with them and decided to revisit them later. However, I have enjoyed genre fiction that involves African or African-American culture, specifically the works of Nnedi Okorafor and Tananarive Due. Can you give me some recommendations for African or African-American genre fiction? Thanks!
2. I am a convert to Islam and I live in a small farm town in southern Ohio...not exactly to best place to find diversity, so I do not really get to interact with other Muslims. Therefore I turn to books. I’ve been trying to find more books that have Muslim protagonists.
I've read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, American Dervish, and The Taqwacores. Beyond those, I've not had much luck. Any suggestions (the protagonist can be male or female) would be greatly appreciated!
3. I run a book club which has no theme and includes women of all ages and from all walks of life. Our first choice was A Man Called Ove followed by The Poisonwood Bible and H is for Hawk. We like books that are not brand new so that we can get ahold of copies from the library (yes, we still use the library!) Do you have any recommendations of books that make for great group discussions? Thank you for your suggestions!
4. Hi friends,
I'm sorry to report I am in a serious book rut. I usually average 3 books a week and now I'm lucky if it's 3 a month. #librarianproblems I know, but I miss getting lost in a great read. I picked up Garden Spells after hearing you rave about it on the show and I think that might be the ticket: undeniably amazing crowd pleasing books that make you say "IT'S SO GOOD" in a rabid voice to everyone you talk to. I read tons of YA, but am not so into nonfiction. However, any and all genre fiction (for all ages) is welcome. Love the show and looking forward to your recs!
5. Hey! My girlfriend read Infinite Jest last year, and she loved it. Since then, she has read everything that DFW ever wrote. Now, she's sad because she can't find anything that measures up. She tried Pynchon and Delillo, but neither of them really did it for her. Do you have any recommendations for someone who loves Infinite Jest? Thanks!
I really enjoy horror but have never found anything that really scares me. I would prefer horror that is more in the vein of American Horror Story than Lovecraft. I like the horror that is just on this side of being real. And very very scary.
7. Hello! I love your show and hearing about the new books you recommend. I've been going back and listening to some of your older shows, but I didn't see anything that specifically relates to books about or related to feminism. So, that's my question, I think I've always been a feminist of some sort, but it seems to have peaked. I've never read any books specifically related to this topic, but I'm ready to dig a bit deeper. Can you recommend books to me as a sort of introduction to feminism? They can be fiction or non-fiction. I already have Bad Feminist, but I haven't read it yet. I am looking forward to your recommendations! Thanks!
Pre-Hispanic fiction by Spanish-speaking authors: The Heart of Jade by Salvador de Madariaga
Stargate by Pauline Gedge
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robbin Brown
The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (Trigger warning: family abuse)
The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela
Hammer Head by Nina McLaughlin
The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Kreuger
The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson
The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan, transl. by Yuri Machkasov
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Nancy Forest-Flier
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (Trigger warning for violence towards children)
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen
The Feminist Utopia Project edited by Alexandra Brodsky and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff
Amanda and Jenn discuss historical fiction, quests, funny books, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. Hi Ladies!
I am about to set off for a yearlong adventure as an au pair in Paris, so I have two requests, one difficult and one easy. My first request is for book recommendations for the two girls who I will be taking care of. I would like to bring them something when I arrive (a shameless bribe) and books are easy to transport. The older one is 10 and is an avid reader and has read the first Harry Potter book in English. She had some struggles, but reads about the same as an American 10 year old. I'd love to get her a chapter book so I can help out with her reading and so she can feel super accomplished. She's a huge Harry Potter fan and also likes graphic novels.
The younger girl is almost 9 and reads more like a first grader. She is not a reader but will sometimes pick up graphic novels. I'd love to find something cool to strike up her interest in learning English since according to her mother and previous au pairs, she understands spoken English, but has a tough time reading and speaking it. She is much more active and likes sports and board games.
My second request should be easy. I'd love some books to get me psyched up for the big move. Ideally, a fish out of water story set in Paris, either fiction or non fiction is fine. I loved Paris for One and Bringing Up Bebe and Me Talk Pretty One Day. I found Paris to the Moon a little tedious and My Life in France is already on my list. My favorite books are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Station Eleven and The Bone Clocks.
2. Hi Jenn and Amanda!
Love this show so much, my TBR grows exponentially after each episode.
I'm looking for some book recommendations for my younger sister, who is a bit of a reluctant reader but would like to read more because when she finds a book she she genuinely loves, she can't put it down or stop talking about it and I want to help nurture her inner book nerd.
She likes historical fiction, and in particular books that follow a woman's life over a long period of time. She prefers books set far in the past, like 300 years plus to ancient history, and has expressed that she would like books that deal less with "mainstream western history."
Two books she has really loved are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, and we both loved chatting about these books together.
I'd love to pass along some more similar suggestions to her so we can do sister read-a-longs and book chats.
Thanks so very much!
3. Hello Get Booked,
I've just finished the latest entry in Kristin Britain's Green Rider series and now have 3-4 long years to wait for the next one.
I'm wondering if you can recommend me some 'woman goes on a quest/journey through a fantasy land' books to make the wait easier.
(While I don't mind a bit of pain and suffering on the way, I'm not a fan of relentlessy grim stories.)
I've already read everything by:
Thanks in advance.
4. Hey ladies!
I'm looking for fiction (or even nonfiction) recommendations for books involving scientists and adventure. I've read The Signature of All Things, and The Lost City of Z, I really enjoyed both of those. I have also read The Unseen World, books similar to that are also welcome. I love science and history so anything historical is also a bonus. Thanks so much, I love the podcast!
5. My older brother is an enthusiastic reader and I read all the time. He still lives in our hometown in rural Wisconsin and I live in Boston. We've recently started building an adult relationship by talking about books. I want to introduce him to more diverse books. My brother's favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird and Lonesome Dove, we read The Winter of Our Discontent together and he loved it. He takes his time reading, so it has to be something that will keep him interested over time. I want to expose him to more women/poc authors without alienating him.
6. Hello Amanda and Jenn,
I have always really enjoyed reading aloud (that is, as an adult reading aloud to other adults). With my parents, I have read the entire Harry Potter series and many Jasper Fforde books and found them especially enjoyable to share because of the cleverness and humor. However, I am now in a relationship with a man who not really a book person (and, yes, it took a lot for me to trust a man with no bookshelves in his home). He has indulged my interest in reading to him, but we have not found many books that appeal to him. We enjoyed The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd (one of my absolute favorites since I attended art school) and Daisy Fay and The Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg. I wanted to revisit Jasper Fforde with him but he is vehemently opposed to all things fantasy/sci fi (even magical realism). Any suggestions for books that would have that kind of smart Jasper Fforde humor but be more grounded in the real world?
I actually submitted this request close to a year ago and (unless I missed it somehow), it has not appeared on the show. In that time, the relationship I mentioned has turned into an engagement. So, as I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this non-reader, I would really appreciate some brilliant inspirations for read-alouds that will help me share my love of books with him.
7. Hello Amanda and Jenn!
I recently read Malinche by Laura Esquivel and, while I wasn't actually a big fan of it (her writing style just didn't do it for me), it left me hungry for more historical fiction that takes place in Mexico and Central America. I would love books that are Pre-Columbian, preferably written by people who are Latinx, and where the place/culture is a character. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
8. I recently finished an advanced degree and am starting my own business. Thanks to some major hits to my self-confidence and some pretty significant imposter syndrome, I'm finding myself hesitant to move forward. I need to feel inspired and need a major confidence boost--but I can't stand self-help books or anything that sounds like a self-help book. They make me roll my eyes and sometimes get thrown in disgust. I need to be inspired, not just told I should be inspired or fed a bunch of woo-woo bs. I hated Eat, Pray, Love with a passion hotter than a thousand suns, if that helps (and side note: I'm always glad to find those who felt the same way since at the time everyone else loved it). I'm open to fiction or non-fiction. Please help me find something to distract me from wondering who in the hell actually gave me me a law degree & licence and that will make me feel worthy. Thanks!
(As another side note, I'm also a former bookseller who desperately misses being in the know, so I'm loving all of the Book Riot's podcasts!)
--NoName Because of Reasons
Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Dud Avocado by Helen Dundy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan
Tombs of Atuan by Ursula LeGuin
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
Four Souls by Louise Erdrich
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
David Sedaris, literally anything, who cares (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
Funny books flow chart from Slate
Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
Girl Up by Laura Bates
Grit by Angela Duckworth