Amanda and Jenn discuss Hallmark movie read-alikes, gift recommendations, kids' London reads, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. Hello Book Riot goddesses!
We're getting dangerously close to the holiday season, which is why it hit me I have less than two months to finish the Book Riot reading challenge! I'm doing pretty well overall, but am now left with the really difficult (ie out of my comfort zone) books - and I need your help. I have four books left to tackle: a book about sports, a book published by a micropress, and a book of translated poetry on a theme other than love.
I'm a queer, latinx, feminist grad student currently earning my MSc in paleontology and the history of women in science. Normally, I gravitate towards fantasy, scifi, YA, and historical fiction/romance (I'm very much about reading as escapism). When I'm not reading fiction, I love popular science books and history books (especially about non-western countries). Maybe my tastes can meet these book riot prompts somewhere in the middle?
Note: I'm bilingual (spanish/english) so books translated from or available in Spanish are also super welcome!
2. I hope it's not too late to ask for recommendations!
My mom has asked for books for Christmas but I don't know what to buy her! She likes narrative nonfiction, like The Elephant Whisperer, Unbroken, and The Boys in the Boat. She also likes Jodi Picoult and reads a lot of historical fiction (The Red Tent, All the Light We Cannot See, and News of the World are some of her favorites). She's generally read most of the super buzzy bestsellers of the past few years for her book club, so new, backlist, and/or under-the-radar picks would be awesome!
3. Hi Amanda and Jenn!
We are traveling to London for Christmas with our daughters, ages 13 and almost 11, and I would love it if before we go, they could develop a deeper appreciation for (or at least understanding of) the historical significance of the city than they've gleaned from Harry Potter or schoolbooks. My ideal vision would be to visit some place like the Tower of London or Kensington Palace or the replica of the Globe Theater, they would say, "Oh yeah! I know about that place from my book." I want them to have some reference points other than what I've told them.
Both girls are avid readers of YA fiction, and they especially love the fantasy and mystery genres -- Harry Potter, anything Rick Riordan, the Divergent Series, the Flavia de Luce series, and Nnedi Okorafor are just some examples of books/authors they love. My older daughter also branches out to YA literary fiction such as "The Hate You Give" by Angie Thomas and "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys. Can you recommend any YA fiction in which London features prominently? I was wondering if "My Lady Jane" might fit the bill, but I don't really have any ideas beyond that. Any recommendations you can provide would be greatly appreciated. You don't have to worry about making different recommendations for their ages -- they exchange books all the time, and the younger one has the maturity and skills to read what her sister does.
Thanks so much for all you do, and keep up the great work!
4. Hi Jenn and Amanda, I am writing in to request read-alikes to cheesy Hallmark-esque holiday romance movies. I personally don't celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any of the religious/commercial
holidays of winter but my kryptonite is the seasonal holiday tv entertainment. I especially love when they are set in the past and/or have themes of mistaken/disguised identity or leads that hate each other and then slowly grow to love and respect each other. Some of my favorite series/movies include When Calls the Heart, One Small Hitch, A Christmas Kiss 1 and 2, Snow Bride, While You Were Sleeping, and A Royal Christmas. Bonus points for books available on audio with non-irritating narrators so I can listen during my commute. Thanks so much!
I have been under a fair amount of stress lately with a job change and the realities of adult-ing which has lead to some trouble sleeping. During these restless nights I have been reading a lot of fiction (which is great) - but I figure I might benefit from using this reading time to read some non-fiction about stress management, mindfulness, or meditation. Are there any well written beginner guides for these subjects (or others) that you would recommend?
6. Hey Jenn and Amanda
I was raised in a very fundamentalist religious environment where homophobia, racism and misogyny were interwoven into the rhetoric and doctrine. I have since broken away from it but still feel an involuntarily discomfort and, at times, lack of understanding when reading about some of these issues. I want to overcome this discomfort of and develop empathy for such topics and am hoping you can recommend me books that will expose me to any or all of these issues. YA or adult, any genre. I do prefer fiction to nonfiction but am open to highly readable nonfiction. Thanks!
7. I want to share my love of reading with my dad, especially as he is now retired and needs things to do during the long winter months. Unfortunately, I've never had much luck getting him to pick up a book, even when it seems tailored to his interests. The one book I've seen him read and re-read is The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a slim book of poetry by an 11th century Persian dude. This self-proclaimed non-reader can quote about half the book from memory and likes to weave snippets of it into daily conversation. I suspect he has a soft spot for old poetry and/or philosophy. Can you recommend anything that might have a similar feel to it? Any help is appreciated.
Eternal Life by Dara Horn
Living With a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer
The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka
Border by Kapka Kassabova
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Chi-Young Kim
The Agency series by YS Lee (A Spy In The House #1)
Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star #1)
An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James
A Mistletoe Affair by Farrah Rochon
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris (rec’d by Rebecca)
Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar, illustrated by Peter Sis
In honor of Jane Austen's birthday on December 16, Amanda and Jenn recommend their favorite readalikes in this week's Get Booked.
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
The Living is Easy by Dorothy West
The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series (Master & Commander #1)
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
For Real by Alexis Hall
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
Amanda and Jenn discuss stocking-stuffer books, seasonal short stories, romances, and more in this week's episode of Get Booked.
1. Hi Jenn and Amanda,
I’m looking for some good romances for the holiday season. All my life I’ve had my internal misogyny telling me that romance was a waste of time and bad writing, but I’m ready to get out there and expand my horizons. I mostly read YA and nonfiction, but I’m open to anything with a fun plot. I’m in the mood to curl up with something cute and fluffy.
I’m not afraid of something steamy but I’d like the story to be more about fun and intimacy then the steamy throws in the sheets. My favorite romantic thing ever is the show Hart of Dixie, just to give you a vague idea of what I like. I’m sorry this is super vague, I can’t wait to see what you guys recommend though!
2. Hi - Love the show. I am looking for small books - literally small for stocking stuffer size that are still good, interesting, fun. Also working with a broad group (i.e. varying political, religious positions) so not trying to start a battle or anything, but fun things - poetry, mindfulness, just delightful things to ponder? Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
3. Time sensitive! “Get Booked” is one of my highlights every Thursday, so I’m reaching out! I need help with Christmas gifts. My boyfriend has read so many different things, that I can’t even begin. I’d like a few recommendations based on stuff he loves. Fiction: all time favorite is Matthew Stover’s series Heroes Die & Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series. Nonfiction: he’s very into paranormal testimonies, David Sedaris, Henry Rollins, and anything about survival.
He loves science fiction, ultra violence, and modern day conspiracy theories. I’m excited to see what you come up with because I’d be clueless unless I asked him! Thanks a lot!
4. Hello Ladies!
I am a huge fan of the podcast and tune in every week to your recommendations and witty comments! You are wonderful and make my work week brighter! I would consider myself a bookworm but definitely more like a tsunduko person. However I have gotten into the habit of reading short stories before bed since I tend to fall asleep in the middle of reading and it makes me less frustrated and guilty if I need to back track the next night. As the holiday season approaches, I am looking for a short story collection to help me get into the spirit, either about winter, snow, Christmas, or something along those lines. I read
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories last year and loved it but having a hard time finding something this year. I love historical fiction, fantasy, YA, contemporary literature, and obviously short story collections. Not a huge fan of crime, thrillers, or horror. So anything that could help out this bookworm to get to sleep would be fantastic!
Thank you in advance! Love you both!
5. Hi there,
Love your podcast and listen to it all the time. I'm trying to get a head start on my holiday shopping and I'm looking for a book suggestion for my mom.
She's a pretty steady reader - has read most of the classics and is in an active book club so she often has read the currently popular books. She enjoyed the P.G Wodehouse series and loved Remains of the Day. Her very favourite book is Grapes of Wrath.
Hoping to find something she is unfamiliar with that she can really dive into. She is a violence abuse counselor and often really heavy subject matter is hard for her to get through in her pleasure reading. Also no horror please.
6. Time Sensitive (hopefully before Christmas): My husband is really hard to pick books for and I'm needing recommendations. He really likes coming of age stories and short stories that are connected together by the same characters. He really doesn't like books with extremely long chapters that don't have a good stopping point within them. Some examples of books he has loved are: The Road Cormac McCarthy, anything by David Sedaris or Davy Rothbart, Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Palo Alto by James Franco.
7. Hi Amanda and Jenn-
I am hoping you may be able to offer me a recommendation in time for the holiday gift buying season!
A friend and I purchase a book for one another every Christmas. We usually pick something that we loved and thought the other person would love as well. This year, I thought you may be able to help!
Here’s some info about my friend: She’s a 30 year old recent grad school graduate living in upstate NY. She works in the Human Services field and is originally from Puerto Rico. She loves Harry Potter. She usually reads YA or fantasy books, but she is really driven by stories that have characters you get to know well and fall in love with. I’m hoping to find her a book featuring a quirky underdog that wins out in the end despite facing life’s inevitable obstacles. It would be better if it didn’t feature sexual violence if possible.
Love your podcast and looking forward to the recommendations!
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories edited by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Tiny books post: https://bookriot.com/2017/10/06/miniature-books-for-tiny-libraries/
All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monson and Jory John
Letters For the Year by Lea Redmond
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (all the trigger warnings)
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
The Last Chance Christmas Ball anthology
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis
A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
We the Animals by Justin Torres
Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Want by Cindy Pon