Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
Get Booked

Get Booked Ep. #16: Mermaids Because of Reasons

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Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

Amanda and Jenn recommend works of magical realism, portal fantasy, epic sweeping family sagas, and more!

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot’s Steamy Reading Box and Book Riot Live.



Listen to past episodes of Get Booked here!
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Need a book recommendation? Fill out the form at the bottom of the post, or email and we’ll help!



I have found I enjoy books with magical elements and the idea of a world within a world.  I’ve enjoyed Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere is probably my favorite), I finished The Magicians trilogy, from All The Books I picked up Bone Gap which was YA/magical realism and I enjoyed that.  It’s not a genre I’m familiar with and I specifically like books where there’s regular world and then the magical or fantastical.  I also have found I really enjoy these books on audio so if you happen to know of any with excellent audio versions even better!


PS I have, of course, read Harry Potter


I LOVE BOOK RIOT! I also love sweeping epic stories that are based on history but also discuss family and relationships… for example, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Any other recommendations like those books? –Lexie


Hey y’all,

I have an unquenchable thirst for stories about questionably sane young women in ominous old houses.  I’ve already read Rebecca, The Thirteenth Tale, The Seas, This House is Haunted, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Turn of the Screw, The Yellow Wallpaper, and the works of Kate Morton.  Do you have any further suggestions?  I’d be especially interested in  ones that aren’t set in England, which is most of what I’ve read so far.



Hi there,

First off I would like to say I’m an amateur reader and it takes me what feels like forever to get through a book. I only discovered I love books in my early 20s and it often makes me wish I had a time machine to give my lonely teenage self a taste of what books can bring to a life! Alas, I must also say it’s been a while since I read anything that provoked passion. Not romantic passion but the passion for life. I love sci-fi and fantasy but also literary fiction with its vast troves of randomness. I just need more. My personal life tends to change very little and I thrive on change so I need a boost. I just want to dive into a world that would leave me breathless or evoke a greater element for contemplation. Too much? 🙂 whatever, it’s what I want and sadly I have very few friends who read anything beyond 50 shades of grey or twilight. No offense to them but I just can’t 😛 don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily want anything overly heavy. anyway, I love the bookish banter on this podcast and would love to hear your thoughts.




I belong to two book clubs and we seem to read much of the same genres–realistic fiction, historical fiction, and mysteries. I would like to suggest some books that take us out of what we usually read and thought romance fiction and science fiction would be a good place to start. Therefore, I enjoyed your recent podcast on romance fiction and plan on taking some of those suggestions to my groups. Do you have any recommendations on science fiction? None of us are science geeks so nothing too technical. I was thinking about something that involves travel to other planets with some suspense/thriller type action thrown in. I just got my hands on the book Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein and thought this might be a good place to start. Any other ideas? Thanks. Janice



Love the podcast and I’m currently looking for some book recomendations! I am close to  finishing David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” and plan on tackling Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.” What book should I read inbetween; looking for a breather of sorts but something that still packs a punch?
Thank you! –Augustine



Books Discussed on the Show!

Half Resurrection Blues by DJ Older 

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente

Sarah McCarry’s YA series, All Our Pretty Songs

The Son by Philipp Meyer

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Sacred Games, Vikram Chandra

White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Young Women, Old Houses post

The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe

The Unicorn, Iris Murdoch

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

On Such a Full Sea, Chang-Rae Lee

Radiance, Catherynne Valente

A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

Consider Phlebas, Iain M Banks

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Incarceration Nations, Baz Dreisinger

Yes Chef, Marcus Samuelsson