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Accidental Book Club Vibes

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Amanda and Jenn discuss a bunch of different book group recs, books about caregiving, modern novels for classics lovers, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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Inflamed by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel (rec’d by Heather)

Of Echoes Born by ‘Nathan Burgoine, House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, Alone by EJ Noyes, Nottingham and Thorn by Anna Burke (rec’d by Wynnde)

Pine by Francine Toon (rec’d by Georgia)


1. My husband is facing some scary and fast moving health issues. I’m looking for two kinds of recommendations:

1) preferably a non-fiction book on care giving and/or end-of-life support for a spouse.  No religious recs please. 

2) something very escapist and easy to dip into and out of. Reading is my self care but I haven’t been able to keep my attention focused on anything. I read pretty widely and will appreciate anything that’s not sad or saccharine. 



2. I’m running short of ideas for two quirky categories of fiction that my book club loves. I’d love any recs you have for either (or both, since they’re not exclusive categories!)

1) Unusual genre fiction classics (e.g. pre-1940, or for mysteries pre-Golden Age). Previous successes from this genre include War with the Newts (weird early sci fi), Hagar’s Daughter (Victorian melodrama meets Get Out), and Gilgamesh (so old it predates even the epic poem genre conventions).

2) Genre fiction in translation, preferably from regions other than Western Europe. I’ve struggled with finding these because many reclists include a lot of titles that on investigation seem to be more highbrow literary fiction with genre elements than true genre novels. (To be clear, this does not mean they have to fit English language publishing genre conventions – something like a wuxia/xianxia novel would work.) Examples that would work if a large portion of us hadn’t already read them include The Three Body Problem, The Honjin Murders, and A Hero Born.

The past couple of years we’ve aimed a bit lighter in our picks for obvious reasons, and anything very dark is a no-go.

To avoid redundancy, other books/categories that are on our schedule or that we’ve mined thoroughly are: The Black Tulip, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Woman in White and The Moonstone, novels by Jane Austen/the Bronte sisters, Honkaku mysteries, Scandinavian noir, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, and Where the Wild Ladies Are.

Also, hope you enjoy the attached logo my book club developed (yes, the cat stepping on it is now the official version).

Thank you!


3. My daughter is a fan of classic literature, but after a year in college she is realizing she doesn’t have much experience with modern literature. Her favorite books are Jane Eyre and Mrs. Dalloway. Other favorites are The Haunting of Hill House, The Great Gatsby, Beloved, The Bell Jar, The Color Purple and Madame Bovary. Favorite authors are any Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and Shirley Jackson. She also loves Shakespeare. She is not a fan of Jane Austen (what??) or YA angst. A couple of “modern” authors she has read and enjoyed are Ottessa Moshfegh and Ali Smith. Can you recommend some modern novels I can surprise her with?


4. Hi! I am part of a YA for Adults book club at my local indie bookstore – Woozles. I have written in before and gotten great suggestions for indigenous reads. We ended up reading Son of a Trickster and had a wonderful discussion around it. This time I am looking for YA science fiction. Particularly something that involves space travel and aliens. I have put a link to what we have already read.    


5. I am a member of a book club filled with wonderful women. Each host picks the book we read for that month. So far it’s been your standard selection of Chick Lit and Literary Fiction. These books are really not my cup of tea. But I so love the gathering and discussion that comes with the club. It’s my turn to pick a book in January. And I would love to pick a book more in my wheelhouse. I love primarily  science fiction and fantasy and read broadly in these categories. But I also enjoy a really good thriller or mystery. Can you recommend a book for my Chick Lit loving group that will broaden their horizons and please me as well?

Thanks for all the great book recommendations you give! 


6. I’m looking for non fiction preferably refs on the history of the United States and religion, specifically Christianity and Evangelicalism. I am looking for unbiased and def secular. Events, people that lead up to the Evangelical movement of the 19th century. 


7. I would like a recommendation for my little (he’s 35 but will always be my little) brother.  He’s a progressive, single dad, but finally admitted to me his secret shame – he reads spy books written almost exclusively by conservative old white men😱.  So many stereotypes and no intelligent women🤦‍♀️.  He said he was open to reading spy books written by women and/or bipoc.  Please help me to wake up his reading life!  Series are a plus.  Thanks!


Books Discussed

The Soul of Care by Arthur Kleinman

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Out by Natsuo Kirino, transl. by Stephen Snyder (tw: sexual assault, domestic violence/abuse, also very murdery)

Blake or the Huts of America by Martin R. Delaney (cw: slavery & related violence) h/t Nisi Shawl’s Black Speculative Fiction reading list

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza 

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (tw: suicide)

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

The Evangelicals by Frances FitzGerald

Blessed by Kate Bowler

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

Who Is Vera Kelly by Rosalie Knecht (cw: child abuse, homophobia, antisemitism)