Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

All Audiobooks, All the Time

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Amanda and special guest Rachel Smalter Hall recommend audiobooks for every occasion in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Once We Were Sisters by Sheila Kohler and Penguin Random House Audio.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.


1. I am in need of some recommendations for my husband. His interest in reading is fairly new and has really taken off since I’ve introduced him to audiobooks. He is interested in hard sci-fi, sci-fi and thrillers. He has consumed everything Cory Doctorow and loved the way he addressed current tech issues. He has also enjoyed Martin’s Game of Thrones and Grossman’s The Magicians.

I am quickly running out of recommendations for his growing interest in reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what he should try next. Bonus points if we can sneak in some feminism. I love your show and listen every week. Keep up the awesome work!




2. First of all, I love your podcast! I don’t have a lot of bookish friends, but it feels like I do when I get to listen to you guys chatter twice a month. You guys are the best!

I’m on the lookout for “easy listening” fiction audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks while driving to work and need books that are not too dense yet engaging. I tend to listen to non-fiction because the language is easier to follow and I won’t be lost if I’m distracted momentarily from the story while driving–(some non-fiction I’ve enjoyed are “The Poisoner’s Handbook” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory”)–but sometimes I get tired of non-fiction and need a fictional story. In the past, I’ve just listened to YA because the plotlines and language are generally pretty simple, but sometimes the characters and storylines are flat and not that satisfying.

Can you recommend any fictional adult titles you think might fit the bill? Titles I’ve enjoyed in the past that have hit that sweet spot are “Naked” by Dave Sedaris (not fiction, I know, but reads like it), “The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb” and “Single, Carefree, Mellow”

Thanks and sorry for the long email!


3. Thanks so much for this excellent show. I’m a fan of all your podcasts; my partner claims that if I spent the same amount of time listening to audiobooks that I do on the Bookriot podcasts, I’d be through the Russian classics by now. Anyhow, I’m a trail worker gearing up for another season in the backcountry, and I’m looking for some bookish weight to carry out with me. I love quiet novels with long, winding descriptions of the great outdoors. My all time favorite is a River Runs Through It, and I also enjoyed Out Stealing Horses, The Buried Giant, and everything by Wendell Berry. Any ideas? I could especially go for some female protagonists. Thanks again,

Buffalo Moe


4. Okay, I’m cheating– I have two recommendation requests. Both of which are very different.

My grandmother has alzheimer’s. She can no longer read books on her own. I want to try and find a couple books to read aloud to her or audiobooks she can listen to when I’m not around. I did hear you suggest a few similar titles a few shows ago to someone but I don’t think they will work for her. Unfortunately, because of the disease she has issues remembering long, complicated plot lines. I think short stories might help. When she was reading independently, she a lot of book club books like Persian Pickle Club, Bel Canto and she loved the Outlander series. Though she loved Outlander, I’d like the stories to be PG because, well, I’m reading them aloud to my grandmother.  Any suggestions?

Also, if you’d be willing to answer a second question- I am always looking for a new book to pick up as well. At the beginning of the year, I read Ready Player One & LOVED it. I loved the action- this was surprising because I am not necessarily one for a lot of action. I also really enjoyed the pop culture references, the love story, and the age of the protagonist. That being said, I’m not a big genre fiction fan- I like my fiction to be somewhat connected to the “real world” with fantastical elements. I will read YA- but I don’t like it to be all I’m reading. To give you an idea of my tastes- I just read Station Eleven (loved it), my favorite book novel is The Time Traveler’s Wife, my favorite author Ann Patchett & new release Rebel of the Sands just got added to my TBR pile. This is probably a  convoluted question but any suggestions?

I would really appreciate your help in both areas.


5. My mom used to read a fair amount when she was younger, but fell out of the habit as time went on. She had eye surgery that instead of helping, simply hurt, so reading now gives her a headache, and is very uncomfortable for her.  If she would just give them a chance I think she might like audiobooks. I myself only listen to non fiction audio books, which is not something my mother is interested in AT ALL, so I don’t really know of any books with good narrators to recommend.

My mom loves Stephen King- It is her favorite of his, and she’s read a bunch of his early works, but not the recent stuff (and when I say recent, I mean since like 2000). She once mentioned to me that she used to like Danielle Steel, when she saw a book of hers at the airport and was surprised she still wrote. Her favorite book of all time is Gone With the Wind, so I thought a book about the south might be nice. She really likes the whole southern belle thing, hence my name. She also loves Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  
Thanks guys!



6. Hey guys – I am in need of some serious help!!

I recently moved a pretty decent distance from my workplace and have since doubled my commute (womp womp). SO I now have plenty of time to enjoy audiobooks on my car ride. The only problem is that I am a very visual person and essentially have the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to auditory stuff. Usually I need to physically hold a book in order to absorb, but obviously can’t do that during my drive.

I do pretty well listening to non-fiction …specifically essay/memoir/short story where I can zone in and out and not miss major “plot points” but I’ve exhausted all the go-to’s: Mindy, Amy, Tina and co. And have also made my way through the majority of David Sedaris (j’adore).

I’ve tried desperately to get through fiction audiobooks to no avail besides In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware which I devoured (during my commute, on runs, while cooking dinner, during intercourse… jk). I think this was mostly due to the fast-pacedness of the story/plot – it cut straight to the chase without the lengthy descriptive paragraphs that I tend to glaze over during.

That being said, I am looking for recommendations to keep me going on my daily commutes  I think I know what I like when it comes to nonfiction but the fiction department is where I really struggle. SOSOSOS! thx yall

–Robbie Sue


Books Discussed

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The Collected Sherlock Holmes!

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Sweetland by Michael Crummey

Flannery O’Connor

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris

Intensity by Dean Koontz

Sphere by Michael Crichton

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Change