Amanda and Jenn discuss Amanda’s new job (!), Murakami read-alikes, the perfect plane read, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
Molly Harper’s Bluegrass Series (rec’d by another Amanda)
Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell (rec’d by Tanelle)
1. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of works by Haruki Marukami and wondered if you had any recommendations for similar authors in either theme or writing style. I really like the way he explores themes of loneliness and human connection, and the simple beauty of his writing style. My two favorite books I have read by him so far are After Dark and Norwegian Wood, and I cared for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle the least. I’m not a big fan of YA works (though I doubt I would get that as a recommendation for this specific ask, just covering my bases), and it would be extra amazing if the length was over 300 pages. Thank you in advance!
2. Recently, I took a long trip and found myself considering what is the perfect plane read. My flight was long, 6 hours there and back, and as I am a fairly quick reader I found myself reaching for two fairly hefty books. I spent a long agonizing amount of time considering what to bring, weighing the pros and cons. And while my trip has passed and my books chosen, I thought this could potentially be an interesting question for the podcast. What books would you two recommend as the perfect plane reading (in your opinions anyway)?
3. I’ve been enjoying alternate history recently and am looking for other reads similar to the Dread Nation and River of Teeth books. Thank you!
4. I’m looking for recommendations for my rather eclectic book club. Past picks have ranged from sci-fi to classics to contemporary fiction to nonfiction books about nature or science. A few favorites have been Anxious People, Entangled Life, The Lathe of Heaven, and Parable of the Sower.
We take turns presenting suggestions to the group. The last time around I had a really hard time finding a book that people were willing to pick. We eventually settled on The Witch’s Heart. When we read it, the general consensus was “we liked it, but we didn’t love it”. I considered this a win since we did get some good discussions out of it.
Our picks seem to be all over the place, but in broad terms favorite books (whether fiction or nonfiction) seem to gently introduce readers to a new perspective or way of thinking about the world or other people. The group is theoretically willing to try any type of book, but so far none of the YA or mystery books I’ve suggested have been selected. Most other genres seem to be fair game except romance and horror.
Thanks for your help!
NOTE: We’re a virtual group scattered around the country and several of us check out books from our local libraries when possible. It usually works out best if the book has been published for at least a year so the waitlist isn’t super long.
P.S. I’ve included a couple lists so you can see what the club thinks it might like.
• The House in the Cerulean Sea TJ Klune
• I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
Books We Liked (* means we liked it a lot):
• Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
• Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake*
• Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
• The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin*
• Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler*
• To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
• A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
• Anxious People by Fredrik Backman*
• The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
Books We Weren’t Crazy About:
• The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson
• Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
• The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
• White Magic by Elissa Washuta
Books I’ve Suggested, But Were Not Chosen:
• Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
• Belonging by Nora Krug
• Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
• Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood
• The Library of Legends by Janie Chang
• One Two Three by Laurie Frankel
• The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
• The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
5. At the end of the semester, I always find myself craving literary fiction with rich people (or at least fairly well-off middle class people) behaving badly in beautiful locations. The Vacationers, Seating Arrangements and Crazy Rich Asians are some of the books that have scratched that itch for me in seasons before. Do you have any suggestions? My mom just died, so a little bit of tragedy and trauma is OK, but probably not extended battles with cancer if possible.
6. Hi! I’m am looking for recommendations for my daughter and myself. My 20 year old recently received a bipolar diagnosis. As she tries to make sense of it, she is looking to read about characters and people she can relate with mental health struggles. She told me the books she has read, the person with mental illness kills themselves. I think fiction or memoir from or about people who are struggling and living with mental illness would really help.
For myself, I’m looking for books to help me learn more about bipolar disorder as well as how to support someone with significant mental health challenges.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!
7. I’d like a recommendation for happy, kind, queer graphic novels please.
I’ve absolutely loved all volumes of Heartstopper and Check Please, and really liked Chef’s Kiss and The Prince and The Dressmaker. Bloom was ok but I didn’t love it, and I absolutely hated the treatment of disability and religion in Blankets. Thanks!
What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott (tw: violence against women)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
The Change by Kirsten Miller (tw: childhood sex abuse, obvious references to the Epstein/Maxwell case)
Light Years From Home by Mike Chen (cw: dementia, loss of a parent)
Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark
Everfair by Nisi Shawl (cw: graphic violence and war crimes, racism)
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward (tw: suicide)
House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild
Haldol and Hyacinths by Melody Moezzi (tw: suicide attempts)
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Post: Books Like Heartstopper
Fence by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente, and Jim Campbell