Angst, Feelings, Fairies

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Amanda and Jenn discuss queer book club picks, courtroom dramas, romance fantasy, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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Seraphina’s Lament by Sarah Chorn (rec’d by Jen Zink)

Questions

Hello Amanda and Jenn,

I’ve recently been “nominated” (read: lovingly volun-told) to set-up a queer book club at work. The group is very excited to get reading and when polled for their reading preferences they said they were open to anything, but in my experience folks will say that until they realize how much variety that can actually encompass. For our first read, I will be proposing 4 books for the group to vote on. I acknowledge that my reading choices tend to be more esoteric than is suitable for a work book club, which is where your help comes into play. Here are some of the less obscure books I’m currently considering for that top 4:

-Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

-The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo (still reading, may be removed if I realize I’m uncomfortable reading it with colleagues)

-Less by Andrew Sean Greer

-The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Things to know about this group and a couple of requests:

-Ages range from late 20s to early 60s.

-Both allies and LGBTQIA2S+ folks in the group.

-Most aren’t big readers (trying to keep book length under ~400 pages)

-Please no steamy romances. I don’t think I’ll be able to discuss a book that’s chock-full of ultra hot sex with my colleagues and superiors.

-I want to avoid books that are mired in queer-hate based tragedy.

-For the first book I’m trying to avoid SFF (breaks my heart, but that’s not a good way to hook this group to keep them going, maybe in future selections.)

-Prefer no YA.

-If there’s something I’ve already read (Goodreads profile linked) that I should bring to the group, let me know! That would make my life a bit easier.

Thank you both so much. Here’s hoping we can find something that folks will actually read and discuss.

Warm Regards,

-Rebecca

​​2. Hello! I’m looking for legal thrillers or courtroom dramas (preferably the latter). I read a lot of John Grisham novels as a teenager and A Few Good Men is still one of my favorite films – I’ve been wanting to revisit the genre lately! I enjoyed Miracle Creek and The Holdout. Everywhere That Mary Went and Blood Orange were two TBR recommendations that I couldn’t get into. The former felt too dated and the latter was distracting because I don’t understand the British legal system and I kept getting sidetracked having to look up the terminology. I want a book that I can settle into right away. I would prefer if the protagonist wasn’t a cisgendered white male but its not a requirement. Thank you!

-Aneesa

3. I’m looking for a recommendation for a friend who spent last summer in the hospital with COVID and had a long road to recovery. They just recently told me they’re ready to try getting back into reading but they’re looking for books that are comforting and engaging. They’d like something page-turnery like a mystery, but nothing too harsh or violent. I tried Becky Chambers but sci-fi and fantasy turn them off, saying it’s just too much work to picture what’s going on. Most of the mysteries I know of are just too violent or depressing for them. They’d also prefer books by authors of color. Anything you can suggest would be great. Thanks!

-Alexis

4. Amanda and Jenn, I’ve been buying your recommended books for my nephew and they’ve been such a hit! He devoured the Princess in Black books and recently loved the first book in the Wollstonecraft detective agency series. I plan to give him the Lumberjanes at some point too. He’s 7 and also loves Frozen, the Magic School Bus, the Investi-gators books, and the Boxcar Children series. Suggestions for anything else he might enjoy would be amazing! Thanks for helping me be the cool book aunt which is honestly all I ever aspired to!  

-Laura

5. I am a big fan of books that feel very fairy tale or fable-like in either subject matter or writing style. Some examples include the Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and the Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I would love something like this that was written by an LGBTQIA and/or BIPOC author and included a queer romance where homophobia doesn’t take on a lot of narrative weight. I tend to like longer books, so if it was over 350 pages that would be amazing. Thank you so much!

-Madison

6. I recently started enjoying fantasy romance books. I read Bridge Kingdom and I am about to start the Traitor Queen (the sequel). I am loving these books so far, although I wish the romance was not so slow. 🙂 

Any recommendations for books that fall in the fantasy romance genre that lean more on the romance side? I generally enjoy enemies to lovers and/or marriage of convenience type of romance books. I also enjoy books with a lot of atmospheric description and historical information.

Thanks!

-Maymuna

7. I’m hoping you can help recommend some books for my 13 year old son. He’s loved to read in the past but in the last year or so, he’s less and less interested (and tougher to get away from the computer). He says he can’t find anything he’s interested in anymore and isn’t sure where to start. 

Some books he’s enjoyed in the past are the Guardians of ga’hoole series, The Warrior books by Erin Hunter, the Wings of Fire graphic novels, The Percy Jackson books and especially, Skyward and Starsight both by Brandon Sanderson. 

He can handle long chapter books but I’m wondering if a graphic novel might be great to start with, I’m just not sure what to get for his age. I’d love to get him books for Christmas but if you don’t get to this email until after the holiday, I’d still love some suggestions. 

I love the podcast, thanks so much for reading! Looking forward to your feedback. 

Thanks so much, 

-Anna Marie

Books Discussed

The Natural Mother of the Child by Krys Malcolm Belc

Northern Light by Kazim Ali (cw: discussion of suicide)

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (tw: sexual assault)

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight (rec’d by Jamie)

Death by Dumpling by Viven Chien

Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (cw: harm to children, racism and racial slurs)

Sam Wu is Not Afraid series by Katie and Kevin Tsang, Nathan Reed Illustrator (Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts)

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (cw: emotional abuse)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Payback’s A Witch by Lana Harper 

The Summoner series by Taran Matharu (The Novice)

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

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