Authors Whose Brain We Are Frightened Of

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Amanda and Jenn discuss action-packed sci-fi, NYC stories, mysteries, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny and The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.




1. Hey Amanda and Jenn!

I’m looking for a good book for my boyfriend. He’s never really enjoyed reading but is trying to change that, particularly because his sister and I just gush over books every time we’re around each other and I think he wants in on the fun.

He’s mentioned that he might be interested in something like Stephen King, but the size of the books are too intimidating.

I think he would particularly enjoy mysteries or thrillers, but any genre is welcome. The most important thing is that the books are not too long and they are easy to get through — so no complicated structures or long lists of characters.

Thanks for all you do,



2. Hi guys! Tracy here. First, love your show and I’m so excited to get some book recs from you! I’m traveling to Greece with my mom who is newly divorced (after 40 years) from my dad. She is working on being independent and finding herself. I’m looking for books about mother, daughter relationships, independent women and any stories about Greece in general that might help me appreciate the country when we’re there in July. I’m not into religion, YA or love stories. Bonus for strong women main characters. TBR includes Have Mother, Will Travel. Thanks much!!


3. Hi! I’m just about to finish grad school, and will be starting an internship in NYC in September (on my 30th birthday!). I would love to spend the summer reading books set in NYC to give me a feel for the city and some history and to help me make a list of things to do and see there. I’d prefer fiction but am fine with non-fiction. I just finished the Golem and the Jinni and loved it (can’t remember any other books I’ve read set in NYC…sorry not helpful).
Thanks so much!


4. A friend recommended “A Secret History” by Donna Tartt and it changed my life. What other books can I read about an outsider joining a friend group that has deep secrets (secrets that might involve the occult or murder), secrets that ultimately make or break the group and the narrator? I also enjoyed “Bittersweet” by Miranda Beverly-Whittamore and “The Anatomy of Dreams” by Chloe Benjamin.
–Lauren W


5. Hi guys,

I love your show and it’s introduced me to so many authors and books!! (Some favorites that you’ve mentioned are Bird Box, Hex, and Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, so many thanks for bringing me book joy!)

Last year, I read “After Her” by Joyce Maynard and LOVED IT. I was haunted by the story of two sisters who lure a serial killer in the hopes of helping their dad, town detective or sheriff (idk), who is slowly unraveling under the strain of solving the case. The beautiful portrayal of the sisters’ relationship, the super interesting serial killer facet, and the vivid Northern California setting helped make this book one of my favorites of last year.

I’m looking for a read-alike. The closest I’ve gotten is “Descent” by Tim Johnston, which was good, but I need more! So a literary novel with some sort of murder mystery but also a strong bond between siblings is what I desire. Extra points for vivid setting. (I’ve already read Attica Locke, by the way, and she is everything).

Thank you!
–Camille D


6. Hi! I’m starting a ~think deeper~ book club and I need a book to recommend for our early March read. I have a little bit of a weird request, perhaps… We just saw the play Hand to God (amazing puppet play set in a church…) and I am looking for a book about the creepier side of evangelist Christian communities and churches. Several of us were raised Christian and in the Deep South, and respect people’s rights to believe what they want. BUT. As ex-Christians we’re fascinated with evangelical Christians who engage in the more ~magical~ and performative acts (being possessed by the holy spirit, speaking in tongues, camping in tent cities) etc. I also recently saw the documentary Jesus Camp and it fueled my interest even more. I would really like to read more about these kinds of communities, double points for creepiness and/or magical realism/fantasy.
(Christian-based cults are also very much interesting to me.)


7. I would like to get more into science fiction. I’ve read the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi and loved it. I tried reading a Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and couldn’t finish it. If you have any fast-paced, action-packed science fic recommendations I would really appreciate it! Thanks.


Books Discussed

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot (trigger warning: child abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harm, domestic violence)

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

100 Places in Greece Every Woman Should Go by Amanda Summer

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg (plus Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell)

If We Were Villains by ML Rio

Books Like The Secret History post

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (trigger warning: domestic violence)

Infomocracy by Malka Older

Bone Street Rumba series by Daniel José Older (Half-Resurrection Blues #1)