Bearded Charles Dickens Shaped Area In My Heart

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Amanda and Jenn discuss Southern fiction, Spanglish, portal fantasy, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew and Book Riot Insiders.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.

Bookstore Giveaway:



1. I love love love novels written in Spanglish, both because I’m working on my Spanish, but also because I, too, live in a different community in which most people with whom I interact are bilingual and books like Junot Diaz’s are exactly how we talk, albeit in a different language. My favorite genre is literary fiction, but I would take recommendations for good mysteries, YA, essay/poetry collections, or, if they’re very well-written, fantasy or sci-fi. Bonus points for evoking a strong sense of place that immediately makes me want to book a trip wherever the book is set. Note: I’m not good with animal death, so either steer clear of that or at least include a trigger warning. Thanks!


2. Hello Book Riot!

I work at a college, and like a lot of colleges, each year our school assigns a summer reading book for the first-year students. I am just curious what books you two would recommend. What book, fiction or nonfiction, would you want every new college student to read?

Thanks! Love the podcast.


3. Hello Amanda and Jenn! I love your show and all of your recommendations. I have one that I don’t think you’ve covered yet.

Growing up, I’ve always loved Alice & all the other wonderful characters in Wonderland and now, more recently, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and her freaky little alternate reality. I feel similarly about Peter Pan and Neverland, though I didn’t read those books (only watched the movies. Oops!) I think they all appeal to this childhood desire to find a secret room or portal (my most common nighttime dream) that is fun, exciting, colorful, magical, and adventurous. If I’m real, it also appeals to my desire to escape the stress and terror of the world.

Do you have any recommendations for similar books?

Thank you!!

P.S. I have read Harry Potter, the Secret Garden, etc. and while I enjoyed these books, I’m looking for something a little different than these. I’ve thought about reading the Narnia series, but still don’t think it’s quite what I want. I think I’d prefer something with one main character, even if there is a strong supportive cast, and also something that is a quicker read.


4. Hi Jenn and Amanda,
I love the podcast and look forward to it every week.

I feel like the last few books I’ve read have been stories to “get through.” I enjoy them, but don’t find myself savoring words for words alone. I also find that I haven’t read much romance lately. Could you recommend something where the language is as decadent as chocolate and there might be some will they/won’t they romantic speculation?

Favorite books include The Sugar Queen, Jane Eyre, The Blue Sword, and A Tale for the Time-Being.

Thank you!


5. I recently read and loved both Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton and Startup by Doree Shafrir, and this latest Uber scandal has got me interested in more behind-the-scenes tech company/startup books. I read Dave Eggers’ The Circle when it first came out and thought it was just kind of okay (though it feels sacrilegious to me to criticize Dave Eggers) – I need some strong characters to really hook me into a story, though it doesn’t matter if they’re likable or not. I’m much less interested in the technology-is-world-changing angle than I am in the company culture angle. Fiction or nonfiction doesn’t matter to me – I’m just looking for a juicy story.

Thanks in advance!


6. I recently plowed my way through War and Peace and I loved it! However, I’ve realized that I know nothing about the Napoleonic Wars or Russian history. I prefer historical fiction but I wouldn’t say no to some readable nonfiction either. Thanks!


7.  I absolutely love Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I recently read Whistling Past the Graveyard which had a similar storyline. Can you recommend any other books similar with a child/preteen narrator, set in the south with difficult family life? Thanks in advance. Love the show!


Books Discussed

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Malinda Lo on Recommended)

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Infomocracy by Malka Older

Reset by Ellen Pao

The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (Queen of the Night and Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas)

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (ALL THE TRIGGER WARNINGS EVER)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers