The Office But With Dead People

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Amanda and Jenn discuss books about ghosts, secret societies, folklore, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Blind Date With a Book, Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz, now available from Algonquin Books, and All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg.

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Last of the Wine by Mary Renault, and really anything by her (rec’d by Scarlett)

Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (rec’d by Scarlett)

Julian by Gore Vidal (rec’d by Scarlett)

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George (rec’d by Scarlett)


1. My dad retired this year, and previous to 2019 had NEVER READ A BOOK- like, no joke-not even at school! But this year, he started picking up books (3 to be exact) and asked for “a book” for his birthday.

So .. he’s not really sure what he likes in books- he read two memoirs (old rock n roll guys) and one hyper local history about the town he grew up in.

He’s probably not a fiction guy, or ready for fiction.

It’s such a clean slate I’m overwhelmed by where to go with this! He likes classic cars, late night tv, SNL, Will Ferrell sense of humor, he worked in television for 40 years, local to both/either Cleveland Ohio and Portland Maine. Not into politics.

A note: I am planning on getting him Kitchen Confidential because I mentioned it to him & he thought that sounded fun.


2. Hello! I’m going to try to be as concise as possible with a sensitive ask. My cousin recently confided in me that she has started the transition from male to female. She is in her early 30s, so transition has some unique obstacles, and she has been open about her past struggles with depression and anxiety. So far family has been accepting as she has slowly confided various family members but I’m worried about some of our more religious family. I’ve been looking for books to help me support her as an ally. I have read some intersectional feminist works (Janet Mock and Whipping Girl by Julia Serano) but would like book recommendations more focused on transitioning later in life. I’m hoping for nonfiction but will take fiction as well. I’m a pharmacist so I’m also open to something more academic/scientific too. Thanks for your help!

3. Hey! My English teacher said that if we put in a request here we would get some extra credit. We’re an obnoxious class and she loves this podcast so I thought I’d err on the side of caution. (You’ve responded to a request of hers in an episode before, her name is Kirsten. She was the one with the weird book list). I also would like a book recommendation because my bookshelf has been read and re-read numerous times over. Some of my favorite books are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Ender’s Game series, and those weird Star Trek novels William Shatner wrote. Also if you have any strange, out of place books that don’t really have a spot on bookshelves, that’d be awesome too. Thanks!


4. Happy spoopy season! I’m looking for recommendations for fiction with ghosts as main / significant characters or fiction about ghost hunting. I really enjoyed City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab and I’m interested in reading other books like it. I’m open to YA and adult fiction, although I tend to prefer YA most of the time. Thanks for your help! 👻


5. I’m looking for a readalike for one of my favorite video games, Secret World Legends. TL;DR, you swallow a bee, wake up with magical powers, and begin fighting paranormal entities for one of three secret societies (including the modern Knights Templar and Illuminati). It’s set in the real world and you learn a lot about some real-world folklore and mythology while playing it and solving the often difficult investigation missions. I would love something that’s fiction that has this sort of gothic, creepy vibe or not-dry nonfiction about secret societies or the folklore/mythology of New England, Egypt, Transylvania, Japan, or Africa (the places we visit in the game). Thank you!


6. I recently read Convenience Store Woman and fell completely in love with it. The character was incredibly interesting to read about, but I think what I really loved about it was the “everyday life in Japan” aspect of it. It reminded me of another favorite- My year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki, as well as A Tale for the Time Being. I loved how page-turner-y these books were while still allowing space on the page to focus on the food, the sounds, and the intimate details of everyday life in places I don’t live. Any recs like these? Bonus points for more Asian authors in translation, tho doesn’t necessarily need to be Japanese. Double Bonus for magical realism.


7. Hi ladies,

This has been a dud of a reading year for me so I’ve been hoping to compile a list of books for next year that I will love. Some of the books I’ve read this year and loved include:
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R Pan
The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hessee


Books Discussed

Bossypants by Tina Fey

If I Understood You Would I Have This Look On My Face by Alan Alda (plus, Clear+Vivid podcast)

Love Lives Here by Amanda Jette Knox (rec’d by Jess)

Sorted by Jackson Bird

She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Wayward Children series (Every Heart a Doorway #1) by Seanan McGuire

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (tw: self-harm, family violence)

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Spellbook of Katrina Von Tassel by Alyssa Palombo

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (tw: graphic violence)

Mãn by Kim Thuy, translated by Sheila Fischman

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder (tw: body horror, graphic violence)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (tw: homophobia)

The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas