Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Yikes But Also Yes

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Amanda and Jenn discuss books about mother-daughter relationships, climate change primers, engaging audiobooks, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot’s Read Harder 2020 Challenge, A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian, new in paperback from Algonquin Books, and Book Riot Insiders.

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Daevabad Trilogy (City of Brass #1) by S.A. Chakraborty, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, and City of Spires series (City of Strife #1) (rec’d by Eric)


1. Hello!

I’m hoping to find a couple of books- fiction or nonfiction that delve into the complicated world of mother-daughter relationships.

I don’t necessarily have a BAD relationship with my own mother, but we have a very difficult time communicating about anything real, and I struggle with how much she depends on my “needing” her to do things for me- even though I am almost 30 and have always been very independent.

Books are often my therapy, and I’m looking for stories that will help inspire and motivate me with ideas on how to better our relationship. Or, at least, make me feel like I am not alone in this.

Any recommendations?

Thanks so much!!

2. Hi! A dear friend of mine was home schooled in a restrictive (abusive) environment. The only books he has ever read are the Bible and Twilight. Later in adulthood, he also suffered a traumatic brain injury, so his ability to concentrate is sometimes low.

He’s recently decided to go for his GED and we are all very happy for him! One of the things he wants to do is read some of the books on the high school curriculum, but honestly I’m not sure where to start him. I don’t want to discourage him by starting him on something like Pride and Prejudice or Lord of the Flies where both the vocabulary and the syntax would be unfamiliar to him. I don’t think he could parse the sentence structure. I’m trying to push him towards Stephen King or other really popular, compelling stories until he gets in the physical habit of reading, but he would really like something “literary”. Can you recommend something classic, but plain (American) English and good for fostering a love of reading in someone who has always been denied that opportunity?


3. I’m asking for a book recommendation for my mom. For the last several years, we’ve been having conversations about climate change and the climate crisis. She knows it’s an issue, but hasn’t had the sense of urgency or engagement around it that I do. She’s never shown an interest in diving deeper into the topic until this weekend when I was home for Thanksgiving. She asked if I had a recommendation for a book (or podcast) that could explain it and why it’s such a crisis in a way that’s easy to follow. I heard your recommendation recently for So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and I am wondering if there is a book like that for climate change? I feel like this is an opportunity to really get her engaged and I don’t want to mess it up!!

Thanks and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

4. I have set the goal for myself to try to not read books by straight white men this year (going through at least March of next year), but have had some difficulty finding read-a-likes for the rereads I’ve been craving. I really want to read something in which the city of London is a character. My go to would be the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch or London: a Biography by Peter Ackroyd, both of which I loved. Help!


5. I am looking for a captivating audiobook . Bahni Turpin is a favorite narrator of mine. I am not in the mood for humor or satire. I love literary fiction and I am specifically looking for books by and about people of the African diaspora. Do you have any good recommendations for me? Thank you. I am desperate for a good listen. My favorite listens to date include:

The Count of Monte Cristo
The Seasons of Beento Blackbird

Young Adult
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Children of Blood and Bone


6. I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and I’m looking for a fiction novel that shows me I’m not alone. I’m not looking for something about social anxiety, though, and I’ve already read Turtles All the Way Down, All the Bright Places, Every Last Word and other mental health-centered books. I mostly read YA, but Adult or Middle Grade would be awesome too! If there’s an LGBT aspect that would be a great bonus. Thank you so much!!

-A Chronic Worrier

7. I love books that are about everything and nothing with a hint of magical realism. Some of my favorites are: Wolf by Jim Harrison, Gilead by Marilyn Robinson, The Stranger by Albert Camus, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, and Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

I’d love to discover less known writers; fiction only, please. Can’t wait to hear your picks!



Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

The Magical Language of Others by EJ Koh (tw: suicidal thoughts and attempts, disordered eating, domestic violence, sexual assault, depression)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (trigger warnings: child abuse)

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni

NW by Zadie Smith

Brick Lane by Monica Ali (tw: domestic violence)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (tw: slavery)

Book of Night Women by Marlon James, narrated by Robin Miles (tw: slavery & related violence)

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (rec’d by Jamie Canaves)

How To Be a Movie Star by TJ Klune (tw: suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Tentacle by Rita Indiana, translated by Achy Obejas (tw: sexual assault, transphobia, homophobia, use of slurs, racism)