Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Bringing Characters to Life to Punch Them in the Face

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Amanda and Jenn discuss good “relationship reads,” Asian authors, classic retellings, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by the Read Harder JournalBut That’s Another Story podcast and Life, Death, and Cellos by Isabel Rogers.

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1. Hi! So I’m a part of this book club and we are in need of a new book. All the members of our book club are recent college grads and have just entered adulthood. Most of us have just moved to a new city and are in the process of finding our place, launching our careers and figuring out what we want to do with our lives. Collectively we often feel a sense of ‘being lost’. There are so many options in this world and decisions we need to make and those choices can be overwhelming. We would love to read a book that resonates with the struggles, excitement and growing pains of the season we are currently experiencing. We also would love to read something that can serve as a source of hope for us-hope that we will figure out how to approach this season and who we want to be in this world. Also, we prefer to read novels. Thank you so much!


2. Hi! In the last month, I have been reading If We Had Known by Elise Juska, Vox by Christina Dalcher, The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, and Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. I didn’t set out to read books surrounding heavy and/or politically-charged issues, and I generally wouldn’t characterize my reading life as trigger warning heavy. However, I really enjoyed reading these books that aren’t strictly reality but are still very real and can help me think through real and pressing issues. Can you recommend more novels like these? Please no white male authors because its 2019 and I’m tired of hearing men talk—thanks!



3. I’m looking for a book I can listen to on audio with my husband. We have listened to A Walk in the Woods, Ender’s Game, the King Killer Chronicles, The Expanse series etc.
He is a history buff who loves fantasy, classic adventure literature (like the Count of Monte Christo) and long history books like The history of Salt, Heart of the Sea, McCullogh presidential biographies etc.
I am an ex-English major. Recently on audiobook I have enjoyed Spinning Silver, A Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, My Lady Jane, Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah.
I love your weekly recs! Thanks in advance.


4. Hello, book friends! And help! I just finished a reread of Kristin Cashore’s trilogy (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue) and now I’m flailing around at just how great they are, and how I’ve never read anything that feels quite like them. I love how the characters take care of each other. I love the characters! They’re very likeable people, and I also love how practical they are. I like how these books are books with romance in them rather than books about romance. Same for the magic–it’s mostly very low key, but is still unique and interesting.

I am so desperate to find other books that feel the same way these do! They don’t have to be YA, though I would prefer sticking to secondary fantasy worlds. Extra super special brownie points if the main character is queer! THANK YOU!


5. Hi Jenn and Amanda,

Thank you for this amazing podcast and all the recommendations that you make.

One of my main reading goals this year is to continue reading more diversely and as part of that I want to read fewer American authors. American authors always end up making a big chunk of my reading and I am trying to change that to broaden my perspective.

So, could you please recommend any books by Asian female authors? No Asian-American ones as I feel that would still be cheating. I have read the more popular authors like Arundhati Roy, Han Kang, Celeste Ng, Mira Jacob, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kamila Shamsie etc. I read all kinds of genres, fiction or non-fiction, and would love to hear your recommendations.

Thanks a lot!


6. Hi, looking for some books I could give my sister. She reads mostly fiction, mixing classics and modern picks. Some favourites of hers include Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, His Dark Materials, The Book Thief, The Last Runaways. This year she loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. I gave her Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and she really liked it but found it hard because of how sad it is. I keep thinking of and giving her books I think she will love but they are often pretty bleak, and she would love some less depressing books to throw in the mix (I gave her Ferrante, her best friend gave her A Little Life, she will need something in between) They don’t have to be all light and fluffy but at least a happy ending would be great. Thank you! I love the show, you have made my tbr almost impossible, which is the best problem to have.


7. I’m looking for a fun book to listen to on audio with my husband on a roadtrip. The problem is that we have quite different interests–I love literary fiction and popular fiction: Crazy Rich Asians, Outlander, The Goldfinch, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman. He mostly reads nonfiction–Stephen Pinker, books on objectivism, and comparative religions. Some books we’ve listened to together and liked are The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James, and The Martian by Andy Weir. I know this is kind of a tough one, so thanks in advance! You guys are awesome.



Books Discussed

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Startup by Doree Shafrir (rec’d by Rebecca)

Chemistry by Weike Wang (tw: family emotional abuse)

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

How Long Til Black Future Month by NK Jemisin

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (tw: rape, gendered violence)

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee (narrated by BD Wong)

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Witchmark by CL Polk

The Good Women of China by Xinran, trans. By Esther Tyldesley

The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Asa Yoneda (tw: body horror)

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies