Jenn and guest Jeff O’Neal discuss business books, chapter books for picky readers, biographies, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
This episode is sponsored by TBR, Book Riot’s subscription service offering reading recommendations personalized to your reading life, Book Riot Insiders, the digital hangout spot for the Book Riot community, and Flatiron Books, publisher of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust.
1. Hi there! First, let me say how much I’m loving this new podcast! It’s witty, engaging, and just all around enjoyable to listen to! Plus, my To Read list is now growing at an exponential rate 🙂
So on to the big news…my husband, who has never been a reader of books, recently asked for a Kindle for Father’s Day! My first thought was “Yay! Now I’ll finally get him to read all my favorites!”, but then I realized that if he doesn’t enjoy the books he’s reading, it’s going to be a huge letdown for both of us. His initial reason for wanting the Kindle was to read business books, since he’s recently been promoted at work and wants to read things that will help him lead and improve the culture there (just FYI, he’s an automotive engineering manager at a large manufacturing plant). So I’d like to get some business book recommendations, but also just some general recommendations as well that he might enjoy. He loves cars, racing, sports, motorcycles, comedy/action/adventure movies, documentaries and watching TED talks. Any help/recommendations you could provide would be great! PS – the last (and first in a very long time) book he read was 13 Hours, which he really enjoyed.
2. Hi! I would like to know if you can recommend any fiction books about young women who out of challenging circumstances became successful business owners. The more inspiring, the better. Love your podcast!
3. I recently finished “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg’s book, Shortest Way Home. I was reading it for insight on a presidential candidate, but I found myself fascinated by the daily political thought process of a city leader. I didn’t expect to want to take a reading dive into a whole new genre I’m not sure exists. Any recs on contemporary city leader memoirs? Like Parks and Recreation, but real? I guess if someone’s written a fiction book in the same vein, I’d go for that too.
4. Please help! I LoOoOoOoOved Census by Jesse Ball and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m looking for something with a similar feel: slower pace but beautiful writing, sort of introspective, I guess. I really like “journey” type of books but am not looking for something like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, or The Hike by Drew Magary, even though I really enjoyed those books, too.
I’m going to be starting The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews (which may also be a good book suggestion for some of the book readers from this episode, #196) but open to pretty much any other suggestion!
5. I’m looking for books to read aloud with my 8-yr old son, who’s just entering 3rd grade. All the books we’ve tried recently have not really held his interest. I’m a librarian and am quite frustrated that I’m having a tough time figuring out what the magic formula is to get him engaged! Past successes have been Grace Lin’s “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” and its two sequels (everyone in the family loved these), Tonke Dragt’s “The Letter to the King” and its sequel, “The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate,” “The Secret Garden,” and James Herriot’s “Animal Stories,” an illustrated collection of some of Herriot’s stories. He liked the first couple of Redwall books but then lost interest. He’s made it through most of Alice in Wonderland, but thought it was a little scary. Some of the books/series that have failed are the Harry Potter books, the Little House on the Prairie books, Wings of Fire, the Warriors series, and Wildwood by Colin Meloy. It seems he now has little patience for stories that are too wordy, too scary, or too slow, though I clearly don’t understand exactly what he wants since he’s not liking what I choose! He has recently started asking us to read picture books again, instead of the “long chapter books that Mommy likes” (said with an eye roll). Any suggestions for things he might like? Please help!
6. Are there any books that are structured like in-universe historical studies of a person or event? I’m reading “The Fall of Paris” by Alistair Horne, and while it covers a historical event that really happened, his prose style reads like a narrative fiction; I enjoy it a lot and would love to see it applied to creating a fictional narrative.
If that’s a thing that doesn’t exist, then are there any books about revolutionaries that seemed to know everyone? Reading about figures like Fransisco de Miranda, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Viktor Serge, it sometimes seems easier to count the people that they didn’t interact with.
Thanks so much, and love your show!
7. Hi Amanda and Jenn,
I recently found Get Booked and am really enjoying steadily making my way back through the archives — and my google doc of “books to read” is steadily getting longer and longer!
My recommendation request: My mother and I spend a lot of time finding books to read for my great aunt. She is in her 80s, and an avid reader, but can sometimes be a little picky about which books she enjoys. She likes literary fiction, and has read most of the classics, but can be intimidated by prose that is too dense or experimental. Some recent books she has loved have been Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and our most recent recommendation was Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. Would you have any recommendations of contemporary novels that might fit a similar category?
Love the pod, your recs, and your conversations!
Loonshots by Safi Bahcall
Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton
What If by Randall Munroe
Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
The Orchard by Adele Robertson
Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
The Cheffe by Marie NDiaye, translated by Jordan Stump
Mayor by Michael Nutter
Annotated: Democracy by the Book episode
Lead From The Outside by Stacey Abrams
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Lily to the Rescue by W. Bruce Cameron
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
James Baldwin by David Leeming
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang
The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu