Amanda and Jenn discuss the Singularity, Russian nonfiction, and novels about platonic friendships in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
1. Hi Amanda and Jenn,
I have scoured the internet looking for some Russian non-fiction to get a sense of what it’s like to live there, and I would love your recommendations for memoirs or biographies that take place within the last century. I recently read ‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom’ and am hoping for something in a similar vein, but from a Russian’s perspective. Between our current political status with Russia (oy vey), and the fact that I just read The Bear and The Nightingale (which is fictional Russia and SO GOOD by the way) I am itching to learn more about this huge mysterious country.
Thanks for your help!
2. A few members in my book club have recently suffered deaths in their families. One member requested that we avoid books that deal with death and dying. Although I don’t think we’re necessarily looking for humorous books, we would like something upbeat. Recent books we’ve read include The Little Paris Bookshop, Furiously Happy, Fates and Furies, Saint Mazie, and In an Unlikely Event. Thank you!
3. He just finished reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari, and loved it. He was telling me he wanted more after the last chapter or so, however, which discussed the Human Singularity and our future. He has been fascinated by the impending intersection of technology and society’s ability to effectively process it. His favorite example is to ask what your first thought is when you see someone wearing Google Glasses. He said there were so many books that cover such Futurist concepts, but that it was hard to know which was solid reading and which was some crackpot who spent too much time on Reddit.
4. Hello, Book Riot Women! I’m gonna be real with you, I don’t read a lot of classic literature, unless it was assigned in school. But I just finished ‘Of Mice & Men’ and I would love to read more like this! I loved how dark and heartbreaking it was-I don’t mind feeling emotionally wrecked after reading a book. I also found Steinbeck’s writing to be less dense as I sometimes find classic authors. If it’s scary, even better! Are there any other well-known (or underground) classics like this that I should check out? Also, I’m more likely to check out shorter novels/novellas. I loved ‘War & Peace’, but that’s a commitment. Thank you both!!!
5. I am a law student, and I currently have the opportunity to work with some inmates who are serving life in prison. One in particular would like more books to read, because they don’t have access to a library. I can send three paperback copies at a time, but I would like some suggestions on easy to read thrillers or adventures- maybe something that a teen boy would like. I am looking for some easier reads because many of these individuals did not finish high school, but I want to encourage them to read because it may provide a glimpse into things that they may never get to experience otherwise. Thanks in advance!
6. I recently finished reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and I loved reading about her friendship with her colleague Bill. As a woman who has several long-term, platonic and cherished friendships with men, I was struck by how few platonic male-female friendships there seem to be in the books I have read. It seems to me that these types of friendships in books tend to eventually blossom into romance. I would love to read more books that prominently feature platonic but deep male-female friendships. Suggestions from any genre are welcomed, but I tend to gravitate toward literary fiction and non-fiction of all kinds. Thank you and I love listening to your podcast!
Katie Macbride’s post: Required Reading for Understanding WTF Is Happening In Russia
Molly Wetta’s post!: A Russian History Reading List
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich
The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen
Pushkin’s Children by Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Jamey Gambell
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky, translated by Tim Mohr
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku (rec’d by Kristen)
To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell
Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling
Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon-Silko
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Anything by Louise Erdrich (Plague of Doves)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (with caveat)
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen
Jackaby series by William Ritter
Words in the Air, edited by Thomas Travisano and Saskia Hamilton
Ausma Zehanat Khan’s Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty series (The Unquiet Dead)
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford