Underwater Whale Machine Adventures

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Amanda and Jenn discuss poetry, East Asian fiction and fantasy, books in translation, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by the Book Marks Journal, Tailored Book Recommendations, and Book Riot Insiders.

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Two Old Women by Velma Wallis (rec’d by Terry)

The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace (rec’d by Terry)


1. I have recently been fascinated by both historical fiction and fantasy novels inspired by various East Asian cultures. I have always loved these genres, but growing up my reading centered around more European inspired fantasy and usually regency or WWII historical fiction reads, all from very Western perspectives. I read Memoirs of a Geisha in high school and loved it, but my fifteen year old self did not realize how problematic it was!

In the fantasy genre, I’ve picked up a few more books recently, but I would love to find more, even if they are backlist.

I would also love to be able to support #ownvoices authors, as I know there has been harassment particularly in the US towards some members of these communities.

Some historical fiction I’ve recently read or picked up already: Pachinko (LOVED), The Library of Legends (TBR), The Night Tiger (wanted to love, but incest vibes are a hard ICK factor for me that I can’t get past), The Lotus Palace (TBR)

Fantasy I’ve read or already picked up: The Poppy War (love), Girls of Paper and Fire (love), Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (love), Flame In the Mist (love), Spin the Dawn (TBR)


2. Looking for a good, funny, relaxing book that is 400+ pages and will give me wanderlust!


3. Hi! I’m always trying to read more books in translation because I love learning about new cultures. I also started tracking the country of origin of my reads lately and didn’t feel great about the fact that about 80% of the books I read come from either the US or Canada (I’m Canadian). So I’ve been making more of an effort, but I find most books in translation are super literary and dense, and that’s not always what I’m looking for. I’m hoping for books in translation that are a bit easier to read. I’m not picky about country of origin, and my favourite genres are fantasy and contemporary fiction. I’m looking for something more Fredrik Bachman or Cornelia Funke, and less Haruki Murakami.


4. My 16 year old son is looking for books where magic exists in the everyday world and everyone knows about it. So you might find a herbs and amulets shop next to a shoe shop, and the library openly has a magic books section. He would prefer little or no overt sex or romance as he is aro/ace and finds both uncomfortable. Thank you.


5. In the last couple of years I’ve stumbled on a peculiar plot setup in tv and movies that I really enjoy and would love to explore in book form. It’s the “kids face strife as children and escape, then grow up and reunite to destroy it once and for all.” I’m thinking of tv shows like The Haunting of Hill House, movies like It, and books like Meddling Kids. I really enjoyed all of these, especially Hill House since it really explored the characters and their relationships. I read Hill House and enjoyed it but it wasn’t anything like the show, and It gave me horrible nightmares and I couldn’t finish (though no other Stephen King books have). I’m hoping you’ll know of more books that might scratch this particular itch. I’m open to books with a similar set-up outside the horror genre, it’s really more the reuniting friends/siblings and facing trauma together that is the big draw for me.  Thanks, y’all!


6. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and had to have surgery to remove the tumors. I would love some recommendations on characters dealing with the diagnosis of cancer? It can be fiction or nonfiction. Thanks


7. Hi! I am a big fiction reader, but I have been wanting to get into poetry recently. I will read basically anything, and lately I have been reading romance, fantasy and memoirs. I am a Hispanic 19-year old female, if that helps. I would love something a bit modern, contemporary and non-traditional. A book of poems would be ideal. 



Books Discussed

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee (tw rape)

Dandelion Dynasty by Ken Liu (Grace of Kings #1)

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (rec’d by Tika)

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Cinder #1) 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, transl by Ginny Tapley Takemori

A Hero Born by Jin Yong (Louis Cha), translated by Anna Holmwood

Recommended with Sherry Thomas 

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Jade City by Fonda Lee (tw: discussion of child abuse and child pornography)

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (tw: self harm, fatal overdose, torture, gore)

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

All the Wild Hungers by Karen Babine

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón