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Amanda and María Cristina recommend light books in translation, books for breakups, reads about saints, and more.

This episode is sponsored by My Plain Jane and Harry’s Trees.


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1.I’ve been trying to read a lot of translated literature from around the world this year. I’ve learned so much, but it seems like publishers in the U.S. mostly translate books that are really heavy or really experimental. All that heavy subject matter is starting to weigh on me, and I’d love to read some world literature that’s lighter in tone.

Any recommendations? Some books that fit the bill that I’ve read already are “Strange Weather in Tokyo,” “A Man Called Ove,” and “Ghachar Ghochar.” Would especially love any recommendations for genre fiction in translation!




2. I am going through a break up from my long term relationship and struggling to find books to help me through it. There are plenty of break up films and songs but no books! I don’t read chick-lit and that appears to be the only genre that caters for break ups 🙁

I’m not looking for anything sad or romantic, but something empowering to push me along.

Recent books I have read and loved are: I am I am I am by Maggie O’Farrell, A girl is a half formed thing by Elinor McBride, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee  and the Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan.

I have previously devoured books like the Mothers, Queen of the Night, The Ninth Hour and am currently reading the Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

Please help!

Lots and lots of love,



3. Greetings from Brunei! Thank you ladies for all the reading and research you do for this podcast! Much appreciated!  I found you just beginning of this year and I listened to you both from the very 1st episode. I’m currently on episode 86 🙂 and my TBR List is fantastically long.

Please help me find easy to read books about any Catholic Saints. Female saints would be nice, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta (no Father Pio please, I’ve already read a few books about him). I’ve picked up a couple of books about Saint Francis, but both weren’t engaging at all (fell asleep).  

Thank you and love you both!



4. My niece is wanting to learn all she can about Japan. She is 11, and loves karate, where she got her wanting to know more of Japan. This summer, we want to keep her reading and learning.  We are looking for books that can also keep her engaged that she can dive into on her own or with us. She has dyslexia and is under her reading level, and can get bored with books. Any recommendations on books with culture or stories of the country maybe about the youth will be amazing to show her parallels. Thank you so much, love your recommendations, my tbr list grows each episode.



5. My family is traveling to the UK this summer and I would love to read my children some books set there to get in the mood. We’ve covered London, but could you please recommend a middle grade chapter book set in Scotland or Wales?  Thanks!



6. Hi! I love your recommendations and am hoping for some help finding books for my son. He is 14 and a voracious reader. His favorite books range from The Michael Vey series, Pittacus Lore Books and the Rangers Apprentice to the Belgariad, Piers Anthony Books and Mything Inc series. He also liked The Martian, even though no romance. He did not like Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy or Lord of The Rings (I know…) He is currently reading The Throne Of Glass series, He did like Patrick Ness’ Monsters Of Men. He has read many recent books. I’m at a loss. His favorite criteria include an action adventure, anti heros, a little romance. He reads about a book a day and prefers series to make a good story last longer. Please and Thank you!



7. Hi Amanda and Jenn!

I’m a huge fan of true crime but I’ve read very little crime fiction and I want that to change. I’ve read and enjoyed the Lisbeth Salander books, the Cormoran Strike series and some Tana French and that’s basically it. I like good mysteries and I don’t shy away from gory details if you know what I mean.

Thank you!




Books Discussed

The Madonna of the Sleeping Cars by Maurice Dekobra, translated by Neal Wainwright

Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was by Angélica Gorodischer and translated by (wait for it…) Ursula K. LeGuin

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Sister Teresa by Barbara Mujica

The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie

My Awesome Japan Adventure by Rebecca Otawa

My Neighbor Totoro: A Novel by Tsugiko Kubo and Hayao Miyazaki

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry

Want by Cindy Pon

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn