Go Go Gadget Reading Stuff

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Amanda and Jenn discuss gothic novels, short stories, LGBTQ+ YA, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Lit Chat, Second Acts by Teri Emory, and A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS here, or via Apple Podcasts here.
The show can also be found on Stitcher here.




1. Hi Amanda & Jenn
I wanted to say I love your podcast. You guys are awesome. I’m going on vacation to Rome this fall and I was hoping to read some novels between then and now to give me a feel for the city. I’m looking for fiction, historical or not (just not Ancient Rome), where the city plays a prominent role. I’m not really into mysteries or really super dark, heavy stuff ie The Vegetarian. (Although I did enjoy that one, but I’m good on dark for a while) Other than that, I’m open to whatever you can recommend. Thanks.


2. Hello! Ideally I’d like these books before Oct. 2017 so I can read for Halloween, but that isn’t super critical.

When I was in middle school, I went through a phase of loving ghost stories. You know the ones–plucky middle school kid moves into a creepy old house on the East Coast, meets a benevolent ghost, solves the mystery of their murder so they can move into the Great Beyond. I especially loved Mary Downing Hahn. I was also inspired by the recent (as of 7/12/17) post about Bruce Coville’s series to load up some books on my Thrift Books wishlist, but I’m interested in the same style of story aimed at adults. Nothing horrifying, but a bit of a thrill is ok. I’m not necessarily looking for the same formula, just the same atmosphere and ghost-iness. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!


3. Hello, I am hoping to give my sister a book of short stories for Christmas. She is new to reading for pleasure and she asks me if I can recommend her something but it’s difficult when she and I are not sure what she likes. I know she doesn’t like zombie/horror (like) stories/books. Is there something with different genres, maybe this will help her find what she does or doesn’t like. Thank you so much, you guys have a great day 🙂


4. I’m taking a train trip from San Diego to Portland in October to visit Powell’s as part of my 30th birthday celebration (I turned 30 in July, but I bought the trip as a gift to myself). Since this is a special trip, I’d love to pick up a few new books that I can cherish as well. I’d love for these to be the type of books that become favorites.

I’m mostly into Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I really enjoy YA. I love a good story based in mythology or a good fairy tale retelling. I’ve also been getting into mystery/suspense/thriller and horror lately and would love a good terrifying horror story (apparently I’m hard to scare on the page). I do enjoy the occasional contemporary/literary fiction as well. I could do without love/romance (as long as it doesn’t take over the story or the story has other strong elements or is just really good). I would also love to include diversity in my picks.

Books I love or have really enjoyed include: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, American Gods, A Head Full of Ghosts, The Kingkiller Chronicles, The Book Thief, Queens of Geek, The Library of Fates, Ready Player One, Ramona Blue, and The Mermaid’s Sister.


5. Hey Y’all!

My name is Sabrina and the last few years of my life have been pretty rough. To make a long, traumatic story short, I had been going through an ongoing custody battle with my son’s father, had an extremely difficult pregnancy that ended with my sweet baby in NICU (she’s healthy and happy now), dealt with other family issues as well as my own internal ones. Nevertheless, I received my Bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies and am now in grad school. Although things have gotten better, I still have this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and anxiety but above all, I feel inadequate. I’m a brown woman, the first in my family to graduate with a bachelors, let alone get into grad school. I have 3 kiddos whom I adore and I just really want to read something that will help me to believe everything will get better. That someone else has been through the things I have and that I am worthy of my place in grad school. I am worthy of my place in the world.

I read Tiny Beautiful Things and loved it. I would love any recommendations of books with a woman of color main character and something not toooooo long because grad school.

Bonus if the main character is a mom/writer herself.


6. Hi! I’m trying to complete the 2017 Read Harder Challenge, and I’m having trouble finding books for some of the categories. One in particular has me stumped: read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

I actually love YA, so you would think this would be easy for me, but I’m having trouble figuring out which authors identify as LGBTQ+ (Sexual orientation isn’t always printed on the “About the Author” page, or even the author’s website, so how would I find this info?).

Some YA books I’ve liked recently are: When Dimple Met Rishi, Saints and Misfits, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Something In Between

Thanks for your help!


7. Dear Amanda and Jenn,

Thank you for continuing to give new and specialized recs week after week! I’m searching for suggestions to send to my friend who is in the US Marine Corps and deployed to the Middle East for an extended period. He doesn’t get a lot of down time, but likes to read and obviously didn’t get to bring many books along. The book/books need to be short-ish, since I’ll be sending it/them via air mail. He enjoys Kerouac and Hemingway. Maybe something with a sense of humor? Any good, intriguing story/memoir/essay collection that will lift his spirits but not be too heavy. Nothing political, but it could be fiction or non-fiction. He is super into all kinds of music (he used to be a DJ) so bonus points if you can think of something related to that. He also loves to travel and studies several languages… it seemed like a broad request at first so I’m trying to give you a sense of his interests to help you narrow down your picks 🙂

Thanks so much for your help!




An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz

That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda, trans William Weaver

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love by Sarah Vaughn and Lan Medina

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

In the Country by Mia Alvar

Best American Short Stories 2016

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

Tender by Sofia Samatar

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

Let’s Talk About Love (33 ⅓) by Carl Wilson