Aren’t People Weird?

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Amanda and Jenn discuss escapist reads, Gothic fantasy novels, and lady detectives in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by the Hermione Granger for President 2020 campaign, TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations, and Libro FM.

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1. Hello awesome Get Booked peeps!  I am a second time requestor and long time listener.  I am, like many others, working from home during this craziness and I am feeling the anxiety big time.  My usual reading isn’t working for me.  The only things that have allowed me to escape and immerse myself in a story have been kid lit books such as Mysterious Benedict Society series and the Mr. Lemoncello series.  Something about the group of quirky kids doing smart things to solve puzzles is fun and non-threatening and allowing my brain to function for a bit.  Can you please recommend other books similar to this, if they come in a series even better! 

As always, thank you for your awesome podcast.  I look forward to each new episode.

2. I have huge love for the show and so look forward to it each week – thank you for doing what you do!

I love books that are made up of a series of short vignette-like chapters or essays, which weave together and crystallize into the story of a life or a happening. Non-fiction books that have scratched this itch for me are Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret, Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, and The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan. The writings of Anthony Bourdain and Joan Didion (which I also love) get me part of the way to what it is that I am looking for, but not all the way there. 

The only fiction book that I’ve found in this wheel house is 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth  by Xiaolu Guo. Jennifer Egan’s Visit from the Goon Squad, and Dave Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas come close.

I’m hoping that you could recommend two fiction and two non-fiction books that might fit the bill?

In terms of non-fiction I love memoirs from writers, musicians, explorers, runners, anything outdoorsy or nature-based, or a deep dive into a quirky career or industry. For fiction, I prefer literary or contemporary fiction. Magical realism is ok but no sci-fi or fantasy please. I’m not too crazy about historical fiction or family saga’s – but I’ll give anything else a try! I am currently enjoying exploring non-US authors, so it would be great to find a book by an African, South American, European or Eastern author – but that is not a deal breaker.

Hope you can help!

Thank you so much – and please be well in these strange times.

3. Hi, Jenn and Amanda. I love your podcast! I started listening only recently so I’m not sure if these questions have been answered but I have a few requests. 

I read a book called The Mysterious Benedict Society when I was 12 that has stuck with me for literally eight years and I have never found a book like it. It is about four kids who have to take a series of tests to enter an elite group that needs to infiltrate an evil organization. Kind of like Kingsman but for kids. Basically like a spy/mystery book. Can you recommend me anything like this for adults (or even YA)? 

Thank you!

4. I just finished The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, and am very disappointed that I am not in Vermont, studying Classics. I was wondering if you could recommend me other books with that dark academia vibe.

5. I recently finished a video game called Bloodborne and am looking for books with a similar concept, but find the pickings are slim. It’s a narrative that marries a Gothic Victorian era setting, with dark urban fantasy and elements of cosmic horror, heavily inspired by Poe and Lovecraft, among others. I’ve heard of Monstrumologist but am doubtful it’s what I want based on its young adult tag.

6. I’m looking for a good book to get me through a bad time with my mental health. I don’t want anything dark, deep or tense right now, just something lighter and engaging that I can escape into for a while. Sorry if that’s a bit vague but I’m open to all suggestions.

Thank you,

7. Last year I read the Lady Sherlock series and I think it was one of the first mysteries – and series – that I’ve read as an adult. I’d love a recommendation for a similar cozy mystery series that would provide at least a couple books’ worth of relaxing & compelling escape.

The most important things to me are quality of writing, interesting characters, and some kind of feminist or LGBTQ-related themes to get me hooked. I like some elements of fantasy and/or historical fiction, but these aren’t necessary for me to enjoy a book. I definitely prefer reading about friendships or chosen family over romance.

I’ve read a lot of the Sherlock Holmes retellings, and have the Veronica Speedwell series on my TBR. What else would you suggest?

Thanks so much!

Books Discussed

The Gauntlet and The Battle by Karuna Riazi

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

Weather by Jenny Offill

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz (tw, MANY, incl: graphic harm to children, drug use, sexual assault, mental illness, homophobia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, racism)

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Lawless by Jeff Salane

If We Were Villains by ML Rio (tw partner violence)

Bunny by Mona Awad (rec’d by Kelly) (tw: violence towards animals) 

From the Wreck by Jane Rawson

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen