Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Heavy Metal Epic Poetry

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Jenn and guest Christina Orlando discuss novels in verse, Hannibal read-alikes, fiction about Lyon, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by TBR and The Lost Man by Jane Harper.

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1. Hi guys! I’m looking for some novels in verse to read. I’ve always been a big fan of poetry, but never read to many novels in verse. Recently however I read Anne Carson’s amazing Autobiography of Red, and discovered a new favorite book.
Now I’m looking for more novels in verse, but don’t know what’s good, or really where to start. I know of Brown Girl Dreaming from this show and have ordered it- so I’ll be reading that soon. Obviously I’ve read the classic epic poetry, like Homer, Virgil, and Ovid, etc.
I’m open to any genre or themes, and I enjoy a wide variety of different poets. I read a lot of classic and modern poetry, so I’m not afraid of jumping into anything a bit dense.


2. I am going to Lyon in March and would love some reading material to get me even more excited than I already am. Historical Fiction is definitely my favorite, but I like all genres, including romance, young adult, and non-fiction. Some of my most beloved authors include Ruth Reichl, Rose Lerner, Barbara Pym, Becky Chambers, Jess Kidd, Naomi Novik, and Patricia Lockwood. Please only women authors. Thank you!


3. Hello ladies! I’ve been a fan of the podcast for a year now and because of it, my TBR seems endless. Yet here I am!
My all time favorite show is NBC’s Hannibal (I do like the movies and books, but the show is light years better in my opinion) and after watching it for the fifth time I decided I need something else that is similar because my friends and family will murder me if I ever mention it again. I’m looking for something that’s equally dark and twisted but aesthetically beautiful. My favorite thing about the show was the complex, love-hate relationship between protagonist and antagonist, the way they blurred into one at times, their exploration of good and evil, but also how intentionally pretentiousness the whole show is. Some books that have kind of helped fill the hole so far were Song of Achilles (mostly because of the wonderful, flowery writing) Vicious, If We Were Villains, The Secret History and Born, Darkly. I’d love anything you could find that is remotely like this, bonus points for good queer rep. Thank you and hope y’all are doing good.


4. Hi ladies! Thanks so much for all the bookish fun!

I’m looking for a book of poetry as a gift for my spouse. They like Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, Paul Celan, and other lyrical poems about the human condition. Themes of love and inspiration are ideal but not required. I would prefer to support a living poet, and appreciate any recommendations!



5. The greatest tragedy of my life is that Hanya Yanagihara has only released two books. I loved them both, particularly A Little Life. For two years I’ve been looking for books that give me the same feelings, especially books with queer characters and I need some help. Thank you!


6. Hello!

I typically read hard fantasy, but once in a while I crave something a little lighter. When I’m in that reading mood I have really enjoyed magical realism stories with a romantic plot or sub plot. I love the lush and lyrical writing.

I enjoyed The Weight of Feathers and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

The Night Circus is definitely on my list, but I was hoping you could give me some more diverse options please. I enjoy Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler because of their strong voices and unique subject matter. What I am really looking for is beautiful writing, a ending that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, and a story that makes you turn the page because it is just so darn lovely.

Thank you for the recommendations!



7. Hi ladies!

I recently finished reading Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, and I really, really loved and related to Ro (the biographer) and Gin’s (the mender) independence. They didn’t have current romantic/life partners, and they weren’t agonizing over being alone or over trying to find someone. I am getting sick of novels where women spend a lot of time worrying about being “on the shelf.” I would like to read more books with women who are single and proud, and romance isn’t anywhere near the top of their priority list. I am willing to read any genre, length, or format. Can’t wait to hear what you have to recommend! Thanks so much!

-Mary Beth


Books Discussed

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Sampo by Peter O’Leary

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

The Body in the Vestibule by Katherine Hall Page

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (tw: sexual assault, violence against women)

Killing Eve

LoveMurder by Saul Black (rec’d by Jamie)

Mary Oliver

Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Smith Blue by Camille T. Dungy

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (rec’d by Liberty)

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (tw: domestic violence, hate crimes, limited representation of Native Americans)

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (tw: rape, war crimes, genocide)