Episode 216
The Highest High Fantasy That Ever Highed

Amanda and Jenn discuss heroines in high fantasy, nonbinary reads, Swedish fiction, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Novel Gazing, Book Riot’s new literary fiction podcast, Scout Press, an imprint of Gallery Books, and Book Riot Insiders.

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Survived by Her Longtime Companion by Chris Paynter (rec’d by Wynnde)

Montmorency series by Eleanor Updale, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone and The Woman in White, In the Woods by Tana French (rec’d by Miranda)

The Living by Annie Dillard (rec’d by Katie)

Questions

1. I cannot even imagine you all can do this one. So… no hard feelings if you all just toss this request. I have a 14 year old daughter (whom I like very much or else I would not be doing this) who would like to start reading more books, but she hasn’t found anything she likes since reading through The Warriors series. She has tried all of the “Animal Saga” books as well — pretty much ALL of the authors who make up “Erin Hunter” (Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Gillian Philip, Inbali Iserles, Tui T. Sutherland, Kasey Widhalm and Rosie Best). She liked the Dragon series ok, but pretty much was not interested in anything but the Cats. (Bears, Dogs, Lions, etc… not interested). She wasn’t into the Redwall series. And she may be a little tired of animals. She wants a big Saga that is NOT about romance and is interested in relationships between/among people… and prefers stories where multiple species/types interact. Right now I have her sitting up in her room trying out the Becky Chambers “Long Way to a…” series. We’ll see how that goes. She has not shown ANY interest at ALL in the Murderbot Diaries. I have just read Ninefox Gambit, but that seems like it would be too hard sci-fi for her, although I will try that. She doesn’t like Mysteries, supposedly. I had hoped that maybe _The Rook_ would pique her curiosity, but no. I mean, seriously. She’s a very easy-to-please kid about most things… but she gets very persnickety around music and books. She did enjoy reading _Of Mice and Men_ at school and discussing it within the classroom environment. She didn’t like Harry Potter at all. She read the first couple of books to humor her mother. She has shown no interest in _Divergent_, _Hunger Games_, _Maze Runner_, and she won’t read graphic novels (so Lumberjanes was a no-go). I have so many fails at this point that I am desperate. If you are able to come up with a book she might actually enjoy, that would be amazing. If this is too much “picky reader” I completely understand! 🙂 Probably it requires a huge chart of NOT THIS, NOT THAT, etc. I am completely the opposite and get at least one or two books to add to my TBR pile after every episode! Lol. So I owe you all a huge thank you for all the books you have recommended to ME. Have a great day and thanks for even reading through this. PS – I read lots of books I shouldn’t have when I was 14. She’s in 9th Grade and they read _The Hot Zone_ in school and she didn’t break… so it’s fine to pick from the entire UNIVERSE of books.

-Emily

2. My girlfriend’s therapist recommended that she find a book with characters that she can identify with, but I’m having trouble finding one for her. I need a fantasy novel audiobook with a trans woman character as a major part of it. She likes books like Lord of the Rings, N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, and Brandon Sanderson. Own voices preferred and other trans identities are OK if you can’t find a trans woman. The closest I’ve found was the Tensorate series, but the audiobook wasn’t great. Content warning for body horror and bad things happening to cats.

Thank You
-Anon

3. Hi! I’m looking for some books to give one of my friends for their birthday. They love sci-fi and told me some of their fave authors are Isaac Asimov, Cixin Liu, Michael Crichton, Ted Chiang, Carmen Maria Machado. This friend has told me they’ve read quite a bit by Machado and really enjoyed the Three Body Problem. Do you guys have any recommendations for sci-fi in this wheelhouse? Thanks so much!

-Ashley

4. I love the podcast and have found some great recommendations from previous episodes so I’m hoping you can help. I just finished The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black, the third book in The Folk of the Air Series and am not sure how to go on with life now or what to read next that could possibly compare. I loved these books so much!

I’m a big fan of Fantasy and YA Fantasy and love a good, strong, female main character I can connect with. Other books and series I love are Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, The Winternight Trilogy from Katherine Arden and everything from Patricia Briggs. I read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir but the torture and abuse (specifically child abuse) was too much for me. I started reading Uprooted but was immediately uncomfortable with a young woman being kidnapped and abused from the beginning of that one as well. I loved Moon of the Crusted Snow which I heard about on your show but am looking for something more high fantasy for now.

Thanks so much! You guys are awesome! Looking forward to your recommendations.
-Anna

5. I am hoping to find a book that explores being nonbinary globally and historically. I am hoping for a non fiction read, but a well researched fiction book would also be great. Hope you’re having a great weekend, thanks!

-Catie

6. Ladies! I seem to be drawn to Sweden based books lately. I’ve read The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window, What We Owe, A Man Called Ove, The Girl Who series (years ago, and really only the 1st 3 books), A Nearly Normal Family (loved), An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good, and The Dinner (I know the author is Dutch but maybe it’s a regional thing then for me? That being said I also read/loved Summer House with Swimming Pool. I also fell in love with The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe – again, I know it’s not Swedish). Can you give me some suggestions of other similar books that might mirror these styles?

Thanks!

-Traci

7. I have a multi-generational reading dilemma that I’m hoping you can resolve. My mother is a retired English teacher (from England), who is expecting my niece (six-going-on-seven) to be reading all the same relevant “classics” that I was reading at that age: “Charlotte’s Web”, “Wind in the Willows”, “The Secret Garden”, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Roald Dahl and (pity my plight), even Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” books. While I’m sure my niece will enjoy these books (excluding Enid Blyton, if I can help it), I feel there must be some more up-to-date books that I can introduce to my mum and niece for their combined reading pleasure. Anything with kick-arse heroines would be appreciated, although my niece does have a five-year-old brother who likes to listen in on storytime, so good male role models would also be great, plus good grammar and vocab is also important for my mum’s residual teacherly spirit. My mother (bless her heart) read me the whole of “The Lord of the Rings” at that age, so scariness is not really an issue. The main thing is a great story that all the generations of my family can enjoy together.

Thanks heaps,
Ms Stuck in the Middle

Books Discussed

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara (Chronicles of Elantra #1) (tw: harm to children, graphic violence)

No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll

Dreadnought by April Daniels (tw: transphobia, emotional abuse)

Annex by Rich Larson (tw transphobia, deadnaming, mild-ish body horror)

The Outside by Ada Hoffmann (tw: body horror, self-harm)

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins (tw: harm to children)

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (tw self-harm, sexual assault)

Queer Magic by Tomás Prower

Camilla Lackberg

Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck (tw: body horror, issues of consent, suicide)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (tw: harm to children)