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Jenn and guest Charity Yoro give poetry recs, holiday gift picks, Erik Larson comps, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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The Illuminae Files (rec’d by Stephanie)


1. Hi!

This is my first ever recommendation request (so exciting)! My Mom is giving my brother and his wife a Hawaiian getaway as a Christmas Present. There’s no way I can top that, nor would my wallet allow me to try, so I would like to give my sister-in-law some tropical beach reads to take on the trip! I was already thinking PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION. She likes Taylor Jenkins Reid Novels and appreciates a good thriller. I’m thinking something that’s Summer Hallmark movie meets Gone Girl. I’d love for the setting to be Hawaii, but would be happy with any tropical vacation setting.



2. My mom loves all books by Erik Larson. It’s the style of writing vs. the specific subjects. What are good comps?

Thanks so much.

Wishing you good reading.


3. Hello! I’m coming at you all the way from Melbourne, Australia!

I just read Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson.

I loved the mixture of poetry, journal entries, general awesome Nelson writing.. Just wondering if you can recommend anything of a similar style. I have already read The Argonauts (and loved it).

I struggle to read a book that is just poetry, but really enjoyed the way Nelson pulled it all together.


4. I am spending a month studying abroad in London and the rest of the U.K., so I’m looking for books not just set in London but revolving around the city, if that makes sense. Something that will really introduce me to the city, but preferably contemporary or historical fiction. Not much other than that.



5. Hi ! Looking for recs of queer poetry. Specifically I’d love to read about 🌸bisexuality🌸, any poet that wrote about their attraction to multiple genders I’m interested in, as long as its focused on pride and not shame. It’s not always fun or welcoming out there and I need some beautiful words. I’m very new to the genre and pretty much never read any of it. I want to !

Thanks in advance and a beautiful day to you.


6. Books for Christmas! Hello, long-time listener and first-time write-in. I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet. I am a big believer in giving the gift of books, especially to children. With that, I am constantly questioning what kids are into, what my boys are into, the hip new books for kids, what they will find captivating and fun, what will excite them. By the end, I’m always left feeling questionable about what I chose. So, this year I’m seeking help! I have two different boys that I buy for, my godson and my nephew. Godson: The Sunshine of my life is ten years old and an incredibly unique kid. He likes everything from puppets to Lego’s and Harry Potter. He also collects different Nutcrackers, plays chess (the kid is 10.), loves Minecraft, loves to read and write, and knows weird, random facts. Some books that I know he has read are the Captain Underpants series and the Dog Man series. Nephew: this light of my life is 11- years old and a bit harder to shop for. He loves snakes, baseball, and video games. His favorite subjects in school are science and math. He is quiet and reserved; what can I say! In the past, I have given him children’s books on snakes and a box set of Roald Dahl books, which I have no idea if he read any of the boxed books. When they were younger, I usually focused on more educational-type books. However, with them getting older, I am starting to focus on books that will bring out their creativity and imagination and simply keep any interest in books and reading. Thank you for your time and your help—happy holidays to everyone at Book Riot. 

-Jenny G.

7. I am currently reading The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee and loving it. I’m looking for comparable fiction recommendations that would make good companion reading. I think I have a good handle on Asian American fiction writers, but would love to read Asian diasporic fiction from other places especially Cuba, Central and South America. Thank you!


Books Discussed

Daughters of Fire by Tom Peek

Kaui Hart Hemmings and Kawai Strong Washburn 

This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

The Black Count by Tom Reiss 

Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles (CW: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll content)

Anne Carson (An Autobiography of Red)

Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House, cw: domestic abuse)

Ocean Vuong (On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous)

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

Londoners by Craig Taylor

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)

Kraken by China Mieville

You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened by Arisa White

Directed by Desire by June Jordan 

Autostraddle post:

The Witch Boy series by Molly Knox Ostertag 

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow

One Hundred Days by Alice Pung (cw: emotional and physical abuse)