Low-Key Communism

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Amanda and Jenn discuss communism in books, horror short-stories, veterinary memoirs, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked!

This episode is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audiobooks and Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.




1. Hi there–

I recently found out that I’m expecting twin boys. My husband and I live in DC, which can have a bit of a patriarchy complex, so we’re looking for books that can help us raise feminist boys– either adult books that we can read, or children’s books that we can read to them. Any recommendations?

Amanda, I know that you’ve been here before– if you have any general book recommendations for twin parents or twins themselves, we’d love those as well.

Thank you so much!


2. Hi ladies! This question is somewhat time sensitive. This month, I am moving to Prague, Czech Republic for one year and would really like to read up on the rise and fall of Communism in Europe to get a sense of the history of the country. Stories specifically in Czechoslovakia would be great but I’m just hoping to get a picture of what life was like under Communist rule in general. I’m hoping for a variety- memoir, nonfiction and maybe historical fiction?? Or a combination of some. Thank you so much for your help!

Ahoj! (Farewell!)


3. Hoping to get this question answered before my cruise in mid-October:
I read pretty voraciously, across lots of genres. I particularly love and collect veterinary memoirs. My favorites are the James Herriot books (English vet); While You’re Here Doc by Bradford Brown (Maine vet); The Rhino with the Glue-On Shoes by Lucy Spelman (zoo vet); and Tales from the Tail End by Emma Milne (James Herriot meets Bridget Jones). I’ve read some others as well (Horse Vet by Courtney Diehl, which was kind of sad actually), but it’s hard to know where to go next. Can you recommend some good vet memoirs or similar books for me? I prefer a balance between the funny and sad (i.e., not too much sadness!), and I’m not a huge fan of self-published books. Also, I know a lot of the titles in this genre are terrible puns (and there’s some some really terrible covers), but I don’t let that stop me from reading it, as the content is usually great!


4. Hi!

I am looking for a collection of horror short stories to read during October. I browsed the site and couldn’t find quite what I was looking for, so I’m hoping you guys can! I am not picky about subject matter, but I’m looking for something I can enjoy in small pieces, as I don’t tend to like novel length horror books. As always, diversity is appreciated.

Thank you!


5. I’m an avid reader, and read a lot but I’m looking to expand the types of books I read. I mainly read classic novels and also some high fantasy and science fiction. But when it comes to fiction and literature I don’t read non-classic novels (aside from Toni Morrison- but she’s classic at this point isn’t she?). I’m a classics major in college, and since I’m reading so many dead Greeks and Romans for school I’d like to read something a bit lighter and quick to get through in my very limited free time. My friend gave me some YA lit to read, and while I found a lot of the plots intriguing (though incredibly predictable), I didn’t think they were very well written. What are some well written novels for me to sink my teeth into? (Note: I don’t necessarily mean short since I’m a fast reader, just something a bit easier to get through then say Virginia Woolf)


6. Hi girls. Love the podcast!

In The Storied Life a A.J. Fikry we get this quote from one of the characters describing what she wants to read,

“When I’m choosing something new though…my favorite kind of character is a woman in a far away place. India or Bangkok. Sometimes she leaves her husband…sometimes she never had a husband…I like when she has multiple lovers. I like when she wears hats to block her fair skin from the sun. I like when she travels and has adventures. I like descriptions of hotels and suitcases with stickers on them. I like descriptions of food and clothes and jewelry. A little romance but not too much. The story is period. No cell phones. No social networking. No internet at all. Ideally its set in the 1920’s or the 1940’s. Maybe there’s a war going on but its just a backdrop. No bloodshed…”

These are the books I want to read too. I’ve read “Out of Africa” and Kate Morton which comes close but would love your ideas.



Books Discussed

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Olivia the Pig series by Ian Falconer

When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein

Feminist picture book post by Brandi

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, Marla Frazee

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

Communism: A Very Short Introduction by Leslie Holmes

Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 by Vaclav Havel, transl. Paul Wilson

If Wishes Were Horses by Loretta Gage

Appointments at the Ends of the World by William Karesh

The Boilerplate Rhino by David Quammen

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin

Ghost Summer by Tananarave Due

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

Queers Destroy Horror

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

A Passage to India by EM Forster

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

America Day By Day by Simone de Beauvoir