Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Magical Librarians and Kissing

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Amanda and Jenn discuss distracting reads, international parenting advice, Austen read-alikes, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Libro.fmThe Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele, and Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler.

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Sex With Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan (rec’d by Miranda)

Disunity in Christ by Christena Cleveland (rec’d by Jessica)

Oral History by Lee Smith (rec’d by Jena)


1. Hey Amanda and Jen,
I will be traveling to Iran this year and would love any book recommendations, either fiction or non fiction set in the country. I really enjoyed Persepolis but no comic books, please.
Thank you in advance!

2. My mom has not read a book in over 20 years because her job is bananas. The only things she reads are ‘the journal of accountancy’ because it’s related to her job and ‘TIME’ magazine (for fun but I’m pretty sure she only looks at the pictures). SHE REALLY NEEDS HELP.
She will be retiring in the next year and she has mentioned that she wants to try to read for fun now that she has more time. Myself, my brother, and her two retired sisters (my aunts) are all voracious readers and I think she feels a bit left out.
She currently watches a lot of TV (easy when she’s tired from work). She watches things like ‘this is us’, ‘Life in Pieces’, and the hallmark channel. Could you help recommend some books that might help transition her from a tv couch potato to a book couch potato? She has stopped watching procedurals (CSI, Criminal Minds, etc) because apparently now they ‘scare’ her, so maybe try to avoid gorey murder-y type stuff.

P.S. you have affirmative consent to use my name 🙂 PS you guys are awesome!!!!!

3. Hello – I am scheduled to have surgery in August, and the recovery period is much longer than I expected – at least 3-4 weeks spent pretty much in bed. I would love some recommendations to help me pass the time and distract me from the fact that I’m in pain and stuck in my house. It would be even more excellent if the book was available in audio format so it will take me longer to read and I don’t have to worry about carrying/holding it. I’m open to pretty much any genre. Some of my favorites authors are Louise Erdrich, Karen Russell, Kazuo Ishiguro, Peter Heller, and Scott Hawkins. Thank you so much!

4. I’m reading Beyond Birds and Bees by Bonnie J. Rough and realizing that the “American expatriate compares parenting norms in their host country” is a type of book I want to read more of. Beyond Birds and Bees looks at human sexuality through the lens of Dutch society. I also liked Bringing Up Bebe’s look at food and France and Achtung Baby’s exploration of independence in Germany. I like learning that something that can seem so strange to me at first (like allowing a child to walk to school alone or play outside naked) is common practice somewhere and the examination of background and implications. These books are interesting and I think, help me parent more thoughtfully. Do you know of others?

5. Hello gals: just left my job (it’s bittersweet. I was unhappy, but met amazing people and loved what I was doing at times and looking forward with hope towards my next venture) and I am in a place where I am feeling A LOT OF BIG FEELINGS. I am looking for some fiction I can completely lose myself in so I don’t get bogged down in all of my emotions. I love all the queer YA, female-driven sci-fi, middle grade fantasy/adventure, to name a few. Recently loved books include Where the Crawdads Sing, What If It’s Us, Magic for Liars, Middlegame, This Is How It Always Is, Emergency Contact, The Fever King, Archenemies/Renegades/Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Scythe series, and Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I am also open to graphic novels and currently love/am reading my way through Lumberjanes. Thanks in advance!

6. Hi Amanda and Jenn!

As a die hard fan of Jane Austen, I’ve read and reread all the novels and have recently rediscovered Lady Susan thanks to an excellent audiobook edition. I wondered if you could recommend a comp, specifically with the following aspects in mind:

Multiple unreliable narrators (or, varying knowledge & perspective among characters)
Developing situation/scheme
Conniving, behind the scenes action
Light tone, lovely writing

I’m currently reading Good Omens and I understand some Oscar Wilde plays have a similar vibe.

Thank you!

7. Hey loves!
I’m a huge fan of the show and many other BookRiot podcasts so I wanted to first say thank you for doing this! I’ve been introduced to SO MANY books that I love through these shows 🙂

I am looking for some light sci-fi/surrealistic recommendations that will check some of the same boxes as Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy. I tore through all three books last summer and was OBSESSED and so sad when it was over and have found myself looking for something that feels similar ever since. Haruki Murakami is also one of my most favorite authors, and although his style is quite different that VanderMeer, I think the common denominator for me is the way that these totally out there, usually quite unsettling events take place within very real, familiar settings and often build in intensity as the story progresses. I’m not a huge fan of full blown fantasy where the stories are set in totally foreign worlds where the main characters are different species, etc, and I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi but I’m not really interested in distant future space/alien stories, super tech-y intergalactic battles, or anything taking place on another planet. I’d love to find something set in either a present-day or near-future Earth with a heavy dose of trippy, surreal weirdness.

Thanks in advance and keep doing this rad work 🙂

Books Discussed

Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Strabal

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

Maud’s Line by Margaret Verble (tw: cow & dog death)

How to Raise Successful People by Esther Wojcicki

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

The Purveen Mistry mysteries (Widows of Malabar Hill #1) by Sujata Massey

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Kraken by China Mieville

Rosewater by Tade Thompson