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Amanda and Jenn discuss morally ambiguous main characters, chapter book read-alouds, female artists, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by The History of Literature – A Podcast, Scholastic, and Sourcebooks.

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The Power of Ritual by Casper ter Kuile (rec’d by Abigail)

Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric Weiner (rec’d by Michelle)

Stephen King: Firestarter and The Gunslinger (rec’d by Kelsey)


1. hi! i’m looking for a book for my mom. she’s currently bored out of her mind, having watched every tv show and read every good book. i was hoping to surprise her with a book that catches her and makes her read for hours on end. she really enjoys books written by latin american and african writers, specially if they dwell on those cultures. she also really enjoys morally ambiguous main characters, or main characters that just straight up suck, like Macunaíma, by Mário de Andrade. a list of authors she loves includes Mia Couto, Machado de Assis, Chimamanda Ngozi, Mario Vargas Llosa, and also Dostoiévski. it’s a very specific requirement, which is why i was hoping you could help. thank you so much!


2. I recently came out as bisexual to my very conservative Lutheran parents. Neither responded how I hoped they would, but my dad was especially ready to tell me exactly why he thought the way I am and things I’ve done are wrong and harmful to myself and others. It was a very frustrating conversation and I ended up telling my dad I would send him books because I was not emotionally ready to engage in an argument about the morality of an aspect of my identity that I have already worked to let go of shame and gain pride around. I am hoping you could recommend me some books to send them that could help them gain some empathy and understanding of LGBTQIA+ matters or human sexuality in general. I plan to send them a big order and I already have How We Fight For Our Lives and In the Dream House in my cart, so I think I’m looking for something a little more fact-y than memoir-y. Bonus points if it directly addresses a Christian audience or debunks harmful Christian rhetoric around homosexuality and sexual purity.


3. I like romance books but so many of them seem to rely on the guy doing nice things for the love interest and other people and being super hot while he’s doing it, or they’ve both been hurt before so they’re learning to trust, etc, but not so much on the shared interests that, to me, seem like important markers of a successful relationship. I recently finished Long Division by Jane Berentson, and loved how the quirky main character and her equally quirky best friend understood each other, laughed at the same things, AND he paid attention to her (as an example and spoiler if you aren’t going to read it: Gus, the best friend, tunes into Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for like 6 months until they air an episode that Annie, the MC, mentioned loving once 2 years ago. When it finally comes on he records it so she can always watch it.) Also loved how in Beach Reach by Emily Henry the main characters are both writers and that drives a lot of their relationship. Any recommendations? It doesn’t have to be a Romance but a story with romantic strong elements.
Thanks! I get so many good book recs from the show!!


4. hi! I’m looking for books to get my best friend for her birthday at the end of september – her and I have very different reading tastes so books I think are super good aren’t necessarily things I think she’d like. her favorite books are eat, pray love and the tattooist of auschwitz – she loves books that are about travelling or an adventure, books with strong emotional themes where the characters go through a revelation of some sort, and usually likes books that end on a hopeful note. english isn’t her first language so i’m hesitant to get her anything where the language could be described as “dense”. thank you so much! 


5. Help! I’ll be teaching second grade this year and I am looking for diverse chapter book read alouds – not early chapter books that the kids can read independently. I have thankfully found plenty of those (Ely Jake’s, etc.), but books that are a couple of grade levels above. My ideal would be in the vein of Roald Dahl or Judy Blume. Stories that are interesting, introduce beautiful and sometimes challenging writing, and feature children of color.

Thank you!


Hi Jenn, 

I’m an avid reader and have been for over 10 years. I went through a great period finding a lot of books that were deeply impacting me, but in the past year, I’ve struggled to find books with that deep emotional resonance. I love contemporary works about complicated women both fiction and non-fiction. Some of the books that I’ve loved in the past include Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff, both Sally Rooney books, though I preferred Conversation with Friends, The Wrong Way to Save your Life by Megan Stielstra, and The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy. I’ve been feeling uninspired with everything I’ve read lately and I’m hoping to find something I can fall in love with and something I will often think of which is true for the books I mentioned above. 

All the best!! 

Hello. I am taking an online art history class on women artists. I am interested in reading more about them. Fiction or non fiction are both fine, but for fiction I would prefer it was based on a real painter.  I have already read “I always Loved You” based on Mary Cassat and Degas, but prefer something more focused on the artist and not a couple.   Many thanks!


Books Discussed

Clarice Lispector: The Complete Stories, transl. by Katrina Dodson)

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage by Mark Achtemeier

This Is A Book For Parents Of Gay Kids by Dannielle Owens-Reid

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, transl. by Philip Gabriel

Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

Post: Read-Alouds for Middle School

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (tw domestic violence, racism)

Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-Sook, translated by Chi-Young Kim (Tw: violence against women)

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (tw: rape, torture)

The Diary of Frida Kahlo