Mr. Bean Goes to Madrid

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Amanda and Sharifah discuss heartbreaking YA, real-life heist reads, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by PodX, Flatiron Books, and How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.



For horror westerns: In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson, Hunger by Alma Katsu (rec’d by Emily)



1. Hello to the good people at Get Booked!

My beautiful wife Amy is turning 40 next week (May 8th) and one thing she has asked for is a book recommendation from your podcast!

Amy is a mindful and devoted mother of two who puts honesty, integrity, and her children’s well-being above all else. She’s a writer and a dancer, a lover and a dreamer, an artist and a baker.

She’s also a reader. An avid reader who’s love of prose has skyrocketed in the last few years. Amy has recently discovered a love for YA novels. To quote Amy, “I like how they capture specific sentiments and feelings that are unique to young people. The characters don’t always have adult reactions and it’s interesting to see how they will express themselves. The writing doesn’t need to be overly literary because that’s not how to best represent the stories. I am interested in the unique space that YA occupies and all the YA books I’ve read recently have been excellent. Eleanor and Park, and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Social Intercourse by Greg Howard are recent stand outs.”

But Amy loves more than YA. She also enjoys grown up and intelligent “literary” books that feel like works of art. Again, to quote: “I remember a moment reading The Goldfinch when I felt the plot slowed down and then I felt really excited thinking ‘what if the rest of the book only explores this one little moment in time’ – it became more about appreciating the beautiful writing.”

Amy is currently reading On the Come Up by Angie Thomas and The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman on audio (because she loves the movie Practical Magic and this book is about the aunt characters).

She would also like you to know that when she hears the phrase “historical fiction” her eyes glaze over

Any recommendations you could make to Amy would be greatly appreciated by herself and me and would certainly make this already monumental birthday even more special.

Thank you very much! We look forward to your recommendation!



2. Hi guys, I’m going on a ten hours train ride this friday, and then the next monday as well. (going to Toronto for the Comics Festival). I’d like something to read on my kobo during the train ride, something that would be light and fun. I enjoy queer fantasy and sci-fi in which no one dies and fairytale retellings with a (non dark) twist!



3. I have a background in archaeology and art history, and am a huge fan of stories related to art theft or crimes in museums, etc. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Thomas Crown Affair. I was wondering if you could recommend any novels of this type?

Thank you so much!



4. I’m on a quest to find some appropriate audiobooks for a 14 hour road trip with my nieces (8 and 11) at the end of June. I want something exciting/engaging for both of them. The older one loves fantasy (she’s making her way through HP atm), but the younger of the 2 can be sensitive with monsters, ghosts, etc.   Ideally, I’d like to find something with diverse characters, a little magic, and a great narration. Bonus points if it’s a first of a series, so they can continue on if they love it.

-The Cool Bookish Auntie


5. Hi all,

I’m going to Spain in JUNE! I was looking for some books that I could go to the places in them. I’ll be hitting up the major cities, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville. I am going to try to fit in Morocco and Portugal as well, so Lisbon and Porto, Rabat and Tangier… But Spain. Preferably fiction that will just take place in these places. My favorite author is VE Schwab, and I loved loved loved The Rook/Stiletto.


6. My grandmother is in her nineties and still enjoys a great mystery. She dislikes books with explicit language or graphic sex and violence, but is also not particularly into “cozy” mysteries or faith-based fiction. She especially enjoys the “curmudgeonly detective in the country” genre. She is a fan of the Bruno series by Martin Walker, and is particularly fond of Agatha Christie’s Poirot books. Please help me find some great new authors for her!



7. I’ve only recently discovered the podcast but have absolutely fallen in love with it in that time! Thank you for all the work you guys put into making it great. Growing up I used to love fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi, but as an adult I’ve found myself struggling to get into most fiction and instead find myself, as an avid history fan, gravitating towards non-fiction. However, I desperately want to broaden my horizons and recapture some of the magic which I found in fantasy novels as a child. I’m looking for a fantasy novel where the focus is on the political intrigue and manoeuvring, like Game of Thrones, and less on the more fantastical elements of the world, such as other fantasy races etc, though of course some amount of that is okay. Looking forward to hearing your recs and thanks for the help!    



Books Discussed

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (TW gun violence)

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (TW suicide)

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (contributor)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

An Englishman in Madrid by Eduardo Mendoza, trans Nick Caistor

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paolo Coelho

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint

Jade City by Fonda Lee

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black