Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

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Amanda and Jenn discuss Spanish history, mythology retellings, and more holiday recs in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by the Read Harder journal, the Read Harder Challenge, and

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (rec’d by Kelly)

The Weight of Chains by Lesley Connor (rec’d by Justin)


1. Dear Fellow Book Mistresses,

I am looking for a book to gift this Christmas for a male friend of mine who is more than a friend, but less than a monogamous, significant other. Our relationship is mixed race (he’s a white man and I’m a black woman), so I’d like to point him in the direction of a non-white male focused book.

He likes non-fiction and auto/biographies. I happen to know he likes and has read Marilyn Manson’s book “The Long Hard Road Out of Hell,” and he’s a fan of Rob Zombie films.

I would like to gift him a non-fiction book about an interesting person or occurrence, but I would also like to incorporate a social justice aspect and gift a book that is written by a person of color, LGBTQ, or disabled person, or impacts one (or all) of these groups in some way.

Thank you in advance for your recommendations!

-Sneaky SJW

2. I’m looking for a romance (or erotica, I’m flexible) to break my reading slump? NaNoWriMo is a hard time for me to read and almost always throws me into a slump, and then holiday stress. And I like starting out the new year with getting ahead in my reading goal.
For slump breaking I’m looking for “lighter” romances, queer MCs preferred, gender is fake so I don’t care pairing wise, and if it’s part of a series that I can [MARATHON] – even better.
Some of my favorite romance authors are Tiffany Reisz, KJ Charles, Avon Gale, Aidan Wayne, Jacqueline Carey, Courtney Milan, Alisha Rai, Alyssa Cole, Cat Sebastian, Shira Glassman, Katrina Jackson, Chelsea M Cameron.


3. Need Answer – ASAP. Hi, I’m requesting this for my husband who has very different taste than me. My husband and I have a trip planned to Spain in January and he would like to learn more about the history of Spain. He’s wanted to for years but hasn’t been able to find the right book. He has read
“The Name of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. His preference would be for a non-fiction audiobook but I think a good historical fiction especially a saga spanning centuries and it does not have to be an audiobook. Please help

4. Hello ladies! My husband and I have booked a trip to the Pacific Northwest on a whim today as flights are cheap and coincide with our eight year anniversary! We love to pair our travels with some good books and turn to Book Riot for recommendations. We are QPOC, scientists (I’m a paleontologist, he is a geographer), love to be outdoors, and love learning about history. Would it be cheating to ask for one rec for each of us? A non fiction, nature book for my husband and a historical fiction for myself would be ideal (bonus points for graphic novels, romance, multigenerational sagas, and QPOC authors!)


5. TIME SENSITIVE: CHRISTMAS. I am stumped on what to get my 17 year old cousin – she is not a big reader, but that mostly stems from the fact that she hasn’t much liked the books assigned in school. She plays sports, likes makeup, sings and acts in school productions, and is in junior year of high school. I’m thinking the way to go is gift her a graphic novel, a short book, or a something that can be skimmed/read in chunks rather than a thick novel. Any thoughts?

TIME SENSITIVE: CHRISTMAS. Hello Book Riot! I am looking for a book to gift my cousin who is 27, has high functioning autism, and ADD. He loves dreaming up and drawing twisted fairy tale stories/creatures, and especially loves the Alice in Wonderland mythos. He doesn’t have the patience to sit through even a young adult novel, but I think a Middle Grade or YA graphic novel with bright colors and limited text would be fantastic, especially as it might inspire some new creatures for him to draw! Dark themes and adult graphic novels are okay, I just something with too much text or too complex of a plot will lose his attention. Looking forward to seeing what you have to recommend!

TIME SENSITIVE: CHRISTMAS. Hello Book Riot! I am looking for a book for my sister in law. She is in her early twenties, living in LA where she goes to film school and has recently started directing her own films, funded through kickstarter and her own savings. I would love to get her either a coffee table book or biography about women in film who are NOT actresses or a book about becoming a woman in the workforce, specifically as someone who is in the position of overseeing her own cast and crew. Thanks for your help!

6. This year, I would like to read more big books (the longer the better, really) to force myself to slow down and get immersed in a story before moving on to the next shiny new book. I’ve got a few in mind (War and Peace, The Luminaries, 1Q84, A Suitable Boy) but would love some more suggestions, preferably by women or authors of colour. I’m open to any genre of fiction, though I prefer my sci-fi and fantasy on the softer side. Some of my favorites of the last few years a A Little Life, The Long Way To a Small, Angry Planet, Homegoing and Lincoln in the Bardo.


7. Hi guys,

I really enjoy listening to your podcast and love getting new book recommendations from you! I was hoping you might have suggestions for books related to Greek Mythology. I just finished reading Circe by Madeline Miller and loved it! It reminded me of how much I enjoy Greek Mythology and I’ve been craving more ever since. When I was younger, I also really enjoyed all of the Percy Jackson books and how they transplanted the Greek Gods into a modern day setting. Do you have any recommendations for other books that are similar to either of these? Thanks!


Books Discussed

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

What Are You Doing Here? by Laina Dawes

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Small Change by Roan Parrish (tw: discussion of suicide)

The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor

The Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

On Trails by Robert Moor

Ms Marvel by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

No Hard Feelings by Liz Fosslien and Molly West Duffy

Space Battle Lunchtime: Lights, Camera, Snacktion by Natalie Reiss

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (tw: rape, war)

Wake, Siren by Nina MacLaughlin (tw: rape, incest, assault, etc)