Amanda and Jenn discuss a bunch of great queer reads, give book picks inspired by “Burn, Butcher, Burn” (IYKYK), and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
1. Hello! I’m looking for some suggestions for what I’m calling “sweet and heartfelt queer magical stories.” Two books I loved that scratched this itch for me are The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (and I have his latest book in my TBR pile) and Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper. I liked how in both there was hardship and sad things, but that through that, people were kind and good to one another. And that queer relationships and people were just a normal part of life. And I also loved that the magical content was kind of quaint. I’d love suggestions for some read-a-likes to one or both of those titles!
2. I have a personal challenge to try to read a book for every country in the world. Preferably written by someone from that country. I was wondering if you could recommend me some from countries that aren’t super popular in fiction or non-fiction. A hidden gem of sorts. I primarily read romance, fantasy, and starting to get more into science fiction recently. But I’m open to any genres except thrillers or horror.
3. I’m really sad. What should I read? The only things I know I don’t want are hopeless, miserable books, or totally happy distracting books. But other than that, anything: fiction, poetry, memoir, self-help, whatever. I’m not mostly sad about a death, so something that acknowledges many types of loss and grieving would be good too.
4. Hello Ladies! So I realize this may be a weird one… but I’m hoping you can find me a book with a similar feel as the “Burn Butcher Burn” song from the Witcher season 2. Full song is here, with possible minor spoilers in the scenes the person spliced together as background. Essentially, it’s just an angry/sad unrequited love heartbreak song. I’m not looking for YA, a graphic novel, or excessive angst. I kind of just want to read about someone working through anger on a personal level, not related to a large scale injustice (I have many of these on my list already). It doesn’t even necessarily need to be about a relationship, though that is my preference. LGBTQ+ welcome. Thanks!
5. Hey Amanda and Jen, the story collection Kink got me out of a post-phd reading slump and I want more! I loved it for its queerness and its exploration of BDSM as a set of complicated practices that can tell us a lot about desire, identity, gender, and complex power dynamics that exist in and outside the bedroom or the dungeon. I’m not really looking for erotica or romance—just stories where non-normative sexuality is portrayed in nuanced ways. I’ve read work by most of the people published in that collection, so I’d like something new. Can you help??
6. I’m looking for older coming-of-age stories that have a bit higher quality writing than typical YA. I’ve been enjoying stories about protagonists figuring life out in their twenties. I feel there aren’t as many novels about this age-group or if there are, I’m not finding them. Examples of this that I’ve enjoyed are: Chemistry by Weike Wang (per your recommendation), Sweet Bitter by Stephanie Danler, The Mothers by Brit Bennett and all of Sally Rooney’s novels. I tried Norwegian Wood and while I thought the writing was beautiful, the characters didn’t interest me as much. Character development and dialogue are the most interesting parts of a novel for me. I’m much more of a novel reader but am willing to try more memoirs if they fit the bill.
7. Hi! We are looking for sapphic stories involving some type of time travel. It can be a romance that happens to involve time travel; or a plot heavy story that happens to have a sapphic couple/ characters.
Preferably no YA, but we are still open to it.
Have a good one =)
7. I’ve had trouble getting into romance before because I find most of the m/f dynamics off putting. I’d like a f/f sci-fi or fantasy romance with some adversarial dynamic. M/m is also okay, just not m/f. Books with relationships I’ve liked are Gideon the Ninth, This is How We Lose the Timewar, the House on the Cerulean Sea, and The Tigers Daughter. Not too steamy please.
Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa Barshardoust (rec’d Margaret)
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by CM Waggoner (cw: drug use, addiction, & drug related morally gray choices)
Tentacle by Rita Indiana, transl. by Achy Obejas
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (cw: rape, racial slurs, racism, harm to children)
From Scratch by Tembi Locke
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Burning Roses by SL Huang (cw: animal death, child abuse)
Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
Weekend by Jane Eaton Hamilton (cw: racism, transphobia, infertility and miscarriage, intimate partner violence, death by suicide, ableism, hospitalization for chronic illness, deadnaming)
Luster by Raven Leilani
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (cw: bullying, disordered eating, harm to children)
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie
We Set The Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia