Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Stay In That Bow And Think About What You’ve Done

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Amanda and guest Rebecca discuss nonfiction about the Midwest, whimsical reads, morally ambiguous characters, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Libro FM, Book Riot Insiders, the digital hangout spot for the Book Riot community, and TBR, Book Riot’s subscription service offering Tailored Book Recommendations for readers of all stripes.

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The River by Peter Heller and Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series (rec’d by Kate)

The Mike Bowditch series by Paul Doiron (The Poacher’s Son) (rec’d by Kate)
Michael McGarrity (Kevin Kerney series), William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series, Rich Curtin’s Manny Rivera mystery series, Paul Doiron (Mike Bowditch series), CJ Box (Joe Pickett series), Nevada Barr (Anna Pigeon series) (rec’d by Audrey)


1. This is one of the first years in my life that I don’t have a trip planned because of COVID19. I initially had intended on vacationing in Greece back in April and June in New York City. I was hoping to get some book recommendations to fill the void one set in each place. I hope you are all staying well and safe.


2. hi! I’m looking for sociological-ish/historyish/journalism-ish nonfiction  books based in the American Midwest. I’m trying to curate a list to learn more about the area(I’m not American myself). So far I have Negroland, Janesville, Columbine, The Warmth of Other Suns, Prairie Fires, The Worst Hard Time. It’s all very scattered, and I don’t mind that, so I hope you can help me find more! 🙂


3. One of my major goals for 2020 is to learn more about history to just generally be a more informed person in the world. However, I don’t want to get stuck with something super depressing, because daily news notifications already hit that spot. Are there any books about happy periods in history or that at least leave you with vaguely positive feelings?


4. So I’m another one of Kirsten’s students who said I could get extra credit if I gave a request here. Unfortunately I’ve never been good at saying exactly what I want so I promise I’m trying my best. I usually stick to fantasy and fiction books no matter how many times my language arts teachers tell me to branch out. Some of my favorites are Six of Crows, The Naturals, Renegades, and Escape from Eden. I hope that’s enough information for a recommendation!


5. Hey ladies, thanks for the wonderful podcast! I love whimsical novels. Some past ones I’ve enjoyed include: The Night Curcus and The Starless Sea, the Wayward Children series, anything by Kelly Link, Strange the Dreamer, and Gods of Jade and Shadow. I’m always looking to expand my TBR with more fun, lighthearted books that still have depth and heart. Any recommendations? Thanks! 

-A Lover of Whimsy

6. Thank you ladies so much for what you do! I’ve only recently discovered your podcast and am in the process of catching up on the backlist. I am chronically ill, and would love to read more books with characters like me. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Lost and Wanted and Autobiography of a Face, which were both fantastic. I’m not a huge YA fan, so I tend to stay away from Stuff like The Fault in Our Stars, or anything exploitative or ableist. Do you have any other recommendations? Thanks so much!


7. love mysteries, thrillers or just stories that aren’t too predictable and I am a huge sucker for flawed, morally ambiguous central characters that come with heavy baggage. I like Sharp Objects and just about everything Gillian Flynn has written and looking for a book that can give me a similar experience but has an original storyline that won’t remind me of anything I’ve read before. I hope I’m not being too greedy.


Books Discussed

Honey Olives Octopus by Christopher Bakken

Open City by Teju Cole

American Harvest by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Heartland by Sarah Smarsh

How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England by Ruth Goodman

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

His Hideous Heart, ed. by Dahlia Adler

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Girl Who Circumnavigated series by Catherynne M. Valente

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (tw suicide)

Penance by Kanae Minato