Riot Headline The Best Hardcover and Paperback Deals of the Amazon Book Sale (UPDATED May 17, 2024)

Normal People Doing The Thing

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Amanda and Jenn recommend books about pregnancy, mysteries, Irish fiction, and more!

This episode is sponsored by and The Girls by Emma Cline.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS here, or via iTunes here.
The show can also be found on Stitcher here.


1. I am terrified you are going to think I am lame but I need some book recs for a little quiet loveliness. My life is currently full of chaotic happenings, a lot of which is happening in my thoughts. I am jonesing for a stars hollow kinda of novel. Here’s where the lame part comes in, I loved the Jan Karon series for the sweet non hard knox life of Father Tim. I know, not one of the coolest series but it gets the job done and bonus there is a dog and he doesn’t die. I didn’t read the series consecutively but reached for them when my life has been just too much handle. One of my favorite authors is Anne Tyler, which the characters do not always have the best situations themselves (Hello, “A Slipping Down Life”) but I love the worlds she creates that aren’t bombastic, just real. My favorite book of all time is “The Shipping News”, if that helps. I am open to anything really, fiction, nonfiction, YA, mystery, bring it. If it’s southern even better. I am a christian but not that kind of christian so language and interesting situations are totally welcome. Thanks for your help.

Love the podcast ladies, rock on!



2. First of all, I love the show, I stash every book mentioned on this podcast and all the books on a TBR list on my goodreads, more book than I think I’ll ever be able to read but I’ll die trying 😉

I know you recently recommended books about deciding to not have children, so this may be too similar, but I have a friend who is recently pregnant and is frustrated. She wants to have children but it happened much sooner than she expected and she is having a hard pregnancy, whereas the people around her sing the joys of pregnancy and she’s feeling alone. I’m looking for books that basically tell her it’s okay and it’s hard and her feelings are normal and validated.

Crossing my fingers you’ll be able to help me out!

Thank you!
Angela Johnson


3. I am looking for a way to learn more about Islam and the Muslim faith. When I search for books on the subject I feel like my head is going to explode. I need something fairly comprehensive (I know, BIG ASK) and not terribly slanted one direction or the other. I could use a nonfiction book but I also love novels set in the culture. I loved Scarlet Undercover and this book, plus a few Muslim friends, and current issues are prompting me to learn more. TIA



4. Father’s Day is coming up, and I have a habit of giving my dad books because I never know what else to get him. It’s usually pretty simple because our taste in books has some overlap.

He’s read all the Game of Thrones and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books. He also likes mysteries and Harlequin Romance (which is where the overlap stops). I gave him the newest book in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series for Christmas, and I’m not sure where to go from there.

Would prefer the titles by early June so I can get the books in time for Father’s Day. Thanks ladies!


5. I really like the idea of reading romance novels, but in practice have never been able to complete one. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main problem I’ve come across is sexism. The books I’ve picked up have almost always had strong alpha males, usually scarily domineering, and borderline abusive. I’ve been able to read about (and like) other kinds of ‘alpha’ men in classical literature (Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights for example), but funnily enough, I didn’t find the relationships in those books as sexist as I’ve found in modern romance. So do you two know of any feminist romance novels, that won’t get me in a rage, and throwing a book across the room?


6. Hi ladies! Love, love, love the show. My husband and I are taking a trip to Ireland this summer and I’d love to do some reading to get even more excited than I already am! I’ve read James Joyce, Frank McCourt, and Colm Toibin (Brooklyn is one of my favorite books), but would love some direction beyond those three dudes. I’d prefer fiction, bonus points for suggestions on the lighter/happier end than most Irish lit, since I’ll likely read some of these on the plane and don’t want to be a weepy mess. 🙂 Thank you!!!


Books Mentioned

LGBTQ Episode

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (rec’d by Angel Cruz)

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories by Carson McCullers

After Birth by Elisa Albert

The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich

Breeder by Ariel Gore

From the Hips by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris, rec’d by Rachel Smalter Hall

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson (editor Sana Amanat’s TED talk)

The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea, translated by Marilyn Booth

The Faithful Scribe by Shahan Mufti

Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki (rec’d by Rioter Kareem Shaheen)

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Black Lake by Johanna Lane

Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien

Green Shadows, White Whale by Ray Bradbury