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I Don’t Know Why This Is the Violent Old Lady Show

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Amanda and Jenn discuss novels about cranky old ladies, rich people problems, great graphic novels, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations, Literati, and Book Riot Insiders.

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (rec’d by Mardy)

Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger (rec’d by Kim)

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon  (rec’d by Kelly)

The Road to Nowhere series by Meg Elison (rec’d by Nicole)

World War Z by Max Brooks (rec’d by Elizabeth)


1. I know you’re receiving a lot of requests about quarantine reading, but this one is a bit different. My name is Jennie and I am a state unemployment employee. We are working 60+ hours per week and we’re still going into the office every day. I’m struggling with relaxing during my meager downtime. I’m looking for something funny to read or a fun romance or even a chill cozy mystery. As far as funny books go, my humor is more dry, so I can be picky and I don’t like gross humor at all. Romance I like things that don’t really have sex on the page but that’s not a real deal breaker. I’m not a huge romance person so I haven’t read a lot. Please don’t recommend Red, White and Royal Blue. I did not enjoy it… It just wasn’t for me. Any thoughts on books that could help me wind down after my long days would be great. Thanks ladies!!!


2. I don’t have good words about the situation we’re all in right now, only hopes that you and those you love are well!

I’m writing because I need a little help with a birthday gift for my daughter. She will be 11 on April 30, and had been looking forward to hosting a Harry Potter-themed sleepover with her besties. Obviously, that will not be happening. Of course, we will still celebrate her like whoa, and the party can still happen at some time in the hazy future, but for now, but for now, she’s pretty bummed.

I would like to get her a book (or several) or her birthday to help fill the hours and distract her a bit. She is an advanced reader, and reads widely, but lately has been wanting to read some graphic novels and/or manga. So far she has enjoyed a manga of Pride and Prejudice and another of Emma, as well as the Zita the Space Girl series (thanks for that rec!), the graphic novels of the Baby Sitters Club, and everything Raina Telgemeier has ever done. She also LOVES Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl, and I just ordered the first trade of Lumberjanes, thinking some combination of Baby Sitters Club plus supernatural content might be a hit with her.

Her tastes are all over the map right now. Favorite recent reads have been the Harry Potter series, the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, the Hunger Games series, The Land of Stories series, all of Karina Yan Glaser’s Vanderbeekers books, and every old Baby Sitters Club book I had (she found a box in my parent’s attic over Christmas, and has blazed through them), and she is on the second book of the School for Good and Evil Series currently. She also recently read and enjoyed “The Selection” by Kiera Cass, which she said she liked “because of the romance;” she enjoyed the romance subplots of the Hunger Games as well. She’s really grooving on the identity of being a self-described “nerdy girl” right now, loves theater, and plasters all her notebooks with cat stickers and NASA stickers (to give you a little bit more of who she is).

We don’t really limit what she reads, and she chooses for herself what she’s comfortable with. Clearly violence/peril isn’t a deal-breaker because she loved the Hunger Games. However, she picked up a manga shelved in our library’s YA section that featured some nudity, and she was NOT a fan. Can you help me find some graphic novels/manga/comics that might appeal and help brighten up her birthday?

Thank you!!!

3. Hi, I hope you guys are staying safe and healthy!

I’ve recently read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Normal People by Sally Rooney and I fell in love with the complex dynamics between characters, power shifts, and ESPECIALLy the upending of a seemingly pristine, wealthy veneer. In Little Fires Everywhere I loved how there was the seemingly perfect planned community of Shaker Heights and the equally perfect, wealthy Richardson family, but as the plot develops and you dive deeper into the characters’ psyche and background you realize that it’s all hanging on by just a thread. A similar concept happens in Normal People as Marianna lives in this beautiful mansion in the nice part of town but although raised in material wealth you soon realize she lives in significant emotional deprivation which has negatively affected her sense of self. I would love to find another book that touches on this same idea, the uncovering of a seemingly perfect, wealthy and beautiful setting, life, person or family. In a book I love discovering that there’s more to the story than a person’s projected image, that the surface is just the touch of the iceberg. Other books I’ve enjoyed: The Mothers by Brit Bennett (SO GOOD!), Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and The Learning Curve by Mandy Berman. Thanks!!


4. I’m looking for a light read to recommend to a friend as a distraction. She recently had to cancel her wedding because of COVID and could use some fluff (but maybe not anything with too much of an over the top love celebration HEA just yet). Typically she reads more non-fiction (David Sedaris is a favorite) or literary fiction with her book club but I’d like to gift her the book-equivalent of binge watching Great British Bake Off or Project Runway. Any suggestions?


5. I recently read a couple of New Adult college romance books. For the first time in a while I’ve found characters that I can identify with. I’m also in my early twenties, in college and doubting my career path. The problem is that in these books boys and relationships are always the answer to their problems. Do you know of any books with this kind of setting without the relationship being the answer to everything? I really dislike YA and would prefer the characters to be more mature.


6. I discovered your show about 3 months back. I love it. Can’t get enough of it! I recently read the book “Night Boat to Tangier”. More than the plot I loved the way the book is written. Long, winding conversations between two old friends. I also love the “Before Sunrise” movie series for the conversation between the leads. I would love to read more books of this type. I read all genres.


7. I’ve just finished All the Single Ladies (Rebecca Traistor), as recommended by one of the Book Riot podcasts! I’d love something similar, strong single women having great lives and dealing with the judgmental parents, but with less statistics and politics than All the Single Ladies. Female led chick lit? Bio of a fab business woman? Anything to combat the “but don’t you want a boyfriend?!??” people!


Books Discussed

Spirit Run by Noe Álvarez

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

An Elderly Lady is Up To No Good by Helene Tursten, transl. by Marlaine Delargy

Jonesy #1 by Sam Humphries, illustrated by Cailtin Rose Boyle

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 1: BFF by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare, illustrated by Natacha Bustos (also, Rocket Girl)

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel (rec’d by Rebecca)

The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy

Naturally Tan by Tan France (tw: discussion of racism, depression, and suicidal ideation)

Normal People by Sally Rooney (tw: emotional abuse)

Chemistry by Weike Wang (tw: bad parents)

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Outline by Rachel Cusk (rec’d by Jessica)

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg (tw: sick child)