Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer


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Amanda and guest Jeff discuss books where the couple DOESN’T end up together, Indigenous reads, and pre-18th century history!

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Wicked Plants and The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart (rec’d by Angie)


1. I’m looking for a book for a friend.  She loves non fiction books but that is not my area of expertise.  She likes two types of books: Books that give advice on how to improve your life (some of her favorites include Atomic Habits, Your Life or Your Money, Digital Minimalism, 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste) Books that widen your perspective on the world through the lens of others (favorites include Becoming, This is Going to Hurt, I am Malala)

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


2. After spending a few years as a librarian, I feel that books are becoming more of a commodity I trade in than things that bring me joy. I am wishing for that amazing experience of reading a knock-your-socks-off good book for the first time. I really need a book that I can find completely immersive and full of interesting, complex characters who have wonderful adventures. Some of my favorite books are The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, A Court of Thorn and Roses series, Persuasion, Good Omens, and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. I tried The Magicians and it wasn’t for me, and I don’t particularly care for thrillers or horror. Other than that, I”m open to anything that is astonishingly good!


3. I’m a deeply romantic person and it seems that the only thing that I have been reading lately has been romantic books where the main characters end up together. I want to mix things up and I was hoping that you guys could recommend a realistic book about a couple breaking up; I want a book where the couple realizes that they’re not right for each. If you guys can’t find a book like that because I couldn’t, I just want a book that will give me a good cry; I want a book that is emotional, relatable and that will tug reader’s heartstrings. Books I have read that are kind of like what I want, that I liked are It ends with us, All the bright places, and All the ugly and wonderful things.


4. I’m needing some recommendations for my 8 year old niece.  She is a fan of the Lunch Lady series and I want to get her some similar books for Christmas. But I have no idea what to get. She isn’t the biggest reader so I want to encourage her but I’m lost. She’s a tomboy who loves video games (Fortnite), horses, and the Sims. She’s also a strong reader so age range is flexible. Any help would be amazing.

-Sarah Kay

5. I have another request.  I have read Tracks and Future Home of the Living God, both by Louise Erdrich and loved not only the skillful writing, but how she explores elements of Indigenous culture and spirituality (rather than magical realism), the effect of colonization, and the search or striving to maintain identity.   I am already participating in the #ErdrichMedicineReadalong on IG, and will be trying to read her other books, too.  Do you have more suggestions for great books by Indigenous authors from anywhere in the world?  Please no Alexie.  Also, I know I am in the minority here, but I didn’t care for most of the prose of Tommy Orange, though I did like the nonfiction parts of There There and a few of the chapters/characters in the book, primarily the ones that were more fleshed out.


6. In all my surveying of literature i have found no equal to the monumental Cormac McCarthy. Even an Angela Carter or a Bruno Schultz, jaw-dropping as they are, cannot touch his evokation of the wondrously dark intestinality of the world. I am not attached to his southern gothic context; in any genre whatsoever can you point me to another writer who strings words together like him?  


7. I just read Deadly Companions by Dorothy H Crawford, which deals with the history of microbes/diseases and how it affected history and it got me curious about world history before the 1700s. I would love to get some non-fiction recs for books about world history (especially outside of the United Kingdom, which I know a bit about already) before the 18th century. Thank you!



How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Grit by Angela Duckworth

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

The Water Dancer

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

The Eerie Elementary series by Jack Chabert, Sam Ricks (#1 The School is Alive!)

Paper Girls

The Yield by Tara June Winch (tw: child sexual abuse, racism)

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Beloved by Toni Morrison (tw slavery, harm to children)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Sea People by Christina Thompson

1491 by Charles McCann