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

Jenn and Amanda recommend diverse classics, quiet middle America stories, and more! This episode is sponsored by Murder on Wheels by Lynn Cahoon and Penguin Random House Audio.




1. Because Jeff on Book Riot talked about the Marilyn Robinson’s books often, I read them. And, love them. Rebecca mentioned Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf on All the Books. I read it, loved it, and read his whole backlist Now I have a new addiction: quite soft middle America stories. Please suggest another author or two that can feed my addiction. Thank you.
–Lisa Joe


2. Hi! I’m an English Major who has a hard time getting into classic novels. Something that I think is a big contributing factor to this is that whenever I’m reading a classic, I don’t see lots of diversity. Reading diversely is something that is very important to me, so, my question is if there are any classics that feature POC or LGBTQ characters out there that you have loved. Thanks!!! Love the the podcast. <3


3. Dear Get Booked,
I am working my way through the 2015 Read Harder challenge, and am having trouble fwith the indigenous cultures requirement. I’ve realized recently what a big gap that is in my reading, and I don’t really know where to start. I’ve considered One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, but I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of having the book (or books) that I choose be written by white men and not people who are themselves from an indigenous culture. I prefer fiction, but am certainly open to non-fiction as well.
Any suggestions?


4. Hey there!

When books come up in conversation, my close friend and colleague will usually say “I don’t read.”, but often tells me that he really would like to read more.

I recently recommended The Martian and he absolutely loved it. Every time Mark Watney got into some shit, I’d get excited text messages. One of them read “OMG I LOVE READING!”.

I’d love some recs for this guy!

Things that may be useful:
When he was younger he read (and liked) a lot of Michael Crichton.
He’s a high school band director.
He’s super witty and has a great sense of humor.

Thanks in advance – love everything at Book Riot!


5. Hiya Amanda!

I’m new to the Book Riot community (shout out to the guys at Overdue for pointing me in your direction) and I’ve pretty much blown through all of your previous episodes. Thanks for contributing to my ever-growing TBR problem. But I’ve got a bit of a book problem at the moment, and no amount of googling has been able to help me with this.

I’m a nursing student and I currently work with an at-home hospice service. I’m desperate for books to read to patients who are not as reactive or social as others. I’m usually speaking to elderly patients, some with varying degrees of dementia, but they enjoy hearing books read aloud even if they cannot necessarily understand them. I need something squeaky clean, easy to read, but doesn’t come off as patronizing or childish to any family members hanging around. If you could give me any kind of series or a couple long-ish titles I would really appreciate it.

Thanks again!


6. Hello Amanda,
‎I never really wanted kids and the more my friends and family have them the less I want them, but I feel very alone in this resolution: my friends don’t get it and my family constantly tries to change my mind. They genuinely don’t understand we I say I don’t feel that feeling in my gut, that longing. I actually feel kinda bad for parents with children taking over their lives.
All the books I read have women who dream of children, or who have them finally in the end fulfilling our duty to the human race, or who are so sad and empty from the lack of them.
My husband doesn’t want it either but today he was like: “we are getting left behind. Our last friends without kids just adopted”.
I hadn’t felt pressure to decide until now and feel like some literature would definitely help.


Books Discussed


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

anything by Willa Cather

Half an Inch of Water by Percival Everett

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Alexandre Dumas (black), Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde (LGBTQ), Tale of Genji

1001 Nights by Anonymous

The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin

Clotel: Or the President’s Daughter by William Wells Brown

Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor

anything by Sherman Alexie

The Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane-Benson

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Pym by Mat Johnson

Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley (Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

My Man Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed

Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso

Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Maybe Baby, edited by Lori Leibovich

Jump at the Sun by Kim McLarin

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman