Sympathy Crying and Science Adventures

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Amanda and Jenn discuss platonic relationship reads, great chapter books, political memoirs, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot Insiders, Flatiron Books, publishers of Miss Austen by Gill Hornby, and Wednesday Books.

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An Equal Music, by Vikrim Seth and The Fionavar Tapestry series by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Summer Tree #1) (rec’d by Alicia)

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (rec’d by Roxane)


1. Hello, I was wondering if you have any book suggestions that are based around or feature a strong platonic relationship that will make me cry. It could be friends, teacher-student, wise man-little boy or anything else! I enjoy mostly literary fiction and historical fiction, but I’m open to all the genres. I also wanted to mention that I’m a big fan of all your podcasts and I appreciate what you do in love of books!


2. Hey ladies!
I’m looking for recommendations for simple chapter books for my 6yo sisters to read to themselves. All the children’s books lists seem to be either picture books or the kind of middle grade that’s closer to YA – where do you look if you want something in between?!
My other siblings and I all read a lot as kids (we didn’t have YouTube as a distraction!), but these two (while very intelligent and perceptive) haven’t particularly shown much interest in books and their reading level is quite far below where ours was at that age/where my mother thinks it should be.
They’ll listen to anything if we read it aloud to them: we’ve enjoyed things like Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series and Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons when (the last one with heavy on-the-fly editing in some places!), and we’ve already been down the Roald Dahl route too. They’re fine rereading things that have been previously read to them, but so far pretty much all they’ve managed to read for themselves from the get-go are the Rainbow Fairies and Airy Fairy series, so something in that vein/maybe slightly more advanced would be great!
Thank you so much for all you do – my TBR has never recovered since I discovered this podcast, and I’m hoping that one day my sisters will be able to say the same 🙂


3. I am moving from being a 4th grade teacher to a 5th grade teacher next year, which means I will be teaching US history for the first time. I need some good books to read over the summer to refresh my knowledge and give me a better understanding of US history outside of the list-of-white-men-violating-human-rights-and-calling-it-progress history I was taught in school. The only US history I’ve learned about since leaving school is Hamilton or Hamilton-adjacent. I’ve already read Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, and I’ve got a copy of The Half Has Never Been Told, but some good, engaging nonfiction about US history not from the view of old white men would be appreciated. Bonus points if there’s a good audiobook.

-What Did I Miss

4. Hi friends!

I’ve been going through some mental health challenges this year that have affected my self-motivation, particularly when it comes to reading. I am trying to push past some of these barriers, but with any difficult journey, I want to start small. So I need some recommendations that will be a guaranteed win for me as I begin to reignite my passion for reading on the reg.

Here are some books I’ve read over the past couple of years that I couldn’t put down:

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Little Fires Everywhere & Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I clearly love romance and YA with a touch of mystery, hijinks and lots of feelings. So books with any or all of those vibes are great!
I also like memoirs by cool people (Jonathan Van Ness, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, Lindy West, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kahling, etc.)
Female, non-binary, trans authors are a plus!

Thank you both!


5. Hello, My name is Chris. I am usually a big fantasy buff, I just want to get lost in a new universe, new magic, new characters. Recently I have read the seven sisters series which is not my usual jam but I am in love! The characters, the writing, the world discovery… It has made me a new historical fiction fan. I am looking for a big fat series to get lost in. A new world to discover, hopefully magical. I don’t mind going through big novels. I just want to get lost in a new world, get attached to new characters, with huge plot twists, unexpected deaths maybe… I want to get lost in that world (Harry Potter-ish world building). If it’s not fantasy I do not mind, as long as the plot is addictive and fast paced.


6. Hello Amanda and Jenn,

I love fantasy. I love renaissance period looking fairies and witches and elves and idiot human main characters who go into the forest and find a fully set table with every food imaginable and just go “yeah, nothing strange or magical about this, I will simply eat this sparkling bread and go back home to my normal human life” and then are surprised when the fairy queen kidnaps them and is like “you ate our enchanted food and belong to us now”???

While I love all of the above, what I don’t love is how prevalent racism, antisemitism, misogyny, and homophobia are in these genres, particularly when they’re written by men or white women.

When I voiced this in a Facebook group, a dudebro responded saying “So you expect writers to cater to your liberal snowflake fantasy? Let’s be realistic, racism and sexism exists EVERYWHERE.” but like, he’s talking about elves and magic?

So anyways, what I’d love to find is a fantasy book that has magic and fairies but is also my liberal snowflake fantasy where no woman gets kidnapped and abused, there are no racist or antisemitic caricatures, and everyone lives happily ever after. Bonus points if written by a woman and has nonwhite or female main characters.

Sorry for the super long email and thank you in advance! I always love your recs!

-Dee 🙂

7. Hi, Amanda and Jenn! I love your show.
I am usually a fiction reader but lately I have read The Education of An Idealist by Samantha Power and Becoming by Michelle Obama, both of which I really enjoyed. However, they are both about women in the Obama administration, and I am interested in autobiographies or memoirs about women who are maybe on the other side of the political spectrum. But also nobody completely far-right, if that makes sense. I want to get more than just one side of an argument but also from a woman’s perspective.

Books Discussed

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

New Waves by Kevin Nguyen

Thea Stilton series by Thea and Geronimo Stilton

Great Chapter Books post

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, beloved of Liberty

These Truths by Jill Lepore

The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

The Tufa series by Alex Bledsoe (The Hum and the Shiver #1)

The Acacia series by David Anthony Durham (The War with the Mein #1)

Dealing with Dragons series by Patricia Wrede (rec’d by Aly)

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice

Lazy B by Sandra Day O’Connor (rec’d by Jeff)