Amanda and Jenn discuss novels with interesting structures, queer YA, historical fiction, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
This episode is sponsored by TBR, Book Riot’s subscription service offering reading recommendations personalized to your reading life, Kensington Books, and Yen Press.
The Brilliance Saga (Brilliance) by Marcus Sakey (rec’d by Carol)
The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki; #Kornackithirst on Leslie Jones’s Twitter feed (rec’d by Kelly)
1. I really enjoy novels with interesting structures or narrative devices. I recently read and loved the YA novel Toffee by Sarah Crossan, which is in verse, and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, which unfolds slowly via letters from the protagonist, is possibly my favourite book of all time. Other examples I’ve read and appreciated are stream of consciousness novels (Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellman, and Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf) and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which is made up of books within books. Recommendations for other novels with interesting/ambitious structures or devices gratefully received
PS I have listened to every episode of your show from the UK (I found it when you were at episode 90, or so and was hooked). I really appreciate your diverse suggestions and have read many interesting books after hearing about them from yourselves. Thank you so much for your faithful recording and, as a Brit, I am so pleased you got the election result you wanted.
2. Hi! I’ve been in a major reading slump and the last books that really got me going had an unexpected throughline that I’d love to read more of: they were casually queer YA. By casually queer, I mean they had blantantly queer characters and romances that were important to the storyline, but the queerness wasn’t a big deal and wasn’t even particularly acknowledged. More specifically, I read The Fever King by Victoria Lee, We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, and Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. What else should I be reading? If possible, I’m looking for recs that I would hopefully be able to find at my library without a weeks-long hold list!
3. Hi Jenn & Amanda! I’m hoping you can help me find some sci-fi reads. I’m relatively new to the genre, and to be honest, I’ve always been slightly intimidated by it. However, this year I found a few sci-fi books that I truly loved – Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series and This is How You Lose the Time War. I think what drew me to these particular books is that they feature all of the fun trappings typical of the genre (aliens, AI, time-travel etc) but with a slower, quieter, more “thoughtful” feel than most other sci-fi books I’ve picked up. I also loved the found-family aspect and sense of optimism in the Wayfarers trilogy and the gorgeous prose and emotional depth of TIHYLTTW. Any recommendations for books in a similar vein would be greatly appreciated! P.S. Please no on-the-page sexual violence.
4. I just finished and absolutely loved Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On and am about to start Wayward Son. I know I am going to want to luxuriate in a world with magic and queer characters (POC representation very welcome) after I finish and the last book in the series will not be out for a while. I’ve read Harry Potter, which Carry On was modeled on. Are there any similar books to Carry On and Wayward Son you could recommend?
5. Hello Get Booked! I just finished reading my book club’s pick for this month – Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict, and while I didn’t necessarily LOVE LOVE all aspects of it, it reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. Aspects of these books that I loved are the strong female main characters, lots of details of the time period/setting, glimpses into what society was like at the time, and of course, the romance! I’d love some recommendations of books with themes similar to these…I’m not sure whether I’m asking for historical fiction heavy on the romance or romance heavy on the historical fiction, but I think you catch my drift! I love late 1800s and early 1900s, but I’m open to different time periods, and I prefer urban settings like NYC or London. Thanks!
6. I have recently been rewatching Buffy, and man do I love the show. Do you two know of any books that have a similar feel. They don’t need to be about a teenager or YA, I’m more interested in a badass female character who’s fighting something. She can totally also be a supernatural being, unlike Buffy, it doesn’t need to be exactly like the show, I just want something with a similar vibe. I also would not mind some romance in the book ala Spike and Buffy, but I don’t want to be too picky, so don’t worry too much about romance.
7. Hello! I have been looking for a good dystopian book lately, but can’t seem to find any. I’ve read Sycthe, The Hunger Games, and a couple more series of dystopian novels and I’ve finally hit a wall. Any dystopian recommendations?
Milkman by Anna Burns
The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (tw: graphic harm to children, institutionalized racism)
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel by A.W. Jantha
Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells
A Pale Light in the Black by KB Wagers
House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
The Kingston Cycle by CL Polk (Witchmark) (tw: violence against women & children, PTSD)
The Loyal League Series by Alyssa Cole (An Extraordinary Union) (tw: slavery)
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (tw: domestic violence, harm to women & children, addiction)
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace (tw: child abuse)