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Amanda and Jenn discuss must-read literary fiction, queer fantasy reads, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot Insiders, Flatiron Books, publishers of The Night Country by Melissa Albert, and TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Find our bookish COVID 19 coverage here.


The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross (rec’d by Stephanie)

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M. T. Anderson and the Classical Breakdown podcast (rec’d by Laura C)

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia (rec’d by Summer)


1. Hi ladies!

I hope you’re both staying safe and healthy 🙂

I’m so grateful for all of the Book Riot podcasts for maintaining a sense of normalcy in my current routine.

With that said, I’m looking for a recommendation to keep me completely engrossed. The past two weeks have left me stressed and anxious, so a book to distract my thoughts would be amazing. I haven’t had one of those “stay up reading a book until 4AM” nights in YEARS. I really want something to grip my attention from the beginning to the very end. I would prefer something that isn’t super high fantasy, but other than that, I’ll read just about anything!

I’m looking forward to your recs! 🙂

2. Hi ladies! I hope you two are doing well. My request seems sort of silly and easy, but I trust both of your opinions so much, and wanted to hear what you had to recommend. When I was younger I used to read Literature with a capital L. A lot of classics, and literary fiction, but during college as a double major in Classics and English, I stopped reading literary fiction because I had to read a lot of it for class, and therefore started gravitating more towards fantasy, and sci-fi, and a bit of romance too. Now that my time in college is coming to an end (and I’m stuck at home taking classes remotely because of Covid-19), I want to try my hand at getting back into literary fiction. In the past I’ve loved A Little Life, The Secret History, The Goldfinch, and The Mothers, to name a few. Books I’ve read recently and loved were Red White and Royal Blue, everything China Mieville has ever written, The Broken Earth Trilogy, The Daughter of the Forest, Among Others, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.
I feel like I’ve been so apart from literary fiction for so long I’m not actually sure what stories in the genre I would be interested in anymore. Any suggestions you two could give would be much appreciated. Sorry for the overly long ask, but I thought specificity would be useful.


3.  Hi! Due to the recent quarantines I’ve had to cancel a couple of my upcoming trips and I’m pretty bummed about it. I was hoping you could recommend some travel-ish books that will make me feel wanderlust even when I’m self quarantining. You guys are awesome, I can’t wait to see what you recommend!


4. TIME SENSITIVE***Hi! I am starting a new book club, and we are wanting to read a historical queer book as our first read (“historical” really means from whenever 🙂 ) Do you have any suggestions? (I already am aware of Tipping the Velvet, The Color Purple, Stone Butch Blues, Fingersmith, Giovanni’s Room, A Little Life) Thanks so much in advance.


5. Hi ladies! Love the podcast, it’s a bright spot of my week. Recently my college shut down for the remainder of the semester due to corona fear, leaving me to take online classes at my parents house, states away from all my friends during my final semester my senior year (looks like we won’t even have a grad ceremony). Needless to say this left me pretty bummed and I don’t have a great relationship with my parents, so being here isn’t exactly great for my mental health. Do you guys have any fun books to recommend? I particularly like sci-fi and fantasy (high, urban, etc.). It doesn’t necessarily have to be funny, or lighthearted, I more want a book that will engross me and make me not think about my life for a little bit, if that makes any sense. One caveat no romance please. I left for spring break having just started seeing someone and now with school canceled we are states apart and I don’t know if/when we’ll see each other again, so that relationship is basically done. So now the thought of romance makes me really sad. Thank you both in advance!


6. Hi ladies! I am going to Italy late April/early May and was hoping for some book recommendations to get me even more pumped for my trip. We are staying in Rome and the Amalfi Coast. I am open to any suggestions, whether it be fiction (any genre or YA ok too) that take place in these areas or some non-fiction to learn about the history, art, culture, food, etc. Love your show and thanks in advance! 🙂


7. Looking for a fantasy novel that feels like Lord of the Rings but has some non heteronormative romance in it. I love fluff romance and don’t mind sex scenes as long as there isn’t an “eggplant” involved. I haven’t read a good fantasy novel since I was a kid and I liked Eragon, Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Cirque Du Freak. I want something that isn’t necessarily YA though as I prefer books geared more towards adults.

-Jean (they/them)

Books Discussed

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (tw: sexual abuse of children)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (tw: harm to children)

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover

How to Be a Family by Dan Kois

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (tw: slavery and associated violence)

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, trans by Hildegard Serle

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (tw: body horror)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel (tw: bubonic plague)

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood