An Amy Dunne Kind Of Flex

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Amanda and Jenn discuss secretly bad-ass female characters, Belgitude, adventure chapter books, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan (rec’d by Megan)

Alastair MacLean: The Navarone series, Where Eagles Dare (rec’d by Wynnde)


1. Something that I’ve been very interested in reading about is the strong bond between people forged by unique experiences. Some examples of this in literature that I’ve enjoyed are the characters in Never Let Me Go who are bonded by their childhoods and their shared horrific destiny or Ask Again, Yes who are bonded by being childhood neighbors as well as a shared tragedy. I even enjoyed this about the Hunger Games and the way the shared trauma of the games forged a tight bond between the tributes. I’m looking for other novels that have these very intimate bonds between characters brought about by certain circumstances. Other books I’ve enjoyed that also have examples of these sort of bonds: The Mothers by Brit Bennett, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet. Thanks!


2. Hi! I’m looking for a recommendation for a friend’s birthday. She just finished The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix and has been raving about the housewife superpowers angle it takes. I’d love to get another book for her in a similar strain. She also likes the Amy Dunne of Gone Girl type of genius-borderline-crazy female characters in any book/TV show/movie so it can also lean in that direction. Thank you!!


3. I just got a new job that is for a company based in Belgium. Eventually after Covid I will get a chance to go out and visit the main office. Can you suggest some books based in Belgium or with a general Belgium- feel (this is called Belgitude!)



4. My name is Andy and I’m writing to ask for three different book recommendations (all in one email hehehe). First, I’m looking for a book, either fiction or nonfiction (or both, if you can) about archaeology. It seems such an exciting field. I’m looking for a book that gives those adventurous vibes but that also teaches me something about history and what that entails. 

Secondly, a fiction book set in a museum. I’m looking for something exciting that makes me think, too!

And finally, if you can, a nonfiction book about countries that had recovered from a civil war and how they did it. I had not mentioned before but I’m originally from Venezuela and though my country hasn’t gone through a civil war (in the strict sense), the recovery (if it ever does recover) would probably be something similar. I’ll like to read about other history cases so that, maybe, I could find some answers. 

Now that that “business” is done, I wanted you to know how much happiness you bring to all of us book lovers all across the globe (I’m a Venezuelan currently living in Spain). Thank you thank you thank you. Keep doing what you are doing! I love your podcast! 

Much much much love from Madrid,


5. First, I just want to say thank you so much for this podcast. It’s my absolute favorite, and I look forward to it every week (and am super happy that I now get to listen twice a week). I have read some truly amazing books thanks to you!  

I have found historical fiction cozy mysteries to be especially comforting in these wild times. I love to read mysteries that have a strong female main character and are written by women. The only problem is that almost every historical fiction series that I’ve read has white main characters and are almost all written by white authors. Do you have any recommendations for own voices historical cozy mysteries by BIPOC women? 

Some historical mystery series that I have enjoyed are:

  • The Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas
  • The Perveen Mistry series by Sujata Massey
  • The Veronica Speedwell and Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn
  • The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters
  • The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Sparks & Bainbridge series by Allison Montclair
  • The Jane Prescott series by Mariah Fredericks
  • The High Society Lady Detective Books by Sara Rosett
  • The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries by T.E. Kinsey
  • The Kendra Donovan series by Julie McElwain
  • The Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman
  • The Rose Gallagher Mysteries by Erin Lindsey
  • Kitty Weeks Series by Radha Vatsal

Some contemporary mysteries series by women of color that I’ve started reading are the Jaya Jones series by Gigi Pandian, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery by Abby Collete, and the Noodle Shop Mysteries by Vivien Chien. I loved Death by Dumpling. I didn’t love Jaya Jones as much as I thought I would because I couldn’t stand how much they talked about how skinny and petite she is. I liked A Deadly Inside Scoop but felt like the main character seemed very young.


6. I’m loving dark academia media right now, which is an aesthetic that joins dark themes, such as murder, theft, and sin, with academic settings. I read The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, in February, and have not stopped thinking about it since. I have also read The Goldfinch, by the same author, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, and loved both of them tremendously. Dead Poets Society and Kill Your Darlings are examples of movies with this setting. Could you help me find other books with a similar style?


7. Hi! Thanks for your podcast; I love it. I wonder if you can help me. I have a 7-year-old and I’m looking for a book to read aloud together as a family. We loved Thomas Taylor’s Malamander and the sequel, and we are looking for books like those–thrilling, sly, dark, funny, suspenseful middle-grade fantasies with lots of friendship and at least one girl MC. We don’t like to slog through pointless dialogue and tedious set-up. (Also, no racism, sexism, or homo-/transphobia, please–I like reading J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Eva Ibbotson, Chris Riddell, and Roald Dahl because they are so funny, but also they can STFU with their dumb jokes about Asia, queer-coded villains, and sidelined heroines.) My kid has enjoyed audiobooks of the Unicorn Rescue Society, Love Sugar Magic, Princess Pulverizer, Alice in Wonderland, Anna Hibiscus, Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Magic Treehouse, Dory Fantasmagory, Dragons in a Bag, and Questioneers series, as well as the first Dark is Rising book. She heard the Audible sample of Akata Witch and was mesmerized (so was I) but I think it’s a little too old for her. Some violence is fine, but we’d like to stay away from heavy romance/crushes/bullying (middle-school stuff), and from really dark stuff like genocide, horrible forms of murder, any hint of sexual violence or suicide, etc. POC and queer characters a plus.

Thank you so much!



Books Discussed

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (tw: racism, child abuse)

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (tw: self harm, fatal overdose, torture, gore)

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Lady Killer by Joelle Jones, Jamie S. Rich, and Chelsea Cain

La Femme de Gilles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe (tw: suicide)

Brussels Noir, edited by Michel Dufranne

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March (rec’d Nicole Hill)

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Bunny by Mona Awad (tw: animal cruelty/death)

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (rec’d by multiple Rioters)