Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Soothing And Creepy

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Amanda and Jenn discuss inclusive horror, small-town fantasies, smart creepy girls, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan and All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.



1. Hi guys,

I’m a big horror/thriller fan and I’m looking to include more diverse authors and protagonists in my reading. Most recently I read and loved Lovecraft Country in which a Black community comes together to battle eldritch horrors. I like Joe Hill, Shirley Jackson, Jack Ketchum, novels or short stories, and both supernatural or more reality based stories as long as there’s a scary/spooky atmosphere. Can you recommend some horror authors who are people of color, LGBT or from a religious minority? Or horror books that have a non-white, non-straight protagonist?

thanks so much! love the podcast even though you make my TBR pile teeter with all the books I add after hearing of them from you.


2. I just binge watched Twin Peaks and loved it. I’m a sucker for small town drama with mystical elements, and was wondering if you guys had any book recs similar to that. I found some lists online that were mainly comprised of thrillers like Gone Girl, which isn’t really my thing. Somebody recommended American Gods to me, and I can see why. I’ve already read it, and liked it very much, but don’t feel like rereading it. Any other suggestions?
(Note: I’ve already read everything written by Neil Gaiman)


3. Hi Amanda and Jenn!

I am seeking book recommendations for my mom who recently retired from a career in early childhood care. As she has not been able to dive into books without crayon marks in years and is unsure of where to start looking, I would like to offer her a number of suggestions from multiple areas — short stories and fast-paced novels are especially welcome. She is not into horror or science fiction, but she’s happy to try other genres.

Thank you so much!


4. Hi ladies,

My boyfriend and I met online and immediately bonded over our shared love of books. We’ve spent countless weekends lounging around reading together in silence. He recently brought up the idea of reading books together and I am 1000% on board. My problem is: how do we choose? I have a 1000+ book “To Read” list on Goodreads and follow all the BookRiot podcasts; he loves to just wander into bookstores and pick up whatever catches his eye. We both enjoy sci-fi and fantasy but my tastes skew a bit more to the side of literary fiction (favorite book: The Sparrow) and he is inclined towards more epic, action-packed adventures (favorite book: anything from the Dark Tower series). I also love nonfiction, which he has never really gotten into despite his love of documentaries.

Do you have any recommendations for books that will satisfy us both? I’m thinking something by Terry Prachett or Neil Gaiman would be a good start but would love some more ideas.

Thank you!


5. Hi Ladies!

One of my favorite books of all time is We Have Always Lived In the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Also just recently I discovered the Flavia de Luce series and I’m enjoying it very much. My favorite aspect is that these books focus on creepy smart girls. Do you have any more recs that contain creepy smart girls as main characters? I prefer books on audio. Thanks ladies!


6. Hi there!

It seems like a majority of the contemporary novels I’ve read recently either take place in the Midwest or in New York or feature characters from the Midwest who have moved to New York. I enjoy these books, as they tend to feature multi-dimensional characters with rich stories but I grew up and still live in the DC/Maryland area and I would love to read a novel that takes place around here. The only thing is that I don’t want to read a DC novel that features politicians or bureaucrats or political intrigue. The only one I know of so far is The Known World so anything else that you can recommend would be greatly appreciated!



7. Having had a challenging time with my mental health at the beginning of the year, I have really struggled to get back into the physical act of reading (although have still been buying books, oops). I find audiobooks and podcasts easy to follow as it tends to be my focus that slips. However due to the pile of physical books I own, I am looking for some gateway easy to read books to get back into being a reader and not just a listener. I typically prefer fiction over non-fiction but like a wide range of genres and am willing to give anything a go (although I don’t typically enjoy pure romance outside of YA). I do generally lean toward thrillers and mysteries, but think maybe the typically darker subject matter is part of the problem. Any recommendations would be great. Thank you very much for the podcast, your enthusiasm about the books you talk about has really encouraged and ignited my desire to start reading again.



Provenance by Ann Leckie

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle

Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Kraken by China Miéville

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (trigger warning: rape, suicide)

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal (Kitty Weeks #1)

The Quiche of Death by MC Beaton (Agatha Raisin #1)