Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Summer Camp Volcano

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Amanda and Jenn discuss New England novels, book club options, immigration narratives, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Bluestone and Vine by Donna Kauffman and The Beginning of Everything by Andrea J. Buchanan.

Subscribe to the podcast via RSS here, or via Apple Podcasts here.
The show can also be found on Stitcher here.




1. Hello, friends!

My fourteen year old niece is going to be a senator one day and this July her other aunt and I are taking her on a road trip to eight New England universities including most of the Ivy Leagues. I am a folklorist and Other Aunt is an architectural historian, so together we are definitely into the old, the spooky, the magical, and the historical. We want to show her the coolest, weirdest, most inspired time ever. So far we have gotten The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell and would like to find more books that are in that vein — entertaining and engaging and relevant to what we are road tripping through. Books about or by women and/or people of color are a gigantic plus. Some of the cities we’ll be visiting include Boston, Salem, Plymouth, Providence, Portland, and Hanover.

Thank you sooooo much! Looking forward to your recommendations!


2. I am traveling to the US for the first time (Brazilian girl, here) and I will be going to Atlanta for a work event. I don’t know much about the city and would like some reading recommendations to get to know a little bit about it.

If you can recommend some contemporary fiction – I looove walking through a city and finding places from books – that would be great. Since I have a History degree, I am totally down for history books as well.

I am not the biggest fan of historical romances but I am glad to read them if they can help understand the place a little more.

Thank you in advance. I really love the show and love getting my to-read list as immense as possible. Congratulations on doing a lovely podcast 🙂

All the best,


3. Hello lovely ladies!

It would be great if we could get some recommendations before June, but we understand you get a lot of requests so no worries if it’s late.

My book club reads two books with the same basic premise and compares how each author played with the concept. Past books include We All Looked Up & The Age of Miracles (coming of age in the apocalypse) and Annihilation & The Vorrh (mysterious forest changes you if you enter). We are currently reading a trio of portal fantasy with Every Heart a Doorway, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and Coraline. We are looking for suggestions for our next pair of books. You can get as creative as you want; we’re open to anything. Bonus points for books with queer characters and nothing too depressing, please.

Thanks and happy reading!!
Dual Wielding Book Club


4. Hello! I am a fairly new listener to your show and love it, keep up the great work.

So, I have had a hell of a year. My husband was diagnosed with cancer in January and passed away in April. My mother was diagnosed with Dementia in February. To say my life has been turned upside down is an understatement.

I have always been an avid reader. I can read anything and usually do close to 100 a year. But, since all of this I only seem to be able to read books about death and dementia. I don’t care if it is fiction or not, in fact I would like to bring some fiction into it as I have been leaning on Non-fiction so far. But they give me comfort. Since my husband passed I have started and put down about 30 books. The only 3 I have been able to read, and loved were:

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
The Best of Us by Joyce Maynard
The 36 Hour Day by Nancy L Mace

I want more. As I said, fiction is fine too. Just being able to relate to the story is comforting right now. I love to read and have been so frustrated. I thought I could read some brain candy to help me escape, but I haven’t been able to. So, acknowledging that I need to read this very specific niche, I thought I would pass it to you ladies for ideas.

Thank you!


5. Hi Amanda and Jenn,

I have listened to you from day 1 and enjoy your podcast a lot. I wrote once before but it was roughly 120 podcasts ago so I think I might be cleared to ask again.

Our immigration policy is clearly a long standing human rights violation and I hate it but I also feel really uninformed on what might be better so I’m looking for books. There are countries many of these asylum seekers are from (Honduras and El Salvador are referenced a lot) and I vaguely know the US has interfered in Central/Latin American countries over the years. My working assumption is we have contributed to the socio-economic issues but I’d like to be more informed on the history and what might be done to better stabilize the region. Additionally I’d like to read about how we as a country could have a more open and humane immigration system that didn’t cage families and add to their trauma.

I’ve tried some googling but it isn’t working and while I’d love to go around tweeting at smart people asking them to help me that might be rude.



6. I’m looking for a book club pick! To start, book club rules say that it should be by a woman with a female POV/focus.

I recently turned 25 and am having a traditional Millennial mid-twenties crisis. I would love to read and discuss a book that talks about that kind of moment in a way that touches on my current struggles (recently quit a job, confused about life direction, romance on the back burner but is that really where I want it to be, am I a real adult yet…….?!?!) but that can also be enjoyed by the women in my book club who are rather past that moment (think age 30 and married with children). Please nothing that is overly goofy or dismissive or disingenuous or preachy. I would prefer something that is not based around only romantic relationship(s) or lack thereof but also isn’t just about “single girl making it in the big city.” I would like something that might end optimistically but doesn’t tie everything up in a perfect neat bow, because life. I’m thinking of something kind of in the vein of The Bell Jar but without the complete mental breakdown.

I feel like these parameters lean towards a novel or memoir, but a short story or essay collection would be totally welcome too. We’ve recently had a lot of success with short story collections in the book club.

Am I being way too picky? Sorry! It’s only because I don’t know exactly what I am looking for and am currently in a major reading slump! Feel free to take some of these requests more lightly and just use your expert judgement.

Thank you, thank you!


7. Hi! Firstly, I just wanted to say that I recently started listening to the show and I love it! I’m currently trying to make my way through the entire backlog, but I’ve only managed to listen to around 14 episodes so far but I’m determined to listen to them all. Anyway, I’m a big mood reader and now that summer’s here all I want to read is YA contemporary romance set during the season. I recently read Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian and loved it, especially due to the feminist themes in the book. Kasie West, Morgan Matson, Jennifer E. Smith, and Maureen Goo are all hit or miss with me and the only contemporary author I’ve consistently enjoyed is Sarah Dessen. Do you have any recommendations for YA contemporary romances with feminist themes? I prefer YA but I’m also willing to try adult if you know of any really good ones.

Thank you!


Books Discussed

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Glass and Gardens, edited by Sarena Ulibarri

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler

Advice for Future Corpses by Sallie Tisdale

I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck

Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli

The Empire’s Old Clothes by Ariel Dorfman

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Hammer Head by Nina McLaughlin

Nothing Happened by Molly Booth

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy