Riot Headline The Most Read Books on Goodreads This Week

That Went Off the Rails

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Amanda and Jenn discuss pioneer fiction, distraction reads, slashers, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love and First Lessons by Lina J. Potter.

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




1. Hello!
I am a literature and linguistics double major and am going to be taking 5 classes at an intensive this summer. I am looking for books that are easy to read and really draw you in. I love “The Vacationers,” “the Secret History,” and “the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” and am also a huge fan of classics but want something a bit easier to read than that. I am also looking for fiction books that take place during the rise of Irish Nationalism in the 1910s. I am reading Yeats and Joyce and would like books that will fill in a bit of background information.

Thanks so much!
–Quinn Elle


2. Hi,
I’m looking for a specific type of book that I’m at a loss of where to find. I love love love the Little House on the Prairie series and I have not been able to find any others like it! I enjoy reading about how people lived in the pioneer days. I recently read The Snowchild which was a story of survival as well and I enjoyed that too. Please find me some books similar to those! I like fiction, nonfiction, historical, YA is fine, but please no short stories, poems, or graphic novels. Thanks so much in advance, I look forward to hearing what you recommend!


3. Hi gals, I believe you have covered something like this before, but I am not sure how to really search for without going through every past episode. Hoping you can help me!

My cousin/bestie’s mother-in-law is starting chemotherapy and radiation and they would like to read something light and easy together. My cousin loved the Twilight series and she and her MiL like Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steele. Both of them, but especially her MiL are progressive and her MiL isn’t religious (my cousin believes in God but also isn’t overly religious). Do you have any uplifting books for them to read? I think they would prefer something that distracts them a bit from the cancer and the physical and emotional pain it causes, so I’d rather it not be about anyone dying or that focuses a large part of the plot on being ill. That said, if it is an uplifting story about someone overcoming a serious illness and you think it would be a good fit for them, I’d certainly consider it.

Thank you very much,


4. Hello Get Booked!

I’m a longtime listener of all things Book Riot and am coming to you for a recommendation for my mother, whose birthday is right around the corner (along with Mother’s Day).

To give you an idea, she’s an avid and curious reader who loves plants and gardening, food, historical fiction, cute/feel-good stories, and books with great writing. She also likes current books, books that are on the new releases/hot reads shelf at the library, that she hears about on NPR, etc. Some books that she’s really enjoyed have been Lab Girl, Stay With Me, The Sympathizer (loved the story/writing, didn’t like the ending), The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Goodbye Vitamin.

What she doesn’t like are books that are heavy-handed with their message or that have an unrealistic/unrelatable plot (she didn’t like The Nightingale, The Family Fang, or Manhattan Beach).

Hopefully that will help you/me out and I can nail her birthday gift this year!!

Thanks so much,


5. Hi! I have a book swap quickly approaching with a complete stranger. It’s a “slasher” themed swap (which I have understood to mean horror or dark psychological suspense). My partner has listed Stephen King, Grady Hendrix, Richard Laymon, Anne Rice, and James Newman as her favorite authors. She has read and enjoyed The Grip of It by Jac Jemc, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, Universal Harvester by John Darnielle, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. She did not particularly enjoy Final Girls by Riley Sager or Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones.

Could you recommend a book or two for this swap that would make her day? Thanks!


6. My sister is trying to get into reading and she keeps coming to me for book requests, which is great, but I’ve run out of ideas on what to suggest to her. She likes reading Nicholas Sparks, Sarah Dessen and John Green, but I believe at this point she’s read them all. She also thoroughly enjoyed Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, mostly because the plot line kept her interested and she loved the sections about the elephants. I got her Where’d You Go Bernedette for her birthday which she seemed excited for but she hasn’t read it yet. She loves the outdoors and animals and nature, she just needs a plot line that is going to keep her interested from beginning to end.

Thank you!


7. Hi Amanda and Jenn! I recently discovered this podcast and have been loving it. After binging several episodes, I was tempted to submit a request of my own. I’m in my late twenties and have never been in a relationship; the short way to put it is just that I make friends rather slowly, have never found the idea of romance that appealing, and haven’t yet met anyone to change my mind.

I do want a partner though and have tentatively started dating, but I’m not finding the process much fun. I wonder if you could recommend a sweet-hearted story with an older, skeptical or inexperienced narrator with a similar mindset and a happy ending. (In the ballpark of The Rosie Project maybe? Have read Persuasion and Attachments.) I have seen contemporary stories about online dating mishaps, but even humorous takes on this aren’t that encouraging for me. Obviously a Romance would be fine, but it’s also okay for the relationship to be off to the side (enjoy general fiction, mysteries, SFF, and historical fiction). I’m fine with straight or LGBTQIA, steamy bits are welcome, and actually I’ve had some luck with fantasy settings where relationships are arranged/necessary for magical health, etc. No YA and please no trigger warnings.


Books Discussed


The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

The Mothers by Brit Bennett


Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (TW: harm to children and basically everyone else also)

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf (rec’d by Liberty)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean