Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

The House Is Also An Ocean

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Amanda and Jenn discuss genre novels about older characters, read-alikes for Ted Lasso, and wanderlust in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

Follow the podcast via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil (rec’d by Jeff)

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan (rec’d by Linda)

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners by Therese O’Neill and The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way by Bill Bryson (rec’d by Angie)


1. Years ago I read the translation of the swedish book The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. It’s one of those underrated books that deserves more love. It’s a scifi novel featuring an older woman who moves into a senior home that is more than what it seems. Residents get the life of luxury and all their needs and dreams met, but they are required to go through weekly blood and drug tests and many participate in questionable experiments. It’s a book about trust, good and evil, the elderly, and how far things might go in the future. 

I would love to find more books featuring elderly folk, especially genre books (scifi, horror, thriller, suspense). I’ve read Fredrich Bachman, The Lido, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper – in other words (spoilers) charming, quaint books with happy, hopeful endings.  Can you recommend any books with a twist or uncertainty or a hint of something unexpected?  Thanks!


2. Hello Amanda and Jenn, big fan! Thank you for keeping me entertained through lockdown. My brother and I both love reading and keep trying to recommend books for each other but we have very different tastes. Books we have read this year that we thought might fit the bill for us both are:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (he loved and I struggled through). We both enjoyed The Examined Life: How we lose and find ourselves by Stephen Grosz and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl 

He prefers books that challenge him, that are eye opening/life changing and he’ll enjoy it if it’s really long. He likes non-fiction memoirs about war and classics that have stood the test of time. I adore what he likes to call ‘pop’ fiction; Crime, Thriller, Horror, anything recently published, fast paced and relatively short.

Can you suggest something that might work for us both? Thank you! 


3. TIME _SENSITIVE: Hello, I am going to Northern Maine with my husband for a makeshift honeymoon since ours was canceled from covid in June and I am looking for recommendations for books to read on the ride up from Philadelphia.  I am open to anything except horror, sci-fi and mystery

but something with National Park/nature feels would be nice. I would also request a Red Socks book for me (I know next to nothing on baseball but since we will be going to a game on the way to Maine and I would like to know something about the stadium or the team before going). Thank you so much and I can’t wait to hear what you can suggest. 


4. I am looking for a book (nonfiction or fiction does not matter) that talks about relationships between semi-distant dads and daughters. 

My dad left my mom for another woman (now my step mom) when I was 6, so honestly I was too young for it to be terribly traumatic. Now that I am grown up (I’m 27) we barely speak. My step brother came out as trans a few years ago and both my dad and step mom have responded terribly to it, which was the thing that made me really give up on having a relationship with my dad.  I am queer and my fiance is nonbinary, and when I have introduced my previous partners to him he just dismissed their pronouns and “didn’t get it.” He does not even know I’m engaged and I have not spoken to him in 2 years now. He recently reached out to me and wants to reconnect, but honestly I am at a point where I only want to put emotional energy into relationships that are fulfilling. 

So, I am looking for something with an estranged relationship between father and daughter, has queer themes/queer mc, and there does not have to be a redemption arc or anything. In fact, I would like something where the daughter gets closure with deciding to not maintain a relationship with her father. Maybe 1 nonfiction and 1 fiction?

Thank you!

-Kenna (she/her)

5. I realized recently that I kind of have Harry Potter as my ultimate favorite thing in my head as a default because like for others it was the first series I read that really drew me in and made me love the characters, etc, and I haven’t felt like I’ve ever found that with another series. 

I don’t exactly want a Harry Potter readalike because I know there are lots of those. 

I really want a book, preferably a series, preferably not fantasy, that has those same elements that make HP so lovable. A small cast of really well-developed characters, a really immersive and well-thought-out story, universal themes, found family, all that. I just want an adult version of it that will draw me in that way. 

Hopefully this isn’t some impossible ask. 

Thanks and love the show! 


6. I’m looking for books with the same feel as Ted Lasso. I don’t necessarily care if it is an American abroad story. I’m more interested in optimism, vulnerability, and humor. I don’t think I’m looking for “cozy” or “feel good” reads.  If I had to describe it, I would say I want the heart and vulnerability of Ted Lasso. 



7. A year into the pandemic and I am having a deep craving for books that help with my wanderlust. I’m looking for narrative non-fiction or travelogues to help transport me, but also integrate deeper understanding of a place’s history and culture.

Here’s some that I recently read that I’m still having a book hangover from:

1. Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey

2. Eat the Buddha:Life and Death in a Tibetan Town

3. Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover Americas New Melting-Pot Cuisine

4. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Here’s my good reads, thanks in advance!!!!


Books Discussed

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (cw: racial violence)

Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi (rec’d by Danika)

Man Alive by Thomas Page McBee

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)

Dead in the Garden by Dalia Donovan

Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (with thanks to Smexy Books

Window Seat by Aminatta Forna (comes out May 18)

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (tw: mental illness, suicidal ideation, sexual assault)