Amanda and Jenn discuss audiobooks for kids, debut fiction, and overlooked classics on this week’s episode of Get Booked!
1. I teach a concurrent enrollment college composition class for high school seniors. Part of the composition II syllabus for the spring semester involves covering literary analysis. In addition to the play (The Importance of being Earnest), poems, and short stories we will cover, I want to add a novel this year (preferably between 250-350 pages and easy to find). I was thinking of Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, but I was wondering about other options. I would prefer modern fiction, and it would be awesome if it’s discussion-provoking. Diversity is also a huge plus. However, I have less than three months to read and select a book! Please help! I love your podcast; keep up the great work, ladies!
2. Over the Thanksgiving holidays, my family will be embarking on a road trip from Wisconsin to Florida, and back. As our children are 4 and 6 years old, we are beginning to think about fun activities to keep them from going crazy on the car rides to and from home, and of course audiobooks are on the docket. We’ve had great success with audiobooks with them in the past on shorter trips, having listened to most of the Ramona Quimby series, other Beverly Cleary titles, and a bunch of Magic Tree House installments. However, I am in search of a few ideas that are kid-appropriate, but also have appeal for the whole family and wouldn’t drive my husband crazy at the same time. I am thinking about the first Harry Potter and possibly also a Roald Dahl title, but am wondering if you have any thoughts about other titles we could look into for the journey. We will not listen to books for the entire trip, so shorter titles are ideal – we don’t really need anything to span the whole 40 hours of driving time. Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
I love the show and listen every week!
3. My friend started a book club because she is an aspiring author (querying now!) and she wanted a mechanism to stay abreast of excellent, fairly new fiction and other women authors. We are focusing on literary fiction written by women within the last few years, preferably debuts. So far, we have read Everything I Never Told You and Dietland, and The Light Between Oceans is next for November. We have been shying away from brand new stuff because it’s hard for everyone to get hold of it.
I’m up to pick the book and lead the discussion for January, and I’m at a loss. I typically avoid debuts so this is a stretch for me. I prioritize a good discussion of themes and interpretation or implication (like if people disagree, that’s a plus to me). I would say that profanity, violence, and sex are not OFF the table, but if it’s gratuitous, it’s a turnoff.
I’d rather preview the book I select, and I need to share the choice by the end of November at the latest, so yikes, I’m on a deadline! I’m a fast reader, so I think if I got 4 recs by the end of October, and assuming I could get them from the library, I could power through them in time, at least well enough to make a call.
I read The Pearl that Broke Its Shell last year, and that might fit the bill, but I need to revisit it.
I did some googling and came up with these titles – would you co-sign any of these? You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt; Wash by Margaret Wrinkle; The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob; and 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino.
TL;DR: Literary fiction written by women between 2013-2015, debuts preferred, with good themes and ideas for discussion. Thank you for considering!
4. Hello! I am looking for some seasonal recommendations for the bookclub I am part of. We are meeting early November and I was hoping to have a good book suggestion to get us in the mood for Christmas as we will meet again in December. The only book we could think of was A Christmas Carol but that was immediately vetoed (“he was paid by the word”).
We are rather diverse in our preferred genres which makes it hard to choose a book but the most popular books we have read as a group are Sleeping Giants, Big Little Lies and The Girl on the Train. The book does not have to specifically be a Christmas book, but something seasonal would be great! Also, we are Canadian so not really looking for a thanksgiving theme as we celebrate in October 🙂
5. I am looking forward to the release of Rogue One later this year. I’d like to read some YA with action girls kicking butt with my daughter, aged 14. What can you suggest?
6. I was an English major in college, so I’ve read most of the basic classics. I’ve now finished law school and started my career and am finally able to read again! I would really like to get back into some good classics that are obscure enough that they wouldn’t end up on any course lists. (Classics isn’t the best term….timeless is probably better). I just feel a little lost! I’m caught up on contemporaries but don’t know where to start with these books!
I’ve never liked Jane Austen, and haven’t found a Dickens I’ve liked except for A Christmas Carol. I like mysteries, Jane Eyre, Holmes, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. My coursework was mostly women authors, so maybe I haven’t touched most of the males.
Thanks for the help!
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, narrated by Tony Shalhoub
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, narrated by Michael York
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis
The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan
The Reader by Traci Chee
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Archivist Wasp by Nicole Horner-Stace
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup
She by H. Rider Haggard
Orlando by Virginia Woolf