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This Is An Angst-Free Zone

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Amanda and Jenn discuss books about witch trials, X-Files read-alikes, rainforest stories, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

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The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris (TW for racism and death of a child) (rec’d by Ashley)

The Cat, the Quilt, and the Corpse by Leanne Sweeney; Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs; Lowcountry Boil by Liz Talbot; The House on Tradd Street by Karen White (rec’d by Laura)

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; Certain Dark Things by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (rec’d by Cari)


1. Hi! Thanks for your podcast. I love it! My request is about the country of Turkey. I have never been and don’t know when I might get to travel there but I would love to learn about the culture of Turkey. I generally prefer fiction but I’m open to any genre. I have also been enjoying memoirs/biographies lately. 

Many thanks!


2. I just finished the Once and Future Witches and loved it.  I’d be interested in reading more on the Salem witch trials from the feminist perspective…but I would want the non-fiction to feel a lot more like fiction. 


3. I’m not sure if what I’m looking for even exists, but I figured it was worth the ask!

I unironically adored the X-Files short story collections edited by Jonathan Mayberry. There were three of them (Trust No One, The Truth is Out There, and Secret Agendas.) And I’ve listened to them over and over again.

I’m looking for something, really anything, but preferably short story collections, that scratch that itch of weird, paranormal, urban folklore, and cryptids. (Bonus points if there’s a mothman appearance.)  

I’m not stuck on traditional America folklore and cryptids, though I do love them, I also love the stories of Indigenous people and other countries and people.

I’m not super interested in the government storylines.

My favorite stories were: Snowman, Perithicia , Desperately Seeking Mothman, Non Gratum Anus Rodentum, and Loving The Alien.  

Please nothing with sexual assault. 

Thank you,


4. Hi Amanda and Jen! So I just finished The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune and omg it was exactly what I needed right now. Normally I am into fantasy/scifi/horror but with everything going on in the world I guess I just needed a literary hug which was The House in the Cerulean Sea did for me. Do you have any read alike recommendations of just some feel good happy books?  Preferably not mainly romance but I would give it a shot if you felt strongly about it. Bonus points for diversity and found family themes. 


5. I have read all of Louise Penny’s mysteries, Agatha Christie mysteries and Sherlock Holmes stories..  I like mysteries that feature a competent detective who doesn’t have a lot of angst.  Hercule Poirot is a detective that I think fulfills that requirement.  Recent authors that I have liked are Hans Olav Lahlum whose detective is working with a wheelchair bound woman who is brilliant and serves as his advisor, mysteries by John Farrow and Louise Luna.  I have also read all of Tana French, Peter Lovesey, Deborah Crombie and Peter Robinson. 


6. Hi Amanda and Jenn – 

First off, love love love your show! It really has expanded my reading shelves the past year and half, and I am forever thankful to you for introducing me to so many wonderful authors and stories. 

That being said, I’m in need of a recommendation. I read The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins last year, and it quickly became a favorite of mine. I finished the book with this feeling of “what did I just read!?”, and to this day I still don’t know how to articulate it to friends when I tell them they should read it. It’s weird and wonderful and complex and I cannot get it out of my brain even after a year of reading it. 

When I really think about it, the use of God’s/mythology intertwined in everyday life and the impacts on the unsuspecting citizens is what really piqued my interest. But I also loved how random the plot line seemed until all the little strings came together. 

I’ve read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and it semi-scratched the itch. It was good and I enjoyed it, but I was able to figure out the plot line before the book was finished. My go to genres are obviously fantasy/sci-fi and I love mythology of any kind mixed in. I have Gods of Jade and Shadow queued up in my Kindle to read next (thanks to your recommendations), but I’m really at a loss for what to read to fill the hole in my heart that this oddity of a book left.

Any ideas?  

Thanks so much! Stay safe during all of this craziness! 


7. Do you have any recommendations for own voices novels that take place in rainforests (preferably in South America)? I’ve been enjoying reading books set in the Amazon lately, but everything I find is written by white people from western countries and it feels kind of gross. Nonfiction and fiction are both great, I just really enjoy the setting. Thanks!       P.S. – I know you skip reading praise on the air so I put this at the end but I want to tell you that I love your podcast. It’s really expanded the types of books I read and I’ve found many I enjoy.


Books Discussed

My Name is Red by Orham Pamuk, transl. Erdag M Goknar

Kedi, dir. Ceyda Torun

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak (cw: attempted sexual assault, prison abuse and torture)

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

The Unidentified by Colin Dickey

Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

Two Dark Moons by Avi Silver

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Lady Sherlock by Sherry Thomas 

Circe by Madeline Miller (tw sexual assault, child abuse)

The Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee (cw: coercion, rape, violence)

Affections by Rodrigo Hasbun, transl by Sophie Hughes (tw: nazis)

City of Beasts by Isabelle Allende, transl. Margaret Sayers Peden