Emo Heroines

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Jenn and guest Louise Johnson discuss unconventional heroines, cozy Hanukkah stories, children’s books about tolerance, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by Book Riot’s Read Harder 2020 Challenge, Sponsored by Voracious and Little, Brown and Company, and Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi, with Fierce Reads.

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Feedback & Links

Paradox Bound by Peter Cline (rec’d by Stephanie)

Stephanie’s Get Booked spreadsheet: bit.ly/getbookedrecs

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (rec’d by Stephanie)

The Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie (rec’d by Stephanie)

The River by Peter Heller (rec’d by Elizabeth and Kayce)

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched by Amy Sutherland (rec’d by Molly)

Beyond Basketball: Keywords for Success by Mike Krzyzewski and Jamie Krzyzewski Spatola


1. Hello Jen and Amanda,

I’m STRUGGLING because everywhere I go right now (shops, bookstagram, etc) I’m seeing Christmas books, which is great except that I can’t relate because I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m Jewish but surprisingly, there are no ‘cosy cute and fun Hanukkah reads’ readily available to me.

I’m looking for some holiday reads that have that cozy feeling, and are funny and/or heartwarming but NOT centred around Christmas.

Books I like that have a similar vibe are A Christmas Carol, Moominland Midwinter, and most of Hans Christian Andersen’s books. I haven’t really read more contemporary fiction because I just haven’t been able to relate to it, but I would love if you could find something contemporary, bonus points if it actually has a Jewish character (double bonus if it’s written by or about a woman!)

Sorry for the long question! I love your podcast and look forward to seeing your recommendations.

-Diana 🙂

2. Hi all,

I am a philosophy professor at a large public school and I will be teaching a course called Ethics and Disability next semester. I would really like my students to read a #OwnVoices book by an author with either a visible or invisible disability that features a character with a disability. I would prefer a quick read, since the book will be a part of a larger syllabus. Either fiction or nonfiction would be fine!

Thanks so much! I love, love, love the podcast.

All the best,

3. Hi Amanda and Jenn,
I love listening to your show and it is often one of the highlights of my week. I have been in a reading funk for a while and am in need of some great recommendations to get me back to my usual book-lovin’ state. In particular, I am in the mood for historical fiction (only not medieval England stuff) and adventure (e.g. superheroes, pirates, swashbucklers, time travelers, etc.). I am partial to gutsy female heroines and read adult, YA, middle-grade, etc. But I’m not in the mood for graphic novels. Bonus points if you have recommendations for series. Thanks! 🙂


4. Hello! I discovered this podcast about two months ago and have completely caught up on all episodes. My TBR list has tripled as a result. I love listening and learning about new genres, authors, etc. You ladies make it so enjoyable and your energy is contagious.

I have two requests. The first is for children’s books that introduce children to the fact that families come in all different types. The second is for books about how boys and girls don’t need to only do “boy” things or “girl” things.
My daughter is 4 years old. My husband and I try our best to teach her that “love is love is love” and that boys and girls do not have to only like “boy” things and “girl” things. Lately she has made comments about how boys marrying boys is weird, or that boys can’t do ballet. I really don’t know where she is getting these ideas because I know in our house we don’t believe that. When she does make these comments, we correct her.
My husband I read to her every night. I am hoping for any kind of children’s book that can explain that families come in all types and that boys and girls can do what ever they want. I want my daughter to grow up with an open heart and open mind. Please help. Thank you.


5. Hi Jenn & Amanda!

I love history and especially enjoy reading about strong, smart female leaders and rulers. The vast majority of the books I’ve found are about English and French queens/mistresses/duchesses etc, or occasionally Cleopatra. I’d like to branch out and would love it if you could recommend books about powerful women of Non-European history. Any historical period is fine, although I usually gravitate toward ancient or medieval history. Nonfiction is preferred, but I would be open to well researched historical fiction as well. Thanks for your help!

6. Hi there!

I have a major book hangover from Hannah Kent’s “Burial Rites,” and would love to know about more books that are about and/or set in Iceland or Scandinavia more generally.

Time period is not important to me, I’m just fascinated by the landscape and culture. I’ll take fiction and non-fiction alike, as long as it’s interesting.

Apologies if you’ve already answered this question and I’ve just forgotten! I absolutely love your show and thanks for all the work you do at Book Riot!

-Chandra in Minnesota

7. I’m in grad school for teaching languages (English and Spanish) and have taken a few linguistics classes in both languages. I recently read ‘The Schwa Was Here’ by Neal Shusterman and am currently reading Ella Minnow Pea. I would love to know if there are more fiction books out there that play with language, whether with word play like Ella Minnow Pea or through personifying the language, as Mr Shusterman did. Some of my favorite reads are books about books so I would love to expand that to include books about language.


Books Discussed

Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell

Eva Ibbotson – Madensky Square or A Countess Below Stairs

The Pretty One by Keah Maria Brown

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Barton-Smith

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

The Curious Tale of The Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

Everything by Susie Day (Pea’s Book of Best Friends)

The Empress by Ruby Lal

The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

The Otherlife by Julia Gray

The Moomins by Tove Jansson

Lexicon by Max Barry

A Void by Georges Perec

My Name is Mina by David Almond