Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Unicorns And Rainbows Coming To Eat You

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Amanda and Jenn discuss readings on motherhood, Star Wars read-alikes, novels about twins, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy and OwlCrate.

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




1. My husband and I are going on a belated honeymoon adventure at the end of August/early September. We are starting in London, then heading to Croatia, and ending the trip in Tuscany. I am looking for books set in these places. I typically read contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers. I gravitate towards realistic – sorry, no Game of Thrones ;). I also enjoy a good memoir. Thank you so much for your recommendations!

(FYI, some favorites: Tell the Wolves I’m Home, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Dark Places, Burial Rites – thanks to you two!, The Poisonwood Bible, Dear Fang With Love)


2. Hi there! I’m having my first child, a boy, in August 2017. I’m not with the father (who will remain uninvolved), the baby was unplanned, and I will be transitioning from a full time job in downtown Nashville to a remote position in a tiny town in Ohio. I’m looking for books applicable to my situation (early thirties, single motherhood, liberal and cognizant of the need to raise a thoughtful, independent thinking, and respectful white son who is being born during a time when the country is under terrifying leadership). Fiction or non-fiction welcome! I’m a big fan of the site and can’t wait to hear your suggestions.


3. Hi! I’m a college professor and my wife and I are expecting a baby in July, so I’ll have a semester off for the first time in a long time. While I’m sure most of it will be spent sleepless with a baby, I’m also hoping to get in some good reading for fun. In the summer, I tend to love ridiculous sun-soaked literary fiction like The Vacationers and Seating Arrangements. Otherwise, I read/listen to a lot of sci-fi/fantasy and LGBTQ lit. I loved the Argonauts and would love to read more about queer families or parenting. I also recently read The Expanse series and All the Birds in the Sky. What should I read while I’m home with a little one to prevent me from being lonely and crazy?


4. My boyfriend is suuuuper into Star Wars. We first bonded over a love of reading, but the vast majority of his already-read pile is Star Wars novels – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve been enjoying trying to expand his palate. He claims he’ll try anything, just never knew where to start, and has already borrowed the Lunar Chronicles from me and really loved it. I also gave him Night Circus (because it’s my favorite), but that one seemed to go over less well – his comment was “I can see why you love it so much.” The thing I’m noticing, however, is that my personal collection leans much more towards fantasy and fairy tale retellings than sci fi, and I was wondering if you had any ideas of sci fi that *isn’t* Star Wars that he might like. He especially enjoys explorations of people in the Empire, I know he was really excited for the recent book about Thrawn, and he loves Lost Stars by Claudia Grey.

Thanks in advance!


5. I have a yen to read more short stories, but I am finding myself at my wit’s end trying to find any good collections that suit my reading interests.

I really fell in love with short stories recently reading “Diving Belles” by Lucy Wood, and then I absolutely loved “American Housewife” by Helen Ellis. Both these collections contained relatively short, engaging short stories. I think the common factor is that they are primarily about women, and are thoroughly charming. There is darkness without being too much of a downer, but they are not sappy “Chicken Soup for the Soul” type reads, which I don’t judge, but don’t enjoy.

I don’t know if I have far too particular tastes, or I just don’t know where to look next. I tried to read some Neil Gaiman short stories and I’m not really thrilled so far, although I am not giving up yet!

Help! I don’t even know where to look next.

Kind regards,


6. Hello! My older sister recently asked me for book recommendations because she feels like she doesn’t have any hobbies. She is in a very different place in life than I am, so I’m not sure what to suggest. She works, is married, and has three kids, all under the age of 8, so she doesn’t have a ton of free time. I think the last time she read fiction was 12 years ago, when we were living together and I had my books all over the apartment. Back then, she enjoyed historical fiction set in South Asia (e.g. The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan). She and her husband are now in the process of building a house, and she has always been very interested in interior design (she loves Pinterest and tells me I should have throw pillows). She also loves to cook and she took a baking class once. Any ideas? Her birthday is coming up in July so I hope you can answer before then. Thanks so much!


7. Hello!

I’m a little worried that my request may be kind of tricky. I’d like to buy my Dad a book for his upcoming birthday. The problem is that while he enjoys reading, he is prefers short novels with straight-forward writing styles. I think that this is because he’s dyslexic and gets a little overwhelmed when texts are too “flowery” in their writing style or have a reputation for being “intellectual.” He tends to only read a couple books a year (usually the ones I give him) so I feel a bit of pressure!

I’ve had a lot of luck in the past with John Steinbeck (he liked the Pearl but loved Of Mice and Men). He enjoys books with historical elements. He’s from Northern California and he gets a kick out of reading books set in landscapes that he knows and loves.

Are there books out there that fit some of these guidelines? I know that Steinbeck’s canon has a lot of books with these elements, but I don’t think my Dad will sit through East of Eden or the Grapes of Wrath, and I’d like to try something a little different.

Thank you so much!


8. I love reading stories about siblings, particularly twins. Got any suggestions?



Books Discussed

Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian (out August 22 2017)

Behind the Throne KB Wagers

Girl at War by Sara Novic

NW by Zadie Smith

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Saga Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Tender by Sofia Samatar

Single Carefree Mellow by Katherine Heiny

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

The Girl From the Garden by Parnaz Foroutan

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson (recommended by Liberty)

California by Edan Lepucki

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger