Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Weird Number of Snakes

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Jenn and Amanda recommend nature writing, travel narratives, queer horror, and more on this week’s Get Booked!

This episode is sponsored by The Killing Forest and Shadow Hour.

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The show can also be found on Stitcher here.

Need a book recommendation? Fill out the form at the bottom of the post, or email and we’ll help!


1. I’m searching for some books for my fiancee – I’ve recently gotten him started reading again via audiobook on his hour-long commutes. He says it’s the first time he’s enjoying reading since junior high.

So far he’s listened to As You Wish by Carey Elwes, the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams, and he’s currently in 3/4 of the way through Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Do you have any recommendations that include elements of humor, tech/scifi/gaming, and/or strategy, especially if they are good audio reads? Fast-paced would also be a huge plus. 🙂
(If you have any gut-feeling suggestions outside those parameters, I’d love to hear them and have him give something new a shot.)

Bonus question, humorous graphic novels? I gave him my copy of Chew Vol. 1, and he read it in ONE SITTING. I’d love to get him a book with similar vibes for Christmas. 🙂

Thanks! I love your show, and I love all the other listeners for having such fascinating requests.


2. Three of my friends and I are heading out for a week-long backpacking trip in Yosemite this summer. We’re in for some grueling, sore days and we thought it would be nice to reward ourselves each evening by reading aloud to each other.

I’m trying to come up with the perfect thing (or things) to read. I was thinking that short stories or essays would be easiest, but am definitely open to other options. I’ve known our group to mostly read literary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, and memoir. (No one’s really big on sci-fi, romance, mystery, or other genres.)

I know that Terry Tempest Williams has a book about National Parks coming out a week or so before our trip that might be a good fit. I’m also considering Wild, even though at least two of us have already read it. (We both loved it and would probably be happy to revisit.)

The only non-negotiable is that it must be available for Kindle or as an e-version that I can put on my kindle.

I think we’ll be reading for roughly a total of seven hours, give or take.

Please LMK if you have any further suggestions. A tie into nature/wildlife/the outdoors might be nice, but isn’t required.

Need recommendations no later than June 1, please!


3. I’ve been listening to all the Book Riot podcasts for awhile now and figured I would throw in a request for a recommendation!

I’m currently a college student preparing a trip to Europe this summer. I have about 3 weeks and am busing around and visiting many cities (London, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Munich) and am looking for books of any kind that might give me a better understanding of the places that I’m going to visit.

By this, I don’t mean kitschy travel books. I’m thinking something in the vein of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast or Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad (both of which I picked up at a local bookstore today.) This could be fiction that takes place in these cities, nonfiction travel writing about these cities, travel writing in general. Anything works!


4. Hello Get Booked! My cousin was incarcerated two years ago for a five year term. I have recently been writing him and would like to send him something to read. I don’t want to send him “how to fix your life” books but I would like to send him something that would expand his thoughts on the world. Nothing too complicated but an accessible book with a point. Thank you in advance.

–Jerome Wireman (Not my real name, S. King character)

5. Hello Amanda and Guest, I love the show Empire and wanted to know if you have any recommendations for books with a lot of drama and characters with no filter like Cookie Lyon. Another request is if you could recommend some queer horror. This request is inspired by the Portlandia sketch where the women in the bookstore tell their intern to stop alphabetizing the books because kids that come in won’t be able to find the queer horror. Love the podcast and keep up the vital work.


6. Hi – I am a huge romance fan and have convinced a friend who looks down on the genre to try one so she can see what they’re all about. If you could pick only one book to introduce someone to the romance genre, what would it be?

Thanks and I love the podcast!


Books Discussed!

The Martian by Andy Weir
Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
The Boilerplate Rhino by David Quammen
An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie, transl by James Kirkup
Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by Andre Aciman
Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
Zone by Mathias Enard, translated by Charlotte Mandell
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (rec’d by Liberty)
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford – see also, Liberty
Incarceration Nations by Baz Dreisinger
Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello
Out by Natsuo Kirino, trans Stephen Snyder
Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez (Danika)
Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
Queers Destroy Horror, Nightmare Magazine
Lambda Literary, 6 of the Scariest Queer Horror Books Ever
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Unveiled by Courtney Milan
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips