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Amanda and Jenn discuss historical fiction, quests, funny books, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

This episode is sponsored by The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy and Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives.

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




1. Hi Ladies!
I am about to set off for a yearlong adventure as an au pair in Paris, so I have two requests, one difficult and one easy. My first request is for book recommendations for the two girls who I will be taking care of. I would like to bring them something when I arrive (a shameless bribe) and books are easy to transport. The older one is 10 and is an avid reader and has read the first Harry Potter book in English. She had some struggles, but reads about the same as an American 10 year old. I’d love to get her a chapter book so I can help out with her reading and so she can feel super accomplished. She’s a huge Harry Potter fan and also likes graphic novels.

The younger girl is almost 9 and reads more like a first grader. She is not a reader but will sometimes pick up graphic novels. I’d love to find something cool to strike up her interest in learning English since according to her mother and previous au pairs, she understands spoken English, but has a tough time reading and speaking it. She is much more active and likes sports and board games.
My second request should be easy. I’d love some books to get me psyched up for the big move. Ideally, a fish out of water story set in Paris, either fiction or non fiction is fine. I loved Paris for One and Bringing Up Bebe and Me Talk Pretty One Day. I found Paris to the Moon a little tedious and My Life in France is already on my list. My favorite books are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Station Eleven and The Bone Clocks.


2. Hi Jenn and Amanda!

Love this show so much, my TBR grows exponentially after each episode.

I’m looking for some book recommendations for my younger sister, who is a bit of a reluctant reader but would like to read more because when she finds a book she she genuinely loves, she can’t put it down or stop talking about it and I want to help nurture her inner book nerd.

She likes historical fiction, and in particular books that follow a woman’s life over a long period of time. She prefers books set far in the past, like 300 years plus to ancient history, and has expressed that she would like books that deal less with “mainstream western history.”

Two books she has really loved are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, and we both loved chatting about these books together.

I’d love to pass along some more similar suggestions to her so we can do sister read-a-longs and book chats.

Thanks so very much!


3. Hello Get Booked,

I’ve just finished the latest entry in Kristin Britain’s Green Rider series and now have 3-4 long years to wait for the next one.

I’m wondering if you can recommend me some ‘woman goes on a quest/journey through a fantasy land’ books to make the wait easier.

(While I don’t mind a bit of pain and suffering on the way, I’m not a fan of relentlessy grim stories.)

I’ve already read everything by:
Robin McKinley
Tamora Pierce
Tanya Huff

Thanks in advance.


4. Hey ladies!

I’m looking for fiction (or even nonfiction) recommendations for books involving scientists and adventure. I’ve read The Signature of All Things, and The Lost City of Z, I really enjoyed both of those. I have also read The Unseen World, books similar to that are also welcome. I love science and history so anything historical is also a bonus. Thanks so much, I love the podcast!


5. My older brother is an enthusiastic reader and I read all the time. He still lives in our hometown in rural Wisconsin and I live in Boston. We’ve recently started building an adult relationship by talking about books. I want to introduce him to more diverse books. My brother’s favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird and Lonesome Dove, we read The Winter of Our Discontent together and he loved it. He takes his time reading, so it has to be something that will keep him interested over time. I want to expose him to more women/poc authors without alienating him.


6. Hello Amanda and Jenn,

I have always really enjoyed reading aloud (that is, as an adult reading aloud to other adults). With my parents, I have read the entire Harry Potter series and many Jasper Fforde books and found them especially enjoyable to share because of the cleverness and humor. However, I am now in a relationship with a man who not really a book person (and, yes, it took a lot for me to trust a man with no bookshelves in his home). He has indulged my interest in reading to him, but we have not found many books that appeal to him. We enjoyed The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd (one of my absolute favorites since I attended art school) and Daisy Fay and The Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg. I wanted to revisit Jasper Fforde with him but he is vehemently opposed to all things fantasy/sci fi (even magical realism). Any suggestions for books that would have that kind of smart Jasper Fforde humor but be more grounded in the real world?

I actually submitted this request close to a year ago and (unless I missed it somehow), it has not appeared on the show. In that time, the relationship I mentioned has turned into an engagement. So, as I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this non-reader, I would really appreciate some brilliant inspirations for read-alouds that will help me share my love of books with him.



7. Hello Amanda and Jenn!

I recently read Malinche by Laura Esquivel and, while I wasn’t actually a big fan of it (her writing style just didn’t do it for me), it left me hungry for more historical fiction that takes place in Mexico and Central America. I would love books that are Pre-Columbian, preferably written by people who are Latinx, and where the place/culture is a character. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!



8. I recently finished an advanced degree and am starting my own business. Thanks to some major hits to my self-confidence and some pretty significant imposter syndrome, I’m finding myself hesitant to move forward. I need to feel inspired and need a major confidence boost–but I can’t stand self-help books or anything that sounds like a self-help book. They make me roll my eyes and sometimes get thrown in disgust. I need to be inspired, not just told I should be inspired or fed a bunch of woo-woo bs. I hated Eat, Pray, Love with a passion hotter than a thousand suns, if that helps (and side note: I’m always glad to find those who felt the same way since at the time everyone else loved it). I’m open to fiction or non-fiction. Please help me find something to distract me from wondering who in the hell actually gave me me a law degree & licence and that will make me feel worthy. Thanks!

(As another side note, I’m also a former bookseller who desperately misses being in the know, so I’m loving all of the Book Riot’s podcasts!)

–NoName Because of Reasons



Books Discussed

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Dud Avocado by Helen Dundy

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan

Tombs of Atuan by Ursula LeGuin

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn

Four Souls by Louise Erdrich

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

Funny books flow chart from Slate

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian & Blood series #1) by Aliette de Bodard
(writing outside her own culture)

Girl Up by Laura Bates

Grit by Angela Duckworth