You Can Just Like Stuff

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

Jenn and guest Kelly Jensen discuss books about moving on, animal narrators, colors in fiction, and more in this week’s episode of Get Booked.

Follow the podcast via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (rec’d by Sophie, seconded by Ariel, and thirded by Elizabeth)


1. Hello! I recently got myself out of a pretty difficult, all-encompassing rollercoaster of a long-term relationship that dominated most of my 20s. This year I’m turning 30 and graduating from library school, so I would love any recommendations about starting a life and doing things that are right for me after not having done so for a while. I’m pretty solitary by nature, so I’m not really concerned about spending time by myself, but would love to read something about people getting in touch with their interests and values, developing a personal community, or just generally creating a life they enjoy. I’m open to pretty much any genre, fiction or nonfiction, and bonus points for any discussions of LGBTQ themes (I’m bi and nonbinary), food, film, or music, as those are all things I’m looking to explore more. Some books I recently added to my TBR are The Queer Art of Failure by Jack Halberstam and How to be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky. Thanks so much for all of your great recommendations over the years!


2. I just finished the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Even though it was suspenseful, I just felt cozy the whole time. I think I finally have a comfort series! I also loved the romance subplot with David and Stevie. Can you recommend other cozy reads similar to this series? I prefer fiction, it can be YA or Adult. Bonus points if it’s a series, but standalones are welcome too!


3. Hello! I was wondering if you knew of any “talking animal stories” (e.g. Redwall or the Tale of Despereaux) that didn’t have European animals / a Western setting?  I’m mainly finding folk tales, which are good, but not quite what I’m looking for (would like longer, overarching plot).  Middle grade, YA, adult are all fine; open to either epic fantasy (like Redwall) or more fairy tale esque (like Despereaux).  Any level of danger or villainy is fine so long as there is a happy ending.  Thank you so much!


4. Hello! I teach middle schoolers! I am looking for a new book for a Group read, for a class that is comprised of about a dozen 6-8th grade boys who have good decoding skills, but struggle with comprehension skills because they are all on the autism spectrum. I loop with these guys year to year, so I’ve had some of them in the past and then a few are new each year. They do a lot of independent, choice reading as a part of the class, but I like having a few group reads because it gives us some common experiences as we learn about reading strategies, literary devices, and text features. Books they have loved are Hatchet and anything by Gordon Korman and Alan Gratz. They love graphic novels as well. They don’t love books with characters on the autism spectrum (we’ve had some great discussions about this). I’m looking for a book with some diversity that will be engaging and fun, but not an overly complex plot since comprehension is a challenge. Bonus points for something with a great audiobook or film version that I could use to help support their understanding. 


5. I work in a profession with a lot of older men in leadership positions (like all professions it seems, really), though the younger generation now starting has many more women. I recently took on a leadership position, and the good-ol-boy club I now have to deal with sometimes makes me want to SCREAM! I am ashamed to say that I haven’t done a lot of feminist reading, but my recent experiences have made me realize I need to correct this error. I also want to build a library for my daughter to use as she gets older. I would love any recommendations regarding where to start and also what every good feminist library should include! If you have already answered this question, a simple direction to the episode number would be great. Thank you so much, 


6. I need a slump buster – I’ve been thinking about what some of my all-time favorites have in common and these are some qualities I’ve noticed:

– Highly sensory descriptions of creatives/artists doing their thing – it doesn’t matter what type of art or if it’s central to the story. For example, I loved the paper art in The Time Traveler’s Wife and the poetry and art in White Oleander.

– Someone really putting in the creative/craftsmanship work and/or detailed descriptions of the process, not just automatically creating a masterpiece (Daisy Jones & The Six – the song-writing portion, The Night Circus, The Animators)

– Literary Fiction Chunksters – I realized when I read a BookRiot article (50 Must-Read Books of More Than 500 Pages) that most of my favorite reads are really long. I like when the author has the time to write detailed, evocative sentences.

It can be fiction or non-fiction (I liked the learning curve elements of books like Hammerhead and The Electric Woman), any time period. Bonus points for female characters and a setting outside of the Western world. Please no washed-up-artist-cheats-on-wife plot points.

Thanks for all the inspired reading you’ve brought into my life!

-Steph O

7. Hello,

This might be a tricky one, but my best friend recently started studying the science and symbolism of colors. She picked out some articles, informative books, essays, and so on. She’s having a hard time, though, finding fictional books that involve this topic. She asked me for suggestions and I told her about Monday’s Not Coming because the main character links things to colors very often in that book, but she wants more recommendations. She mostly reads literary fiction, magical realism, and weird stuff. She’s fine with mysteries or sci-fi, but she doesn’t really enjoy romance. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance 🙂


Books Discussed

Joyful by Ingried Fetell Lee

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen (cw: dementia in a parent, loss of a parent)

Charlotte Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

Library of the Dead by TL Huchu (cw: harm to children, racist policing)

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa


BEASTARS by Paru Itagaki

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

Black Heroes of the Wild West by James Otis Smith

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu

O Beautiful by Jung Yun

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan (cw death by suicide)

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass (cw: death of a pet)