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Amanda and Jenn focus on books set in Chicago, love-to-hate-them protagonists, magical realism, and extra on this week’s episode of Get Booked.

Observe the podcast through RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright (rec’d by John)

Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages by Phyllis Rose (rec’d by Amanda)

What is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi and Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (rec’d by JB)


1. I’d love some suggestions for books set in Chicago. I used to stay within the metropolis and have been discovering myself lacking it these days. Since I gained’t have the ability to journey there anytime quickly (thanks, COVID), I’m hoping to learn one thing that can enable me to go to with out the precise journey.

I normally desire to learn literary fiction, memoir, historic fiction, and narrative non-fiction, however I’m pretty open when it comes to style (would like to not enterprise too far into SFF although).

Crucial factor is that the books which are Chicago-centric and seize the essence of a selected place and/or time within the metropolis.

Books I’ve Already Learn Set in Chicago: The Satan within the White Metropolis; The Time Traveler’s Spouse; Native Son; Divergent; There Are No Kids Right here; The Heat of Different Sons; The Home on Mango Avenue; A Raisin within the Solar; Twenty Years at Hull Home; Gang Chief for a Day; By no means a Metropolis So Actual; The Good Lady; Turning into; The Story of Jane



2. I’ve at all times been the “fall laborious, fall quick” sorts in a relationship. Me and my boyfriend have been collectively for nearly two years now and I’ve recognized for the reason that first day that I used to be utterly in love. He’s extra of the “take issues sluggish and benefit from the second” form of particular person. We stay collectively and acquired a home collectively final 12 months. We’re in a critical relationship and speak about our future as life-partners, however I can’t recover from how a lot I need to get married. I don’t know what it’s about this completely antiquated concept, however I give it some thought on a regular basis. He used to say he wasn’t positive about getting married attributable to points in a previous relationship and his worry of getting damage/loss, however over time we’ve moved into speaking about marriage as “once we get married.” Regardless that he’s developed, I do know marriage continues to be far-off within the playing cards for him. I’m on the lookout for suggestions, fiction or nonfiction, to assist me be affected person whereas ready for him to get a spot the place he’s prepared or one which reveals me that the long run I would like is feasible and even that partnerships don’t must be outlined by marriage. I’m not on the lookout for something to criticize my need to be married (as a result of sure, I do know the craving is ludicrous), however one thing to maintain me hopeful in regards to the future. I really like most genres, particularly thriller, thriller, literary fiction or the ill-named “chick-lit”. Aside from Pink, White and Royal Blue, I don’t love romance (although I’m tolerant which I do know is admittedly foolish contemplating my query) and don’t love what I’d think about “foofy” novels which are all rainbows and butterflies and irrational hope or cheeriness. I like critical plots, in-depth tales and am a sucker for a protracted e-book.

Hope this isn’t too tough contemplating all my caveats and that you simply don’t take too lengthy, as a result of I’m clearly impatient. (Lol, simply kidding.)

You guys are superb and I’m so grateful to your podcast.


3. I’m re-watching the TV present Home, and Gregory Home is one in every of my favorite characters ever. It obtained me fascinated by how I’d like to learn a personality like him. An clever curmudgeon, typically you like him typically you hate him and will be humourous and charming. A sidekick like Wilson is a bonus.

What books have a like to hate/hate to like protagonist? The character doesn’t have to be male. And please, no Poirot or Holmes.

Literary fiction, thriller/thriller and light-weight science fiction welcome. No fantasy please.

Thanks and comfortable studying!


4. Hey Women! Thanks for the podcast! I’ve discovered so many pretty books from listening to your suggestions.

I hoped you can assist me with discovering extra memoirs to take pleasure in. I’m not a giant nonfiction reader usually, however have actually discovered that memoirs (or essay collections on private experiences?) actually communicate to me. Enormous bonus if I can get it in audio, particularly if it’s learn by the writer. 

Some that I’ve learn and beloved (largely really useful right here or on All of the Books) are Black Widow, The Clancys of Queens, You’ll By no means Imagine What Occurred to Lacey, Options and Different Issues, Born a Crime, Who Thought This Was a Good Thought?, Educated, Possibly You Ought to Speak to Somebody, A Man And not using a Nation, Marathon Girl, and Furiously Comfortable (which is really what began this).

I’m a long-time listener, so present favorites and more moderen suggestions are possible on my record. In scripting this I’ve realized that my itemizing is fairly US-centric and largely Black or White authors. I’m open to extra of the identical, however in case you have any good recs from authors of different backgrounds/nations, that’d be very welcome too.

I’m not in opposition to graphic novels (I additionally learn and was floored by John Lewis’ March), however I don’t suppose that’s what I’m on the lookout for. I’m additionally not usually tremendous excited about celeb memoirs, until they’re one thing like Born a Crime which absolutely stands by itself.



5. I would like y’all’s assist discovering a lush, whimsical magical realism e-book. I beloved Smoke by Dan Vyleta, The Minimalist by Jessie Burton and Issues In Jars by Jess Kidd. I really like luxurious, wealthy writing and am at all times drawn to the Gothic tales the place a home, metropolis, place are a personality. 

Full excessive fantasy is usually a lot for me, however the enjoyable magic/whimsy/spirits/and so on only a contact outdoors of actuality is what I really like. I really like the present – thanks a lot for the assistance!


6. So I’ve simply completed Reverb by Anna Zabo which Jenn really useful within the Handsell a few weeks in the past. I devoured the primary half of the e-book so quick—the characters’ chemistry and buildup is simply so good—nevertheless for the latter half, I consciously took my time and savored every web page. I used to be full of dread whereas studying the final couple of pages, I simply didn’t need to bid goodbye to those endearing characters. However all good issues should come to an finish, proper? Now I don’t suppose I can ever discover one thing throughout the style that’s nearly as good as this.

These have been my working ideas up till I tuned in to ep 269 immediately and realised that assist is correct in entrance of me, or in my ear or no matter. Similar to what you probably did within the Handsell, I hope you can provide me one other unproblematic queer modern romance fiction that’s nearly as good as Anna Zabo’s or higher. Possibly one with a great deal of angst—the one factor Reverb kinda lacks. 

Bibliotherapy helped (and nonetheless serving to) me address the pandemic and our nonetheless ongoing lockdown. I’ve been listening to your previous and up to date episodes each workday since I found your podcast 2 weeks in the past, actually superb stuff you’ve obtained going, Cheers!


7. I retired late summer time 2020 from my job of 15 years.  I had not deliberate to take action, however price range cutbacks associated to COVID, and job frustrations sped up the choice.  I now discover myself adrift in my private life and my studying life as nicely.  I desire a e-book that displays my stage of life, re-invention, and transferring ahead.  I additionally like quirky characters who discover happiness and function in opposition to the chances.   Some favorites up to now few years.  Brit-Marie Was Right here, A Gentleman in Moscow, Hamnet, The Dutch Home, Elinor Oliphant is Fully Effective.  I really want a e-book to resonate proper now.  Any concepts?  


Books Mentioned

Chicago by Alaa Al-Aswany

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (tw: home abuse)

Serena Singh Flips The Script by Sonya Lalli (cw: home violence)

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (tw racism)

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (cw: conflict crimes)

Fairest by Meredith Talusan 

The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh (cw: home violence, self-harm, violence in opposition to ladies)

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Small Change by Roan Parrish (cw: dialogue of melancholy and self-harm)

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward (tw: suicide)

Dakota Blues by Lynn M Speer

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