Crooked Book Recommendations, PART 3

Looking to expand your reading repertoire?

Check out the latest list of reading recommendations based on the subjects that the social justice podcast, Talk Crooked, tackles! This is the third installment, so make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Crooked Recommendations for the first 20 podcast episodes.


Episode 21: Sexuality, Remixed
Topic Addressed: Bisexuality
Rec: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published in 2017, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo became one of the first books I’d read where the main character was identified as bisexual and not just “confused”. Jenkins Reid introduces celebrity Evelyn Hugo in a whirlwind novel about love, identity, and persistence.

Episode 22: Make Sure Your Tank is Full; We’d All Like to Avoid Abuse
Topic Addressed: Love Languages
Rec: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

Carrie swears by the sentiments behind Chapman’s theories of love languages, in which there are five basic categories for how you display your love and affection to your partner. They are:

Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

As she explains in episode 22, each person has a primary love language, and by reading this guide, you can find out which one is yours, but also where the others rank for you. I haven’t read this one yet, but I will because of her recommendation!

Episode 23: Decadent Witches of the California Night
Topic Addressed: HIV-AIDS Epidemic
Rec: South of Broad by Pat Conroy or The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

No matter which of these novels you decide to read, prepare to have a tissue handy. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is not an easy subject to tackle, nor digest as you read- especially when beloved characters, such as Trevor and Simon, succumb to the disease.

Episode 24: I’ve Been Vaccinated, It’s Fine
Topic Addressed: Diseases That Have Shaped History
Rec: Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical by Anthony Bourdain or Pale Rider: The Spanish Flue of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney

I love historical fiction, and it tends to lend itself nicely to discussing diseases that have shaped history, but I honestly couldn’t think up a current release that would fit as a recommendation. So, I took to BookRiot for some book suggestions, and found two that not only made me want to read the books, but that were great examples for this episode. Typhoid Mary is a backlist novel from 2001, but being that she was directly mentioned in the episode, and that the late Anthony Bourdain wrote the relatively quick read, I thought it sounded like a must read. Then, I saw Pale Rider, which recounts the Spanish Influenza outbreak, and I thought it sounded like a book that was fascinating but would also make me cry, which is a fave combo of mine. If you’ve read either, please share your thoughts- otherwise, I’ll let you know when I get to them!

Episode 25: A Suave, White, Privileged Boy-Next-Door Nosepicker
Topic Addressed: Narcissism & Ted Bundy
Rec: The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas

Sure, there are plenty of fiction novels out there about narcissistic men who either get what they deserve or get off scot-free, but they won’t impact you the way The Killer Across the Table will. Here you’ll find many examples of what those real-life narcissists truly think about themselves and the reasoning behind their crimes. It’ll give you chills.

Episode 26: Death by Cheesecake from Your Fugitive Grandmother
Topic Addressed: Identity Theft by Murder
Rec: The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis

Overall The Girl in the Letter left me wanting something more, but no doubt this book is 100% fitting for the discussion of identity theft by murder. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but I will say this is why everyone should be suspicious of twins!

the shining evil twins GIF

Episode 27: An Oedipus Complex May Be Your Fate, But Needn’t Your Destiny
Topic Addressed: Fate and Destiny
Rec: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

This is one of my favorite episodes because as you all know, I love discussing new age topics. Carrie and Kae’s discussion on fate gave me goosebumps, and immediately made me think of this book. If you want to look within, this book is a fantastic guide to helping you find clarity and calmness in a hectic world, and figure out what your true path is.

Episode 28: Our Ears Our Ringing, It’s Time to go to The Alien Abduction Support Group
Topic Addressed: Schizophrenia and John Forbes Nash, Jr.
Rec: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weujun Wang

Kae and Carrie mention the man who influenced both a book and a movie, A Beautiful Mind. John Forbes Nash, Jr. was a brilliant mathematician who struggled with schizophrenia for decades, and author Nasar eloquently and honestly captured that struggle. The novel was given many literary awards, as well as a Pulitzer Prize nomination, and turned into an Academy Award- winning motion picture. Even though it’s a backlist novel, if you haven’t read it, you must, and then go watch the film. If you’ve already done so and are looking for something equally compelling, give The Collected Schizophrenias a read. It debuted in February 2019 as a collection of essays by the author, of her struggle with the ever-changing diagnostics and labels of the disease.

Episode 29: Stop Stomping in the McDonald’s, We Gotta GO.
Topic Addressed: Night Terrors and Nightmares
Rec: The Curious Dreamer’s Dream Dictionary by Nancy Wagaman

This is such a tough topic for me to find a great recommendation as so many popular novels have characters who experience nightmares and night terrors (think Divergent series, Hunger Games series, Harry Potter series) and so many authors who intend to give readers nightmares (Stephen King, Jay Anson, William Peter Blatty). Then there’s the fact that I (like many) have experienced nightmares and night terrors, and therefore I’m cautious of reading anything that may bring about such experiences.

So, I’m slightly pleading the fifth here, and recommending The Curious Dreamer’s Dream Dictionary! It may seem a little woo-woo, but Wagaman has compiled a great tool in ebook form, which you can carry on your phone, to reference any keywords that describe images from your nightmares. This may help you decipher what is at the root of the nightmares, which may help you avoid what causes them or work through what may be bringing them up.

Episode 30: Dick and Couch: Private Investigations
Topic Addressed: Rich vs Poor Bias in Court Sentencing
Rec: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

This book is extremely relevant to the Talk Crooked episode’s discussion, as this novel is centered around a company golden boy, a suspect murder, and four women who are trying to rise together to take down a sexual predator and master manipulator.

Now, it’s your turn- tell us what you think of these recommendations, and let us know if you have any to add!

And, don’t forget to check out the latest episodes of Talk Crooked, available on Anchor, SpotifySoundcloud or through your Apple and Android app stores. New episodes air every Monday, and Crooked News airs every Friday!

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