What We’re Reading: April 7

What We’re Reading: April 7

Do you wonder what the Bookish team is reading? Do you want to take a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations. Tell us what you think in the comments!

If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Spring Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

Vengeance Road

Erin Bowman’s Western novel has me hooked. The protagonist, Kate, is on a quest for vengeance after her father’s murdered by a gang known as the Rose Riders. She’s fiery, hard-hearted, and hell-bent on putting bullets in each and every single rider. Bowman paints the West as an unforgiving, dangerous place and Kate is the perfect guide for readers wanting a tour of this action-packed world. —Kelly


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The Idiot

I started Elif Batuman’s The Idiot on a delayed flight last night, and became so engrossed in the protagonist’s voice that I all but forgot my travel woes. I can’t wait for this evening when I can curl up with a cup of tea (or maybe even a glass of wine) and escape back to Harvard’s campus in 1995. This is simultaneously a campus novel and a systems novel (in which the reader learns a fair amount about linguistics and semiotics), and I am having a blast reading it. —Elizabeth

Into the Wild

I decided to read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer after my environmental teacher recommended it to me. I only just started reading, but it’s already very interesting. It’s about wealthy, well-educated, 20-year-old Christopher McCandless’s decision to leave the life he knows to live a life of experience, which all leads to his body being found months later in a remote part of Alaska. Why did Chris leave? What happened to him during his journey? These are all questions that Jon Krakauer wanted to answer, which led him to follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by Chris. I think all teenagers at least once their life daydream about leaving school and just simply living. Most will probably just throw that thought away and focus on succeeding through college and life afterwards. However, Chris truly followed his dream, even if he never really got to tell anybody about it. I am really excited to continue reading this book and figure out what happened to him and what he could have possibly been thinking to take on this adventure. —Jillian

The Hate U Give

Although contemporary YA fiction is not usually something I reach for, it’s hard to pass up a book that has not only gone through an unprecedented auction for debut fiction but also one that comes highly recommended by some of my most trusted book advisors (aka daughters). It’s a powerful topical story with really well-drawn characters, particularly the main character Starr and her father, Mav. Starr is a teenager caught between two worlds: her home in the projects and her wealthy prep school. After she witnesses the shooting of her old friend Khalil by a police officer, both of her worlds are turned inside out. Her journey through the trial, and its effect on her neighborhood and on her relationships, feels authentic, and her struggles pull you into the story making it hard to put down. —Susan

Sweetest Regret

There’s still a nip in the air, so I think I can be forgiven for indulging in a Christmas novella so far out of the appropriate season. I don’t read many romance novellas, and I was truly impressed by how invested I felt in these characters after just a short glimpse into their lives. This was my first Meredith Duran book, but it definitely will not be my last. —Stephanie

Echolocation

Although the author is a dear friend and colleague, I am reviewing this book with an objective eye. Echolocation is a story about a dysfunctional family of women from the rural north of New York near Canada. These women each have a unique story of their own, but each tale revolves around their mother figure Marie. These women love and hate each other, and these emotions ebb and flow throughout the story. They do a great job of manipulating men, but not through sexual means. I could go on and on but I don’t want to spoil the book for you. The book is riveting and although I am not one for binge reading, I couldn’t put it down. —Barb

The Hut Six Story

I am currently reading The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes by Gordon Welchman. This nonfiction book is written by an insider at Bletchley Park in Britain as they pioneered breakthrough methods for breaking encrypted German wartime communications. I’m just getting started on this but I am already surprised at learning several new things—the availability of Enigma machines, the role of allied operatives in Poland, and the foundation of code-breaking tactics. There is another great tie-in for this book: The author and protagonist Gordon Welchman lived for decades in Newburyport, MA, just steps away the Firebrand Technologies/Bookish headquarters. The story is enlivened by archived TV interviews of local residents in Newburyport describing surprise interrogations of Gordon by “men in black” visiting his home as the layers of secrecy surrounding Bletchley Park were slowly peeled back after decades of silence. —Doug

The City in Which I Love You

​I’m revisiting one of my favorite books of poetry this week because it’s National Poetry Month. ​I first read Li Young Lee’s The City in Which I Love You when I was in graduate school. I fell instantly in love with the book, and especially the title poem and “This Room and Everything in It.” The poems are accessible without being simplistic and now, nearly 30 years later, I easily recall how moved I was the first time I read these poems and how the hair on the back of my neck rises again as it did then with the final stanzas of “The City in Which I Love You”:

Straight from my father’s wrath,
and long from my mother’s womb,
late in this century and on a Wednesday morning,
bearing the mark of one who’s experienced
neither heaven nor hell,

my birthplace vanished, my citizenship earned,
in league with stones of the earth, I
enter, without retreat or help from history,
the days of no day, my earth
of no earth, I re-enter

the city in which I love you.
And I never believed that the multitude
of dreams and many words were vain. —Myf

Quinn’s Book

A long time ago I read William Kennedy’s Ironweed, and loved it. Like that novel, and a number of Kennedy’s other books, Quinn’s Book is set in the author’s hometown of Albany, New York, though here the century is the 19th, roughly a half dozen decades prior to the time-frame of Ironweed and its sequels. Right from the get-go the period-pastiche language is rich, elaborate, convincing, and slyly fun. A sprawling Dickensian tale set against potent historical backdrops, including the Underground Railroad and Civil War, it follows the life of Daniel Quinn, orphaned as a teen, destined for a journalistic career. Like Pip in Great Expectations, who falls in love with Estella, Quinn falls for Maud Fallon early on, and I’ll need to read more to see how things turn out between them! —Phil


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Extraordinary Means

This week I am reading Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider, a novel about how love can overcome all, and the beauty of second chances. Lane was a typical high school senior focusing on college and his future at an Ivy League school. However, these plans come to a sudden halt when he discovers he has a rare form of tuberculosis and has to be sent to a sanatorium called the Latham House. Separated from everyone he loves, Lane tries to deny the situation that he is in and continues with his difficult work load, only to discover that his health is declining. He then finds Sadie, a girl that he once knew who has been at the Latham House for a while. The two become closer as they continue down their difficult path and try to fight their fates. This novel drew me in from its beginning pages and I have barely put it down since! I cannot wait for the remaining chapters. —Anne Marie

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