Staff Reads: November 10

Staff Reads: November 10

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 Fall Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

Little Fires Everywhere

I’m reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The cover really grabbed me with this one, and the opening lines hooked me all the way in. “Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.” Ng does an amazing job of building tension—who is Izzy, how does she fit in with the rest of her family, why would she burn down their house… did she burn down the house? As the story unfolds, it seems that there are plenty of potential arsonists who might retaliate against the Richardsons. I’m devouring this book to find out more. —Kristina

The Girl in the Tower

I’ve had a bit of reader’s block lately and this beautifully crafted follow up to The Bear and the Nightingale was exactly what I needed to jump-start my reading again. This trilogy is already on my top books to recommend list! —Tarah

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

I’ve been wanting to pick up this book by Jon Ronson ever since it came out. In it, Ronson tells the stories of people who have been publicly shamed in highly visible ways. From Jonah Lehrer to Justine Sacco,  it’s fascinating to read about these stories all in one place and note their similarities, and also what makes them each different. Ronson folds in a history of public shaming, and an explanation of how public shaming is something we all participate in. —Elizabeth


Sarah Crossan blew me away when I read One, and I was eager to dive into another one of her novels. This book follows a teenager as he travels to visit his brother, who is awaiting execution on death row. Crossan gives the topic the nuance it deserves, while also exploring themes of abandonment, flaws in the American justice system, and coerced confessions. It’s an important and heartbreaking novel. I’d recommend it to fans of Crossan’s other novels and readers who enjoy verse novels that tackle serious issues. —Kelly

The Handmaid’s Tale

I finished watching the remarkable Hulu series and so now I’m reading, again, The Handmaid’s Tale. I read it for the first time when I was in college. It was not my first Margaret Atwood book. I had loved her novels and poetry for a long time (Surfacing was my introduction to her). Certainly, The Handmaid’s Tale shook me when I read it all those years ago but it does even more so now. I believe Atwood is one of the finest living writers and her work from The Handmaid’s Tale to the Oryx and Crake series move beyond prescience into complete timeliness, which is terrifying to consider. —Myf

The Rules of Magic

I recently read The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, a prequel to her hit novel Practical Magic. In this book, we get the story of Jet and Franny, the aunts in Practical Magic, and their brother Vincent. Of course, the Owens family curse plays into the story—love and loss, and being true to oneself. Set in 1960s New York City, the book is full of magic, heartache, and all kinds of love. It wraps up nicely, connecting The Rules of Magic with young Gillian and Sally joining the aunts. —Kristina

The Witch Boy

Molly Ostertag delivers a charming story about magic and challenging gender stereotypes in this middle grade graphic novel. Aster lives in a world where boys become shapeshifters and girls practice witchcraft. He’s mocked and punished for his desire to study witchcraft, but his skills at the craft are exactly what his family needs when they’re put into danger. There’s a great lesson at the heart of this book about acceptance and support, plus enough magic to make readers wish they could enter Aster’s world. It’s also one of my picks for must-read middle grade books out this fall. —Kelly

The Wallcreeper

I recently devoured Nell Zink‘s 2014 novel, The Wallcreeper. Birding, small-scale eco-terrorism, academic conferences, and the unconventional sexual morality of an expat couple living in a sleepy Swiss town—who could ask for more in a debut novel? The Wallcreeper is full of some of the strangest observations I’ve ever come across as a reader: “My sleekness, when I put my mind to it, resembled that of an arctic loon.” The narrative voice is funny, sad, weird, unsentimental, and immediately engrossing. —Nina

Forest Dark

I’ve wanted to read a Nicole Krauss novel for a while, and it’s finally happening! I’ve only stepped to the fringe of Forest Dark, but it did catch me up right away with its opening account of a wealthy, verbose New York lawyer who holes up in Tel Aviv after shedding his material possessions, only to ultimately go missing in the Holy Land. Jules Epstein, the lawyer, in his pre-crisis dynamism and argumentative zeal, reminded me of Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein in his late novel of the same name. I’m excited to get to the novel’s second track, which features a novelist called Nicole whose marriage is tanking and who also heads to Tel Aviv. Narrator Nicole, I gather, is prone to reflecting cerebrally about writing, art, Franz Kafka, and love, and that is A-OK with me. —Phil







  1. Love this! I recently finished re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale. How is it possible that the story is more relevant now than it was 15+ years ago when I last read it? I’m currently reading and enjoying Little Fires Everywhere. Dark Forest is on my list.

Leave a Reply