Staff Reads: November 22

Staff Reads: November 22

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.

Hillbilly Elegy

I started listening to the audiobook recording of this book on a flight this week, and the first hour passed before I knew what had happened. I’ve heard a lot about this memoir in the past year, and I’m eager to see what I can learn from it. —Elizabeth


I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these characters and this universe since I put this book down. Warcross takes readers to a near-future where a virtual reality game has captured the entire world’s attention. Emika Chen is a hacker who finds herself in the limelight after hacking into the opening ceremonies of the international Warcross games. Soon she’s dragged into a world of danger, intrigue, and high stakes. The worldbuilding is excellent, and the technology shown here feels not only plausible, but inevitable. This is a thrilling ride that presents the readers with thought-provoking questions about how much humans are willing to sacrifice for new technology and where our morals fit into an ever-advancing world. This book blew me away. BRB while I go read everything else Marie Lu has ever written. —Kelly

Shadow Scale

I am thrilled to finally begin Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. I read her first book in this series, Seraphina, about this time last year and couldn’t put it down. Hartman has built a beautiful, complex, and exciting world and I can’t wait to dive back in. —Kirsten


While I was at the airport this weekend, I realized that I needed a new book for the plane, and for holiday reading. I finally picked up 11/22/63—a brick of a time-travel book at 880 pages! It’s been a long time since I picked up a Stephen King novel, and I’m glad this is the one I chose to revisit his work. It does not disappoint, with a trip to Derry, cameo appearances from Bevvy and Richie (two characters from IT), a little swing dance reference and, of course, a mysterious portal to the past… which may allow for a drastic alteration to our history. —Kristina

Wrong to Need You

Contemporary romance readers, you need to get your hands on Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series. Wrong to Need You is the second installment and it focuses on Sadia, who is struggling to manage her late husband’s cafe, and Jackson, her brother-in-law and childhood best friend. Years ago Jackson took off without a word, but now he’s back and Sadia wants answers. I loved watching these characters reconnect as adults and learn to trust each other again. They both felt incredibly real, and I was rooting for them every step of the way. Readers looking for a passionate and heartfelt story about second chances will devour this. And I’m counting down the days until the third book is released. —Kelly

The Waves

Virginia Woolf’s The Waves has been on my re-read list for ages. And finally, I’ve gotten a chance to revisit it. Gorgeously written, The Waves moves effortlessly between the consciousnesses of several linked characters. Individual perspectives echo one another and different characters’ memories bump into each other. All of these interpersonal dynamics play out with the British colonial project in the background. This is a powerful meditation on growing up and living at the twilight of the British Empire. —Nina

Iron Gold

I just started Iron Gold, the fourth in Pierce Brown‘s Red Rising saga. The story picks up ten years after the third book, in the midst of an interplanetary war brought on by the main character Darrow’s social revolution. It is exciting to see characters I loved from the first three books grown up, with children and families of their own. I’m only at the very start of the novel but am already so invested in the intricate characters, chaotic political climate, and fascinating society Brown has set up. Although the story is ten years later, I feel like no time has passed at all and enjoy learning of all that happened in between. —Amanda

The Secret History

I am currently immersed in the world that Donna Tartt has created in The Secret History. This moody and atmospheric story introduces flawed characters along with a few twists, turns, and surprises. Tartt’s writing is magnificent. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds. —Alicia

The Hacking of the American Mind

I’m reading The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains, by Robert H. Lustig. It’s an interesting dive into how our brains react to rewards versus pleasure, how modern society has developed into a nonstop reward loop, and how disastrous it all is for our health. I’m curious to see what Lustig recommends as an antidote to the daily dopamine deluge we all face. —Annie

Cruising Utopia

I’ve been reliving my grad school days, annotation pencil in hand with Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by José Esteban Muñoz. Muñoz argues that queer theory, queer art, and queer poetry are fundamentally utopian projects. They envision a future beyond the strict confines of gender, identity, political oppression, and the mundanity of our everyday lives. It’s a delightful refreshment to read something that’s both very intellectually challenging and very hopeful. And for science fiction readers, there are some great descriptions of Samuel Delany’s young years as a man about town in New York in the 1960s. —Nina


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