What We’re Reading: April 14

What We’re Reading: April 14

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.

The Handmaid’s Tale

I know, I know. I am the last person on earth who hasn’t read this already. And actually, rather than reading it, I’ve been listening to it. Listening to books on tape is something I loved as a kid, and I have just recently decided to give it another try. I love taking long walks, and Margaret Atwood’s unsettling story has (thus far) been the perfect companion. —Elizabeth


BUY

Snow White

This graphic novel really blew me away. I’m a sucker for a fairy tale retelling, and Matt Phelan perfectly balanced the beloved elements of the original tale with clever and fresh ideas. A noir 1920s Snow White is the princess I never knew I wanted, and I was reluctant to leave the dangerous and enchanting world of this novel. This is a book that makes me wish Phelan would adapt all of my favorite classics. —Kelly

Valley of the Moon

I’m reading Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon. I’m about halfway through and loving every page! It’s just the right mix of “real” characters and suspended reality. A single mom unwittingly time-travels to an idyllic farm from the early 1900s, which she immediately loves. But she also loves her son more than life itself, and wants what’s best for him—hence her dilemma as she’s torn between both worlds. I can’t wait to see what happens next! —Martha

The Royals

The Royals was a sensation even before it was first published in 1997. There was a lot of controversy about what Kitty Kelley was going to dig up on the British royal family and what was going to be put in the book. Although she wasn’t censored, Kelley did have a bit of difficulty in publishing the book. I’m an admitted Anglophile with a great love of the royal family. Why it has taken me so long to read this, I don’t know. A few pages in, I’m already finding things about the royals that astound me. There are so many things I don’t know about. For example, did you know that Queen Elizabeth is the product of artificial insemination? That’s only one tidbit. I haven’t gotten very far in, but I can’t wait to find out what else there is to discover. I can’t put it down. This is a must-read book for Anglophiles and royalists. —Barb


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The Watch

It’s fun to go back to books you loved a long time ago and see how they hold up. It’s been years since I fell in love with Rick Bass’ first story collection, The Watch. The book captures mostly male characters living in the Deep South, Texas, and Rocky Mountain West (all places Bass knew intimately) in states of transition, whether these men want to transition or not, and their tales are told with humor, unbridled imagination, and quiet insight. Bass has a gift for making outlandish situations seem believable; he gives a tall-tale or mythic twist to some of these stories. There’s always been a passionate attachment to nature and landscape in his work, and I was introduced to it here. I can’t wait to get to the late story “Redfish,” which blazed in my mind for months after reading it. Two men taking a break from humdrum Houston lives drag a couch onto a Galveston beach at winter midnight, make a bonfire, get drunk on Cuba libres, and fish. They also get their BMW stuck in sand. At one point they grow maudlin, thinking about their lives. And then it begins to snow. —Phil

The Walls Around Us

This week I picked up The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, a thrilling read about two girls named Violet and Amber who lead completely different lives that cross unexpectedly. Violet is a sophisticated ballerina who tries to hide the tragedy that she suffered through dance. Amber is a prisoner in a detention center who was placed there for allegedly killing her step-father. There’s a strange connection between the two girls. Each chapter I read helps to unravel this strange mystery of how their tragedies are connected. I am looking forward to reading the remaining chapters to see the ending! —Anne Marie


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Collected Poems

I’ve returned to a favorite poet this week in honor of National Poetry Month. Jane Kenyon died so young that we have no idea what sort of beautiful work she would be bringing us now, but the poetry found within her Collected Poems is definitely among some of the finest I know. I have owned this book for years and it is heavily dog-eared (my apologies to those of you who are offended by dog ears and marginalia!) and much read and loved. Each time I return to it, as I have this week, I find myself once again in awe and in love with the words of this miraculous poet. These poems express a love of nature, a frustration with illness, a belief in a higher being, a painful melancholy. Speaking of melancholy, there is my favorite of her poems (other than “Let Evening Come“) which is “Having it Out with Melancholy” that ends with a breathless, heartbreaking hopefulness:

What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment?
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye. —Myf

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