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 Summer Previews for a look at the best books of the season.
This book was everything I wanted and more. Jane Mason is a clever and bold heroine who is determined to seize her money and her freedom from her scheming uncle. Crispin Burke is a politician who isn’t afraid to dirty his hands, but a bout of amnesia reveals a heart of gold—at least where Jane is concerned. It’s a love story based on forgiveness and honesty, with a helping of danger and intrigue thrown in for good measure. If you’re a fan of historical romances and aren’t already reading Meredith Duran’s books, you should be. —Kelly
I just finished The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. It’s full of family secrets and wild, beautiful, tragic girls. The story splits its time between the present and the past, and is interspersed with short chapters telling the stories of all the Roanoke girls who came before. With a tagline like “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die,” those mini-chapters are definitely some of the most illuminating. —Kristina
I got to interview B. A. Paris at BookExpo last week, so I dove into her work. This book cost me more sleep and peace of mind than a book has in a very long time. Behind Closed Doors is about a marriage that looks perfect but is actually nothing short of horrifying. When I was reading it, I felt an inescapable sense of dread that I could not shake—which, of course, is a testament to Paris’ skill. —Elizabeth
I picked up the first Vinyl Detective book a while back. I figured it would be a good fit for my 13-year-old daughter, a voracious reader. I started reading it to confirm my initial suspicion, and I was hooked on the plot out of the gate. I read it in a few sittings. It had a Dan Brown vibe going on, with the plot unraveling with each chase scene. The journey was pleasant, predictable yet unpredictable, and just fun all around. The characters are really the best part: well-described, gifted with good dialogue, and not straight out of central casting—which is always my preference. I’ll read the second book for sure. I’ll pass this on to my daughter now and see what she thinks. —Jon
This week I wanted to dive into a fantasy world, so I picked up this graphic novel. The story takes place in a world invaded by an alien race who use their powers to force humans to mine the land for resources. Colleen, our protagonist, has to learn to trust someone besides herself if she hopes to create a better world for her niece, Lucy. I love the art, the worldbuilding, and the characters. This is a story that I’d enjoy seeing expanded to a series. —Kelly
This week I read A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. It can be read as a standalone, even though it is the second title in the Wayfarers series. I loved this story—perhaps even more than the first title in the series. It contains an excellent exploration of the themes of artificial intelligence and relationships within a sci-fi setting, complex characters, and a compelling plot. —Alyce
I just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I can’t remember ever being so engrossed in a memoir, at least not since reading Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez years ago. The author candidly shares what it was like growing up in a poor Appalachian town and takes the reader on his path to graduating from Yale Law School. We learn how extremely difficult this achievement was for Vance. This is one of the most insightful and interesting books I have read. —Alicia
My daughters and I just read It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel together. My oldest read it first and loved it so much that she suggested we all read it together. It was an incredible book and a very poignant reflection on our current fragmented social and political climate. Even though it takes place in the 70s, we can see that some things have improved and sadly some haven’t. The narrator is a wonderfully intelligent and optimistic Iranian girl. The plot follows her trials and tribulations as she attempts to find quality friends and acceptance, while also being the intermediary between her parents and the culture clash they all must endure. The Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter administration spurs a sudden mob mentality against Iranians. The comic relief was threaded nicely into the plot, the characters were well developed, and the overall tone of the book was that of acceptance and open-mindedness. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride for this family but in the end, things tie up nicely. There’s a good spectrum of characters to help break down and explore the volatility of the times and the writing was just right to keep everyone more than entertained. —Jon
This is a fantastic book. The doorstop size of it daunted me at first, but Simon Schama is such a brilliant, effervescent writer, I was caught up immediately. If you’re looking for an erudite page-turner endlessly conversant with art, architecture, history, and literature, not to mention forestry, horticulture, natural history, and more, Landscape and Memory is the doorstop for you! Schama looks at the way nature has shaped western culture: the way mountains, rivers, woods and forests have, in their beauty, geography, and symbolic power, permeated so much in European and American cultural realms. His prose is musical, his voice is witty, and he has a near omniscient grasp of his topic. Who knew a chapter focused on bison in a Lithuanian forest could be so fascinating! —Phil