Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations; have you read any of them? Tell us in the comments what you’ll be reading this weekend! If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Summer Previews.
Elizabeth recommended that I read this and I am so glad that she did. Maggie Nelson uses this book to explore ideas of gender, love, sexuality, and motherhood. It’s incredibly moving at points, as well as thought provoking. Nelson is wildly intelligent though never intimidating. After I finished all I wanted was to go out for a drink to talk with her more about some of her theories. —Kelly
I got this galley back in the spring, and have been saving it, but I don’t think I can stand the suspense any longer. The Corrections is one of my favorite novels, so I have high hopes for Jonathan Franzen‘s latest. I heard him talk about it at BEA, and it sounds like a bit of a departure from his earlier work, which seems potentially cool. Early reviews have been positive, and I’m hopeful. Friends, family… good luck contacting me this weekend. Just saying. —Elizabeth
I first read Ulysses during college, a couple presidents ago. (Okay, more than a couple.) Aside from perusing the first page or two here and there over the years, I hadn’t engaged with it since I was 20. I dove back in this week. When I read it as a young man, I cared mostly about James Joyce’s language, especially his word choices and phrases. It’s been an odd, wonderful experience re-encountering language that had enchanted me all those years ago, bringing back that enchantment, even seeming to remember where I was sitting when I underlined bits like “smokeblue mobile eyes” and “garland of gray hair” and “lions couchant on their pillars.” But now, older, I’m way more tuned into the emotion of it, the drama, the searing pain of the material pertaining to Stephen and his dead mother, and Stephen’s state of mind in the early chapters, so tortured and depressed. Primal life stuff. It can be buried in the verbal pyrotechnics, and was for me when I was young. But now, today, I’m realizing how brave, how strong and fearless Joyce had to be to hit head-on, unflinchingly, Catholicism in Ireland, and the mother cult, and anti-semitism, and nationalism, and sex, and marriage, and family. Every bold, profound page is making me think about how writing what he did could and would, he knew, get him in trouble with so many people in his native country, including friends, family, teachers, and priests. And yet he went ahead and wrote what he had to write. —Phil
This is a quick overview of utilitarianism by J.J.C. Smart, followed by a critique by Bernard Williams. It’s a pretty quick introduction without resorting to a gloss. Smart comes off as a bit of a dunce, almost entirely rigging the game in his favor. But it’s a fun read for anyone wanting to dip their toes in ethics. —Luke
This book is on our Summer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Preview, though what truly drew me in was the book’s inspiration: a 2000 photograph of twin child soldiers in Thailand. While I think a stronger background in the country’s politics would have given the novel an added layer of meaning for me as a reader, I loved the way that this graphic novel took the myths that developed around the real story to a new level by introducing ancient magical powers. Also, the illustrations were incredible (and at times frightening). —Kelly