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.
Full disclosure: Wayne Koestenbaum is pretty much a rock star as far as I’m concerned. I took a seminar with him last fall, and it ended up being one of my favorite classes. These essays are just as smart and thoughtful as Wayne is himself, and the range of subjects is fascinating. I really like his willingness to play with fragments in his essays; he doesn’t let a concern for “the rules” get in the way of what he’s trying to say. —Elizabeth
I just finished Tana French’s Broken Harbor and am in the mood to read a few books back to back that I can quickly fly through after surviving the detailed, psychological journey French took me on. I picked up this book because we had recommended it on one of our previews and because I think the mythology surrounding imaginary friends is really interesting. Plus I have a lot of feelings about Inside Out’s Bing Bong, so I’m game for an imaginary adventure. —Kelly
This is a siren song from the East End of Long Island. Carl Safina writes with the passion of Rachel Carson, has the understated swaggering confidence of John McPhee, and echoes Bill McKibben‘s urgent call for a sustained attention to the big picture of life on planet Earth: what we’ve destroyed, what perseveres, what ecosystemic changes are transforming the life cycles of an important salt marsh between the Hamptons and Montauk. And he knows his birds! —Michael
I’m reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, which has been selling well for years and years. I am a dog person, and I love alternative adventures in narrative style, so I was eager to see how the author imaginatively projected himself into the dog’s point of view. He is doing a good job of it, but I confess that I feel a bit manipulated by the events of the story, which is making it hard to enjoy. —Joe
We get some pretty amazing guest posts from authors here at Bookish. One that really stood out to me was Nora Raleigh Baskin’s post about children who grow up while their mothers are in prison. I’m about to start this and I imagine it’ll bring the same insight and compassion to the topic as her essay did. —Kelly
It must have been 20 years ago when I first read the opening sentence to John Synge’s 1907 classic The Aran Islands: “I am in Aranmor, sitting over a turf fire, listening to a murmur of Gaelic that is rising from a little public-house under my room.” Not only is that wonderful plain-style sentence the book’s first sentence, it’s the entire first paragraph. The simplicity and clarity—especially from someone writing during the Edwardian era, a young Irish intellectual who had planned to be a Paris-based critic of French literature until W.B. Yeats told him to visit Aran—is beautiful to me: so beautiful, in fact, it’s been my favorite first sentence to any book the past 20 years. A couple weeks ago, at a dinner with some contemporary Irish writers, I recited that first sentence from memory. But I’ve never read the book itself! The time has come to read the sentences that follow this magical one, and be taken to Aranmor by Synge. —Phil