Our Friday Reads: September 18

Our Friday Reads: September 18

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 Fall Previews.

The Psychopath Test

I’m a huge fan of pop neuroscience, and this book has been on my list for quite a while. The good news is, now instead of muttering “psychopath” at people, I’m actually up to date on the diagnostic criteria. Jon Ronson‘s writing style is super engaging, and this is proving to be a thought-provoking read. —Elizabeth


Dark Wild Night

My go-to recommendation for fans of new adult romance is anything by Christina Lauren, but if I had to pick I’d say the Wild Seasons series is my favorite. The set-up is that two groups of friends met in Vegas and drunkenly decided to get married. One couple decided to stay together, one couple annulled only to find they couldn’t resist each other, and the third annulled the marriage and decided to remain nothing but friends… with high levels of sexual tension. This third installment follows that last couple: Oliver (the owner of a comic book store) and Lola (an aspiring graphic novelist). Being a geek myself, I was itching to pick this up and am devastated at how quickly I’ve torn through it. Lola and Oliver are my favorite couple in the group. I really enjoyed Lola’s character development and the exploration of what happens when your career dreams start to come true but not in the way you imagined. Can’t wait for the next installment. —Kelly


Eleven years ago, this debut novel became a major bestseller around the world. In anticipation of the sequel (out this October and called The Mountain Shadow), I’m rereading the book that started it all. —Bob

The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka

I’m a sucker for literary biographies, and this week it’s The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka by Ernst Pawel. Beyond the fascination of Kafka himself is the author’s Prague world at a time of great tension between ethnic and national groups: Czech, Hungarian, German. Jews—especially German-speaking Jews like those in Kafka’s family—were not only caught in the middle but became a magnet for right-wingers. Pawel is a fantastic writer (fluent, vivid, witty, analytic) and he’s especially brilliant on the political and psychic fracture-lines of imperial Prague. To wit: “Throughout the last two decades of the century, inspired demagogues among both Czech and German extremists learned to exploit the elemental dynamics of hatred with a skill and efficiency that foreshadowed the ‘final solution.’” Every page of this book echoes with parallels to tensions and tragedies in today’s world. Pawel’s illumination makes me want to read every word Kafka wrote. —Phil

The Martian

My colleague Luke was talking about this book a couple of months ago. We both love Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (which I read with my son recently), and he said it was kind of like Hatchet on Mars. That sounded good to me, and I’m loving it so far. The voice is immediately appealing, the situation is obviously dramatic, and the step-by-step matter-of-fact focus on how to survive is gripping. I’m excited about finishing it this weekend… and then seeing the movie, which, who knows, may even do justice to the book. —Joe


I am slowly but surely checking off all of the books that I regretted not reading in 2014 (only Outlander and Gone with the Wind left!). This Cinderella retelling casts the to-be-princess as an android in a futuristic world that was decimated by war. She lives in New Beijing, a city rebuilt on the ashes of Beijing, and works as a mechanic. It’s while she’s working that she meets the prince. He’s smitten with her but before he can become her bibbidi bobbidi beau, she needs to help fix his robot—which contains top secret information that’ll change her life forever, of course. Winter is on the way, and I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me if I plan on catching up. —Kelly


Oh, Joseph Conrad, it’s been a while. I read Heart of Darkness back in high school, but this is my first time returning to his work since then. Honestly, his prose is taking some getting used to, but I’m warming up to it. For the most part, I’m enjoying my trip to the shores of Costaguana. —Elizabeth

Reckless: My Life as a Pretender

The Pretenders’ music very much reflected the politics and culture of the last four decades. I’ve been looking forward to this memoir and am I am extremely excited to read about Chrissie Hynde, one of the great female music icons of the hard rock era, and her band. —Bob


  1. Reading- The Leopard; 1877: America’s Year of Living Violently; The Invisible Pyramid; Suspended Sentences; In Montmartre : Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris, 1900-1910

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