What We’re Reading: November 6

What We’re Reading: November 6

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.


Always late to the party, I’m finally picking up Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I saw two episodes of the Starz series and stopped watching so I could first devour the book. The storytelling is wonderful, though the book is massive. This is by no means a fast read, but the story is better for it. The early chapters are dedicated to Claire’s time in the present, giving the reader a firm grounding in the world she came from and her marriage to Frank. Though it’s easy to forget about him and everything else from the 20th century when Scottish hunk Jamie is wandering around and whispering in Gaelic in her ear. I’m barely 100 pages in and completely loving it. It was one of my reading regrets from 2014, and I’m pumped to be finishing it before 2016 rolls around. —Kelly

Absalom, Absalom!

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up any Faulkner. I read The Sound and the Fury when I was in high school, and remember struggling with it. I know that some Faulkner fans consider Absalom, Absalom! to be his most impressive work, so I’m excited to dive in. In the meantime, I’ll be practicing my pronunciation of “Yoknapatawpha.” —Elizabeth


Avenue of Mysteries

John Irving’s latest works, while very good, did not compare to my three absolute favorites: The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Cider House Rules. Still, I am very much looking forward to this story about Juan Diego, a man whose past is catching up to him. —Bob


If you like behavioral economics and theories on governance, have I got the book for you! These two U of Chicago nerds bring the heat with their offbeat brand of libertarian paternalism. This isn’t your daddy’s paternalism, with those powdered wigs denying us junk food. This is choice architecture: a smooth blend of acknowledging that how we structure choices affects our preferences, so we should build them in a manner which coincides with our “slower thinking” selves. —Luke


Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed

Every year, it seems, a book comes out claiming to have cracked the Jack the Ripper case. This was Patricia Cornwell’s effort in 2002. It’s the first book I’ve read on the subject so I can’t bring much evaluative ability to her conclusion—she says the killer was celebrated English artist Walter Sickert, and posits this as fact, not theory—but it’s a well-written, fascinating study drawing on her forensic background, understanding of psychopaths, empathy for women (especially women in situations of danger and desperation), and research into Sickert and his art. Her stuff on the arrogant, taunting Ripper letters is especially good, and she makes some convincing connections between Sickert’s drawings and paintings and eccentric life, and someone who could commit such horrific crimes. She also documents the poverty and pollution and dim, cramped streets of London’s East End, where the Ripper found his victims. I’m pretty sure I’ll go on to read a couple expert reviews of Cornwell’s conclusion, but I think a one-book descent into Rippermania is enough for the time being. —Phil


The Faceless Ghost and Other Macabre Tales from Japan

Halloween may be over, but I was still craving some creepy tales. I picked up this graphic novel because I’ve always been fascinated by folklore and mythology, though I can’t say I’m well-versed in those of Japan. Each story in this collection left me with unanswered questions, as any good scary tale should. After all, nothing is less comforting than an unsolved mystery. —Kelly



Bennie Rosato is one of my favorite characters ever written by Lisa Scottoline, and I can’t wait to read about her next adventure. —Bob


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