Staff Reads: April 6

Staff Reads: April 6

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 Spring Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

Dread Nation

If you follow Bookish at all, you know that I have been raving about this book at every opportunity. Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation is a powerful novel set in an alternate America where zombies (or shamblers) interrupted the Civil War. The tale is narrated by Jane McKeene, a badass heroine who is as sharp as the shambler-slaying blades she carries. Her narration pulled me in and refused to let me go, keeping me hooked as she slowly wove secrets from her own past into the story. The book is packed with action, danger, and a gripping finale that took my breath away. It’s also a shrewd look at how institutional racism has shaped past and present America. Ireland deftly explores the way that racist ideals were backed by false science, colorism within the black community, and the systematic oppression of people of color. If I had to recommend one YA book to readers this year, this would be it. —Kelly

The Goldfinch

My book club is a little bit behind the times and is finally just getting to Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. So far, we have followed Theo from the comfort of his mother’s New York apartment, through a shocking tragedy, to the WASP-y home of a friend, to the desolate adolescent blankness of Las Vegas. All with a stolen painting in tow. I have no idea where this story is going to end up, which characters will still be a part of Theo’s life, and which mysteries will be solved. But I am so enjoying the ride and have faith in Tartt’s skill as an author to weave together the disparate plot points into a thoroughly satisfying conclusion. —Nina

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is the story of the author’s coming-of-age as an African American child in 1960s and 70s. It is also in many ways a story of the United States and its brutal history of racism. Written in verse, the chapters/poems are eloquent and powerful. I am filled with emotion as I read this book and can’t wait to share it with my ten-year-old son. —Myfanwy

Bingo Love

I intended to read this graphic novel during February’s #ReadingBlackout, but the month flew by and it remained on my TBR pile. This week I set aside an evening to crack the cover, and I’m so glad I did. Bingo Love tells a story that is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. It follows two teen girls as they fall in love and then are torn apart by their families and prejudice. Years later, in their mid-60s, they find each other again. The story is delightful and perfectly paired with vibrant and colorful artwork. I’d definitely recommend this to readers looking for a sweet second-chance love story; they’ll find a lot to enjoy here. —Kelly

The Complete Stories

I’ve been dipping in and out of Clarice Lispector’s The Complete Stories. They are small, strange, and intimate tales of women who are on the verge of madness and wisdom. Housewives who glimpse something eternal and true, think about radically uprooting their whole lives, and then decide to go about their business as usual. It’s hard to tell if these characters’ flashes of wisdom are singular events that radically change the rest of their lives or if these epiphanies are just a part of the fabric of their everyday lives. These characters have fully formed interiorities, and it is a strange delight to be dropped into them. Lispector’s work reminds me that every stranger you pass on the street has an entire interior world that is deeper and weirder than you can imagine. —Nina

Big Girl

I’ve been reading Kelsey Miller’s Big Girl, which is about Miller’s experience with dieting and disordered eating and her journey towards a more intuitive relationship with food. Miller’s voice is approachable and funny, which makes this book a pleasure to read. —Stephanie

Click’d

My daughters and I have been reading Click’d, which is the story of a 12-year-old girl who built an app at her coding camp and wants to enter it into a big contest, the Games For Good competition. She’s trialing it at her school and it all gets a bit crazy. This book is very nicely written and we’re eagerly awaiting the next chapter. We’ve not finished yet, but it’s shaping up to be a great story with many delightful characters. After catching my daughter teaching herself code the other day, I’m happy to see the book set off a couple motivational sparks. —Jon

The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

I make a point of reading poetry all throughout the year but I’ll admit I go full-force when it’s National Poetry Month. Right now, I am reading The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton. From the lovingly dishy foreword by Maxine Kumin to Sexton’s own alarmingly glorious words, this book is a treasure. Sexton herself is most easily summed up in her own words from “Her Kind”:

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

As a writer and a woman, I feel like I owe a lot to Sexton who so bravely laid her soul bare for all to read. —Myfanwy

Grass Roots

Grass Roots by Emily Dufton was an eye-opening look at the ups and downs of marijuana legislation during the last several decades, especially for someone who grew up during the Just Say No era. The author’s unbiased stance allows the story to tell itself, but she includes a hefty dose of juicy political intrigue and a nice exploration of why some homegrown activists were more successful than others. This is a great read, no matter what your stance on this particular issue. —Annie

Bad Call

I just finished Bad Call, which I discovered when we featured it on BookishFirst. My daughter read it first and suggested it. After reading it, I approve of it as well. It’s a tale about teenage kids full of competitive spirit, lust, and energy looking for adventure and getting more than they bargained for. It took a few unexpected twists and the writing was smooth, clean, and hip. I enjoyed this. It was a solid read. —Jon

The Nightingale

I’ve read books by Kristin Hannah before, but never one of her historical fiction works. The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters living in France when Germany invaded. Isabelle and Vianne’s childhood were shaped by the loss of their mother and a distant father who came back from the war a broken man. Isabella’s rebellious side draws her into a group that rescues soldiers at night and brings them to safety by transporting them over the Pyrenees mountains into Spain. She is referred to as the Nightingale. Vianne’s resilience is shown in what she does to protect and care for her family and herself while living in a town occupied by the Germans. Her story is heart-wrenching. The sisters’ survival skills display such courage, strength, and character. The ending of the book brings healing and closure for both the sisters and their father. In the end they could each be considered a Nightingale in their own right. I really enjoyed this captivating book and the insight it offered into a part of World War II that I had not really known about. —Denise

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