Staff Reads: August 10

Staff Reads: August 10

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

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

My book club’s current pick is Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, and it is without question one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. I have been savoring this reading experience—saving it for longer subway trips—letting Butler’s masterful pacing take me along this story about an apocalypse that seems so real that I worry we might be in one very much like it. Even though Parable’s vision of the future feels dismally close to our present, it also points a path forward. As narrator Lauren Olamina is developing a new spiritual framework for thinking about humanity, change, and the universe that she calls Earthseed, she provides readers with a hopeful new language for thinking about change, survival, and the place of humans in the universe. —Nina

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I read this book while I was on vacation a few weeks ago. I kept raving to my family about how good it was and how I couldn’t put it down. They asked me what it was about and when I tried to explain the plot it sounded quiet. Indeed, this book is quiet in some ways but it is also incredibly loud and important in others. The narrative centers around the trials of a Korean family living in Japan, covering the World War II years through to nearly present day. I was deeply moved and enlightened by this book and consider it to be a classic. Pachinko totally lives up to all of the praise it’s been given and feels to me like necessary reading for the present and the future. I was also thrilled to learn that Pachinko is being developed for television. —Myfanwy

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

If you’re looking to spend a sunny afternoon with a graphic novel, I’d recommend picking up Hope Larson’s latest. This is a slice-of-life story about a 13-year-old girl named Bina who is struggling to find herself. Bina expects that her summer vacation will be spent with her best friend Austin, but when he decides to go to soccer camp instead she’s convinced that she’ll die of boredom. Instead, she spends the next few weeks exploring her growing love of music and making new friends. There’s a wonderful message at the heart of this book about how being yourself encourages others to do the same. This is a great pick for anyone, but particularly for middle grade readers who can relate to all of the ups and downs of being thirteen. —Kelly

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

I’m reading The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald and loving it! I’d been hearing about this modern classic for years—friends touting its brilliance—but it wasn’t until my favorite living nonfiction writer, Robert Macfarlane, announced a Twitter book club focused on it last month that I decided to take the plunge. Macfarlane said it’s the book he’s read and taught more than any other. Innovative in form, Rings is anchored by the author’s multi-day walk through much of Suffolk county on the English east coast. But between the village visits and wonderfully vivid landscape impressions Sebald folds in meditations on history, art, atrocity, war, medicine, philosophy, Joseph Conrad, and much more. Everything Sebald sees gets him thinking and remembering and this inner journey is as transfixing as the geographical one. —Phil

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

I started reading this book that took France by storm several years ago and was immediately covered in goosebumps. From the first line (“The baby is dead”) I knew I was in for a terrifying (seriously worst nightmare) ride and indeed I am. The first chapter is utterly merciless and yet I can see why this book was so popular as it has me within its grips. —Myfanwy

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

There are only a few more weeks until Wildcard, the second novel in Marie Lu’s Warcross series, hits shelves, and while I eagerly await its arrival I’ve decided to read up on another one of Lu’s books. Batman: Nightwalker introduces readers to an 18-year-old Bruce Wayne. After a run-in with the police, Bruce is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum. It’s there that he meets Madeleine, an accused murderess. The book takes place at a time when Bruce is standing on the precipice of his new life—when he’ll have access to the fortune his parents left him and control of Wayne Enterprises. This was a quick read and an interesting glimpse at the choices Bruce made when he was young that led him to becoming Batman. I’ll end on this great quote from Lu’s acknowledgements about what it means to be a hero, “You don’t need a billion dollars and a Batcave to be like Batman. You just need your brave, badass heart. Keep on fighting.” —Stephanie

Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany

Written by science fiction author and literary theorist Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue tells the story of the porn movie theaters in Times Square, before Times Square became the sanitized, corporate-funded tourist trap it is today. Half of the book is full of stories about brief, anonymous sexual encounters between men in those movie theaters. The way Delany tells it, they were not romantic, but they were intimate. And full of generosity: wanting to provide pleasure and receive pleasure with no strings. The second half is a theoretical investigation of the relationship between cross-class contact, urban planning, and sexuality. It’s a fascinating blend of New York history, memoir, and queer theory, all from a man primarily known for his work in science fiction. —Nina

Killing State by Judith O’Reilly

I just started reading Killing State by Judith O’Reilly and I can’t put it down. A soldier returning from the war in Afghanistan has received a fatal brain injury. A bullet is lodged in his brain and can’t be removed. As he has nothing to lose, he has become a killer for hire. But his latest victim has become a problem. Join me in finding out if he ever completes his mission. —Barb

The Bookish Editors
The Bookish Editors are a team of writers who aim to give readers more information about the books, authors, and genres that they love while also introducing them to new titles, debut writers, and genres they never thought they’d read.

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