Staff Reads: August 11

Staff Reads: August 11

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

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

We all know from my Cat Sebastian obsession that I am 110% here for queer historical romances, and this young adult novel by Mackenzi Lee is giving me all that I want and more. There’s humor, adventure, danger, and some palpable tension between Monty (the titular gentleman) and Percy (his best friend). I don’t want this book to end. —Kelly


The Immortalists

I’m reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which won’t hit shelves until January 2018. This one definitely captured my attention with its tag line: “If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?” It tells the stories of four siblings who, in 1969, visit a woman who tells them each the date they will die. I’m just starting to read about how the youngest sibling, Simon, handles his fate as he runs away with his sister to San Francisco. —Kristina

Ugly Love

I’m currently reading Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover. I’m fairly new to this author and have been reading through her backlist. Her books give me all the feels. Ugly Love is interesting because every other chapter flashes back six years and takes place from Miles’ POV. I’ll admit though, I finally couldn’t take the suspense any longer (as his flashbacks reveal an important element to the main story arc) and read through his chapters to find out what happens—something I never do! —Brianna

The Grip of It

I had goosebumps the second I started The Grip of It by Jac Jemc. A young couple who’ve hit a rough patch in their relationship decide a change of scenery will cure what ails them, so they buy a house in a small town—a creepy house, of course, with a mysterious past that’s revealed in fits and starts by the locals. What elevates this beyond a run-of-the-mill haunted house story is the captivating language and the uneasiness you immediately feel with the couple, between whom the chapters alternate. —Annie



I’ve been swept up by Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, a book about nature, landscape, the words we use to capture both, and the writers and books that most influenced his own landscape love and verbal magic. There is outdoor adventure, there is thoughtful environmentalism, there is marvelous stuff on the craft of shaping evocative prose. Each chapter ends with a glossary of words from English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and various regional dialects pinpointing nuances of landscape, weather, season, natural light, and more. I can see why this 2015 book was a U.K. chart-topper. I’m coming away with a bunch of other books I want to read, including Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, Roger Deakin’s Waterlog, and John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra. I can’t wait for Macfarlane’s next book, Underland. —Phil

A Gentleman in Moscow

Can you write a novel that is almost 500 pages in length, spans more 30 years, and rarely leaves the hotel it is set in? And if so, would it be a worthwhile read? The answer to both those questions is a resounding yes based on the novel I am reading this week: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This story follows the elegant Russian aristocrat (or “Former Person”) Count Alexander Rostov who is living his life in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel after being sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest for life. Since he will be shot if he ever leaves, almost all the action takes place within the confines of said hotel. Although it was a bit of a slow burn to start with, the quality of the writing kept me interested enough to keep going until I was hooked. It is well researched, has some truly interesting history, wonderful endearing characters, and a plot that while it starts slow, picks up pace and becomes quite intriguing almost to the point of keeping you on the edge of your seat the last few chapters. Well worth a step back in time to Moscow in the early part of the 20th century. —Susan


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