Staff Reads: August 24

Staff Reads: August 24

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.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

After finishing this book, I wondered how acceptable it would be to call out of work so I could lie in bed and process what I had just experienced. This is a contemporary young adult novel with a slight sci-fi element: A company called Death-Cast has the ability to predict the day that everyone will die. Death-Cast calls individuals to let them know that at some point within the next 24 hours they’ll meet their end. The story follows Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, two strangers who receive calls from Death-Cast and decide to have one epic final day on earth. They Both Die at the End is an emotional and powerful rumination on what it means to truly be alive and the small moments that make each day worth living. It’s a book that got into my head—alternatively convincing me that my own end was around the corner (Mateo’s paranoia clearly began to rub off on me) and reminding me to take risks every day because nothing is guaranteed (thanks, Rufus, for that wisdom). This is the first book that I’ve read by Adam Silvera, and the moment I finished I made plans to hit up my local indie to see if they have his other two books (More Happy Than Not and History Is All You Left Me). Mateo and Rufus will steal your hearts. I’d highly recommend reading this book, preferably with a full box of tissues at your side. —Kelly

Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Following merrily down the path of reading Greek myths and their retellings from women’s perspectives, I recently picked up Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls. It follows Briseis, a queen from a town sacked by Achilles, Nestor, Odysseus, Agamemnon, and the other heroes of The Iliad. She, like all the other women and children, are brought back to the Greek camp as slaves. Briseis ends up as Achilles’ sex slave, raped by him the night after he murdered her husbands and brothers and decimated her town. The view of this book is not epic, but quotidian: what the famous warriors are like off the battlefield, and how daily life in the camps looks for those who will not be sung about by bards for millennia to come. It’s effective as a critique of both the ravages of war and of the stories we tell about heroism. Silence of the Girls comes out on September 4! —Nina

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco

This historical thriller about a search for stolen opium in the Pacific Northwest starts with a beautiful, horrible, visceral punch to the gut and it does not let up. The protagonist, Alma Rosales, is so powerfully rendered that she practically leaps off the page. I see a great future the author and also for Alma. —Myf

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo’s personal stories from her youth and professional life make this how-to book interesting to read, almost like a novel. I have been feeling so motivated while reading that I have started the decluttering process in my home before finishing the book. I’m not sure Kondo would approve of this—she is very serious about how her KonMari Method must be followed. Her advice to ask yourself “Does this item bring me joy?” worked wonders when I went through my clothing. Hoping the rest of the book, and my decluttering, don’t disappoint. —Gerilyn

What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

The first book in Lenora Bell’s School for Dukes series draws its inspiration from the one and only Mary Poppins. The Duke of Banksford, Edgar Rochester, is searching for a governess to reign in his wild twins. Enter, Mari Perkins. She sweeps into their lives, and faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, she’s charmed the children and their dashing father. This romance is as sweet as a spoonful of sugar, and I’m already looking forward to the second book in the series, For the Duke’s Eyes Only, which hits shelves this September. Plus, the Mary Poppins references in this are practically perfect in every way. —Kelly

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

I’m currently reading The Italian Teacher. I saw the beautifully colorful cover on NetGalley and was intrigued by the description and am so glad I gave it a try! This is a gorgeously tragic tale following the life of Pinch, son of a famous painter, bouncing all around place and time from Rome in the 1950s to Canada, the US, France, and then London at the turn of the millennium. We watch Pinch tirelessly defend his callous father, wanting nothing more than to please the man who seems to never be pleased. Apart from the main narrative of Pinch and his heartbreaking views of himself and his father, the way Rachman puts his reader in the time and setting is so hypnotic and unique that despite not being alive in the 50s in Rome, I feel like I know exactly how that place was at the time. I feel like I can internalize the struggles of the starving artists of their time and can feel the things Pinch describes feeling. His is a story familiar to many of us trying to please our parents and hold onto familial obligations while also trying to separate ourselves and become established people outside the bounds of the family home. I can’t put this book down. —Amanda

Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Last week, I was in Colorado running a 120-mile stage race through the Rockies. It was an incredible experience, and part of me is still mourning the fact that I’m not out on the trails and climbing mountains with my friends. I’m coping by reading Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, where Karnazes writes about his adventures as an ultra runner. I’m inspired by Karnazes’ experiences and outlook, and looking forward to picking out my next race. —Elizabeth

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

The Governess Game was my faithful companion for a few hours this week when I was laid up on my couch with an end-of-summer cold. Very similar to The Duchess Deal, the first title in the Girl Meets Duke series, it has a scrappy but extremely beautiful and clever working class woman entering the home of a fabulously wealthy but emotionally stunted duke who is well-versed in the ways to please a woman. It’s certainly a breezy and charming way to spend an evening. —Nina

Everything I Know About You by Barbara Dee

When I started reading Everything I Know About You, I was immediately reminded of my own middle school field trip to Washington D.C. The apprehensions, the bus ride, the trip arrangements, and of course, the gawkiness I felt all came back to me. Dee shares all of this from the perspective of seventh-grader Tally Martin, a loyal friend who seems super confident. The trip’s theme of “Unity” throws Tally for a loop, as she must share a room with her enemy. Will the three days in the nation’s capital be a disaster? Dee has pulled me into Tally’s situation and I can’t wait to find out how it ends. —Gerilyn

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