Staff Reads: August 25

Staff Reads: August 25

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.


BUY

The Duchess Deal

I absolutely adore Tessa Dare. I’ve been making my way through her Castles Ever After series and loving every witty and romantic moment. This book was on our list of must-read summer romances, so I’ve been itching to pick it up for a while. With a free weekend ahead of me, I’ve decided to carve out some time to go sit in the park, drink some lemonade, and get lost in this gorgeous novel. —Kelly

Life Stories

I’ve always loved The New Yorker’s profiles, and was excited to see this collection of some of the most famous profiles the magazine has run. From Lillian Ross’ “How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen” to Hilton Als’ “A Pryor Love,” I’m looking forward to revisiting the classics. –Elizabeth

Bored and Brilliant

I’m fascinated by mindfulness and neuroplasticity, especially as it relates to technology, so I jumped at the chance to get an ARC of Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi, through NetGalley, Bookish’s sister site. It’s not anti-tech by any means—instead, the author wants you to take an unvarnished look at your tech habits and see where they’re failing you, where they’ve become mere filler instead of fulfilling, and recognize how they’re stifling your creativity. Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with their smartphone these days? I love that practical exercises are provided throughout, although I’m taking the author’s advice to read the entire book before embarking on them. Will resisting the urge to check Instagram at a red light really have that much of an impact on my life? Who knows, but I’m excited to find out—and looking forward to a more creativity-filled and technology self-aware fall. And if this sounds up your alley, also check out The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Published in 2011, it’s somewhat dated in the fast-moving world of technology but still provides wonderful historical perspective on media and the basics of neuroplasticity. Both books will make you view your laptop, tablet, and phone in a whole new light. —Annie

Goodbye Stranger

I recently spent time with a young friend and watched as she read Rebecca Stead‘s Goodbye Stranger from cover to cover over a weekend. When she finished, she told me everything she liked about the book and then offered it to me to read. I’m now halfway through and in love with it. Stead has a gift for capturing the ups and downs, the beauty and the pain, of being a girl going through puberty, like how maybe some of your friends are farther along than you are or how everyone suddenly seems to have a love interest but you, or how mean some of us can be to each other. Love, betrayal, longing, and friendship all play a hand as Stead artfully maneuvers her characters over the treacherous bridge which leads us from childhood to the edge of being an adult. —Myf


BUY

Seeing People Off

I’ll be returning to this slim, hilarious, acutely perceptive novel my whole life—it’s that good. Slovak novelist and poet Jana Beňová, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, writes of four bohemian types—two couples—living a café- and apartment-anchored, coffee- and wine-fueled life in contemporary Bratislava. Plotless and postmodern, the book turns its unconventionality into as brilliant a meditation on life, place, culture, relationships, and love as I’ve read. Though there’s something of a poet’s obliqueness in the scene construction—“Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” as Emily Dickinson counsels—the novel is wondrously grounded in the ingredients of daily life, the language is clear and simple (you couldn’t ask for a better translation), and Beňová’s voice is friendly, funny, accessible, real. The magic of Seeing People Off is that the subtly angled clairvoyance of her rendering of everything in life, no matter how small, manages to be surpassingly insightful, deliciously comedic, and pioneering, all at once. That’s why I’ll be returning to it—the wizard’s light Beňová shines on things I thought I knew. Without making absolute comparisons to other books and writers, I’ll just say, as I’ve been reading, I’ve thought, happily, of Joy Williams, Lorrie Moore, Lydia Davis, poet Charles Simic, and, yes, Emily D. —Phil

The Da Vinci Code

I am currently rereading Dan Brown‘s The DaVinci Code. Brown expertly explores modern day myths about the church and state through his main character, Robert Langdon. The book is very action-packed, as most of the plot occurs in one night. There are so many different ideas in this story and reading about Langdon’s theories is really intriguing and stimulating. This book is definitely a must-read for anyone who likes some mystery, or just has a fascination with art and church history. —Jillian

The Last Dickens

I’m about a third of the way through this book and it’s one I can’t wait to finish. As we all know, Dickens first published in chapters of a novel in the newspaper and then published the entire book. This novel has Dickens dying as he’s in the midst of a story. The last section he wrote was sent to Boston from England and subsequently stolen. The tale continues from there with not-so-nice things to say about New York publishers. The Boston publisher who receives Dickens chapters goes to England to try to finish the story. This is a very compelling story about a mystery that keeps unfolding. This is great for the history buffs of US publishing and for Dickens fans. Anyone in publishing might even get a chuckle out of it. —Barb

Lord of Lies

This novel doesn’t waste a second before throwing you right into the action. Portia Chadwick has always longed for adventure, but she never suspected it would come in the form of her sister being kidnapped. I’ve only just begun this one, but I’m already on the edge of my seat and can’t wait to see how Portia works together with Dell Turner to rescue Lily. —Stephanie

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