Staff Reads: August 9

Staff Reads: August 9

staff reads

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.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Last week, I started Three Women by Lisa Taddeo during a cross-country flight, and it engrossed me so completely that I kept reading the entire six hours! Chances are you’ve seen this book being promoted everywhere, and for good reason: It is fascinating, unique nonfiction that reads like a novel. Based on eight years of immersive reporting, the book follows the sex lives of three women–but of course, sex is not just sex, and these are not simplistic stories. It is striking and valuable to encounter the experiences of these women without judgement, to delve deeply into their emotions and the complexity of each situation, and to watch the impact on their entire lives. Read our interview with Lisa Taddeo for insights into her process of writing the book! –Lindsey

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

After reading A Princess in Theory based on Kelly’s recommendation earlier this year, Alyssa Cole has definitely crept up into my romance favorites list. Of course I adored Nya and Johan’s story. Nya and Johan are definitely my favorite couple of the series because of how well they balance each other. They are both dealing with grief and loss from their respective parents for very different reasons and are having to open their eyes to new and different situations. I took my time reading A Prince on Paper because I just didn’t want to see this sweet book end. I can’t wait to read more of Alyssa Cole’s books. —Dana

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

If you’re looking for a dark and captivating read this summer, I’d recommend diving into Rory Power’s debut. Wilder Girls takes place on an island where a school of girls is quarantined after they become infected by the Tox. This is no ordinary disease: It causes their bodies to mutate, resulting in girls with second spines, clawed hands, glowing hair, and more. When one of the girls goes missing, her two friends risk everything to find her. There’s adventure and mystery here, but I was hooked by the novel’s exploration of bodily autonomy, the resilience of girls and women, and the ways society so often fails to protect girls. Wilder Girls is the kind of book that I wished I had as a teenage girl. It shakes off the expectations of society and gives girls permission to be strange, loud, and different. It’s a message I needed then and one that resonates strongly with me today. I loved this book so much I named it the Kelly’s Pick of summer 2019! If you’re intrigued you can read an excerpt here and find our book club kit (including an interview, discussion guide, quiz, and more) here! –Kelly

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep is blowing my mind. I have insomnia and am a trivia junkie so I was delighted to find the book contains clear explanations of the neurophysiology of sleep plus loads of interesting facts. Did you know giraffes only sleep four to five hours a day, or that circadian rhythms are actually a bit longer than a calendar day (24 hours and 15 minutes) and even longer during adolescence? I’m only a quarter of the way through so it remains to be seen how much practical advice this book holds, but the science behind sleep–in humans and animals–is fascinating. Reading about sleep is also surprisingly soporific so drowsiness and napping may occur, both of which the author fully encourages. —Annie 

What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

I’m a sucker for a great historical romance where a governess falls in love with a duke. Lenora Bell’s What a Difference a Duke Makes is Jane Eyre meets Mary Poppins and will make you smile from beginning to end. I first read Jane Eyre when I was thirteen and I found the story to be so romantic, but when I looked back on it as I got older, I was able to see all of the problematic aspects to the story. I wish I had this book instead to idealize as romantic because I really feel like Bell rewrote all of my issues with that novel in such a satisfying way. This was a fun romp that makes me very excited to read more books by Lenora Bell. —Dana

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Kelly’s been raving about Maurene Goo for ages, so when I came across a copy of her latest book at my local library, I decided to dive in. This YA novel follows K-pop star Lucky and paparazzi photographer Jack over the course of a whirlwind day. Both are hiding their identities from the other: Lucky is hoping to experience a fun and normal day as her true self before appearing on an American late night show, and Jack is pretending to be an average guy while secretly snapping as many photos as he can to send to his editor later. But the more time they spend together, the more genuine their connection starts to feel. The romance is sweet, the food descriptions are delicious, and I loved Lucky’s exploration of what happens when you achieve your dream but aren’t happy. Fans of 24-hour romances will find a lot to love here and I’m looking forward to reading more from Goo! –Stephanie

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

I just finished Whistling in the Dark By Lesley Kagen. Sally and Troo’s mother is in the hospital. They’re being looked after by their drunken stepfather and their big sister Nell, who’s often too busy with her boyfriend to be of much help. Left on their own, they have to use their resources to survive in a town where a murderer is on the loose and young girls are going missing. This is an easy read and a very interesting mystery. —Barb

Arana & the Black Dog by Alyssa Bonilla

Author Alyssa Bonilla is both a neighbor and friend, and reading her first middle grade book, Arana & the Black Dog is a pleasure. Arana is a shy seventh grader who lives in Queens with her grandmother. Life is fairly normal for her, even though she has a hard time making friends and feels more at home with trees, plants, and animals. It’s only after she starts to have a recurring dream that begins to seep into her reality that she wonders if something truly strange is happening. I love its gentle tone and understated approach to what could be quite a bombastic story. Arana & the Black Dog is less about fantasy and more about certain people’s sensitivities to natural energy and the spiritual currents running just below our everyday life. —Nina


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