Staff Reads: February 2

Staff Reads: February 2

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

The Princess Diarist

I just started The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher over the weekend, and I am so excited to really dig in to it. I am a huge Star Wars nerd and totally obsessed with Fisher’s writing. After reading Wishful Drinking last year, I could not stop talking about it and how Fisher’s personality and voice are so present within its pages. I can’t wait to get some more Princess Leia and Carrie in my life (and to listen to the Grammy-winning audiobook version when I’m done). —Kirsten


You can’t talk about romance without talking about Beverly Jenkins. Her books have been on my TBR list for far too long, and this week I set out to change that. Jenkins has an impressive list of titles to choose from, but Tempest caught my eye in our Winter Romance Preview, and I figured that was a great place to start. Tempest tells the story of a fiery mail-order bride, Regan, who accidentally shoots her husband-to-be, Colton, during their first meeting. Regan and Colton have fantastic chemistry. They only exchanged a few letters before meeting and marrying, so each day together brought a new surprise as they grew to know and love each other. Real historical events were seamlessly woven into the narrative, and Jenkins populated the town with the kind of side characters you pray get their own novel (cough, Spring, cough). This is the third novel in the Old West series, and I’ve already ordered the first two so I can read about Eddy and Rhine, and Portia and Kent. —Kelly

The Water Will Come

This book has been recommended to me multiple times since it came out last year, and I am so glad I finally picked it up. This is a frightening and fascinating look at what sea level rise is doing to coastal cities, and Jeff Goodell’s reporting is just jaw-dropping. I’ve been recommending this book left and right, because Goodell tells a great story while also educating readers on an important subject. Now I’ll do the same to you: Read this book. —Elizabeth

The Four Tendencies

The latest Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project, Better Than Before) book delves into the personality types, or Four Tendencies, she thinks drives each of us. Based on how we respond to inner and outer expectations, the Tendencies explain why we respond the way we do to work, family, friends, and even ourselves. It’s a topic I’m super into and one Rubin’s touched on in previous books, but what I especially love here is her breakdown of how to better deal with Tendencies that contradict your own. As an Upholder (with Obliger leanings) whose partner is a Rebel, I can always use more tricks up my sleeve! —Annie

The Day of the Duchess

Making good on my New Year’s resolution to read more romance novels, I dove into The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean. Feisty sisters, dark and brooding dukes with feelings they don’t know how to express, and country manors abound here and I’m loving it. Aside from the pure luxurious pleasure of watching Seraphina and the Duke of Haven try to ignore their feelings for one another, it feels great to get into a genre that is mostly (but not exclusively!) written by women and for women. And big thanks to Bookish editor Kelly Gallucci for sending me a list of titles to get me started in the wild and delightful world of romance! —Nina

The Refrigerator Monologues

If you consume mainstream media, you’re probably familiar with the concept of fridging: killing a female character for the sake of male character development. In this book, Catherynne M. Valente passes the mic to the women who were sacrificed and lets them rally and rage. They call themselves the Hell Hath Club, and each member gets a chance to tell her story. The characters are inspired by women from comics (like Gwen Stacy and Jean Grey). We know these women. Hell, we are these women. This collection is powerful, wickedly clever, and completely heartbreaking. It’s empowering to read about sidelined characters standing in the spotlight, and gutting that this theme is all too common. We wrote about this book often last year, and I’m glad that I finally took the time to spend an evening with these women. If you’re a feminist (particularly a geeky one), you’ll want to check this one out. —Kelly


Whiskey & Ribbons

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Leesa Cross-Smith’s debut novel, Whiskey & Ribbons, and so I was delighted to receive an advanced copy. Let me tell you that this beautiful heartbreaker of a book is well worth the wait. I’m only a few chapters in but thoroughly hooked and eager to dig deeper. I keep finding myself swooning over the lyrical language and mesmerized by the pacing and structure. This book has three alternating points of view: Evi, a young mother whose husband was killed before their child was born; Dalton, her husband’s adopted brother; and Eamon, the dead husband. This book offers a mixture of grief, hope, despair, and redemption. Ultimately, it is about love in all of its many forms. Myf

Manhattan Beach

I’m currently reading Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. I was very excited to see a new novel by Egan after reading A Visit from the Goon Squad. She has a unique way of telling many involved and interesting stories at once, and I am happy to see a similar style in her latest novel. Manhattan Beach takes place primarily in Brooklyn during two time periods: the Great Depression and World War II. The main character, Anna, is a young woman working in a mostly male environment in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, which on its own would be a fascinating story, but on top of that, she becomes involved with a known racketeer with mysterious ties to her missing father. All the while she is taking care of her sister. Egan provides points of view from Anna, her father, and the racketeer while painting a flawless, detailed, and historical portrait of life in the 1940s in Brooklyn and the Naval Yard. I can’t put it down and have been recommending it to everyone! Amanda


My Moby-Dick reading group meets for the first time this week, so I’m looking up chowder recipes and making sure I know where my most knobbly sweater is hiding. And perhaps more importantly, I’m finding out that this Great American Novel isn’t all biblical allusions, heroic American masculinity gone off the deep end, and grandiose metaphors. It’s also full of dumb whale puns and loving descriptions of men smoking pipes together in bed, whispering intimately long into the night. So far, Moby-Dick is far funnier and more queer than I expected (the queer part isn’t too surprising… I’ve read Billy Budd). Reading the classics usually means finding out that these texts are much stranger, more complicated, and more wonderful than pop culture leads you to believe. I’m also learning quite a bit about 19th century whaling. —Nina


Elizabeth Lesser’s memoir Marrow examines the author’s relationship with her sister, Maggie. When Maggie is in need of a bone marrow transplant, and Elizabeth turns out to be a perfect donor match, Elizabeth reflects on the emotional struggles of their stormy past relationship. Elizabeth has lived her life being true to herself and now she wants to be true to her relationship with her sister. She feels that healing their relationship will help her sister to have a more successful transplant and recovery. Their love deepens both from their emotional healing and the connection of sharing the same blood cells from the transplant. When Maggie is no longer able to fight for her life, the sisters have peace in their hearts knowing that even though Maggie was not able to physically recover, their relationship was able to. Marrow not only represents Maggie’s medical condition but also represents the core of being true to ourselves and others. I enjoyed reading this touching, loving story between two sisters. Denise

Tower of Dawn

I just finished reading Tower of Dawn, which is the sixth installment of the Throne of Glass series written by Sarah J. Maas. Tower of Dawn is a parallel novel to Empire of Storms. It follows the journey of Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq to Antica, a city on the southern continent which is home to the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme. What originally was intended to be a novella turned into a compelling novel where readers finally get to explore the inner thoughts of Chaol Westfall and his experience serving the strongest empire in this world. In the previous novels of the series, Chaol was always the stone-faced Captain of the Guard. However, this novel really dives into Chaol’s true self, all with the help of Nesryn, the mysterious Yrene Towers, and the powerful band of princes and princesses who are constantly trying to get in the way. The plotline of the Throne of Glass series has become more complex, intertwined, suspenseful, and unpredictable with each novel, and Tower of Dawn is no exception. With each new installment in the series, Sarah J. Maas is creating a series of events that will lead to a whirlwind, dramatic finale when the last book comes out later this year. Jillian

Notorious RBG

As I read Notorious RBG, I’m realizing all over again what an amazing woman Ruth Bader Ginsburg is. The attitudes towards women in the 1960s and 1970s, when her career was beginning, were horrifying. But things haven’t entirely changed. I feel like we shouldn’t still have to be fighting so hard! —Marie

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.


staff reads

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