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.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
I’m almost done with My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which has received a ton of buzz this summer. In my opinion, the hype is warranted. Moshfegh writes about a young woman living in New York City who has decided that the answer to her unhappiness is extended, medicated sleep. The result is an unusual and almost claustrophobic story about depression, psychotropic drugs, and apathy. —Elizabeth
Lady Killers appears on the surface to be a giddy romp through some of history’s forgotten female serial killers. The tone is conversational, belying the book’s roots as a column for Jezebel. In a time when The Handmaid’s Tale is seeming less and less like fiction, there is a certain appeal to stories about women taking their fates into their own hands through everything from poisoning prunes to burning down houses. But beneath these stories, Lady Killers is an analysis of how popular culture and the media treat violent women, how newspapers report on female serial killers as being highly sexualized or de-fanged as a punchline (harmless granny a la Arsenic and Old Lace), and how every time a woman exhibits a dead-eyed killer instinct, we think it’s the first time it’s ever happened. Ultimately, Lady Killers forces us to contend with the idea that maybe women, like men, occasionally engage in acts of horrific violence for no discernible reason. —Nina
I devoured this small, impactful novel during a cross-country flight almost two months ago. The characters have stayed vivid in my mind long after finishing, but even more so, the feelings I experienced while reading are still fresh anytime I glance at the book on my shelf or see mention of the title. The story felt fragile yet powerful, tragic yet lovely, complex yet accessible. While recommending it to a friend, I found myself tearing up—and, frustratingly, at a loss for the right words to describe it. So, I will say here what I said to that friend: Just trust me, this book is beautiful, please read it. —Lindsey
I just finished reading Vox by Christina Dalcher (on sale Aug 21). Great for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, this book delves into a world where all women and girls are effectively silenced—limited to just 100 words per day. This book is frightening in its portrayal of how something like this could come to be—yes, it could happen to you!—and complex in its exploration of a mother’s choices. How far will she go to free herself and her daughter? And how will she navigate her relationships with her husband and sons, as well? I devoured this book in just a couple of days. —Kristina
Returning to the Lunar Chronicles universe feels like reuniting with old friends. This is the second book in the Wires and Nerve duology, a graphic novel spinoff of the LC series. The story explores life on Earth after the end of the war and it features Iko (an android) chasing down wolf-soldiers who are looking to bring Cinder (the new Lunar Queen and Iko’s BFF) down. Iko is an excellent protagonist and I loved this installment’s exploration of her thoughts on her own humanity and the origin of her personality chip. This has always been a series about the importance of friendship, and that theme truly shines in this book. These are friends who would do literally anything to help each other, which is exactly why I love reuniting with these beloved characters any chance I can get. —Kelly
Black Swans by Eve Babitz
I’ve been reading my book club’s most recent pick, Eve Babitz’s Black Swans. It’s an essay collection full of stories about everyone who mostly survived the sex, drugs, and violence of the 60s in LA. Babitz is self-aware, self-obsessed, and shockingly free of self-hatred or neuroses. In an exemplary moment, Babitz recalls an affair she had as a teenager with a wealthy married man. She doesn’t mention the power imbalances of age, gender, and money that make consent a tricky equation in this kind of relationship, but instead breezily recalls how fun it was to have an affair with a handsome man who gave her cash and cheap beer. She has a great knack for detail, but reading her descriptions of LA make me think I might be too much of a New Yorker to stand a chance of surviving with that much sun. —Nina
Earlier this week I sat down with the first book in Beverly Jenkins’ Old West series, and I can’t wait to finish it this weekend. It tells the story of Eddy Carmichael, a black woman who dreams of owning a restaurant, and Rhine Fontaine, a saloon owner who is passing as white. After Eddy is stranded in the desert, she’s rescued by Rhine and brought back to his Nevada town to recover her strength. But with each passing day it becomes harder for Eddy to leave and to imagine her life without Rhine. The chemistry between these two characters is excellent, and I’m loving the background that Jenkins includes about America at this point in history. —Stephanie
The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
I pulled The Daily Stoic out of my tsundoku pile a few weeks ago and am so glad I finally cracked it open! Featuring a daily quote from Stoic philosophers (think Marcus Aurelius), each page offers a different concept to chew on. Monthly themes—clarity, pragmatism, virtue and kindness—loosely group the teachings together and provide a bit of structure. It’s been equally fun to sit down and read a month’s worth at a time as it is to read just that day’s entry, almost like a daily horoscope. Who knew Stoic philosophy could be so fun, poignant, or feel so contemporary! —Annie