Staff Reads: March 9

Staff Reads: March 9

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

The Girls

About a year ago, a good friend of mine told me she was reading and really enjoying The Girls by Emma Cline, and it’s been on my list ever since. So far, I’m really enjoying Cline’s prose—sometimes I’ll hit a description and marvel at just how right she got it. It’s a tense read, because you begin the novel essentially knowing how it will end: Evie will join a cult, and things will get very, very bad. In any case, I’m hooked and along for the ride. –Elizabeth

A Princess in Theory

There’s a small part of me that will always secretly believe I’m a princess stolen away from a far off land, so Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series is exactly my cup of tea. Ledi Smith is a grad student studying epidemiology. She survives on a blend of determination, hard work, and ramen. The last thing she expects is that across the world a prince is searching for her. Ledi is a fantastic heroine. She’s slow to let her guard down and open her heart, and I loved that the story focused on how her past affects her relationship with her betrothed Thabiso, her best friend Portia, and even her classmates. Cole gives the side characters room to grow and evolve in this story, and by the end I was rooting for not only Ledia and Thabiso, but for Portia, Likotsi, and more. Also, there are so many wonderful science jokes in this book, and I cannot wait to recommend it to STEM friends. I’m already counting down the days (144) until the second installment hits shelves! —Kelly

Her Body and Other Parties

At the end of last year, a friend of mine announced into the void of the Internet, “If you are only going to read one book this year, make it Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.” While I’m definitely reading more than one book this year, I’m so thrilled I finally took their advice. Her Body and Other Parties is a hybrid child of speculative fiction, queer romance, retold folktales, and more genres that are even harder to describe. These stories, among other things, are interested in the strangeness of gendered embodied experience—how by turns bizarre, thrilling, traumatic, and erotic it is to be a body in this world. Or, in the case of many stories, in a world like this one. And if you, like me, have a soft spot in your heart you can’t quite explain for Law & Order: SVU, the story “Especially Heinous” will be right up your alley. —Nina

The New Jim Crow

I just started reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It’s a look at how the racial caste system in the U.S. never really went away; it was simply redesigned into our contemporary criminal justice system. This book takes a hard look at how systemic racial inequality continues to affect communities. From the foreword by Cornel West: “[Alexander’s] nuanced historical narrative trace[s] the unconscionable treatment and brutal control of black people—slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration—[and] takes us beneath the political surfaces and lays bare the structures of a racial caste system alive and well in the age of colorblindness.” —Kristina

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Roshani Chokshi’s Aru Shah and the End of Time is a funny, engaging tale with that magical quality of appealing to young and old readers alike. Aru tries to avoid getting caught in one of her (many) lies with some classmates, and accidentally releases the Sleeper, who will summon the Lord of Destruction to bring about the end of time. Whoops! With the help of a pigeon named Boo, and Aru’s soul-sister Mini, Aru sets off to try and fix her mistake before time literally ends. A fun adventure full of humor, friendship, Hindu mythology, and a protagonist unfortunately clad in Spiderman pajamas during a rather exhausting week, Aru Shah and the End of Time is just a good time. Well, besides the whole “world ending” thing, of course. The first title from Rick Riordan’s imprint is definitely a must-read for fans of his middle grade myth-packed adventures, and while Riordan’s name and fame may bring readers to the book, this story is all Chokshi’s—and Aru’s, of course. —Susan

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Before I started reading Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, I knew very little about the book. I didn’t even realize the author was Rita Williams-Garcia, whose book One Crazy Summer I recently read and loved. I’m a few chapters in at the moment, and I’m not going to lie to you, this book is a little sad. I got teary reading the first few chapters, and had I not been in a public place, I might have actually cried. Clayton Byrd is struggling with the loss of his grandfather, whom he was extremely close to, and I wanted to give him a hug. Those around Clayton, including his parents, don’t seem to truly understand what he is going through. But at the same time, I am feeling hopeful for him. He is not simply going to move on and forget his grandfather, as some may wish. Clayton is honoring his feelings and has a plan for himself. Whether it works or not, I will have to find out. —Gerilyn

Too Much and Not the Mood

Durga Chew-Bose’s Too Much and Not the Mood is a wide-ranging and tender exploration of the author’s interiority. This collection of essays deals with Chew-Bose’s family dynamics, her feelings about movie theatres in summer, her network of introspective and creative female friends, and more. Too Much and Not the Mood has some of the willful ambivalence of Maggie Nelson and Virginia Woolf’s keen eye to the subtle details of city life. While I thought that sometimes the connective tissue in the essays was too thin, I was thrilled to be reading this author as she sharpens her voice. I can’t wait to see what she does next. —Nina

Hidden Bodies

I jumped right into Caroline Kepnes’ Hidden Bodies shortly after finishing You. The sequel is written slightly differently. In You, Joe narrates as if he is talking directly to Beck, whereas in Hidden Bodies he is just narrating what is going on around him. I admit Hidden Bodies is not captivating me in the way You did, but I am still up all hours of the night in between the pages. Amanda

Midsummer Delights

March is off to a busy start for me, and I haven’t had the time to dive into a new novel. I’ve been on the hunt for a short story collection that I could easily jump in and out of, and I think found that in Eloisa JamesMidsummer Delights. These stories are perfect for reading right before bed. They’re charming, sweet, and take you all the way from a kiss to happily ever after in a handful of pages. I’ve read the first two so far, and I’m looking forward to curling up with the final one and a glass of wine tonight. —Stephanie

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