Staff Reads: May 17

Staff Reads: May 17

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

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Back in February, Kelly and I went to the NYC launch for Angie Thomas’ second novel On the Come Up and I finally read it. I hate that I waited so long to get to it because it was phenomenal. I listened to it on audiobook, which I highly recommend because you get the full experience of this story—because the main character is a rapper, you get to hear the music the way Thomas intended. The narrator Bahni Turpin is incredible and also narrated the audiobook for The Hate U Give. On the Come Up takes place in the same neighborhood as The Hate U Give, but follows characters who’ve come from very different circumstances. I loved Bri as a main character because she’s a strong-willed young girl who has a dream. Angie Thomas has crafted another amazingly detailed family dynamic that isn’t perfect, but feels so real. Garden Heights, the neighborhood both novels are set in, felt like another character in this book and readers really get to see that community’s culture. While The Hate U Give is about a macro situation involving police brutality and gun violence, On the Come Up felt like a micro look at culture and community that I found so interesting. —Dana

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko Furukura is, above all else, a convenience store worker. She eats food from the convenience store, she drinks water from the convenience store, her speech patterns are an amalgam of the convenience store manual and those of her coworkers. Every cell in her body vibrates at the frequency of the convenience store. She is made of the convenience store. She has been a convenience store worker for 18 years, which worries her family and friends, who don’t understand why she doesn’t want the trappings of a conventional life—husband, children, career-type job. She tries to please them and to assuage their concerns with varying degrees of success and an ill-advised, but logical scheme involving a very bitter man. Convenience Store Woman is a strange little story about different kinds of conformity, and some of the pleasures available when your corner of the universe has a manual. —Nina

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

Earlier this year V.E. Schwab’s debut novel was rereleased with a stunning new cover and bonus short story. I’ve loved Schwab’s other works and I knew that I had to read the book that started it all. The story follows Lexi as she begins to investigate a string of missing children in her town. Along the way, she meets a boy who just might be a witch. As the town turns on her new friend, Lexi fights to solve the mystery before it’s too late. Having read many of Schwab’s other works, I loved getting to see themes in The Near Witch that I know become staples of her books: magic tied to elements, the feeling of not belonging, a setting that lives and breathes, and the fierce protectiveness her characters have for those they care about. If you’ve read and loved other books by Schwab, I highly recommend sitting down with her debut. The cherry on top of this reading experience was getting to interview Schwab afterwards about The Near Witch’s rerelease and her publishing journey. —Kelly

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Before reading Girl, Stop Apologizing I had no clue who Rachel Hollis was. Now, I have ordered another of her books (Girl, Wash Your Face), downloaded a bunch of her podcast episodes, and followed her on social media—I can’t get enough! Hollis weaves her own story into the book as she shares her plan for the best way to reach your goals. She offers practical advice that I could start using right away. I definitely feel energized and empowered after reading this book. —Gerilyn

The Happy Runner by David Roche and Megan Roche

I belong to an awesome running club here in San Francisco, and one of the activities they offer is a quarterly book club. This quarter, we read The Happy Runner. I have to say, I loved this book. I think runners (myself included!) tend to get very focused on race results instead of loving the process of training. The authors offer a way out of this cycle and an alternative way of thinking about running that is empowering, joyful, and very pro-pizza. As an added bonus, my club got to FaceTime with David Roche during the meeting and chat with him about The Happy Runner. The best part was when Addie, an adorable black and white spotted dog that appears frequently in the book, climbed into David’s lap for part of the conversation. —Elizabeth

Hired by Zoey Castile

While visiting The Ripped Bodice, I picked up Stripped, the first book in Zoey Castile’s Happy Endings series. Upon finishing it, I immediately dove into the second installment: Hired. The story kicks off with Aiden Rios sitting in a bar on his birthday. After making mistakes he fears he can’t fix, he’s hiding from his friends and killing time until the woman who paid for his escort services returns. It’s there that he runs into Faith Charles, the daughter of a local mayoral candidate. The entire book is set in New Orleans and Castile perfectly captured the sights, sounds, and tastes of that incredible city. While I was reading I was instantly transported there and every time I closed the book I was itching to book a flight. But my favorite thing about this series is how characters often find themselves at moments of professional uncertainty—whether they’re no longer engaged with their work, at a loss of where to move next, or simply looking for the next challenge. It’s not only relatable, it’s a joy as a reader to watch characters you love and connect with discover new passions, purposes, and paths in their life. I’m already counting down the days until the next book hits shelves. —Kelly

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

Robert Weekes has always wanted to fly like a girl. So much so that he ends up winning a scholarship to an all women’s school, Radcliffe College. He’s one of the few men who practice empirical philosophy—a female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, heal the injured, and even fly. It’s a bit of a slow read for me, but I am enjoying the new perspective on America in the 1910s. Readers will follow Weekes as he proves that he’s good enough for the elite flying team of medics, which is typically unheard of. It’s a true coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. —Lauren

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda

I finally read the third volume of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress and it was absolutely incredible. This series was one of my favorite graphic novel finds of last year. The art style for this comic series is stunning, but also dark and horrific at the same time. It was great to see this world grow as the plot developed further. The arc for the comics compiled in this volume was more character-driven, which made the story so much easier to digest. I love the character of Kippa, who is more of a sidekick, so I loved seeing her have her own plot. While I adored this story, sometimes it was difficult to keep up with, since it was very complex. Luckily it was so easy to jump back into this world, and this volume was a lot less confusing. If you love complex and gritty fantasy, then you need to start this series! —Dana

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