Staff Reads: May 4

Staff Reads: May 4

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.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This is pure joy in book form. I may be the last YA reader on Earth to have read this, and I enjoyed every second of it. Becky Albertalli captures the significance of teen friendships, the strangeness of your identity constantly evolving with each new experience, and the thrill of falling in love for the very first time. Simon’s emails with Blue had me smiling hard enough to make my cheeks hurt, as if I were the one getting cute messages from a crush. I saw the movie adaptation almost immediately after finishing the book and thought it was simply perfect. I can’t wait to read Leah on the Offbeat so I can reunite with this amazing cast of characters. Also, every copy of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda should come packaged with Oreos. It’s simply torture to keep reading about them and not have them handy to eat. If you read this book, and I highly recommend you do, save yourself the agony and pick up some Oreos before you dive in. —#LoveKelly

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I had the pleasure of meeting Hank Green at a book party earlier this week, and was excited to leave the gathering with a galley of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing in hand. Green’s enthusiasm for storytelling is infectious, and after our conversation I couldn’t wait to dive in and experience the Carls for myself. –Elizabeth

Meaty by Samantha Irby

I am loving Samantha Irby’s essay collection Meaty. Irby’s honesty is refreshing and her sense of humor is on point. I mean, you have got to love a book in which the author unflinchingly tells you that she sometimes wears a diaper at night because her stomach distress warrants it. But just because the book is funny doesn’t mean it’s not also deadly serious. There’s a lot about classism, racism, and sexism within these pages. There’s also a great deal of yearning—for her lost parents and for what she does not (yet) have. —Myf

Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls

It’s a tale as old as time: Woman in an unsatisfying marriage in postwar suburbia meets handsome amphibian-humanoid on the run from evil scientists. Romance and adventure ensue. Mrs.Caliban is a quick read with a breezy, matter-of-fact tone about the intrusion of the extraordinary into the everyday. If you saw The Shape of Water and wanted another story about a mid-century girl meeting an amphibious dreamboat, Mrs. Caliban scratches that itch. Originally published in 1982 to critical acclaim (Ursula K. Le Guin and Joyce Carol Oates were early fans and the British Book Marketing Council named it “one of the 20 greatest American novels since World War II”), Mrs. Caliban faded into relative obscurity until it was thankfully reissued by New Directions in 2017. —Nina

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

I’ve just started Why Kill the Innocent, the 13th book in C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series. What I love about this historical mystery series is the unfolding relationship between Sebastian and his wife, Hero, as well as Harris’ meticulous prose. While I always want to know who committed the crime, that is not the primary reason I love the series so much–it’s Sebastian and Hero who keep me reading. Harris began her career writing historical romance (as Candice Proctor), and her love of the Regency period is evident here. This book takes place in the winter of 1814, a time when England was suffering a deep freeze, resulting in the last time the Thames froze, and Londoners got to visit the Frost Fair, when an elephant walked across the ice on the river. —Megan

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

I recently finished Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, which is dark and romantic. It brings to mind David Bowie’s Goblin King from The Labyrinth, and all the mixed-up feelings I had about him as a young girl (and those I have about him as a fully-grown woman). The fantastical elements really caught me on this one and, even though I’m not normally a romance reader, but I found this to be tasteful and sexy in those moments. Shadowsong, book two in this series, is also out now… and it may be the next book I pick up. —Kristina

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

I have an interview coming up with author Jeanne Birdsall and to prepare I am reading through the Penderwick series for the very first time. With the weather just starting to warm up in my neck of the woods, I’m thrilled to be diving into a book that celebrates the joys of summer. The Penderwick clan is spending the season staying in a cabin on the Arundel estate. This is a beloved classic, and I can’t wait to get to know the girls, Hound, and Jeffrey better. —Kelly

The Only Living Witness by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth

I am reading The Only Living Witness by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth, a true crime book delving into the details of Ted Bundy’s early life, crimes, and murder convictions. The authors were allowed access to notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, who was accused and convicted of kidnapping and murdering women in the mid-to-late 1970s, as he was incarcerated in Florida prior to his execution. This book provides a unique point of view in that the interviewers often quote Bundy verbatim which gives the reader a really creepy, but interesting look into how the serial killer’s thought process was when reflecting on the crimes he was convicted of. Most notably, throughout the book Bundy insists that he’s innocent despite the mountains of evidence against him. I read a true crime book on the same topic a few years ago, which was written by a friend of Bundy’s, and I hadn’t realized at a time how biased it was. I do feel that Michaud’s and Aynesworth’s point of view is objective and a retelling of facts without much conjecture. I think this book is also quite timely, as news recently broke of another famed serial killer, the Golden State Killer, being caught just last week. Reading true crime and learning about heinous and violent acts is not for everyone, but I do think it’s interesting to learn how the cases develop, how these people can stay under the radar for so long, and how reassuring it is that we, in the 21st century, have so many tools in our hands to prevent such criminals from hiding in the shadows. —Amanda

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

I’m halfway through Made for Love, a farcical story centered around Hazel, who is trying to leave her loveless but tech-dominated marriage with the founder of a Google-type company. As the story transitions from one absurd thing to the next—she moves in with her father and his sex doll, Diane, and there’s a side story about a con man who develops a dolphin fetish—it reminds me of Fluke by Christopher Moore. This novel is certainly not for everyone (my mom, for example) but perfect if you’re looking for something different that will make you laugh, while you give all the tech in your house the side eye. —Annie

The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel

I just finished the second book in Andrew Cartmel’s the Vinyl Detective series, The Run-Out Groove. More high-end coffee, lurking assassins, hi-fi audio equipment, and fictional music nostalgia among other nicely placed cool stuff, how can I resist? Some books are just fun to read, this is one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the first of the series. The second one picks right up where the first one ended and simply extends the roller coaster ride, adding new twists and turns. A lot of familiar faces and some interesting new ones come along for the ride. It certainly pulled me through with a smile and I have every intention of reading the next of the series when it’s available, which looks like it may be any day now! Nice. —Jon

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.

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