Staff Reads: November 9

Staff Reads: November 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 Fall Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

It’s still spooky season as far as I’m concerned. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a bloody little study of sisterhood. Korede is responsible, professional, and maybe a little overlooked. Her sister Ayoola is beautiful and floats through her charmed life. Ayoola also has a nasty habit of killing her boyfriends and calling Korede to help clean up the mess. My Sister, the Serial Killer is just as pulpy and gory as you’d hope for, with enough deadpan humor to keep it light. But, at its heart, My Sister, the Serial Killer is about the way that your shared history binds you to your family, and how grown sisters are still jealous, competitive, petty, but ultimately devoted to one another. —Nina

Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao’s Rise of Empress duology is positively enchanting. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I have been counting down the days until I could dive into The Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix. Kingdom follows Jade on an epic quest for magical items that will help her claim her rightful place as empress of Feng Lu and unseat the vicious Xifeng. I found myself spellbound by the magic, flipping pages until I reached the satisfying and thrilling conclusion. Jade and Xifeng are perfect foils for each other, and I love the way Dao explored feminist themes through their juxtaposition. The only thing better than reading this book? Getting to interview Dao about this magical world immediately upon finishing. —Kelly

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

I remember reading “Cat Person” in The New Yorker when it went viral, and marveling at the reach that just one short story could have. Now, I’m excited to see what the rest of this collection holds. I’m willing to bet it’ll be one of the biggest short story collections of 2019. —Elizabeth

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I can’t even count the number of times this novel has been recommended to me, not to mention that it was the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner (among many other awards), so it has definitely been floating around my TBR list for a while now. It wasn’t until a few months ago when my dad called me up specifically to tell me that it was now and officially in his top 10 favorite books of all time (which is saying a lot as most of the top 10 hasn’t changed in 20+ years), and he needed me to read it so he had someone to talk about it with. It was strange, my dad normally doesn’t read historical fiction, but as soon as I picked it up and read through the first chapters I instantly knew this book was as special as everyone said, and I’m kicking myself for putting it off for so long. I’m about halfway through and I’m itching to pick it back up as soon as I put it down. Marie-Laure, a young, blind, French girl, and Werner, a young, brilliant, German boy, have such drastically different lives—especially when you remember this is all happening during World War II and the German occupation of France—and though they are on opposing sides, they are both coming of age in such a turbulent time, you can’t help but hope for the best for each. —Amanda

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

I’m new to the Windwitch series, though it’s been on my TBR list for years. I binged all of the books (including the novella Sightwitch) in anticipation for my interview with Susan Dennard. For readers who have been longtime fans, I’m thrilled to say that Bloodwitch delivers. Without spoiling anything, I will note that there’s plenty of heartstopping action, a tantalizing slow-burning romance, surprising alliances, and plenty of fierce female characters. Plus, Dennard starts to reveal Aeduan’s backstory and if you don’t love him already, you will after reading this. Wrapping up my read-a-thon with a chat with Dennard about her writing process was the cherry on top of the sundae. Bloodwitch hits shelves in February—but readers can sneak a peek at the first seven chapters over on BookishFirst. —Kelly

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated is a memoir by Tara Westover, and I could not put it down. I’ve been talking about it with everyone I know. The book description alone cannot prepare you for the wild ride from her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, from canning peaches in the kitchen and scrapping metal with her father to the halls of Cambridge University. It’s more than a simple statement about education—it touches on mental health, abuse, and family dynamics. From the publisher: “[Educated] gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.” —Kristina

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I remember reading Gone Girl in a couple of breathless sittings years ago, and decided it was time to check out something else Gillian Flynn had written. I had heard some buzz about Sharp Objects because of the release of the HBO series, and thought it would be fun to read the book first. I just finished it, and while I wouldn’t say I found it as gripping or twisty as Gone Girl, it was certainly entertaining. —Elizabeth

Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval

While researching an article for NetGalley Insights about Instagram Stories, I stumbled across a Verso post about a new book, Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval. I love her music and have been disturbed in the best way by her live shows, and couldn’t wait to see what she’s like in prose. It turns out, she’s amazing. Paradise Rot follows Jo, an observant and strange Norwegian student living abroad to study. She moves into a flat in a converted warehouse, and boundaries begin to blur. Boundaries between humans and nature, between self and other, and desire and disgust. The descriptions of Jo’s surroundings are profoundly odd and deeply moving. The world is rendered strange and erotic, full of unexpected resonances and sensory experiences. This little book is a trip. —Nina


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