Staff Reads: October 27

Staff Reads: October 27

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.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Oh did I love this book. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a reimagining of the evil Queen’s story from “Snow White.” Julie C. Dao keeps the bones of the original tale, but truly makes this story her own and transports readers to a thrilling fantasy world filled with old gods, magic, and danger. Xifeng is a fascinating protagonist. I loved following her journey from a girl afraid to follow her destiny to a woman prepared to do whatever it takes to seize power. This is one of my favorite YA fantasies of the year, and I was thrilled to get to interview Dao about crafting a villain like Xifeng. Book two can’t come soon enough. —Kelly

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

I recently finished reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It certainly lives up to all the reviews it’s already received—uplifting, funny, charming, painful. Eleanor is easily put off by the ungraceful social skills of her peers, but it’s her own naivety and awkwardness that had me laughing out loud. As she begins to confront and navigate relationships old and new, I couldn’t help but care deeply about Eleanor’s future… and past. —Kristina

Admissions

I am thrilled to start the new Henry Marsh book, Admissions, this weekend. I devoured Do No Harm, and can’t wait to hear more from Marsh about his experiences as a brain surgeon. This is one of the books I have most been looking forward to picking up this year, and I’m super excited I’m finally getting to it! —Elizabeth

Wonder

I know I am very late to the party but I am finally reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. What an astonishing book from the opening paragraph on. I’m drawn in by the story of this remarkable ten-year-old boy, Auggie, because he is such a compelling young person and also because I have a ten-year-old boy and this book makes me think about him. It also reminds me of being the new kid in school as I was in fifth grade when my own family moved to the United States. While I did not have the facial difference that Auggie does, I certainly did feel like a fish out of water. Already, I’m rooting for Auggie and I’m eager to keep reading. —Myf

The Genius Plague

I absolutely loved The Genius Plague by David Walton! I picked it up planning to skim the first page or two to see what the writing was like, and I didn’t put the book down for 100 pages. It is a highly entertaining, clever, fast-paced pandemic story about a fungal plague that turns normal people into geniuses—and, of course, nothing like that ever comes without a cost. As the fungus spreads across the globe, people change in unexpected ways and the future of modern civilization is at stake. Rookie NSA worker Neil Johns—a bumbling klutzy genius in his own right—must think far outside the box to outsmart the hordes infected with fungus. Recommended for fans of Michael Crichton. —Alyce

Spill Zone

I’ve been a fan of Scott Westerfeld’s fictional worlds since Uglies, and when I learned that he’d be on the panel I was moderating at New York Comic Con, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to pick up his new book, Spill Zone. This graphic novel tells the story of a mysterious spill that contaminates Poughkeepsie, New York. It was a blast to revisit my old college town through the eyes of Addison, the book’s no-nonsense protagonist, and to see it transformed into a creepy and unearthly wasteland. This book leaves the reader with lots of questions about the mysterious spill, and I’m already willing time to fly by faster so I can get my hands on the sequel. —Kelly

The Big Sleep

Not sure how I managed to go this long without ever reading Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, especially as I’m a fan of the movie version starring Humphrey Bogart (who isn’t?), and love the sly nods to this movie in the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski. At any rate, I’m a few chapters into this L.A.-set masterpiece and I’ve been sending emails to writer-friends raving about the dialogue, the brilliantly concise and idiosyncratic sentences, the scene-making, and most of all the laugh-out-loud wit. Along with everything else, this novel features pitch-perfect comedy ten times on every page. Having lived in Los Angeles for years, it’s an extra treat to get Chandler’s 1930s version of the city, a map unfolding in my mind as his detective Philip Marlowe crisscrosses town. The only thing I could do without is the private eye’s casual sexism and benighted view of gay people, imparted by Chandler in a way that seems meant to make readers chuckle, but luckily so far there’s not too much of this stuff. I have a feeling I’ll be reading more Raymond C. in coming weeks. —Phil

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