What We’re Reading: April 15

What We’re Reading: April 15

Here are the Bookish staff’s personal weekend reading recommendations; have you read any of them? Tell us in the comments what you’ll be reading this weekend! If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our Spring Previews for a look at the best books of the season.

The Mare

It’s no secret that I love Mary Gaitskill, and I’m excited to be reading her new book The Mare. I was a little surprised when I first heard that Gaitskill was writing a new novel about a little girl and a horse (remember, this is the writer who brought the world the short story “Secretary”), but I was willing to roll with it. I really admire Gaitskill’s sharp prose style and the way that she writes her characters’ gestures in such a way that they seem to convey immense emotional significance. So far, I’m really loving this. —Elizabeth

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

I devoured the first two Neapolitan novels but have been holding off on starting the third, which takes place in the ’60s and ’70s, until I could be sure of having a full day to be immersed in it. What more can I add to the praise that’s already been heaped on this ferocious, perceptive storytelling? I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with this novel and a bottle of falanghina. —Anita

Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia

This is one of my favorite books ever. It’s the memoir of a suburban kid who grows up diving headfirst into obsessions—from becoming an astronaut to kung fu master to… jazz cellist. The book documents his late-teenage fall as a pot-head and his eventual clinical depression and existential angst. In short, Lost in Place has everything you need if you’re undergoing a transitional moment. —Luke

Temptations of a Wallflower

This week I had to confront one of my worst fears: I was stuck on a train without a book. What do non-readers do while riding the train? Sleep? Stare into space? Play Candy Crush? Thankfully, I didn’t have to resort to any of these back-up plans. I remembered that I had a copy of Eva Leigh’s newest historical romance on my phone and got to reading. The heroine of the book writes erotic novels under a scandalous penname, and her hero-to-be is a vicar. Their chemistry is unbelievable. At one point I swear steam was literally rising off the pages. —Kelly

The Next Next Level: A Story of Rap, Friendship, and Almost Giving Up

This book rules! Early this century, while still in high school, Leon Neyfakh organized a small, slapdash concert in a suburban Chicago Unitarian church featuring a guitarist friend he’d met at summer camp and the friend’s 16-year-old white Milwaukee rapper buddy Juiceboxxx (his stage name, needless to say). Bespectacled Juiceboxxx, skinny with a “terrible haircut,” gave a supernova performance. Cursing, hanging from a ceiling beam, diving into the crowd with his glasses flying off, Juiceboxxx imprinted on studious Neyfakh, seeming the very essence of the instinctual artist, nerdiness and zits notwithstanding. A dozen years later, their paths crossed again, in New York. Neyfakh was a brainy Slate reporter. Juiceboxxx was a musically omnivorous ever-striving troubadour, couch-surfing coast to coast, and no joke artistically. Career highlight? Opening for Public Enemy in Canada (Chuck D called him “the Buddy Holly of hip-hop”). Neyfakh’s reconnection with Juiceboxxx powers this marvelously written, memory-stirring, hilarious story. Neyfakh meditates on the artist’s life, eccentricity, youth, music, subcultures, pop culture, inspiration, and more. Plus you get to know Juiceboxxx. You might even find yourself Googling his videos. —Phil

The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal

History and historical biography are two of the most popular nonfiction genres. This book combines both, telling the history of WWII while delivering an interesting and important story. —Bob

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