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.
This book hits shelves next week, and because it is so highly anticipated I really don’t want to spoil it for fellow fans of the series. All I will say is that it pains me every time I need to put it down, and I am already looking forward to rereading it. —Kelly
I’ve been joking all week about having trouble fitting this book in my purse, but it’s actually been a legitimate problem. In his jacket copy, Dave Eggers (a writer whose taste I generally trust) promises that this is a pretty fast read for a thousand-pager. I’m really interested in how Mailer toes the line between fiction and nonfiction here, and am having trouble putting this book down. Let’s see if I can finish it before I throw my back out. (Kidding.) —Elizabeth
More than a decade ago I read and loved, loved, loved The Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn—a sort of Harry Potter meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon epic—but those books seemed a universe all their own, and I never expected to be lucky enough to revisit it. And I can’t, exactly, because The Tales of Shikanoko are of an earlier, much weirder time, with different characters… but Hearn’s mastery of prose, character, and storytelling are even more evident. The stories take place in a mythical pre-history Japan, where fantasy and reality are indistinguishable, with monstrous creatures playing an active role in human drama. And the human drama is indeed incredibly dramatic, with every character, young and old, weak and powerful, equally susceptible to the whims of fate. Maybe that’s why at the end of the story, after hungrily devouring every page late into the night, I had the feeling I get whenever I read a masterpiece: that I am lucky to be alive, lucky to be here, now, lucky to have had every moment I’ve been on this earth. As said, these books are weird—but they are truly remarkable, wholly magical, and a gift for whomever is willing to take the ride. —Joe
Book talk on Twitter has brought me to a number of writers in recent years, and Lincoln Michel, an Electric Literature editor and author of this story collection, is one of them. What these stories do best is make the world strange, the way work by Kafka does, or Kelly Link, or Steven Millhauser, whose 1986 collection In the Penny Arcade got into my marrow. The lives of schoolchildren, life in suburbia, a writer at an arts colony—the deadpan, unadorned prose starts turning Michel’s places and situations weird on page one. Soon we find ourselves in a reality skewed—not hugely skewed but twisted just enough to remind us that chaos and darkness are near neighbors in our lives. Neighbors that might come knocking. Apparently things ratchet to a full-blown zombie apocalypse by collection’s end. That awaits. —Phil