What We’re Reading: December 2

What We’re Reading: December 2

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 Winter Previews for a look at the best books of the season.


BUY

Fun Home

You may have heard of Fun Home, the hit Broadway musical, before, well, this graphic memoir is the basis for that show. Written/drawn by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel (yes, the Bechdel Test is named after her), Fun Home chronicles periods of her family life, and the complicated relationship she had with her father. Throughout the memoir Bechdel details her realization of her own sexuality, as well as her discovery around the same time that her father was also gay. The narrative jumps about a bit in time, following thematically connected moments in her and her family members’ lives. As a graphic memoir it is a fairly quick read, but definitely a worthwhile one. Bechdel’s art really helps to paint a picture (almost literally) of her childhood, her strange family home, and, of course, the “fun home” (funeral home) that played a big role in her life, and sets the tone for the memoir where death looms large over the narrative. For anyone who likes memoirs and wants to try a different medium, or for those who like graphic novels and want to foray into nonfiction, Fun Home is a quick and easy, though emotionally powerful, read. And for those who like both memoirs and graphic novels? Well, you’ve probably already read this, haven’t you? —Kimberly

Superstorm

I’m reading Kathryn Miles’ book on Hurricane Sandy, and am really impressed with the reporting so far. I’m a few chapters in, and I feel like I’m gaining a far better understanding of how storm forecasting works. Miles does a great job of making a large, complicated subject feel accessible and narratively interesting. —Elizabeth

Reservoir 13

I am reading Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor—a truly exceptional novel about normal people caught in the slipstream of the disappearance of a young girl. Tender, humane and brilliantly written, it’s already shaping up to be my book of 2017. —Stuart

Scythe

When I first read the description I thought this book sounded a bit depressing, but it instantly drew me in! It reminds me a bit of The Hunger Games (which I loved!), in the sense that the story takes place in a future world. Natural death and disease no longer exist; they are phenomenons of a past era known as the Age of Mortality. To control the world’s population, scythes have taken the place of natural death. It is their job to take the lives of others—I won’t say how or why; I’ll leave that unspoiled for future readers! This is a compelling read with a double-edged interpretation of the future. —Lauren

Flora & Ulysses

My son loved Kate DiCamillos Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Every time he talked about it, I found myself wanting to read it and so now I finally have. Truly there is much to love in this tale of a broken family, a funny and brainy child, and a superhero squirrel. DiCamillo is, of course, a master at telling a story and finding the pitch-perfect voice to do it. I appreciate that she writes up to her audience and not down. She expects them to understand where she’s going, instead of assuming they need to be pulled along. I’m happy to say that I loved the book as much as my son did. —Myf


BUY

Little Robot

There will be a new bundle of joy around my family’s Christmas table this year, and I’m determined to make her the most well-read child on the planet. I’ve been looking for books to give her and came across this gem from Ben Hatke, one of my personal favorite children’s authors and illustrators. The story centers around a clever girl and her small robotic friend. I firmly believe that Ben Hatke belongs on the shelves of all young readers, so this will certainly be under my baby cousin’s Christmas tree. —Kelly

The Terranauts

Eight terranauts, two years, one biodome—nothing in, nothing out. This book follows three members of a scientific community (which they all seem to think is at least vaguely cult-like in its devotion and very meager pay), as they gear up for, and undertake, a two-year project within a sealed dome. The purpose of the experiment is to see if humans can be self-sustaining, so that a similar environment might be set up on another planet. Loosely based on the Biosphere experiments in Arizona in the 90s, T.C. Boyle delves into the personal side of the project, and how eight people can live together in complete isolation, yet under constant observation by the press, tourists, and management, for two whole years. Add to that drama some food shortages, low oxygen, and a few other surprises, and the Ecosphere starts to feel claustrophobic to even read about. The Terranauts explores a really interesting question (made even more interesting by the real-life events behind it): Will the unpredictability of humans always get in the way of carefully planned science? Although it is a bit long and rambling at times, The Terranauts is definitely worth a read. —Kimberly

We Were Liars

I’ve visited Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket many times, and I thought reading a book that took place there would be interesting and relatable. Not only the was the setting familiar, but the book’s depiction of a close-knit group of friends is something that I related to. What was at first an easy and enjoyable read, We Were Liars took an unexpected turn which left me completely surprised. Very few books can catch me off guard in the way that this one did. All in all, this was a very good read. —Jillian

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