What We’re Reading: February 16

What We’re Reading: February 16

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



Guys, Goodreads finally added a reread option. To test it out, I’m revisiting an old favorite: Zelda by Nancy Milford. I remember being completely blown away when I first read this. Milford’s research paints a detailed and fascinating portrait of a girl becoming a woman in a world of love, decadence, and drama. Zelda was talented, eccentric, and glamorous. She was also troubled, lost, and heartbroken. I can’t wait to revisit her story and be swept away once more. —Kelly

Hyperbole and a Half

I’ve been meaning to read this graphic memoir by Allie Brosh for quite a while. I’m a big fan of Brosh’s blog–especially anything she writes about her dogs. While I found some chapters more gripping than others, overall, I really enjoyed this. I’m eagerly anticipating Brosh’s next book! –Elizabeth

Red Tent

This is a historical fiction book set in biblical times that tells the story of the women of Jacob’s tribe. There are four sisters who come from different mothers but were all raised in the same family. They share a special bond, even though they all look different and are treated differently by their father. The red tent is the women’s tent, and you’re only allowed in after your first menstrual cycle. This is a very compelling story. The prejudices against the women are harsh, but the sisters still have fulfilling lives. Children are the cornerstone of their happiness. This is definitely a must-read for those who enjoy stories about strong connections between women. —Barb


Lately I (and a lot of women) have been feeling a pull towards finding my people. That’s probably why I was quick to pick up this book. With a strong and honest voice, Maude allows us to have a front-row seat to her life in the early-mid 1990s. Maude demonstrates how resilient she was when it came to extreme sexism, the right to vote, the Great Depression, childbirth, lack of healthcare/birth control, among other hardships. This story helps show how far we’ve come, but also how far we have to go. —Tarah

The Nix

I’ve been reading The Nix by Nathan Hill. This one hit a ton of lists at the end of 2016, and from what I can tell so far—approximately a quarter of the way through it—with good reason. Samuel Andresen-Anderson, the protagonist, is fascinating both in adulthood, as a failed writer and college professor, escaping the frustration of uninterested and malicious students through video games, and in childhood as a highly sensitive, prone-to-crying, boy in love with his best friend’s twin. And all parts of his life are haunted by his mother, who disappeared when he was a child and has reappeared as a viral sensation after attacking a politician… and perhaps could be his ticket to finally completing a book. —Kristina

Steering the Craft

I have many books about the craft of writing. Most of them I take bits and pieces from when I am either struggling on a project or when I am teaching a workshop. I first learned about Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft during a writing workshop I was attending. The incredible Dorothy Allison was the workshop leader and she mentioned this book and its lessons time and again and so, of course, I listened. As soon as I got home, I ordered it. That was 11 years ago and it continues to be a book I turn to for guidance. What I love about Steering the Craft is its simplicity. Le Guin does not feel the need to prove how intelligent and talented she is. Instead, she just gets to the point and provides lessons which will be key to any writer, no matter where they are in their process or education. Le Guin built the book from the bones of one her own workshops, and what I take away each time is what an incredible experience it must be to have her as a teacher. But then there she is within these pages, and I am learning from her as though she were in the room. What a treasure. If you are in need of this book, I promise you it will not disappoint. —Myf


Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo

My favorite book so far in 2017 has been Michael McCarthy’s The Moth Snowstorm, which mixes a memoir of his love for nature with a deeply informed look at how all over the planet, the natural world which so many of us cherish is in jeopardy. This weekend I’ll have his terrific 2009 book, Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo, in my hands. Just as smart, passionate, and superbly written as Snowstorm, this book looks at the wonder of bird migrations. It’s one of the great stories of our globe: the way so many species fly thousands of miles between continents every year. The spring bringers, McCarthy calls them. Along with detailing much of the amazing science, he also ranges over western cultural history, back as far as the Bible and the Greeks, highlighting how often migrating birds figure as emblems of deep resonance in our heritage. —Phil

The Lost City of the Monkey God

I just finished reading this book and can say I am a bit surprised it is a bestseller. It was a good book, with some pretty fascinating stories. It is undeniably well written, but not on my short list of favorite nonfiction. The story of a city lost to history in the jungles of Honduras is a great one. It’s shocking that it took the most advanced laser mapping tools to discern man-made structures in a dense jungle, and even more fascinating that they could barely see the structures when standing on top of them in person. The adventure and discovery part of the story was the most compelling, but unfortunately that ended in the middle of the book. I kept wondering what was going to happen in the second half of the book. The answer was an insightful yet plodding anthropological thesis on disease, reminiscent of The Hot Zone by Richard Preston published in 1995. That is all fine, but not really what I signed up for in this adventure. —Doug

The Ruby Circle

I just finished reading the Bloodline series by Richelle Mead. It takes place in the same world as her Vampire Academy series. I really enjoyed reading a new adventure with the same characters. Both series were really fun to read! —Jillian







  1. I picked up Nancy Milford’s Savage Beauty on a whim when I found it at a thrift store years ago. I absolutely fell in love. So much so that as soon as I finished it, I started it over again, which I’ve never done before. That led me to discover Erika Robuck, who also wrote about Millay, as well as Zelda, as Milford has (check Robuck out, she’s fabulous). Discovering now that there is another book by the talented Milford about the intriguing Zelda has absolutely made my morning. Thanks!

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