What We’re Reading: February 3

What We’re Reading: February 3

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.

We Should All Be Feminists

I read this last weekend in a single sitting. I wish I didn’t have to say “this is so important, this is so timely” but, it is. A slim, approachable, conversational little book, it was adapted from the author’s TED Talk and is immediately digestible for anyone. (In fact, I bought six copies to give to friends!) What does feminism mean today? Why do we use the word “feminism” and not “human rights”? Need a few specific, relatable examples of gender inequality? Here you go. —Lindsey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

My best friend just started the Tequila Mockingbird Book Club. Each month she flips to a random cocktail from Tequila Mockingbird and the club reads the book that drink is inspired by. This month it’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m enjoying Chief Bromden’s narration. There’s a sense of magical realism in his delusions that make those breaks with reality both captivating and devastating. However, I’m finding the heavy-handed racism and misogyny a bit hard to swallow. —Kelly

I Liked My Life

I have been looking forward to the release of Abby Fabiaschi‘s debut novel, I Liked My Life, and now that I have begun it I can tell you it was worth the wait. What strikes me most from the outset is Fabiaschi’s keen sense of voice. She is wryly funny and immediately creates a believable cast of characters. Given the subject matter (grief, loss, healing), Fabiaschi easily could have gone dark but instead she creates the perfect blend of humor and pathos without dragging the reader into depression. I’m deeply impressed with this poignant debut so far and expect to hear more from Fabiaschi in the future. —Myf

Hackers

I’m three chapters into Steven Levy‘s Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. This book uses the word “hacker” in its original sense, to mean a person who enthusiastically (even obsessively) enjoys programming. The story begins with the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT in the late 1950s and traces the evolution of the hacker ethic up through the 80s, when this book was first published. The stories of early hackers hanging around the the lab at MIT in the wee hours of the morning, playing around on a computer the size of a room, are entertaining and inspiring. —Derek

Tell the Wind and Fire

“Tell the wind and fire where to stop, but don’t tell me!” These words were written by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. They were also the inspiration behind Sarah Rees Brennan‘s Tell the Wind and Fire. Rees Brennan expertly transformed Dickens’ tale of the French Revolution into a revolution between light magic and dark magic. While Rees Brennan’s characters parallel the memorable Charles Darnay, Lucie Manette, and Sydney Carton, her unique world creates very new and exciting experiences for her characters. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fascinating take on A Tale of Two Cities. —Jillian

Ghostland

Colin Dickey describes various “haunted” houses throughout America by delving into each location’s history, how it relates to American history, and tying it all together with examples in literature and pop culture. It’s exciting to learn the origins of these haunted houses, but also learning the histories behind famous works such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables, or Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House—the house this is based on, I also learned, is also the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.

The most interesting parts of the book are hearing about the myths and legends and “ghost stories” that surround each location, while also learning that the stories are not at all based on truth and being inundated with facts that disprove the myths. Initially, I thought the book would just tell me about ghosts and the homes they haunt, but it’s less about campy ghost stories and more about the history of the haunted houses and the history of ghost stories in general. —Amanda

Goodbye, Columbus

I’ve returned to one of my favorite books: Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth. It’s been several years since I last looked at it, and once again it grabbed me immediately with its wit, command of detail, sense of story, and crystal-clear writing, all of which are on display from the get-go in its unforgettable opening sentence: “The first time I saw Brenda she asked me to hold her glasses.” Roth was only 25 when this book came out, and though naturally he draws on much of his own young man’s experience as a brainy fledgling writer raised in Newark, NJ, he was so perceptive, and so skilled at communicating this perception, that right out of the gate he wrote a book that seems wise. What a debut! —Phil

Miracle Man

William R. Leibowitz’s debut thriller is about a man named Robert James Austin and his extremely unique life. In his early years, Robert discovers that he is different from the other kids; he is unusually smart. Robert grows into a genius, but struggles to cope with the challenges that come with possessing superior intellect. The novel is incredibly interesting when it’s exploring the unexpected consequences that Austin has to face. However, some of the chapters are a bit slow and not as engaging, which caused me to put the book down many times and lose interest in continuing. But, after getting myself through the slow and slightly depressing middle of the book, the end was very exciting and piqued my interest once again. This memorable thriller was overall a great read with an ending that left me stunned. —Anne Marie

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