What We’re Reading: January 29

What We’re Reading: January 29

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.

Five Days at Memorial

The only word I can find to accurately describe this book is “harrowing.” The first half covers the uncertainty and chaos that unfolded within the walls of Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The second half, which I’ve just hit, investigates the accusations that some doctors and nurses euthanized DNR (do not resuscitate) patients rather than evacuating them. With every turn of the page, I tell myself that things can’t get worse and somehow they do. It’s a shocking story, but one that needs to be told and I’m grateful Elizabeth recommended to me. —Kelly

Bad Behavior

I love Mary Gaitskill. I read Veronica last year, and have been meaning to pick up Bad Behavior ever since. These are short stories, some of them dealing with difficult subjects (prostitution, for example), that describe fragile, illusory relationships and how they sometimes fail. Gaitskill’s tone is totally gripping—as the reader, you sort of feel like you’re sitting across from Gaitskill in a dark bar while she tells you these stories in a matter-of-fact tone, not blinking even once. —Elizabeth

The Gates of Evangeline

I’m always looking for new authors that I haven’t discovered yet. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Putnam event introducing four of their important up-and-coming authors. At the event I met Hester Young, the author of The Gates of Evangeline. Mysteries and thrillers are two of my favorite genres, so I’m now reading her Southern Gothic tale. —Bob

The Age of Innocence: The Shooting Script

When I really love a movie script, I check to see if it’s been published in book form. Sometimes it has. Christopher Hampton’s script for Carrington, for example. Or Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility adaptation. One of my favorites is the Age of Innocence screenplay for Martin Scorcese’s 1993 movie. I’m diving back in. Its distillation of the novel is magnificent. With the way it places make-or-break weight on a few dozen of Wharton’s greatest lines and moments, it acts as a radiant showcase for her genius. Here are three of my favorites: “The refusals were more than a simple snubbing. They were an eradication.” And: “I couldn’t have my happiness made out of a wrong to someone else.” And: “It was the room in which most of the real things of his life had happened.” To me this is as good as it gets. —Phil

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

Based on the murder of Sohane Benziane, this young adult novel tells the story of two Muslim sisters living in France. Older sister Sohane begins devoting herself to her religion and even starts to wear a head scarf to school, risking expulsion thanks to a French law that strictly separates church and state. Meanwhile, the younger sister Dejelila begins to question her religion and is tormented by a group of boys who think her behavior is inappropriate for a Muslim girl. The book brings up big questions about the relationship between religion and feminism without giving readers easy answers. I enjoyed the open-ended nature of the themes, but wished the sisters had more nuanced conversations about them. —Kelly

Blue Monday

At last year’s ThrillerFest, I attended a panel featuring authors who co-author books. Since then, I have been very interested in reading more books written by two authors. I started with a genre I very much enjoy, crime fiction, and picked up Blue Monday by Nicci French (husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French). —Bob

The Art of Profitability

I was hoping that this book would be a philosophical approach to business, a new way of looking at the creation of value, a deeper kind of engagement with how companies and ecosystems turn work into sustainable growth.  But it’s basically just a review of various profit models, presented by a mock-Miyagi who comes off as more Christian Grey schooling a barely ept student via enigmatic Socratic dialogues.  Since I didn’t go to business school and want to learn about those various profit models, I’m reading it anyway… but grudgingly. —Joe







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