What We’re Reading: July 8

What We’re Reading: July 8

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


This book is stunning. I don’t often enjoy verse novels, and I can’t believe I almost let this gem slip through my fingers because of that. Grace’s narration is sensitive, thought-provoking, and genuine. Read it. —Kelly

The Clan of the Cave Bear

After first reading The Clan of the Cave Bear I became an avid fan of Jean M. Auel. Over the years I’ve reread the Children of Earth series many times. It’s one of my favorite series and I’m reading it again now. —Bob

In the Forest

I read a lot of Irish writers. William Trevor, Anne Enright, Belinda McKeon, James Joyce, John Synge, Patrick McCabe. But it’s crazy—I’ve never read a book by Edna O’Brien. I’ve tried a few but the ones I’ve tried haven’t grabbed me enough at the outset to keep me going. Just one of those things. However, recently, a good Irish friend, a fiction writer, recommended In the Forest, and his recommendations have had happy results in the past. So I’ll be starting it tonight. It’s set in western Ireland, where I am now. It’s a dark tale—I hope not too dark. A young man scarred by a wretched childhood lives his days as a loner with a gothic forest for an inner landscape. His psyche sets in motion events that bring tragedy to a village. Philip Roth calls O’Brien a “consummate stylist” and so I’m hoping for some memorable artistry in the language and the way it drives and delivers the story. –Phil

Before the Fall

For me, summer is the time for thrillers—fast-paced reads I can enjoy at the beach (were I ever to go to the beach). The hot book of the moment is Before the Fall, a novel by Noah Hawley. Some of the heat is because he’s a writer on the brilliant series Fargo, but a breakout hit can’t be manufactured: The book has to have the goods. And this one does. The writing is strong, the characters are totally believable, and the plot is… well, I’ll just say I’m not far enough in to know where it’s going, and I suspect I won’t until the very last pages. –Joe

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

One week into July and I’m already almost finished with our new reading challenge! This book is loosely inspired by “The Little Mermaid,” and you guys know I can’t resist a fairy tale retelling. I’ve just started it, so I can’t tell yet if this will end tragically (like the original tale) or end up a bit closer to the Disney classic. Either way, I’m looking forward to learning more about Elyse and the secrets she’s hiding. —Kelly

The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

I’m very interested in how events from history impact the current state of the world we know today. I was alive for many of the events in this book, but I’m looking forward to getting a more complete picture of the country of Iran and the people who live there. —Bob







  1. Clan of The Cave Bear is the best of the series….didn’t enjoy any of the following books..quit reading them rather quickly…ji

  2. By the end of the Jean Auel books I was surprised that Ayla hadn’t invented the internet. I could get behind her ‘discovering’ how to use a sling, but her miraculous inventions did stretch belief after a while.

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