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.
I’m a big fan of Jon Krakauer‘s writing. I don’t know of many other authors who do narrative nonfiction as well as he does. I’ve read Into Thin Air, Missoula, and Under the Banner of Heaven, and have been meaning to read Into the Wild for years. Now that it’s summer and I have more time on my hands, I’m diving in. —Elizabeth
Starting my June Reading Challenge with E.K. Johnston’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Based on the description, I expected a novel about a young girl overcoming the trauma and stigma of being raped. What I didn’t expect was a moving story about the incredible strength found in female friendships, as well as the importance of providing sexual assault survivors with a solid support system. Hermione herself is nuanced, brave, stubborn, and honest—the kind of protagonist I love reading. —Kelly
Along with Michael Chabon’s A Model World, the first contemporary short story collection I really loved was Rick Bass’ The Watch, which came out in 1989. Two very different books written in two very different styles, but both fresh-feeling, brilliant, and full of superb writing. The authors went on to great careers, of course, with Rick Bass cranking out two dozen-plus books and counting, more or less evenly split between fiction and nonfiction, with nature, his fierce love for the natural world, uniting all his work. For A Little While collects the best of his short fiction, including some of the great early stories from The Watch, which are loopy, imaginative, funny, and sharply observed in a way unique to Bass. The book has some new stuff, too. I’m excited to revisit stories I haven’t read for years, and check out unfamiliar ones! —Phil
Barbara Taylor Bradford is one of the most popular fiction authors of our time, and she continues to deliver stories about powerful women at various points in history. From the very beginning, I have appreciated her ability to spin a good yarn. I’ve been loving The Cavendon Luck, the third installment in her Cavendon Hall saga, for its historical setting and vivid characters. —Bob
Technically, the first day of summer is still 17 days away. But our summer previews are out and the weather is warm, so Evie Wyld’s memoir about her childhood obsession with sharks felt like the perfect thing to pick up. The illustrations (line art paired with realism) are stunning. Wyld’s memories are cartoonish, while her darkest fears are vividly rendered. The prose is sparse (every word is intentional and meaningful), but there’s a lot of depth to be found here. —Kelly
As a history major, I have always been fascinated by stories of how societies developed and their leadership strategies evolved. I’m interested in a broad range of leadership styles and political systems, but I’m particularly excited to read about how the end of Stalin’s rule signaled the end of totalitarianism in Russia. —Bob
I’d never read this Toni guy before, but man can he write! OK, joking aside, it is true that some writers are more admired than read, and at times it seems possible that Toni Morrison, so potent a literary figure—Nobel Laureate, Oprah favorite, iconic eminence—is in danger of becoming one of those writers… until you read her work and remember just how fresh and compelling her actual writing is. From the opening of her first novel, The Bluest Eye, her formidable intelligence and phenomenal gifts shine through, and the perfect marriage of modernist technique and subject matter is both radical and obvious. Morrison is equally able to stop you cold with a brilliantly turned phrase and a moment of profound insight. Put another way, her work challenges readers on many levels—and that’s a good thing. Though her work is likely to live forever, read her now, while she is still among us! —Joe