What We’re Reading: November 11

What We’re Reading: November 11

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

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I’m reading the monolithic new novel by Paul Auster, 4321. It’s the life story of one Archie Ferguson—but set across four different parallel realities. The subtle changes effected by seemingly insignificant events are brilliantly handled, and the writing is as deft and clever as one would expect from the author of The New York Trilogy and The Brooklyn Follies. —Stuart

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

I recently finished reading Spinster by Kate Bolick. I seem to be on a nonfiction kick! This book helped crystallize a lot of things I’ve been feeling about being a single professional in my 30s. Bolick gave a voice to both the pride I feel in my continued focus on my own goals, lifestyle, and freedom, and the desire to have a partner and a family, and how that desire may stem from expectations and pressure from society. This book is a mix of personal narrative and history, exposing the reader to women from as far back as a century ago, who chose their own paths (which did sometimes lead to marriage, even if it came later than “normal”). I recommend Spinster for everyone—not just single women, but married women, divorced women, and men, too! It offers great insight into the female experience. —Kristina


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Big Magic

This week I began reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. What Gilbert means by creative living is something broader than what we might typically think of. In fact, Gilbert describes it as “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear,” which is a concept I can completely embrace (and often do). This book is an easy, a joyful read so far, offering me just exactly what I needed at the moment, which is a reason to keep trying, to continue to try to strive for courage, both on the page and off it. It also led me to seek out the work of poet Jack Gilbert, which is a gift in itself. —Myf

At Home

Have you ever wondered why things in your home are the way they are? When did second stories become the norm and what exactly is a “scullery”? Bill Bryson once again makes the mundane hilarious in this fascinating look at the evolution of housing, with lots of asides on the missteps made along the way. I’m savoring every page and love the copious photographs —definitely treat yourself to the illustrated edition! —Annie

Rising Tide

I’m reading Rising Tide, which is about the far-reaching implications of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. This flood submerged thousands upon thousands of square miles of land under 30 feet of water, shaping Americans’ attitudes about the Mississippi for decades to come. At the heart of this book is a gripping man-versus-nature struggle, and a tale how humans interact with their natural environment and how a crisis changes those interactions. I’m totally fascinated. —Elizabeth

This Was a Man

This Was a Man is the last book in Jeffrey Archer‘s Clifton Chronicles series.  By nature, I am a leisurely reader. My family polishes books off faster than I read chapters. I am fine with that. I rush everywhere else in life. But, last winter while lounging on a beach in the Caribbean, I polished off all five Clifton Chronicles books in a single vacation. This is epic for me as I rarely sit still, and normally only finish one or two books on a trip. True to form, this book starts off with a blockbuster revelation. I am only barely through the prologue and chapter one, but it owns me. The timing is good as I could really use a distraction! I remain hooked on Jeffrey Archer’s plots, which is no surprise as Kane and Able was one of my early reads decades ago that sparked my passion for books. —Doug

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