What We’re Reading: November 20

What We’re Reading: November 20

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.



This book is haunting. Elizabeth and I are reading it at the same time (we have a Bookish book club, don’t be jealous), and I’m so glad because I need to talk about this. It’s relevant, important, and a must-read. —Kelly

A professor of mine said that this was one of the most important books of the decade, so I picked it up. Long story short: This book is incredible, and everyone should read it.—Elizabeth

In the Heart of the Sea

Having read and enjoyed Moby-Dick, I originally passed on Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea. After seeing the trailer for the movie, I am now excited to pick up this book which tells the true story behind Herman Melville’s classic. —Bob

The Girl on the Train

I finally got onboard! I’m only mid-journey, but what I’ve read so far is great: lively writing, interesting storytelling in terms of narration and sequence, a vivid London setting, and of course suspense. I like the way Paula Hawkins charts the hour-to-hour moods of her main characters, including their irritability and cravings, their disappointments and regrets. It’s rich psychologically, this thriller, and since I preserved my plot innocence by avoiding reviews back when it published, I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. That adds to the fun. —Phil

John Adams

I have been reading David McCullough‘s John Adams. I’m loving it. It is the American Revolutionary history course that I never had. It puts you smack in the middle of the mess that was the implacable movement toward independence, which was truckloads of hard work, will, courage, and blood. I think of Braintree today as a banal suburb of Boston; turns out, it was ground zero for imagining what America could and should be. Plus, Abigail is the secret force driving him forward. It’s a great work of nonfiction. And yes, I was turned on to it by the HBO show. —Michael


I like taking recommendations when I can’t decide what to read next. I posted a shelfie of a few of the books on my TBR to our Instagram and asked our followers to vote on what I should read next. Many of them suggested Emma Donoghue’s Room, and I’m so glad they did. I’ve wanted to read this for a long time and now seems perfect with the adaptation in theaters. I didn’t realize it was told from the perspective of a 5-year-old boy, but his voice is spot on and completely engaging. I hate putting this book down. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Jack and Ma. —Kelly

The Palm-Wine Drinkard

I know relatively little about this book, but what I have heard has been overwhelmingly positive. It sounds like Amos Tutuola packs a ton of symbolism, folklore, and adventure into this slim volume, and I can’t wait to dive in. —Elizabeth

Johnny Got His Gun

I went to see Trumbo last weekend. It’s a terrific movie about a dark time in U.S. history—after WWII during the McCarthy era. It’s about Dalton Trumbo, an anti-war advocate for free speech and author. His National Book Award winner Johnny Got His Gun is a classic war novel. —Bob


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