What We’re Reading This Week — Jenn’s Picks
Can we talk about David Peace for a minute? Let’s, by all means. I have already raved about Red or Dead and how incredibly hypnotic and briliant it is, but as we get closer and closer to release date (MAY 27 YOU GUYS) I get more and more excited about everyone I know reading it. About chasing customers around the store with it. About buying like 10 copies and then giving them out to people on the subway. (Maybe not that last one but if I had the money I would.) And while I was waiting I started reading The Damned Utd (first US editing OUT MARCH 11 THAT IS TOMORROW) and I realized: David Peace is one of my all-time favorite authors. Red or Dead is not a fluke or a gimmick or a one-off. The Damned Utd is more accessible, just as good, and while also about soccer it is completely different in important ways. And it is also full of genius. And while both of these books make me want to sing from the hilltops like this
they don’t make me want to watch football — they make me want to go out and READ MORE BOOKS. This is about where I start to stutter in real life, here I’m just running out of words. I’m going to go order every book of his I can get my hands on because apparently there are a bunch.
Ok, ok, let me try to sum up: if you like strong voices, innovative prose style, and behind-the-scenes looks into tightly knit communities, you must read David Peace.
Moar Charts from Jenn
Paul challenged me to not only keep track generally (fiction, scifi/fantasy, nonfiction) of my reading for this year, but to slice & dice the genres as well! Here’s how the year is going, of the books I have finished in 2014. Some finetuning for you:
What We’re Reading This Week — Rebecca’s Picks
I didn’t set out to color-coordinate this week’s reads, but look at those pretty blue and white covers! A new Joshua Ferris book constitutes celebration in these quarters, and I dug To Rise Again at a Decent Hour(Little, Brown & Co, April)It’s a story about a dentist who is disillusioned with the modern world but can’t manage to disconnect from it. When a stranger starts impersonating him online—building a website for his practice, starting Facebook and Twitter profiles, commenting on news sites under his name—and spreading strange propaganda for a religion he’s never heard of, he’s pissed…and then totally intrigued. His emails with the man who is pretending to be him, and who claims to know him better than he knows himself, lead to some pretty weird situations and weirder thoughts, and it all makes for a wonderful (and oh so very Lit Fic-y) examination of how we connected (or not) and what we want from our connections. In Bookrageous parlance, this is most certainly a book about people in Brooklyn having thoughts, but it’s a good one and well worth a look if that’s the sort of thing that floats your boat.
My ginger lifemate and partner in crime Liberty has been raving about Elizabeth McCracken for ages, and now that I have devoured Thunderstruck & Other Stories (Dial Press, April 22) I GET IT SO HARD. McCracken’s short fiction does all the things I want short fiction to do. These are stories about loss and want and how the two intersect and shape each other, and there are some gobsmackingly incredible sentences in them. I am so, so sorry I waited this long to read McCracken’s work, and I can’t wait to dive into her backlist.
What We’re Reading This Week! — Jenn’s Picks
After last week’s psychological madness, I went to my go-to, feel-better, laugh-out-loud book: The Princess Bride. Which of course meant that I talked about it with everyone and discovered that lots of people don’t know it’s a book. IT IS A BOOK YOU GUYS, such a good book! Spread the word! And the 30th Anniversary Edition has all the forwards and extras and is so goddamn ridiculous. Bill Goldman pulls off meta-fiction like no one else.
I’m also reading a novel about bees called The Bees (coming out in May) which literally is about bees. Anthropomorphized bees, but still. It’s a real trick, writing about bees as if they were people but still bees, but Paull is pulling it off so far. More when I finish!
What We’re Reading This Week! — A Cautionary Tale from Jenn
I like to think I am made of pretty stern stuff — but Sara Gran and Rachel Klein have wrecked me this week. I’d been saving up Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway for a time when I was desperate for a suspenseful read, and it just so happened to be the same week that I got my copy of therejectionist-recommended Moth Diaries, and between the two of them I feel like I can’t breathe. In a “OH MY GOD THESE BOOKS ARE SO GOOD” way! But still. Claire has gone off her rocker and is drowning in drugs and remorse, the narrator of Moth Diaries is also drug-addled and having supernatural visions, and my dreams are … well. Let’s just say that as soon as I get to work I’m going to read as many picture books as possible. And if you have any CHEERFUL NON-BREATH STEALING PREFERABLY NO ONE DIES book recommendations for me, I WILL TAKE THEM.
(Question mark goes here so you can answer: ?)
If you love imagination, if you love Tennant’s Dr. Who, if you love Nick Harkaway, this is really worth seeking out. He has a great sense of wide-eyed wonder, and it’s a great read! In just, like, 60 pages.
- Paul on Nick Harkaway’s Dr Who: Keeping Up with the Joneses (Ep 66)
What We’re Reading This Week! — Preeti’s Picks
I’ve been meaning to pick up March for-pretty-much-ever. Geraldine Brooks won a Pulitzer for this novel, which is kind of Little Women fan fiction. The word fan fiction can sometimes have a negative connotation, but I find that to be ridiculous. Because you know what, there is a lot of really, really well written and engaging fan fiction. March is the story of the March patriarch, who is at war for most of the original Louisa May Alcott novel. Little Women was my absolute favorite book when I was 10 (until I got older and realized I hated Amy so much I couldn’t possibly go back and read it again). The original story planted the seeds for my love of historical fiction. March is just that, good historical fiction. It’s set just before and during the American Civil War, and spans both the north and south of the country. I’m really enjoying the read so far, and I’m excited to see where she takes Mr. March and what the March family looks like through his eyes.
I like to think of myself as pretty well-read in the YA realm. Especially in the YA-somewhat-fantastical-realm. But somehow, I missed Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series entirely. I read the first Newbery honor-winning book, The Thief earlier this week and have not been able to put the series down since. I’m now on number three, The King of Attolia. I’ll refrain from too much plot summary, because this series truly has one of the best unreliable narrators I’ve ever read. The Thief centers around Gen, a self-proclaimed master-thief and his release from the King of Soudis’ prison to steal a treasure from the Gods. The story has action and adventure, political intrigue, mythology, and some great twists and turns. I knew the narrator was unreliable going in and I was sure that nobody was pulling the wool over my eyes. No way no how. … They did. They did pull the wool over my eyes. And it was awesome.
I finally picked up a copy of David Peace’s Red or Dead (Melville House, 5/27/14). I’m especially excited about this read as I’m a big fan of EPL, and my club of choice is Liverpool. Red or Dead chronicles the history of Liverpool during Bill Shankly’s period as manager (1959-1974), and how he took them from an underachieving club to one of the most beloved and successful in just fifteen years. There’s been a lot of great buzz about this book from sports fans and non-sports fans alike (and from Bookrageous’ own Jenn to boot!).
Bookrageous Favorites Out Today!
At long last, The Martian by Andy Weir is on shelves! It’s smart and funny and surprising and suspenseful, and you should read it.
What We’re Reading This Week! — Rebecca’s Picks
I’ve been loooooving HBO’s new series True Detective, so I was over the moon when fellow Bookrageous-er Paul informed me that Nic Pizzolatto, who wrote all 8 of this season’s episodes, also had a novel out. Galveston was released in 2011, and from what I can tell, it didn’t get much play, but all the reviews were positive. And for good reason! It’s a gritty, atmospheric southern story told by a criminal about a really dark couple of weeks in his life. The writing is taut, the voices are terrific, and the characters are rendered so realistically that you feel like you’d recognize them if you passed them on the street. Plus, Pizzolatto tries out the guy-making-soldiers-out-of-beer-cans thing we just saw Matthew McConaughey’s character do on True Detective. Trope detective, amirite? I loved this read, and if you’re digging True Detective, you will too.
To round out the big ol’ nonfiction kick I’ve been on lately, reading books about how we think and how we work and (often) how our brains do weird, wrong things that we might not realize, is Daniel Kahneman’s incredible Thinking, Fast and Slow. If you’ve taken a cognitive psychology course in the last 20 years, you’ll recognize many of the principles that Kahneman, who won the Noble Prize for his groundbreaking work on biases and heuristics, and you’ll be blown away by how extensively one man’s work has shaped our contemporary understanding of how humans think. This is a big book (nearly 600 pages) packed with big ideas, so I’ve been reading it in small chunks for a while. Highly recommended.