You probably don’t need me to remind you, but it bears repeating: It’s hot out there, folks! So we here at Workman are keeping our minds off the triple-digits temperatures the best way we know how: by delving into some great books.
Below is our list of Friday reads, followed by some commentary from the avid readers themselves. What are you reading this weekend? Tell us in the comments. And if it’s not yet sweltering where you are—enjoy it while it lasts!
The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld, Herbert Asbury
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Full Service, Scotty Bowers
Possession, A.S. Byatt
Death By Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
Gould’s Book of Fish, Richard Flannigan
The Red House, Mark Haddon
All My Friends are Superheroes, Andrew Kaufman
Measuring the World, Daniel Kehlmann (trans. Carol Brown Janeway)
The City & The City, China Miéville
Skippy Dies, Paul Murray
Wonder, R.J. Palacio
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen
The Invention of Curried Sausage, Uwe Timm (trans. Leila Vennewitz)
I just finished The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, a ridiculously impressive 50s sci fi novel. The ending is so strong that I wanted to start reading from page 1 as soon as I finished just so I could get to it again.
I’m reading Full Service by Scotty Bowers and I can’t put it down.
I’m reading Death By Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a collection of my favorite astrophysicist’s essays on space. So nerdy, so good!
I’m reading Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flannigan which I was absolutely positive I would hate (inner monologues of old-timey misanthropes is usually not my thing). But I was wrong, I LOVE it. I’m too much in awe of Flannigan and his novel to say anything smart or interesting about it so I’ll just give you the plot: Crusty, sad-sack prisoner in a brutal 18th century Australian prison (excuse me, gaol) paints fish and pontificates. And shares a cell with a dead man he calls “The King.” Oh my goodness, just read it.
I just finished Measuring the World, by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by my buddy, Carol Janeway) and have begun The Invention of Curried Sausage, by Uwe Timm. Both were presents from house guests from Hamburg, who thought my reading of Austrian and German literature was not au courant, as my last was decades ago. They were right.
I’m reading The City & The City by China Miéville and it’s one of those books that effortlessly throws you into another world. I’m also reading Possession by A.S. Byatt for my book club. It’s a contemporary classic that I’ve always wanted to read.
I’ve just ordered a copy of Wonder by R.J. Palacio on the recommendation of a friend, who posted on Facebook: “Please, I beg of you, read this book this summer! It’s the middle school read for Pressman. As an adult I loved it, and my now 4th grader said that it’s the best book he’s ever read.”
I just finished Anna Quindlen’s new books of essays Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She is so wise about life, work, and family that I am sorry not to be spending the upcoming weekend with her!
And I’m finally reading The Marriage Plot, the latest book from Jeffrey Eugenides. I avoided it for a while because I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy into the hype, but now that I’ve picked it up I’m totally immersed. It’s got so many elements of some of my favorite books: college life, travel, and really intimate exploration of well developed characters. Highly recommended.