With the long Labor Day weekend before us, there's a lot of reading planned. While I tried to find a common theme to our reading, I was ultimately unable to identify one (other than they all sound like good books). So Jon is spending the weekend with Malcolm Gladwell's convincing lens on life, Erin is reading a talented and beloved literary author, Al is reading a couple of books (and listening to another), and I'll be reading some ghost stories. We hope you have a great long weekend, and that you're able to fit in a little reading yourself.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell
With The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and David and Goliath*, Malcolm Gladwell has built an extraordinary career out of looking at all kinds of phenomena from unorthodox angles, prising out the often obfuscated forces and mechanisms that actually explain them. Talking to Strangers continues down the Gladwellian path, positing that so many monumental events – with copious exemplification, naturally – have been the result of our inadequate tools for sizing each other up. So Cortes routed the Aztec empire because he and Montezuma had a failure to communicate when they first met? We’ll see. Bring it on, Gladwell! –Jon Foro
* Not to mention his deeply entertaining podcast, Revisionist History
Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow
Camping season is over for the year, which means that – for my family, anyway – the campfires have dimmed until next summer. Sure, it's a cliché to tell ghost stories around a campfire; but in this case, it's a well-earned one. We tell them while sitting around the campfire. We tell them while we're lying in our tent. And when next summer rolls around, I will be ready. This weekend I'm going to spend some time with Echoes, which is uber-talented editor Ellen Datlow's new collection of ghost stories. Thirty writers contributed to the anthology, including Alice Hoffman, Richard Kadrey, and Joyce Carol Oates. I don't think they realized they were also contributing to my attempts to entertain and frighten my family on camping weekends, but maybe that's assumed. –Chris Schluep
The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett
September is shaping up to be a celebration of siblings (in literature). Last weekend I finished Cathleen Schine’s smartly comic The Grammarians (Sept. 3) about two sisters’ obsession with language, and this weekend I’m reading Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House (Sept. 24). In it the lives of a moneyed brother and sister are upended when their stepmother ousts them from the only home they’ve ever known. You’ll definitely want to add these to your late summer/early fall reading lists. –Erin Kodicek
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
For this long Labor Day Weekend, I plan to read a few books—expertly assigned (by me) for the given scenarios I’m hoping for these next few days. After indulgent sleep-ins and sipping coffee while huddled in pillows: Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women, which I’ve read so much about but somehow missed actually reading! Very excited to immerse myself in the stories of these three women and their desires. Later, when I don my suit and head to the beach: Kevin Wilson’s warm-hearted novel of parenting kids who spontaneously burst into flames, Nothing to See Here (coming out October 29). So far I’m loving it – and the cover is brilliant. And, when I’m too tired from the fun and sun of the weekend (and after a nap): the audiobook of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale—because the sequel is coming out September 10 and I want to be ready! –Al Woodworth
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