Weekend Reading

Seira Wilson on August 16, 2019
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It's hard to believe it's already the middle of August, but a couple of the Amazon Books Editors are skipping ahead and previewing books coming out this fall. Sarah finally got her hands on the upcoming Elin Hilderbrand novel, so we don't expect to see her surface any time soon. Ditto for Jon with a history of Russian expats.  Al is headed off to the wilds of Montana, so it's only fitting that she's taking a beloved novel set in Big Sky Country.  As for the rest of us, we're going for espionage, romance, a coming-of-age novel, and even some short stories. Should be a good weekend...



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The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad by Andrei Soldatov

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan are co-founders of Agentura.Ru, described by the New York Times as "a web site that came in from the cold to unveil Russian secrets." They have also co-authored two books on the same theme, The New Nobility and The Red Web, which you can read more about in this post, published on... November 2, 2016. Their latest collaboration, The Compatriots (October 8), examines this history of Russian expats, their complicated ties to the Motherland and its security services, and their occasionally messy ends. —Jon Foro


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Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

I've been hearing about this book for a while now and at last I took it home and started it. So far, the buzz is all true--Gabby Rivera is a talented writer and Juliet Takes a Breath is a young adult novel that I think readers well beyond that age limitation are going to love.  It's a fish out of water story, a queer coming-of-age story, and I'm loving Bronx-born Juliet's reaction to Portland and it's quirky inhabitants. Can't wait to see what happens next. --Seira Wilson



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The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

This propulsive Cold War spy thriller dazzles with real-life literary intrigue, illuminating the secretaries-turned-spies tasked with pulling off an unusual heist: smuggling Boris Pasternak’s censured Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, to be used as a weapon of war. It’s also tells the story of Olga Ivinskaya, the extraordinary woman who paid a heavy price for being Pasternak’s muse. So far The Secrets We Kept is a fascinating read, and a beautiful tribute to the power of the written word. --Erin Kodicek


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Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger

I used to read these stories a lot. Nine Stories was a book that traveled around with me, but it has likely been decades since I last cracked it open. With the news that Salinger is now available on Kindle, I started thinking about these stories again. They include “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “For Esme—With Love and Squalor,” both of which I remember discussing endlessly (and probably a little cringingly) with like-minded friends. Maybe we will start the conversation all over again.--Chris Schluep



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Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Ooh, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book for the last several months, and this weekend is when I’m finally gifting myself time to savor it. Sylvia Day returns to the Crossfire world with her first romance in three years with Butterfly in Frost (August 27). Dr. Teagan Ransom and artist Garrett Frost collide when Garrett moves in next door, awakening feelings Teagan had thought she had buried. Day always does a great job of cracking open her characters’ hopes and fears, and if that alone doesn’t win you over, then take note that an adorable Corgi-Chihuahua mix makes an appearance on the first page. I can’t wait to dive right in. —Adrian Liang


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What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

You know that quote about how nothing can be certain except death and taxes? You can add one more: me reading an Elin Hilderbrand novel the moment I get my hands on it. This weekend I’ll be savoring an advance copy of Hilderbrand’s What Happens in Paradise (October 8), the second book in a planned trilogy. This is the second “winter” series from the author known for her summer beach reads, and her only books that don’t have a Nantucket tie. (Hilderbrand spends some of the winter months writing on St. John, where these books are predominantly based). I’m known on the team as Hilderbrand’s biggest fan, and I like that the author has kept evolving. A friend recently read one of Hilderbrand’s early books and remarked on how dark they were (despite those pretty covers) and some of her newer books have a thread of mystery in them, including The Perfect Couple and this Paradise series. If you ever want to talk Hilderbrand, you know where to find me. --Sarah Gelman



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A River Runs through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean

As usual, I have a stack of books that I plan to read this weekend, and because I’m going to be in the great outdoors with my family, near water and mountains, I’m bringing one of my favorites – A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. I first read this story in high school, but I think I truly fell in love with it when I first moved to Manhattan and craved being outside and the freedom of space and trees. There are always new things that I discover when I read this story, and this weekend, I can’t wait for what I will find in the beautiful prose, the rush of the river, and the story of two brothers who grow up fly fishing in Montana. –-Al Woodworth


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