Weekend reading

Adrian Liang on August 23, 2019
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As usual, the Amazon Books editors are reading far and wide this weekend. Necromancers and their sword-swinging cavaliers, a book to help with removing clutter and adding happiness, a story of two grammar-obsessed sisters, and the latest novel by the author of Call Me by Your Name are among the books waiting for us to fall into their arms this weekend. Here's why we picked them:


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Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

My family and I are moving (within Seattle) soon, so we've been packing up our house to get ready for the big day. My husband loves to say we need to "pare down our lives," so we're taking this opportunity to purge some of the clutter. Of course I bought a book to help us, Gretchen Rubin's Outer Order, Inner Calm. While naysayers (I'm looking at you, hubby) may say that buying something else to help you declutter is counterintuitive, I would remind them that this is an investment in our future happiness and books don't count as clutter. Right? Right! I am a bit of a Gretchen Rubin fan-girl. Her podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin (which she co-hosts with her sister, Liz Craft), was the podcast that got me hooked on the format, and listening to it is my equivalent of sitting down with a mug of herbal tea and a fresh Real Simple magazine. That is to say, it's a happy time that makes me feel like I am better than my cluttered life! I will follow Ms. Rubin nearly anywhere, and with all due respect to objects that spark joy, I think her realistic and honest approach to organizing is more my speed. I'll be spending the weekend asking myself: Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it? —Sarah Gelman


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Find Me: A Novel by André Aciman

As usual, I have a stack of books that I plan to read this weekend. But the one I’m most excited about, and the one I keep pulling out of my bag to read on the subway, is André Aciman’s novel Find Me (October 29), the follow-up to his bestselling novel, Call Me by Your Name. I was woefully underprepared for Call Me by Your Name to consume me as it did. I completely fell for Aciman’s portrayal of longing, obsession, and young love during a summer in Italy. And right now, I want to read about relationships and connection—or at least that’s what I hope to read about in his sequel. —Al Woodworth

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Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

I honestly can’t describe this book better than Charles Stross has in his blurb on the cover: “Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!” Gideon is one of the few young folks left in the Ninth House, which is otherwise populated by the reanimated dead and the almost dead. The person nearest her age is Harrow, the ruler of the Ninth and also Gideon’s worst enemy. When Harrow is invited to a high-level meeting of the major House necromancers, she’s forced to bring along a cavalier, which means bringing along Gideon, the only one from the Ninth who can swing a sword worth a damn. But when something unseen and unknown starts to kill off the necromancers and their cavaliers, can Harrow and Gideon find common ground and put their differences aside? So far: Nah. Suspense, swordplay, secrets hidden in strange laboratories, and awe-inspiring feats of necromancy are keeping me riveted to Gideon the Ninth (September 10) this weekend, even as the completely bonkers story line has me grinning from ear to ear. —Adrian Liang


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The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

In Cathleen Schine's delightfully comic novel The Grammarians (September 3), two sisters’ infatuation with language is what bonds them…until it doesn’t, leading to a literal war of words when they find themselves fighting for ownership of the family dictionary. Sound a bit zany? It is, in the best way. I'm excited to see how this ode to sibling rivalry, and language, pans out. --Erin Kodicek


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Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic by Ben Westhoff

Last week one of my favorite authors, Beth Macy, was in town for her book Dopesick, and we got to talking about Ben Westhoff's upcoming book Fentanyl, Inc. Our conversation inspired me to pull this book back to the top of the pile and read more.  Westhoff looks at the new wave of synthetic drugs that are taking the opioid epidemic to a whole new deadly level. He managed to go undercover into one of the many labs in China where these drugs are being manufactured, and the results of his research there and elsewhere are terrifying. Fentanyl and variations of it are being pressed into pills that are sold as black market Xanax or OxyContin, and added into street drugs like heroin and cocaine because it's cheap and powerful. Powerful enough that a tiny amount can kill the user.  I can't stop reading, and I think anyone who is interested in learning more about the opioid crisis, or has read Dopesick, is going to want to check this out...--Seira Wilson


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