Weekend reading

Adrian Liang on January 08, 2021

Weekend reading

When there’s so much going on in the world, it takes a really good book to hold one’s imagination and concentration. Luckily, these books promise to do that trick this weekend.

Humor and family drama dominate the Amazon Editors’ reading choices this weekend, but we’re also getting some much-needed advice from Martha on how to make life easier and simpler.

Happy reading, all.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

I don’t know about you, but I need some serious levity right now, and so I’m going to revisit this gem from Sloane Crosley. Reading Look Alive Out There is like listening to your smartest, funniest friend regale you about their (mis)adventures, be it waging war on a rude neighbor, making an ill-conceived climb up a volcano, or helping a swinger couple pick out a third (as you do). And like a friend, Crosley is not afraid to veer into vulnerable territory, which reveals the growth of a writer who first displayed her sardonic wit and keen appreciation of the absurd in I Was Told There’d Be Cake. It’s as good a time as any to be reminded that life is full of good humor; but only a select few do that as well as Sloane Crosley. —Erin Kodicek

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

One of my favorite books of 2018 was Black Friday, which is a debut short story collection. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah received well-deserved critical acclaim for his stories, which are simultaneously funny, poignant, and extraordinarily moving. As the summer of 2020 was happening, I frequently thought of these stories, often concluding that I should really read them again soon. This weekend I’m going to turn off the television and sit down with Black Friday. And when Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah finishes a novel, which I believe he’s working on, I will snap it up. —Chris Schluep

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

It was the title of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (February 2) that first caught my eye. And I’m pleased to say that the story is more than living up to that arresting title. Set in the resort town of Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, it’s about a group of interconnected lives. Some are connected by random acts of violence, like the ill-fated break-in at one of the oceanside mansions which upends two families. Some are connected by cross-generational trauma they seem doomed to repeat. But plot aside, the thing that has me hooked on finishing this enthralling novel is Cherie Jones' way with words. The only time I've stopped reading so far was to admire the verve of her writing and storytelling. —Vannessa Cronin

Martha Stewart's Very Good Things: Clever Tips & Genius Ideas for an Easier, More Enjoyable Life by Martha Stewart

At the start of every new year I like to do a serious purging, reorganizing, and ridding my life of whatever isn’t working on both the physical and metaphorical plane. So it’s very handy that the queen of all good things in the home, Martha Stewart, has a new book that will guide me into 2021 with grace and style. And a lot less clutter. With tips, tricks, recipes, and more, Stewart’s latest promises to be the perfect companion for my new year’s goals of the domestic kind. —Seira Wilson

Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

I was one of the many fans of Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut, The Nest, and I’m happy to report that her sophomore effort, Good Company, is even better. I’m currently halfway through this novel, which publishes April 6, 2021. Flora Mancini is happily married to Julian, but on the day of her daughter’s high school graduation, she finds his “lost” wedding ring in an envelope in their garage. So far this book delivers exactly what I want: deep character studies, flawed personalities, glimpses into the lives of the famous (Flora’s best friend is a television star), sharply observed dialogue, and decades of dysfunctional history. This is going to be one of the most talked-about novels of spring. —Sarah Gelman

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

This weekend, I want to read something that feels like a hug, a novel that makes me believe in the power of humanity and relationships, and provides a laugh here and there. So I’m turning to one of my favorites, Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here. It’s the story of a woman who takes a job as the live-in nanny from one of her oldest friends. On the surface it seems like a dream: a steady paycheck, a chance to rekindle her friendship. But there’s just one problem: the twins that she’s meant to watch burst into flames whenever they get sad or anxious or upset—and, it turns out, that’s a lot of the time. But here’s the thing: She sticks with it. And along the way, she finds love, support, and purpose in the places she least expects. It’s funny and warm and perfect for this moment when I am craving comfort and kindness. —Al Woodworth

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Opening in Las Vegas the morning after Grace Porter gets drunkenly married to a stranger, Honey Girl (February 23) starts with a bang and keeps the emotional sucker punches coming. As Grace returns to her life in Portland as a recent PhD graduate searching for a job, she’s haunted by the out-of-character decision she made as well as a desire to find out more about her mysterious new wife, who hosts a late-night radio show in New York. I can’t wait to see what Grace does next. —Adrian Liang

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