Weekend reading

Vannessa Cronin on May 01, 2020

Weekend reading

A “seriously juicy” look behind the scenes of a popular reality show, a dead doppelganger in Dublin, a Covid-19-era take on Humans of New York, secret assassins in pre-World War II New York City, and a recently released jailbird turned amateur detective on the reservation. A list this eclectic can only mean one thing: it's Friday, and our editors are picking the reads they'll be kicking back with this weekend.

The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, Book 2) by Tana French

This week I learned that one of my favorite authors, Tana French, is going to have a new novel coming out this fall and it made my day. The new book is called The Searcher, and releases October 6, so will have to wait for a bit on that, but in the meantime I’m going to revisit the Dublin Murder Squad book that made me a die-hard French fan—The Likeness. French’s first book, In the Woods, was a big bestseller, but it was her follow-up that rang my bell and brought back a love of mysteries that I had from reading the likes of Agatha Christie. The Likeness is narrated by Cassie Maddox, the detective partnered with Rob Ryan in the first book. This style of changing narrators to someone we’d only viewed from outside and letting us get inside their head is one of the things I love about French’s Dublin Murder Squad books. The case involves a dead woman who is Cassie’s doppelganger, and who’s been using the identity Cassie had used as an undercover agent. It’s been over a decade since I read The Likeness and revisiting this favorite is the perfect way to spend my weekend. —Seira Wilson

Insomniac City by Bill Hayes

I was delighted to find out that Bill Hayes will have a new book out in June called, How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic. I first fell in love with Hayes’s work when I read Insomniac City. It’s an affectionate and magnanimous memoir that pays tribute to Hayes’s relationship with Oliver Sacks, and it also provides a paean to one of the other loves of his life: New York City. Chock-full of Humans of New York-esque vignettes, it celebrates humanity in much the same way as Brandon Stanton’s blog. I know Hayes will apply the same childlike wonder and optimism to How We Live Now, but in the meantime I’m going to revisit Insomniac City. If you want to turn your frown upside down, you should too. —Erin Kodicek

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

A novel about secret assassins in pre-World War II New York City is just the sort of read that normally calls to me. But when the publisher is bold enough to compare it to The Night Circus, I’m ready to drop everything and start reading. Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Trouble the Saints (July 21) is a book I’ve had my eye on for a few months now, and this is the weekend I plan to finally reward myself with it. —Adrian Liang

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

I’m in the mood for a true whodunit and why not also throw in some history of Indian reservations in the mix? For months, I’ve meant to read Yellow Bird, and I’m finally taking the time. The writing is superb, the story fascinating, and the characters that I’m meeting are exceptionally complex, spirited, and hardy. I’m reveling in the feeling of learning about Big Oil, a woman’s recovery from addiction, and her obsession with finding out why an oil worker disappeared on the land she once called home. —Al Woodworth

The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV by Colton Underwood

Although I haven’t watched the last two seasons, for many years I’ve been an unabashed fan of the Bachelor franchise. I won’t even call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t believe in feeling guilty about entertainment choices. And as a reader, I’ve enjoyed the books that have come from Bachelor Nation, probably most notably I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson. Why that book? Robertson exposes some of the secrets of this franchise, which has kept its cards pretty close over the years. All to say that I’ve been saving Colton Underwood’s The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV for the proverbial rainy day. The book description uses the term “seriously juicy” and promises an unfiltered behind the scenes look at Underwood’s experience. And my rainy day is here. Even for an introvert, I’m in the need for some escapism, and I’m looking to one of my old standbys—The Bachelor—to help me run away from the reality of today. —Sarah Gelman

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Last weekend I started watching the TV show Belgravia, based on the novel by the creator of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes. It centers on an upwardly mobile merchant family, the Trenchards. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, their only daughter has a shameful encounter with the son of an earl which comes back to haunt the family years later. As we've come to expect from Fellowes, the show combines characters from upstairs and downstairs, some high-risk romance, and a lot of top shelf British acting talent in period dress, speaking in clipped tones. But the show is only on episode 3 and I'm so hooked I can't wait to find out what happens next. So I am turning to the book and looking forward to getting lost in the melodrama this weekend. —Vannessa Cronin

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

This weekend I'm reading David Baldacci's sixth book in the Memory Man series. It starts out with a murder investigation in a North Dakota boomtown, but winds up being much more complicated than that. I am looking foward to discovering secrets, and possibly uncovering more murders, with Amos Decker and Alex Jamison. —Chris Schluep

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