In this edition of Weekend Reading, the first adult offering from a best-selling YA author, falling in love in another language, and one of the kings of spy fiction tells how his background in British Intelligence informed his work, and his life.
Seira Wilson: This weekend I’m looking forward to finishing Leave Me by Gayle Forman. I’ve loved Forman’s YA novels and this is her first adult book. Leave Me is about a woman named Maribeth who is trying to manage an overwhelming load of expectations from her job, her children, her husband, and the disconnect between how things used to be and how they are now, to the point that it almost kills her. And then she walks away. I’m 100 pages in and I feel a lot of empathy for Maribeth, and I imagine many other women will too. Looking forward to seeing what happens next...
Erin Kodicek: I'm going to read When in French by Lauren Collins. Ms. Collins hails from North Carolina and almost immediately fell in love with a man named Olivier upon visiting the City of Love for the first time (as you do). The catch? Collins did not speak a lick of French. So, when Olivier said je t’aime to her, did it mean the same thing as when she said I love you, or was it more, I like you like I like a sunset? A hemorrhoid? Good things to figure out before really committing to someone, and completely upending your life. A colleague said this book is pretty great, so je suis surexcité to check it out.
Adrian Liang: This week I began reading John le Carre’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel. When I was a teen, I hated babysitting, but the one family I always said I’d babysit for had a copy of John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I put that kid to bed as soon as possible and then I picked up reading the book where I left off the last time I babysat. (Why I didn’t get the book from the library is a mystery only my teenage self knows. Maybe I realized deep down that I needed that babysitting money.) Anyway, although I’m only 25 pages in to The Pigeon Tunnel, I’m completely absorbed by Le Carre’s episodic, vibrant narrative of being a novelist and journalist after his years in the secret service. As he says, “Spying and novel writing are made for each other. Both call for a ready eye for human transgressions and the many routes to betrayal.”
I want to plunge into Cixin Liu’s Death’s End—the final book in his science fiction trilogy that has snatched up awards all over the place and opened our eyes to a talented Chinese novelist. Ken Liu translates again, as he did for The Three-Body Problem. Fans of Cixin Liu’s trilogy should also keep their eyes open for Invisible Planets, Ken Liu’s collection of Chinese science fiction stories in translation, which hits shelves in November.
Chris Schluep: I’ll be finishing After James by Michael Helm. It’s a novel split into three parts: part gothic horror, part detective novel, and apocalyptic.
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