Weekend reading

Vannessa Cronin on October 16, 2020

Weekend reading

The weekend is this way! The days are shorter, and noticeably cooler, now. It's not that we need an excuse to take to the armchair and read for the weekend, but as excuses go, those are both excellent.

As to what the editors are reading, well, the biggest trend this weekend appears to be re-reading: Chris is re-reading Rick Bragg's “story of a strong woman, a tortured man and three sons,” Al is going to revisit a "funny and heartwarming" father/daughter story, I'm headed back to 1940's L.A. to re-read a noir classic with a social justice slant, while Erin is dipping back into her traditional Halloween read. Adrian, Sarah, and Seira are bucking the re-reading trend, but that's OK: weekends were made for doing your own thing. Happy reading to us all.

All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

I’m usually the one recommending books to my family, but on a recent call my mother started talking about Rick Bragg’s classic All Over But the Shoutin’. She talked about how funny and moving the book is—in support of the funny assertion, she quoted a line Bragg writes about people who grew up affluent. They “couldn’t help it that the worst day of their lives had involved wilted arugula.” We both laughed at that one. But this is also a sad book—about growing up dirt poor in a troubled Alabama family—and maybe it’s the recent change in weather, but I’m looking forward to that part, too. Oh, and the book’s over-riding sense of hopefulness. It’s been a long time since I read it, but this weekend, thanks to my mom, it’s Bragg’s self-described “story of a strong woman, a tortured man and three sons.” Maybe I’ll hit up my father for a recommendation next weekend.—Chris Schluep

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I read Goodbye, Vitamin years ago when it first published and I loved it, so I'm returning to it this weekend as a source of comfort. While it has the potential to be sad—it's the story of a woman returning home to care for her Dad who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s—it's funny and heartwarming. Plus it's told in short diary entries, so the steadiness, honesty, and humor of Ruth's voice is both highly entertaining and deeply touching. I give you this: “What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers.” Or maybe this is more apt for this moment of ad-hoc, do-it-yourself exercise: “Lately my thing is inventing new yoga poses. The Onion is one. You make yourself very round, then peel yourself, limb by limb.” I’ll be honest, I can relate to that. —Al Woodworth

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood is one of the many, many books I’ve started but not finished. Not due to lack of interest but due to lack of time and a looming to-be-read pile. But the news that Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes lost her request to have the criminal charges against her dismissed has lifted Bad Blood to the top of my finish-this-book pile. This weekend I plan to finally plunge back into this Silicon Valley scandal in which lies, cover-ups, and enormous fraud fueled the rise and fall of a cutting-edge blood-testing company that seemed too good to be true…and in fact wasn’t true at all. —Adrian Liang

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

I loved David Yoon's debut novel, Frankly in Love so I'm really excited to read his new one, Super Fake Love Song (November 17). I haven't started this yet, but it looks like a rom-com that goes a little deeper—something I really enjoyed about Yoon's last book. In this story, a small misperception leads to a little lie, then a bigger lie, and pretty soon Sunny Dae is acting like his make believe self in order to impress the girl he loves. Sunny's "fake it ‘til you make it" plan seems to be working, the lie is becoming reality, and he likes who he’s becoming, but it's only a matter of time before the way it all started is exposed. Might have to leave the desk early today so I can hurry up and start reading. —Seira Wilson

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

A decaying mansion, a suspicious suicide, a mild-mannered pup suddenly attacking a child….These are all the ingredients of a classic horror story, and yet Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger is anything but cliché. Are the strange happenings at Hundreds Hall a result of the supernatural, or a creeping and contagious madness? I read this every year in anticipation of Halloween, and then sleep with the lights on for a few months after. —Erin Kodicek

The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook: 100-Plus Fast and Easy New Recipes That Taste Like Home by Steve and Kathy Doocy

To be honest, weekends are the only time I have the time or energy to cook these days. (Thankfully, my husband doesn’t feel the same way.) And since it’s officially fall in Seattle, I’m excited to spend some time trying some new recipes this weekend. I just got The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook: 100-Plus Fast and Easy New Recipes That Taste Like Home by Steve and Kathy Doocy. I’m going to make a wild guess that I’m not the only person cooking from this book—it’s at the top of Amazon Charts and our bestseller lists. The Doocys understand what it’s like to cook for a family, and this cookbook includes tons of personal anecdotes about theirs. I’m planning to make Peter’s Chicken Parm Meatballs for the whole family, since we all like cheese, meatballs and red sauce, and then the General Tso’s 5-Star Cauliflower for just the grown-ups, since one of my kids has vomited every time he eats cauliflower and the other is just anti-veggie. But from the Table of Contents, there’s plenty to please the whole family in this photo-filled cookbook. —Sarah Gelman

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

I spoke to author Tana French a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned she found herself 'comfort reading' these days, returning to books she had read years earlier, reaching for the tried and true during these uncertain times. Since the 30th anniversary edition of Devil in a Blue Dress published last week, I'm going to take a leaf out of Tana's book this weekend and go back to where the bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series began. Set in the late 1940s, in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Devil introduces Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, an unemployed war veteran, who is willing and able to go to the parts of L.A. where the likes of Philip Marlowe can't or won't, and so becomes an unlicensed private eye in order to pay his mortgage. Come to think of it, it may be the perfect weekend to watch the movie version—starring Denzel as Easy—again, too. —Vannessa Cronin

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