Weekend Reading

Erin Kodicek on July 14, 2017

Fierce_kingdomIn this edition, a fun day at the zoo gone horribly wrong, beating the odds, a murder mystery, natural disasters, the cult of celebrity, and more...

Adrian Liang: Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress: Volume 2 hit shelves this week, and I’m hoping it’s as thought-provoking and gorgeously drawn as the first volume, which was our #1 pick for the best graphic novel of 2016. I’m also looking forward to finishing Gin Phillips’ Fierce Kingdom (July 25), a sparely written but fantastically tense thriller. A mother and her four-year-old son become trapped in a zoo when a pair of gunmen storm the grounds and start shooting. Hiding in an empty exhibit, Joan has to keep her increasingly restive child quiet as the killers sweep the zoo, searching for any survivors. I haven’t finished Fierce Kingdom yet, but I’m counting the hours until I can get back to it even while I’m halfway dreading learning what’s going to happen. It’s the perfect summer chiller, in other words.

Erin Kodicek: "You gotta read Rabbit!," my colleague says to me. "It's wonderful! And short!" And furry, I thought, but that wasn't the kind of rabbit she was referring to. Rabbit is the nickname of Patricia Williams, who tread a long hard road before becoming a successful comedian. When you are taught to steal from drunks at age seven, you can either laugh or cry about your lot in life. And things went precipitously downhill from there. Despite the deck being stacked against her at every turn, Williams managed to rise above it all. Rabbit is her inspiring story.

Seira Wilson: I’ve got two books that have murder and psychological twists in common: The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes is a young adult novel that uses three narrators (one in diary form) to tell the story. One is the diary of a young woman murdered in Berlin in 1989 and the other two are teenagers who end up joining forces to solve the decades old mystery, but they are no Nancy Drew and Ned detection team and bring major issues of their own to the mix. The other book is Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. I loved Walker’s last book, All is Not Forgotten and this time the story centers around a very dysfunctional family, a kidnapping, and unreliable narrator…need I say more?  Can’t wait to dig in.

Jon Foro: Summer is wildfire season, at least out here in the West. Problem is, those infernos are becoming more frequent and much larger – and not only here, but across the globe.  Michael Kodas’s Megafire examines the impacts of these increasingly destructive and expensive phenomena from all angles: environmental factors, political posturing, and the Hot Shots whose job it is to hold the line against them. And if it ain’t fires gonna getcha ‘round these parts, look out for earthquakes. But as it turns out, they might be a problem for everyone. Kathryn Miles’s Quakeland investigates the era of human-caused earthquakes. From fracking to nuclear- and chemical weapons-waste disposal, we’ve been destabilizing the ground beneath our feet in areas not historically quake-prone – and where the buildings are definitely not engineered to handle major seismic events. Now if I can find a book about tsunamis, I’ll be all set.

Sarah Harrison Smith: Our cultural obsession with celebrity seems to be what everyone’s talking about at the moment. To me, it’s a fascinating subject – just when did we all become so interested in the private lives of people we only know from YouTube or Us Weekly? Next week, Riverhead publishes Julie Klam’s The Stars in Our Eyes: The Famous, the Infamous, and Why We Care Way Too Much About Them. It’s already getting a lot of buzz, and I think it’ll be a smart, funny read. Klam is enjoying her own moment of family celebrity: her brother, Matt Klam, also has a book out this summer. His novel Who is Rich? is an Amazon Best of the Month pick (thanks to the keen literary taste of senior editor Chris Schluep) and has since received over-the-top praise in places like the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. But I’m just saying: Chris was there first. Does that make him famous? Maybe it should.


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