This weekend we head for the trees, we seek advice, we take a train, we go fashion forward, we fill a knowledge H-to-the-O-to-the-L-to-the-E, and we go to a place where James Bond dare not tread. Books! Weekend!
The successes of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl initiated a tsunami where book titles were engineered around the words “Girl” or “The Girl Who,” probably (at least in part) to encourage inclusion in search results for those two blockbuster thrillers. Hopefully this is progress, but “woman” is trending, with The Woman in the Window, The Woman in Cabin 10, and Women & Power being recent examples. There will be more.
Neither, however unsurprisingly, can match the towering mass of “The Man Who” books. Apparently there was a Man Who for any occasion, and more men to write about them. Read about the men who catch storms, eat everything, hate work, and stare at goats. James Aldred is The Man Who Climbs Trees. (May 22). As a wildlife cameraman, he has spent countless hours in forest canopies all over the world, patiently waiting to capture moments in the lives of animals who live 250 above the ground, including the exotic snakes and spiders that occasionally drop into his shirt. Aldred is the man who did stuff I want to read about this weekend. —Jon Foro
Why is it that when we talk about books, we so often talk about guilty pleasures? I seem to be always confessing to something. Well, this week I’ll confess that I adore advice columns—and I know I share this vice with the many readers of Slate’s wildly popular “Dear Prudie” column and the “Ask Polly” column Heather Havrilesky writes for The Cut. It’s so much fun reading about other people’s problems! Anyway, I can never quite get enough, and two books, due out in April, are here to satisfy that craving. The first is Can’t Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist, by Meredith Goldstein, who writes for The Boston Globe. Goldstein’s book is an engaging mix of letters, advice, reader responses, and her reflections about her own life. I’m really enjoying it. The second is Asking for a Friend: Three Centuries of Advice on Life, Love, Money, and Other Burning Questions from a Nation Obsessed, by Jessica Weisberg. This is a more of a top-down look at the history of these columns that I love so much, and I have a feeling I may not love them quite so much after reading what Weisberg has to say. But maybe that’s just the advice I need to hear. -- Sarah Harrison Smith
I’m almost finished with the audio of The Chalk Man and I have been loving it. The novel is set in a small English town and revolves around a group of friends who find a body when they are kids. The story flips from what’s happening as kids to what takes place in the present day, 20 years later. The narrator does a great job with the voices and tone, and I’m still trying to work out who did what—which is exactly what I look for in a mystery. I guess it’s fair to say I’m on a bit of a suspense kick, since I also watched The Murder on the Orient Express last weekend—it was fabulous! It’s been years since I last read the book--one of my all-time favorite Agatha Christie novels—so while I knew the outcome, I had forgotten all the threads and it was fun to revisit the whole thing. Next up: Christine Mangan’s Tangerine. People are comparing this to Donna Tartt and Patricia Highsmith, so I can’t wait to start reading... -- Seira Wilson
Michael Chabon is known for bestselling novels like Moonglow, The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys and more, but a piece he wrote for GQ magazine got quite a lot of attention a couple years ago. In it, he described taking his teen son, Abe, to Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, a bit of a chore for a dad who prefers to acquire his duds at thrift stores. Fashion Forward Abe, however, took full advantage of his time there, talking with designers, and appraising their wares; His enthusiasm was so infectious, that it turned his father’s boredom to awe. In Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, Chabon further reflects on this occasion, and other profound parent moments. Reading the stories is making me miss my own Pops. -- Erin Kodicek
I’ve been hearing excellent things about 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise by Zack O'Malley Greenburg. I’m sadly ignorant about most music and especially about the music business, and I hoping to fill that huge knowledge hole by discovering more about these three visionaries who helped build today’s massive hip-hop empire. A book with a similar title but completely different story that I’m also planning to happily sink into this weekend is the forthcoming novel The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (March 27). This book screams “epic dark fantasy” with its cover design and its heft (500-plus pages!). While I’m only a few chapters in, this nod to the power struggles among King Lear’s three daughters is, so far, delivering on all its glorious promise. Game of Thrones, watch your back. -- Adrian Liang