Weekend Reading

BoyneIn this edition, a Halloween read, an uncomfortable Gay Talese encounter, something for kid chefs, and more.

Erin Kodicek: People take Halloween very seriously in my neighborhood. Two skeletons named Chivalry and Manners (funny/not funny) are lounging on the porch next door, a giant spider is perched over a house across the street, and there is a makeshift cemetery in the yard next to that, with certain neighbors' names printed on paper mache tomb stones (probably the ones who didn't lend them sugar or who have dogs that bark at all hours). All of this is getting me in the mood for a good ol' fashioned ghost story (or at least a nod to one), so I'm going to read John Boyne's This House is Haunted. In it a governess discovers that horrifying happenings are afoot at Gaudlin Hall, and she must dig into the house's dubious history if her, and her young charges, are to survive.

Jon Foro: Gay Talese paid us a visit in our offices once, stopping briefly on his tour for A Writer’s Life. At the time, we were working in the Columbia Center, a scalloped black monolith which, at 76 floors, has been Seattle’s tallest building since its completion in 1985. Our options for hosting the estimable journalist were limited to windowless, whiteboarded conference rooms or the communal kitchen. We chose the kitchen, where five or six of us gathered around a surfboard- or missile-shaped table, while Mr. Talese, probably unsure about what to say to this inscrutable group of tech strangers, demonstrated his signature note-taking technique using shirt boards collected from his dry cleaning. About then, an Amazonian from the company’s earliest days came into the kitchen with her lunch: last night’s leftover salmon. Everyone knows that you don’t bring old fish to work and exactly the reason why. But into the microwave it went, first for an eternal minute (whirrrrrr, beep! beep! beep!), and then another even longer minute, painting the room in wharf-reek while everyone pretended that this wasn’t unfortunately weird and uncomfortable, but not in a way that makes for a good story. Not long after that, the visit ended.

That’s my Gay Talese encounter. This weekend, I’m going to revisit his 1966 essay “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.”

Seira Wilson: When the wind kicks up and rain starts coming down, it puts me in the mood for baking and reading.  I’m going to enlist my 10-year-old for some help in the kitchen and test out an upcoming cookbook, Kid Chef Bakes (ages 8-12). We’ve made a few things from the author’s last cookbook (Kid Chef) and I’ve already picked out a couple recipes from this one: a glazed Lemon Loaf Cake and Upside-down Apple Cupcakes. I’m also going to re-read Wonderstruck this weekend.  Just saw the movie and loved it.  I read the book back in 2011 and had forgotten some of the special details that I was delighted to see in the film.  Now I can’t wait to go back and re-read the story in print again…

Adrian Liang: I had the great joy this week of meeting Shaun T, the force behind the Insanity, Cize, and Shaun Week workout programs. Reading his upcoming memoir, T Is for Transformation, was the second-best thing to meeting him in person. T Is for Transformation (November 7) resounds with Shaun T’s unique voice, and from recounting his abuse as a child to his big break in the workout business, the reader will be inspired by his positivity and go-get-‘em attitude. This weekend I’m planning on listening to Rick Riordan’s third Magnus Chase book, The Ship of the Dead. The first two books brought a new twist to Norse mythology (Thor does not come off so well), and Riordan is laugh-out-loud funny as well as insightful,. My tween daughter blasted through The Ship of the Dead when it hit shelves at the beginning of the month, and I need to catch up so that we can talk about it.

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