It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
Whether you’re sipping wine at the park, or enjoying a sea-side beach on holiday, Summer is the season for good reading. And so because it’s the first day of Summer, here’s a list compiled for your seasonal enjoyment.
1. The Eyre Affair: Actually, while you’re at it, reading the entire Thursday Next series is a perfect idea. It’s hard to believe that at first Jasper Fforde couldn’t find a publisher for this wild romp into the world of English Lit 101. Thursday Next lives in a parallel universe where dodos live and ducks are oddly extinct, where the Crimean War is 150 years of bloodshed and there are cheese smugglers, vampires, and time travel. It’s a book where the more you know, the more delighted you’ll be. Fforde makes the world of literature come to life – sometimes literally in the case of Hamlet – and you find yourself rooting for Mr. Rochester, the evil warlord Zhark, and the agents of Jurisfiction, bookjumpers that ensure novels remain true to their author’s writing.
2. Pride and Prejudice: It really is the ultimate summer book. It’s got romance, scandalous twists, and men who are tall, dark, and handsome. (Chuck Bass has nothing on Mr. Darcy. Nothing.)
3. How to be Inappropriate: Daniel Nester amuses me to no end. A The Hold Steady show at the Linda, he reached over and gently squeezed my friend’s tush. He likes my car. But more importantly, the professor of English at St. Rose is madly funny and irreverent from literary critique to a love of Queen. If you like McSweeney’s, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one.
4. Pattern Recognition: William Gibson’s new novel Zero History hits bookshelves this fall, so why not catch up? Pattern Recognition is the first of a loose trilogy featuring Hubertus Bigend, the frighteningly smart marketing guru. This is Case’s story though, a cool-hunter who discovers viral marketing in its purest form – perfect cinema. Gibson so perfectly describes the retail culture it’s hard to remember that this novel is arguably his attempt to show us how sci-fi the world got post 9/11.
5. Foxfire: Joyce Carol Oates writes about upstate New York; she does it well. What she does better is that she writes about being a woman in upstate New York during times when feminism and equal rights was only something second-wave feminists were talking about. Each girl in the gang they called FoxFire is running from some sort of oppression, the sort we still even see today. It’s a great tale of how women support each other, how they decide to fight back, and how it sometimes does go wrong in the end. Legs Sadovsky is the most charismatic female gang leader you’ll ever meet – a modern day woman Robin Hood. You’ll fall under her spell too.
So really, forget about that reading list your high school sent you before the Fourth of July detailing each book one needed to read to be a cultured adult. And please don’t be seen with a tattered copy of something from the Twilight Saga. Enjoy these meat-y and fun romps in the world of fiction.