August 23, 2016
Summer's almost over, but your reading list doesn't have to be. Lauren Smythe, agent at Inkwell Management, shares some of her all-time favorite beach reads below.
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
An illegal Chinese immigrant and a 23-year-old Iraq war vet meet in an underground mall in Queens, where the latter has gone in search of an erotic massage. He’s broken, she’s broke, and both are addicted to exercise. They start seeing each other. Gritty and lyrical, this is a New York story unconcerned with literary Brooklyn. So good.
The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
Women by Chloe Caldwell
A bleeding heart of a novella about a woman who falls in love with a woman.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Centered around the '76 assassination attempt on Bob Marley, this book is not exactly brief. It has a seven-page run-on sentence and maybe a hundred characters including CIA agents, gun-toting tweens, and the ghost of Marley himself. They'll rattle around in you for a while.
Having It All by Helen Gurley Brown
#problematic advice from the late, legendary editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. Out of print so buy it on Amazon guilt-free :)
The Sea by John Banville
After his wife dies of cancer, a middle-aged Irishman seeks escape from a life that feels posthumous without her, returning to the seaside house where he spent his childhood summers. The pages will go wavy from your tears.
Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer
The distractible, erudite Dyer pinballs from Cambodia to New Orleans to Rome to Miami, ingesting a lot of drugs and grappling with the big questions along the way.
Run River by Joan Didion
Her first and best novel.
I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
A filmmaker named Chris goes out to dinner with her husband and his buddy Dick one night. Dick fails to pay Chris much attention so she of course becomes obsessed with him. Being exceptionally close to her husband, a French critical theorist, she informs him of this development and they decide she must write to Dick and tell him how she feels. This is seriously a modern classic.
Faster by James Gleick
A fascinating look at time, technology, and “the acceleration of just about everything,” it was published in ‘99 and still holds up. Life is short—there are different ways to think about that. I love James Gleick's writing.