The Reading List: 10 Superb Books for September
Fashionistas, creativity, and the perfect haircut. September’s bonus reading list has a lot of style.
Best Fashion Folio
The Sartorialist: Closer by Scott Schuman
If Bill Cunningham is the king of street style, Scott Schuman is the prince. In this new collection, the mastermind behind the style blog The Sartorialist has included exclusive fashion pics never published on his website.
Best Brit Lit
NW by Zadie Smith
In her latest novel, Zadie Smith pairs kitchen sink realism with pitch-perfect satirical edge. Through her, the gritty landscape of ’70s-era northwest London is as much a character as the four kids struggling to escape its clutches.
Most Shattering Memoir
Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
In 1989, the Ayatollah of Iran issued a fatwa for Salman Rushdie in response to the author’s depiction of the prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses. For the following decade, Rushdie lived in hiding and exile under the alias Joseph Anton (after two writers he loved, Conrad and Chekhov). He’s finally taken the next step: transforming the devastating experience into a page-turning memoir.
Best Bar Mitzvah Gift
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
It’s hard to believe that Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 coming-of-age novel is old enough to be considered a classic (although the fact that it was published by MTV certainly feels anachronistic). Now, with the release of a stylish movie adaptation, it’s the perfect time to revisit the heart-bashingly sensitive Charlie and his brigade of misfit friends.
Biggest Belly Laughs
Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
After eight years of quirky character roles, the hilariously high-strung Mindy Kaling is getting star billing in a new self-titled sitcom. This recent laugh-out-loud memoir solidifies her status as the celebrity you’d most want as your best friend.
Most Ironic How-To
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
New Yorker staff writer Jonah Lehrer was recently busted for self-plagiarism, which is too bad, seeing as his sociological study on the nature of creativity will likely kick-start you into a frenzy of eureka moments.
Best Book to Read While Getting Your Hair Cut
Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo’s novel-most recently a movie directed by David Cronenberg and starring Robert Pattinson-follows one man as he zigzags through a city in the vain hope of getting a haircut. It sounds like a snore, but this being DeLillo, there’s piercing insight into post-millennial anomie wrapped up in high-octane acts of bravado.
Best Cocktail Party Conversation Starter
Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
This book will silence anyone who’s ever accused you of anthropomorphizing your pet. It reveals that animals are just as susceptible to such things as self-mutilation, clinical depression and, well, chlamydia as humans. (Dinosaurs even had brain cancer!)
Best Back-to-School Textbook
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Waugh’s wry 1945 classic about friendship, lust, social class and a teddy bear named Aloysius is, hands down, the best campus novel ever written.
Best Hollywood Fantasy
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
From A Star Is Born to Burlesque, the pop culture universe never tires of stories about small-town girls with big-city dreams. In this novel-the debut effort from Internet darling Emma Straub-a Midwestern hopeful is transformed into a glamorous movie star during Hollywood’s golden age.