Patricia Engel

Girl Canon: 50 Essential Books About the Female Experience

Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More

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20 Highbrow Books to Read on the Beach This Summer

For even the most seasoned of book nerds, a trip to the beach can raise some difficult questions. After all, you don’t want to waste your precious vacation minutes reading something you’ll forget by the time your suntan fades, but a beach towel is also (probably) not the ideal location to tackle Ulysses. With this weekend marking the unofficial start of summer, Flavorwire has you covered with a list of twenty decidedly highbrow but still totally beach-appropriate… Read More

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A Weird Girl Reading List: 10 of the Best Outsider Books for Teenagers

Today, we came across Darren Shan’s list of “essential reads for teens about those who exist outside the boundaries of the established norms” over at the Guardian, and while we can’t take issue with any of his choices, we did notice that each of his choices was written by, and is largely concerned with the exploits of — you guessed it! — a straight white man. Not the most outsider of demographics, if you don’t mind us saying so. As a response, we’ve put together an alternate essential reading list of outsider lit for teenage girls — or teenage boys willing to read outside the mold. Read through our picks after the jump, and add on any of your favorites that we’ve missed in the comments. … Read More

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10 Uplifting Books for Lonely Souls

In response to Russ Marshalek’s excellent post on devastatingly sad books last week, we’ve decided to try and lift your spirits a little during this rainy week by suggesting books that are great escapes from the incessant grind of daily existence.

Last year, Wayne Gooderham wrote a thoughtful piece in the Guardian about emerging from the fog of depression by reading Saul Bellow’s 1964 epistolary tale of Moses E. Herzog — a brilliant but broken intellectual who is constantly writing letters, many which are never sent. Gooderham writes that Bellow renders “a potentially bleak topic in such a poignant and gently humorous way” in Herzog, which is the mark of a very good book. Since we’ve always been suckers for a love story, many of the selections on our list involve affairs of the heart, although we are also inspired by political nonfiction and comedy when they are done well. As always, we realize that any list made will be contentious, so please feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments section below. … Read More

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