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Proust or Pop: What's in Your Beach Bag?

Amazon Book Review: The DollhouseWhat constitutes summer reading? Like any open ended question, this one has plenty of answers. To my sister, as a teenager, it meant reading all of Proust – in French. (I know. That annoyed me, too.) To my son, it means manga, manga, and more manga, with a little anime thrown in just to complicate things. To me, well, "summer reading" depends on the week and the location.

Just to be perverse, even if I'm at the beach I skip the beach reads, except that I do remember very fondly a weekend years ago when I lolled around reading THE beach read of that summer: Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent. (Tony stuff by beach-y standards, I guess – but it was a more innocent time.) This summer I plan to finish the oeuvre of Elena Ferrante – I've got the Neapolitan Quartet covered, and a couple of the early books. (My favorite: The Days of Abandonment) But there are some beautiful paperbacks on my shelf from whatever-her-real-name is, so they're going on the top of the file. Some other plans: Caleb Carr's forthcoming novel, Surrender, New York, because I remember another summer engrossed in his first, The Alienist. And then, for fun, The Dollhouse, which is the kind of historical, New York-y novel I remember reading before I moved here; it's about the Barbizon Hotel for women, which (of course) is alive mostly in the memory of longtime New Yorkers.

Hmm. Two novels about New York City, past and present. I guess you can take the girl away from metropolis, but you can't... etc.

What do you consider the perfect kind of beach read? Are you city or country? Proust or pop? Whichever, Happy 4th!

See more in our Summer Reading Roundup.


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Surrender, New York: A Novel by Caleb Carr
The Alienist's Dr. Laszlo Kreizler returns in the latest historical thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

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The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
A deeply absorbing and affecting tale of a woman and mother forced to confront the realities of her own life when her husband abruptly leaves.

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The Dollhouse: A Novel by Fiona Davis
"The Dollhouse.. . That's what we boys like to call it.... The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you."


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