Wondering how to navigate the best-sellers section without paying $10 plus for a total dud? Forget that, use your Amazon Prime (free trial with .edu email address) to snag a used copy of one of these awesome reads. Whether your sneaking reads behind the cash register or adjusting your shades to catch a glimpse at the beach, one of these reads is sure to catch your fancy.
- On Beauty, By Zadie Smith. Penetrating beneath the austere facade of a prestigious university, this novel delves into the complicated lives of a professor and tackles such difficult questions such as race, family dynamics, and identity, proving even the hyper-intellectual are not immune to the ever-morphing passions of the human psyche.
- Nine Stories, By J.D. Salinger. If you haven’t picked this up as a pleasant aperitif to Catcher, do so now. Treasures such as Bananafish will blow you out of the water, and the Glass family may romance you farther down the lane to other Salinger reads that explore the mystical and oft hilarious family.
- Fun Home, By Alison Bechdel. Graphic novel aficionados may be familiar with Bechdel’s comic, but her famous novel transcends genre with it’s clever, heart-wrenching retrospective of a young, hyper-observant woman living in a world where nothing as it seems. For the comic-shy, Bechdel roped me into the genre with this gem, and I suggest taking the plunge.
- Alone Together, by Shelly Turkle. The NPR featured and famed M.I.T. professor delves into our social media focused culture with Alone Together. Ever pondered the irony of browsing Facebook yet feeling lonely? Texting your friends daily yet craving more intimate contact? Turkle illuminates the psychological propensity to short-cut emotions by using the multitudes of communication we have at our fingertips, literally. However, she doesn’t stop there. Alarmingly thorough research studies show our culture is closer to becoming with BFFs with robots than you might think. From sex dolls to the robotic seal being sold as a companion to those lonely in nursing homes, it will have you questioning what constitutes life, emotion, and togetherness.
- How to Be Alone, By Jonathan Franzen. New Yorker author Franzen’s compilation of hilarious essays may make you realize, however ironical, that your occasional (or constant) feelings of social alienation renders you a bit more company than you might think.