Book Club: Summer reading

Gossip optional, drinking recommended.

by Sarah Harper

Whether you’re toting bestsellers to the beach or relaxing on your balcony with a cerebral mystery, chances are you’ve realized an important truth: ‘Tis the season for reading.

The Minnesota Daily is about to go on a break until September, but our imaginary book club will never stop truckin’ through the pages, especially not when the living is easy, and libraries are a sweet respite from the heat.

Here are the books we plan on taking a crack at in August. We’ve separated them into beach reads and patio reads, knowing that it’s almost impossible to concentrate on anything too consequential when you’ve got sand in your suit.




Pair well with: Bud Light Lime, Long island iced tea, sangria


“Duncan the Wonder Dog” by Adam Hines


Mix George Orwell’s farm with pretty pictures and you have “Duncan the Wonder Dog.” In this stylized graphic novel, animals speak and eventually rise up against the humans. It’s a gripping and beautiful read, perfect for the beach. Another good pup-centric read is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon.


The “Gossip Girl” series by Cecily Von Ziegesar


By now, you’ve hopefully absorbed five seasons of Upper East Side debauchery with the CW smash “Gossip Girl.” But the TV series’ genesis had a much higher brow, and you’ll be surprised at these novels’ sophistication. You’ll also be shocked that Chuck Bass is hardly a character, and he’s really flamboyant.


“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James


Aren’t you dying to know what the fuss is about? Follow the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey as they get totally kinky, engaging in all the erotic practices we’d never expect to make it to the bestseller list.




Pair well with: Guinness, a Greyhound (gin and grapefruit juice), red wine


“Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh


Although somewhat dense, this account of the aristocratic Marchmain family does include a vacation, and it will force you to appreciate the beauty of friendship in college. Also, you’ll learn a lot about England.


“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfield


Laura Bush is one of Washington, D.C.’s most sympathetic players. She’s smart, she’s modest and she’s married to one of the most divisive figures in American history, George W. Bush. “American Wife” is a work of fiction based on her life — it’s a fair, beautiful and detailed portrait of a woman who deserves to have her story told.


“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace


Wallace would probably hate to hear this, but we’re lumping “Infinite Jest” in with “Fifty Shades of Grey” — both books are popular topics at dinner parties, hard to start and embarrassing to be seen with. “Infinite Jest” is different in that it’s legitimately a work of genius, but buckle up for a long ride. This thousand-page brick of a novel has about 400 endnotes.