Speed Reads: August’s literary landscape at a glance

Written by Jeff Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.

is Going to be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand
Tour By Rachel Shukert, out now

This memoir of a young actress’ romp
across Europe as part of a traveling playgroup has sex, humor,
misadventures—everything a good read (and a good trip) needs.

To Sound
in the Know:
Read an excerpt from Shukert’s book here and tell all
of your friends how hilarious she is.

Rich Boy By Sharon Pomerantz, out Aug. 2

novel that traces the journey of a middleclass Jewish boy who
infiltrates the wealthy set, and rides with the tides from 1950s
Philadelphia to 1980s New York.

To Sound in the Know: More soft-focus prodding than tough examination of The American Dream, the novel will please those looking for a nostalgia trip.

Old Jews Telling Jokes By Sam Hoffman, out Aug. 31

Considering the title of this book is literal and total, what more need be said?

Sound in the Know:
The book is a spinoff of the popular website
OldJewsTellingJokes.com where, well, again, it’s all in the title.

Freedom By Jonathan Franzen, out Aug. 31

In his first novel since The Corrections, Franzen
tells the story of a suburban family’s demise, reaching across the
years to touch on a wide range of themes from gentrification and sexual
abuse to Iraq sub-contracting and shady West Virginia mining deals.

To Sound in the Know: Franzen’s two most recent fiction pieces in The New Yorker were excerpts from this novel.

How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior By Laura Kipnis, out Aug. 31

This book examines the obsession behind America’s favorite pastime:
watching people wreck themselves in scandal. Sorry baseball, you’re so
last century.

Sound in the Know:
Kipnis (known for her writing on adultery, sex and
relationships) has referred to marriage as a “domestic gulag.” But how
does she really feel?

Skippy Dies By Paul Murray, out Aug. 31

novel examines how the titular character’s aforementioned death plays
out in a Dublin boarding school, including how it affects characters
including a midget basketball player and a hip-hop aficionado nicknamed

To Sound in the Know: Already on the Booker short-list, it’s also being made into a movie.

Take Ivy By Shosuke Ishizu, Toshiyuki Kurosu, Hajime Hasegawa Photos by Teruyoshi Hayashida, out Aug. 31

is back! And so is this classic 1960s photo treatise on Ivy League
fashion shot through the lens of Japanese fashion gurus, featuring a new
English translation.

Sound in the Know:
When the book was first published in 1965, it
created a madness for preppy style in young Tokyo. Who knows what havoc
it will cause in Williamsburg.