Contrary to popular belief, book clubs aren’t just for drinking wine. (They’re also for gossiping.)
We found a book to ignite the passions (for at least ten minutes) of every wacko reader at your hen party.
The Dog Obsessive
There’s a truck stuck in NYC’s Midtown Tunnel — driver nowhere to be found — and the city’s going bizonkers. Meanwhile, the main characters in Jill Ciment’s amazing Heroic Measures, Alex and Ruth, must get their beloved dachshund to a vet 60 blocks away and sell their apartment. Think of it as a geriatric Run Lola Run.
The Secretly Cool Nerd
Winning the science fair isn’t exactly a ticket to the in-crowd, but for Enrique and Gene, the endearing protagonists of Vestal McIntyre’s debut Lake Overturn, it’s a start. The boys’ attempt to find out if their Idaho town could succumb to a rare natural disaster puts them in touch with fascinating characters.
The Born-Again Atheist
Carlene Bauer did everything right: went to Sunday school, believed in God, and closely guarded her V-card. But things change — especially when you move to NYC. In Bauer’s coming-of-age memoir Not That Kind of Girl, she comes to startling conclusions about faith and the way it’s practiced.
The Recently Dumped
If commiseration’s the cure for a broken heart (it is), check out Love is a Four-Letter Word, an homage to the fact that amore sometimes sucks the big one. Authors like Junot Díaz, Kate Christensen, and Gary Shteyngart contributed funny/sad/ridiculous tales that’ll make you feel like you’re in good company.
The Wannabe Model
Many claim to be the world’s first supermodel (Janice, it wasn’t you), but it was really Evelyn Nesbit, the subject of Paula Uruburu’s transfixing biography American Eve. Exploited by her mother, worshipped/stalked by the heavy hitters of the day, Nesbit’s story inspires awe and sympathy.
The Third Generation
A nice, small-town Irish girl is sent to postwar NYC in Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín’s moving and vivid immigrant tale. Homesick and alone, she goes to school, lands a job, copes with bitchy roomies, and falls for a nice Italian boy. So this is what Grammy was up to, eh?
The Hopeless Romantic
Though the name may indicate a work of pure fiction, Rafael Yglesias’s A Happy Marriage is a loosely autobiographical — and heart-wrenchingly honest — tale of a 30-year relationship. Enrique and Margaret’s ups and downs will warm your heart and rip it out at the same time, especially during the latter’s struggle with cancer.