[dropcap letter=”T”]here’s a huge misconception of what a solo beach trip will provide. The sun gives off a haze of ambitious possibility: the promise that if you just pack up some SmartWater and trail mix, excitement will ensue.
We blame movies. Hollywood often misses the mark when representing SoCal beach scenes by consistently recreating a utopian 60’s beach party. The reality is that when you finally find parking and a solid towel location, conditions can be cloudier and emptier than you expected (particularly in June). However, as any solid Angeleno knows, there are two LA truths:
1) Three laps for street parking before giving up on the “parking angels” and deciding to pay.
2) Never waste a beach day.
As it happens, there is a growing enclave of editorial introverts here at LAC and although we have been known to get down at our events, beach crowds are fun for no one. Ever. An overcast morning is not a fail. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up your reading.
We haven’t forgotten that a handful of you are on hiatus from school and burnt out on heavy 14th century lit. We love you Chaucer—no one is stripping you of your Father of English Literature title, but Canterbury Tales was like sitting next to our least favorite grandmother at the family BBQ. That said, we’ve complied a list of breezy summer reads. And fear not, because there’s some literary imagery for ya’—straightforward enough to pause if needed, and engaging enough to keep you flipping through.
Please keep in mind UVs can slow your cognitive functions down, so you might want to exercise the ones you still have. LA CANVAS; saving one young mind at a time.
[infobox maintitle=”FABULOUS NOBODIES” subtitle=”LEE TULLOCH” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Nobodies-Lee-Tulloch/dp/B0046LUCX4″]
Let’s start this list with something lighthearted and easy, something to get you back into the groove of reading. Set during the 80’s, Reality Nirvana lives in the East Village, talks to her frocks and is a bonafide “doorwhore”. It’s like reading Party Girl, a refreshing break from all the literary analysis you’ve had to endure this year.
[infobox maintitle=”The God of Small Things ” subtitle=”Arundhati Roy ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/God-Small-Things-Novel/dp/0812979656″]
If you’re getting all your family drama from The Real Housewives Of It’s So Terrible But We Can’t Stop Watching, this book might be right up your alley. Roy writes about the human condition with perfect prose and melancholy. It is a wonderful reminder that everyone is fighting their own personal battles, the layering of events and things left unsaid unfold slowly but beautifully like the years summer sunsets.
[infobox maintitle=”Giovanni’s Room” subtitle=”James Baldwin” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Giovannis-Vintage-International-James-Baldwin/dp/0345806565″]
More people should know about Baldwin’s fiery use of words and his ability to strike up and demand emotion from his readers. You should become better acquainted with different p.o.v.’s this summer – it’s good for the soul – and Giovanni’s Room has a lot of valuable perspective.
[infobox maintitle=”Sputnik Sweetheart” subtitle=”Haruki Murakami” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Sputnik-Sweetheart-Novel-Haruki-Murakami/dp/0375726055″]
Murakami plugs in the extraordinary into his writing with such elegance, you never read it as though it were something mystical, he creates a world where those types of magical moments can be part of the everyday – and who doesn’t want some enchantment this summer? But then, Murakami gently pulls you back down to the limits of reality – and for a brief moment you were invested in an ephemeral world. You should experience the power of Murakami this summer.
[infobox maintitle=”Grace, A Memoir ” subtitle=”Grace Coddington” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Memoir-Coddington/dp/0812993357/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401494842&sr=1-1&keywords=grace+a+memoir+by+grace+coddington”]
Very few have lives worth retelling and Grace is one of those few. If like us, snippets of Grace in The September Issue didn’t suffice, this book – in the hue of her famous mane – is what you’ve been waiting for. As her memoir reveals, she doesn’t take this whole business of fashion too seriously which seems to be the secret to her editorial brilliance.
[infobox maintitle=”Breakfast of Champions” subtitle=”Kurt Vonnegut ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Champions-Novel-Kurt-Vonnegut/dp/0385334206/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401494871&sr=1-1&keywords=breakfast+of+champions+by+kurt+vonnegut”]
Vonnegut truly was an American treasure, even if he was dissatisfied with the culture and this whole fucking place all together. Great summer read – satire just goes better with sunshine – with clever drawings and gems like “Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.” – this should have been on your required reading list in high school instead of Slaughter House Five.
[infobox maintitle=”The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” subtitle=”Mark Haddon” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Incident-Dog-Night-Time/dp/1400032717/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401494911&sr=1-1&keywords=the+curious+incident+of+the+dog+in+the+nighttime”]
You will smirk all the way through this book at the empirical breakdown of the human condition by a child. It’s a charming depiction of how complicated we make life, made more apparent because of the narrators inability to understand complex emotion due to Asperger’s.
[infobox maintitle=”Love is a Dog from Hell ” subtitle=”Charles Bukowski ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Love-Dog-Hell-Charles-Bukowski/dp/0876853629/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401494952&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+a+dog+from+hell+by+charles+bukowski”]
– This one is for all the drunks! Delight all your friends with a drunken poetry reading from Bukowski, it can be your party trick this summer.
[infobox maintitle=”Less Than Zero ” subtitle=”Bret Easton Ellis” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Less-Than-Zero-Easton-Ellis/dp/0679781498/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401494981&sr=1-1&keywords=less+than+zero”]
Great book for anyone going through bouts of ‘over-it’ syndrome caused by the feelings of discontent with the LA scene and the sameness it seems to generate. This book won’t make you feel any better about all that – Ellis doesn’t do inspirational – but you will find solace in knowing you aren’t alone in your LA nihilism.
[infobox maintitle=”Ask The Dust ” subtitle=”John Fante” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”20″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/Ask-Dust-John-Fante/dp/0060822554/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401495006&sr=1-1&keywords=ask+the+dust”]
Had to throw another book about LA in the mix, it is our namesake after all . Set in the 1930’s during the Depression, Fante manages to weave the story of the city with that of his main characters – tumultuous, ruthless and most of all flawed.