Like RuPaul, I’ve always been good at reading, and there’s no time like summer to open the library.
For your literary pleasure, I’ve put together some reading recommendations, based on favorite TV shows or movies.
If you love Game of Thrones… read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (later Brandon Sanderson)
I absolutely love Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, but I finished reading all of the published books circa, like, 2012, and who knows if GRRM will survive long enough to give us another one. The Wheel of Time series has been a great diversion while I wait (perhaps forever), as there are 14 books in the completed series, with most of them around ~750 pages long. I’m currently on book 4, weighing in at 981 pages, and I usually fall asleep with it half opened next to my head. It requires a significant time commitment and isn’t for the amateur reader, but once you begin, it’s hard not to get hooked.
The series centers around a group of friends from a small, agrarian town in a Game of Thrones-esque magical world. They are essentially plucked from obscurity by a passing witch (called Aes Sedai) who suspects that they are ta’veren, or one of the few people who have only existed a few times in the history of the world, who have the ability to either save the world or bring about the next apocalypse. Magic is regarded as suspect, as the last time men were allowed to use magic, natural disasters and war reigned, and the world nearly ended. There are two opposing forces, The Creator (or Light) and The Dark One (Shai’Tan), a male magician who is trapped in a prison along with 12 of his most evil and powerful magical followers (called The Forsaken). The Forsaken are rumored to be escaping one by one, and bringing with them dangerous and dark creatures. It is clear that the ta’veren and their friends will have to learn to harness their powers and embark on a variety of dangerous quests, in preparation for a final battle with The Dark One and his followers.
The world of The Wheel of Time is very complex and richly drawn, bolstered by a variety of Eastern/Western mythologies, unique settings, and magical objects. I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or similar fantasy series.
If you love The Notebook… read She Walks In Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems ed. by Caroline Kennedy
If The Notebook is your top entertainment pick, let’s be honest… you’re prob not the most cerebral of your friends. You caption all of your pics with faux Coco Chanel quotes and/or illogical emojis that have nothing to do with the belfie you posted in front of a predictable Retna wall, *but* you also have an endearing romantic spirit. To help you improve your caption game (and because a full novel may be slightly challenging 4 u), I recommend purchasing this poetry compendium. Useful for both social media captions and learning a thing or two to impress your Bumble date, this collection of short poems was selected by actually-chic-and-sophisticated-unlike-Melania-aka-Legit-American-Royalty, Caroline Kennedy. Not only did this betch slay the Met Ball in CdG this year (and is the former ambassador to Japan), but she also knows her way around a Lord named Byron, as evidenced by the title. (Shoutout to my BFF, Phoebe, who also loves the titular poem! #honorsbritlit2006)
Some of my favorite poems are included here, such as “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning, “Out Beyond Ideas Of Wrongdoing” by Rumi (Carter), “Delight In Disorder” by Robert Herrick, and “Patterns” by Amy Lowell. And if you think poetry is boring, “Symptom Recital” by Dorothy Parker is legit the most relatable thing ever and my life theme, so don’t miss out.
If you love Gossip Girl… read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton was more or less the original Gossip Girl, born into New York’s uber-rich Jones family, who gave us the expression “keeping up with the Joneses”, which is also the title inspiration for this aspirational lifestyle show you casually may have heard of called “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”.
Like Gossip Girl, The Age of Innocence centers around a hot, edgy girl (~The Countess Olenska~) who has recently returned to town and is causing every bro to question their current relationship status. In this case, she’s returning from being married to a count in Europe (not boarding school like Serena van der Woodsen), but they’re basically the same age and the same person. The Countess Olenska’s perceived bohemian ways (aka wanting a divorce from her shitty husband and wearing semi-slutty dresses to the opera) are threatening to upend the stiff social world of the Upper East Side, especially when she and her vanilla-AF cousin start to like the same guy.
This is a particularly great book to read if you’re convinced that most men are weak-minded and cave to societal pressure by settling for the boring, subservient girl with no personality, as *SPOILER ALERT*, that may or may not happen.
If you love Shark Tank… read The Sound Of Paper by Julia Cameron
Though some people are successful in business merely by militantly following orders and/or adapting a Varys-esque reputation with their coworkers, the business people I most admire are those who infuse their work with creativity, originality, and innovation. That said, it’s easier said than done to be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.
Whether you work in the arts or in investment banking, I believe everyone can benefit professionally by cultivating their creative side. This book by Julia Cameron, most famous for her seminal work on creativity, The Artist’s Way, provides particular inspiration for people who may be stuck creatively or otherwise.
She has a breezy and relatable yet utterly insightful and penetrating style, calling on you to make small but powerful changes to foster new ideas and increase productivity. Living part time in Manhattan and part time in the desert commune of Taos, New Mexico, she takes the reader on a city-to-country journey peppered with anecdotes and advice.
While The Sound of Paper may seem more Eat, Pray, Love than Mark Cuban-esque, don’t be surprised if you find yourself winning a new account or coming up with a unique strategic plan after trying out some of her ideas.