Breaking news: bookstores exist in the US. Or I should say independent bookstores still exist in Boston and Cambridge. Lingering in a bookstore is one of my favorite lazy hobby, but I still go towards the easy picks = best-sellers on top of a table. If there’s a handwritten note clipped on the cover, there’s even more chance that I’ll buy the book. “I am a mouton, a sheep” I would say in French. I recently read 4 of these easy summer readings. Do I recommend these to you? Not all of them.
The Circle, Dave Eggers
The story: Mae Holland got hired in the super trendy company The Circle, which has created a virtual online identity for every user: TruYou, and you are very much encourage to share your whole life on social media. Mae is amazed by her new job and she finds it awesome: shiny, geeky, and the real deal for the future, which is happening now (sounds like a politician slogan). She becomes the best employee, a real role model. Her parents and ex-boyfriend are scared for her…
Is it good? YES! It’s a contemporary 1984 from George Orwell, but less subtle – I place 1984 in my top 10 favorite books that changed me forever, so I have a lot of expectations for any similar novel. Anyway, the existence of a company such as The Circle seems quite impossible (are there no more regulations in this world?). It seems sometimes too big to be true, but it’s fascinating. I was hooked from the first pages and didn’t let it go.
I recommend it to you if you love social media; that was the note on the cover that made me buy this book. If you think that sharing all your information on internet is not such a big deal because you have “nothing to hide” (you may change your mind and just think about reading out loud your emails to your BFF to your whole circle of facebook page: worst nightmare).
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Adelle Waldman
The story: the title speaks for itself, it’s the multiple love affairs of Nathaniel, a writer from New York who just sold his first book. What makes him fall in love? What makes him stay in a relationship?
Is it good? Yes but well… I was hooked from the start, but the novel is too sophisticated for my taste – we get it, he’s an intellectual and knows quelques mots de français (= some French words). It’s pretty depressing about love – because not-depressing love isn’t sophisticated probably. I’ve already forgotten the story.
I recommend it to you if the life of a writer in Brooklyn appeals to you; if you like the show Girls, and ambitious but over-conscious people fascinate you.
The Vacationers, Emma Staub
The story: A family from New York and their friends go on vacation in Mallorqua (small idyllic Spanish island), and for 10 days, they are mad at each other, bored along the pool, and eventually speak out their own truth.
Is it good? HELL NO. It’s probably the most irritating novel I’ve read for many years. It’s like watching a reality show: you know it’s terrible but keep going for no reason, maybe boredom, sadness or exhaustion.
I recommend it to you if you like the cover. It’s an awesome cover, really pretty, and you wish you were this girl on the water. You can use the cover as a poster in your room. If you like the lives of boring rich people and have a plane to catch, you’re tired and need a book, try it.
The Expats, Chris Pavone
The story: Kate Moore moves with her husband, who has accepted a job offer, to Luxembourg (obscure tiny country in the middle of Europe with a lot of banks). She has a secret (no spoiler alert, we know it early in the book): she’s a former CIA agent. And she’s sure that her husband and their 2 new American friends have something suspicious they’re hiding from her.
Is it good? yes! it’s entertaining. It’s the quintessential summer book: easy and quick to read, but you’ll forget it as quickly. I lent my book to somebody (please say your name, friend/family who holds my book!) so I’m just telling you the story from what I remember: which is not much. I liked the story of the author, a guy who moved abroad, got bored, started writing. Well done Chris !
I recommend it to you if you love scheme and are paranoid. Or if you live in Luxembourg and you’re bored. Or if you’re an expat and you think this book is a guide – it’s not, unless you’re a former CIA agent.