Matt Singer

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With temperatures rising and vacation plans getting close, we've highlighted five books that are ideal for a day at the beach or an afternoon on the couch with the windows open (or the AC on high).


Two Serious Ladies, the only novel by Jane Bowles, the highly influential wife of legendary writer Paul Bowles, is a modernist cult classic that follows two "respectable" women as they descend into debauchery. African Stories by Doris Lessing, first published in 1965, is a collection containing much of Ms. Lessing's most extraordinary work exploring the complexities, the agonies and joys, and the textures of life in Africa. Where’d you Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is narrated by Bee Fox, a fifteen-year-old who searches for her notorious mother who has gone missing. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie follows the lives of Ifemelu and Obinze who first meet and fall in love as teenagers in a Lagos secondary school. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. And lastly, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer follows the unfolding fates of six teenagers (who meet at a summer camp for the arts) from teenagehood to middle age.