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The Books: 150 things to read, watch and listen to, so you don't die of boredom this summer, according to Sassy Magazine, July 1990.

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The Books

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Three years in a Jewish teenager’s life while hiding from the Nazis. Most poignant and timely. (Autobiography/Sob alert/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway/People have tried to ban this)

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner.  A stream-of-consciousness hayride with an eccentric southern family (Novel/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway/An intellectual workout)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Malcolm’s popularity is on the rise–here’s a clue as to what he was about. (Autobiography/An intellectual workout)

The Awakening

Kate Chopin. Privileged married woman wants to be her own person back when women didn’t do that. Bonus: steamy love scenes. (Novel/Romance/Sob alert)

The Basketball Diaries

Jim Carroll. The very real diary of a New York teen’s loss of innocence. Totally deglamorizes drug use. (Autobiography/Teenagers the way they really are)

The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath. Overly sensitive and bright college girl has a breakdown. (Novel/Beach reading)

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Truman Capote. Introducing the enchantingly wacko Holly Golightly. Better than the movie, which has the obligatory happy ending. (Novel/Beach reading)

 

Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger. A day in the life of Holden Caulfield, who just got kicked out of prep school and hasn’t told his parents yet. (Novel/Humor/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway)

Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady

Florence King. Completely hilarious autobiography about a girl who just doesn’t fit the southern-lady criteria. Great menstual scenes. (Autobiography/Humor/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

The Country Girls

Edna O’Brien. The bittersweet misadventures of two Irish girls growing up in the ’60s, one of whom has an alcoholic father. (Novel/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Crossing the Line

William Finnegan. White American lands in South Africa and gets a job teaching “colored” kids. Makes that country’s terrifying racism very clear. (Non-fiction)

 

Daughter of Time

Josephine Tey. Modern-day, bed-ridden sleuth investigates a murder committed by Richard III. An offbeat whodunnit. (Mystery/Beach reading)

 

Dicey’s Song

Cynthia Voigt. A 13-year old girl has to take care of her younger brothers and sisters when her parents can’t. (Novel/Sob alert)

 

Edie: An American Biography

George Plimpton and Jean Stein. Fabulous rich girl parties it up with Andy Warhol and come to a tragic end. (Biography/Beach reading)

 

Easy in the Islands

Bob Shacochis. Set in the Caribbean, by a writer who lived there. (Short stories/Beach reading)

 

Endless Love

Scott Spencer. One teenager’s obsession for another destroys them both. Don’t see the movie. (Novel/Romance/Beach reading/ Sob alert)

 

The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand. Young architect rebels against the world and has a torrid affair. Some philosophy called objectivism is expounded. (Novel/An intellectual workout/People have tried to ban this)

 

A Good Man is Hard to Find

Flannery O’Connor. Weird southern people and not the easily spooked. (Short stories/humor)

 

Gorillas in the Mist

Dian Fossey. The author was murdered for caring too much about Africa’s endangered gorillas. (Autobiography/Sob alert)

 

The Greengage Summer

Rumer Godden. English sisters spend one memorable summer in France. (Novel/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald. All about the American Dream, with lots of flappers and things. (Novel/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway/People have tried to ban this)

 

Grown-Up Fast

Betsy Israel. The author gets pregnant the night of her senior prom and denies it to herself for seven months. (Autobiography/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Hollywood

Charles Bukowski. Loosely based on the underground author’s experiences when his novel was made into a movie. (Autobiography/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway)

 

I’m With The Band

Pamela Des Barres. Very engrossing tales of a wild yet innocent ’60s groupie costarring Jim Morrison and Jimmy Page. (Autobiography/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

James Agee. Portraits of poor sharecropping families during the Depression, with Walker Evans photographs. (Non-fiction/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway)

 

Manchild in the Promised Land

Claude Brown. A Harlem boy fights crime, drugs and poverty to become a law student. (Autobiography)

 

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka. Man wakes up one day and finds out he’s a beetle. Haven’t we all felt that way? (Novella/They’re gonna make you read this one in school sooner or later anyway/An intellectual workout)

 

Minor Characters

Joyce Johnson. The author was Jack Kerouac’s girl for a while. This book is about that. (Autobiography/Beach reading)

 

Monkeys

Susan Minot. Modern minimalist first novel about growing up in a big New England family, and then the mother dies. (Novel/Beach reading/Sob alert/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

The Mountain People

Colin M. Turnbull. A formerly powerful African tribe slowly starves to death. A scary parallel to the selfishness of our own society. (Non-fiction)

 

My Antonìa

Willa Cather. Pioneer boy and girl at the turn of the century. May be the most beautiful romance written by an American. (Novel/Romance/Beach reading/Sob alert)

 

My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist

Mark Leyner. Weird things happen. Strange language is used. Brand names are bandied about. Very bizarre. (Novel/An intellectual workout)

 

Nadja

André Breton. Surrealist love story set in Paris in the ’20s. Illustrated with really cool paintings of the time. (Novel/Romance/An intellectual workout)

 

No One Here Gets Out Alive

Danny Sugarman and Jerry Hopkins. Way-above-average biography of Jim Morrison (Biography/Beach reading)

 

Other Fires

Modern short fiction by Latin American women. Very much about the female experience. (Short stories/Beach reading)

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

Gloria Steinem. Some of her best essays, including her undercover stint as a Playboy bunny. (Non-fiction/Beach reading)

 

The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton. You’ve seen the TV series, now read the book about poor teenagers persecuted by rich ones. (Novel/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Annie Dillard. Even if you’re not a nature type, you’ll love the way Dillard’s nature essays put a microscope to the outdoors. (Non-fiction/An intellectual workout)

 

Celine

Brock Cole. A 16-year-old painter lives in a Chicago loft with her 22-year-old stepmother. Nicely unpredictable. (Novel/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Slaves of New York

Tama Janowitz. Hip short stories about the East Village art scene of the early ‘ 80s. (Short stories/Beach reading).

 

Stop-Time

Frank Conroy. A ’50s cult classic that makes you understand what it’s like being a boy. Great for would-be writers. (Autobiography/Beach reading/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Tar Baby

Toni Morrison. Caribbean girl grows up, becomes a high fashion model and gets involved with the homeless man. (Novel/ Beach reading/Sob alert)

 

That Was Then, This is Now

S.E. Hinton. Why friends grow apart. (Novel/Beach reading/Sob alert/Teenagers the way they really are)

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston. A young black woman comes of age just after the civil war. (Novel/Sob alert/An intellectual workout)

 

Wearing Dad’s Head

Barry Yourgrau. What Kafka would have written if he’d grown up in the suburbs and watched too much TV. (Short stories/Humor/Beach reading/An intellectual workout)

 

Welcome to the Monkey House

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Jane swears she’s read these twisted stories a zillion times. (Short stories/Humor/An intellectual workout/People have tried to ban this)

 

White Palace

Glenn Savan. A grittier version of the yuppie-falls-in-love-with-lower-class-woman story. (Novel)

 

Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys. If you’ve read Jane Eyre, you must have wondered about Mr. Rochester’s mad wife. This is a poetic answer. (Novel/Romance/Sob alert)

 

The Woman Warrior

Maxine Hong Kingston. A beautiful and scary book about growing up female and Chinese-American. (Autobiography/An intellectual workout)