Right now I'm blogging when I should be packing books & things to go away for the weekend, but at least I'm on topic...

No one wants trash in her tote bag. Luckily for those of us who have an intellectual thirst that junk can't slake, plenty of fabulous beach-y keen reads by talented writers abound this summer.

The ever-excellent Boldtype informs us that the New York Times will be serializing four classic novels this summer: The Great Gatsby, Like Water For Chocolate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Color of Water. Laura Esquivel's ode to love and family, Like Water For Chocolate is a fabulous beach read. And who wouldn't want to pal around with Holly Golightly? I loved her so much more in the book than in the movie. Audrey Hepburn was justifiably glamourous, but the novella's Holly was so, so fierce with that double dose of moxie. And, also, Boldtype points us to this article about books becoming the new trucker hat, but it makes sense that it would be a British phenomenon because the NEA is up in arms over fewer literature lovers stateside.

Bitch Magazine has a well-rounded list of really fun-looking books (too many highlights to list them here!) that you'll have to check out, including Cupcake alum Hannah Tinti's debut story collection Animal Crackers, which is yum and then some.

More great books of the past at New York, although its current picks are so treacly and twee that the only reason to take them to the beach is to toss them into the sea (If you do this, please send us a picture to post on the blog).

Aimee Mann (note to self: don't forget to pick up some cigarettes and Red Vines) has some recommendations at NPR online. And you can always join Chicago readers in discovering (or re-, as the case may be) coming-of-age classic The House on Mango Street:
The anger comes from the book's author, Chicago native Sandra Cisneros, who says she wrote it after realizing how indifferent the American literary world was to stories from and about Hispanic women.

"I felt displaced in graduate school, like I was trespassing," said Cisneros, 49, who started writing the novel while enrolled in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in the late '70s...

...Cisneros said she chose to write the book in the voice of a young Mexican girl to rebel against the kind of literature that dominated the American academic and literary landscape at the time.

"With Esperanza, I wanted to create a new kind of fictional voice," Cisneros said.

Dig it! And don't forget this month's Cupcake picks: Zoe Heller's What Was She Thinking: Notes on a Scandal and Heidi Jon Schmidt's The Bride of Catastrophe. Join us on Tuesday to hear them read from their work at the last Cupcake of the season (we're taking August off to work on re-designing the website and a few other goodies for you).


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