Pointless amusement

Team Brokelyn check-in: What are your summer reading picks?

summer reading
Kind of like this, but at a much louder, more crowded beach. via Flickr user Haceme un 14

Yep, it’s the season for beach reads and summer reading lists. We may be stuck in our cubicles but our minds are on a tropical island somewhere, Singapore Sling in one hand and sexy summah romance novel in the other. Or if you’re like me, you’re in the shaded backyard of a bar hoping that cute girl drinking a beer one the table over there will inquire about your Norton Critical Edition of Don Quixote (the Ormsby translation, naturally) and reveal that she’s a learned scholar in all things Cervantes and would certainly love to get together for drinks and talk about 17th century European literature how’s Tuesday sound perfect here’s my number.

So what’s the rest of team Brokelyn reading this summah?

Kelly: On the top of my list: (1) the new Tom Robbins memoir [Tibetan Peach Pie], an obligation since his words are tattooed on my butt, (2) Dan Fagin’s Toms River, since I spent every childhood summer there, and (3) Kevin Roose’s Young Money, so that I can be this come fall. ;)

Conal: Do you mean you’re going to abandon publishing and jump on the Wall Street bandwagon?

Kelly: I already abandoned publishing! One step closer.

Conal: The industry is doomed.


IsaacInfinite Jest. Because it’s infinitely long, and I’m hella into this idea of an endless summer–so much so this New Englander and former foppish tennis player reading about a former foppish tennis player is borrowing slang from the purported land of eternal sunshine to describe the vibe he feels about all this.


Eric: I just finished Infinite Jest, which I started as last summer’s reading. I would not recommend a 1000+ page book with 60 pages of footnotes not written by George R.R. Martin as a beach book. Now I’m reading The Disaster Artist (a book about the making of The Room) as a palate cleanser, and almost done with it on day 5. Whatever the next book is, it’s going to be something that doesn’t hurt my arms to hold open on the subway.

Conal: Isaac said he’s going to read Infinite Jest.

Eric: Terrible idea.


Amanda: Personally, I like to hit the library and make a bee line right for the mystery section. I’m not picking out James Patterson novels or Stephen King thrillers, oh no. I look for the books that have the worst puns in the titles. If they’re craft themed, that’s even better. There is nothing more amazing than reading a mystery novel titled On What Grounds that features the owner of a coffee shop.

Most of these books are quick reads that I don’t have to think too much about – the only downside is that when people ask me what I’m reading they kind of look at me like I’m a few fries short of a happy meal.

Conal: Do you go by Mande or Amanda?

Amanda: Mande in person, Amanda on the website.

Conal: Amanda “on the website” Kenneybrook it is.


Dave R: This summer I’ll be continuing my long, slow march towards Game of Thrones literacy by reading the second book, A Clash of Kings. I recently got done reading the first book (just to dip my toes into that UNWEILDY universe), and I liked it enough to continue onward. I’ve never actually seen the show as I don’t have HBO, but I’ve heard just so much about it and seen so many out-of-context GIFs that I just had to familiarize myself with the story. Never again will I audibly gasp at the words “red wedding” at a party only to follow it with an attempted rejoinder that awkwardly just comes out “Yeah…. that wedding. SO red, right?”


Dave C: So, I’m going to publicly commit to finally finishing The Power Broker. Which is kind of embarrassing because I’ve been reading it for like three years.

But I’m up to page 981, so I have less than 300 to go. The type is very small though, so it’s basically like reading an entire novel.

Conal: Rome wasn’t read about in a day.

Dave C: Also, I’ll either be obsessively reading every story about the Rangers, be it profiles in victory or of the “how to win next year” variety.


Maddie: I’m reading Sara Marcus’ Girls to the Front, a comprehensive history of the riot grrrl movement… Because summer is historically the season of riots.

Conal: What about a Book Riot?

Maddie: Where you throw books at dummies?

Conal: Something like that.


Tim: I haven’t totally settled in on a full list yet, but I’ll probably get to the second and third books in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy (the third one comes out in August). I read the first one last year on the beach and even though a book about a magical kingdom featuring a grown-up Hogwarts somehow still managed to be set in fucking Brooklyn like every third novel these days, it’s super great beach reading. Maybe his name should be Lev Engrossman??

Also I’m going to finish James Wood’s How Fiction Works, which isn’t really a summer read but it’s nice to have something erudite to read in between damaging the brain with substances and sunlight for three straight months. Part of me thinks one of these summers I’ll read the Game of Thrones books, but a bigger part of me thinks that instead I’d rather fight a homeless person over 30 cents in loose change.

So dear readers. What will you be reading this summah? Let us know below.


  1. David Colon

    So, based on my utter refusal to read anything about these first two Ranger games, I don’t think the second part of my summer reading answer is going to stay true if they lose.

  2. I just started the new Dave Eggers book and it’s really fast — a four- to- five commute read. It’s called “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?” I guess when you’re Dave Eggers you can call your book anything you want.

  3. Adam W.C.

    I’m finishing “Cosmopolis” by Don DeLillo right now (just to totally assume the nihilistic viewpoint of all things The City) and probably moving on to “The End of Vandalism” by Tom Drury (so as to remember that everyone in Brooklyn actually isn’t lying, there is small town life, and, they once did live it) or “The Disappointment Artisit” by Jonathan Letham (because essays by Jonathan Letham about Brooklyn seem easier to read than novels by Jonathan Letham about Brooklyn).

Leave a Reply