Summer Reading: It’s All About Checking Your Brain In?

As Mr. Orthofer has observed, it’s Pulp Fiction Week at Slate. Of course, by “pulp,” Slate refers not to Robert E. Howard, Lester Dent or Erle Stanley Gardner, but to distinguished authors like Dashiel Hammett. (I suppose Stephen Crane, who self-published Maggie: A Girl of the Streets in part to cash in on the lurid popular fiction markets of the time, must be declared a disreputable “pulp” author as well. Never mind that Maggie is also one of the key novels of its time that dares to chronicle prostitutes and street life. But I digress.)

Further, Slate has asked a list of luminaries to provide their favorite beach books. Among some of the more interesting revelations:

  • Rick Moody recommends the Motley Crue autobiography.
  • New Yorker critic Joan Acocella actually recommends The Da Vinci Code.
  • Michael Kinsley believes Evelyn Waugh to be “pretty mindless” and considers Trollope “the most mindless of the big, fat…19th-century brits.”
  • Joyce Carol Oates avoids beaches and thus evades the “beach book” question.
  • A “recommendation” from George Saunders that must be read.

[UPDATE: One damn thing that I missed (and surprisingly Sarvas) and that Sarah caught was John Banville on the Parker novels.]


  1. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write this exact sentence again in my lifetime, so here goes:

    I absolutely concur with Rick Moody.

  2. Richard Parker novels? I’m sorry, Ed, but the fact that Parker does not have a first name is important, IMHO.

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