The weather's heating up, vacation is in the air and soon, it will be time to hit the beach.
You may not know this, but what you have sitting on your bookshelf right now can mean the difference between a good summer, versus a great summer!
Here are five of Bed-Stuy Patch's picks for great summer reads. If you've read any of these, share your thoughts or make a recommendation of your own!
1. In Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire (public library), writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz explores the millennia-long quest to regulate and mandate one of the strongest drivers of human behavior: Sex. More poignantly, he examines the tragic deformities that result from the dictatorship of external authority over the most intimate of inner realities. Tracing how we went from the male bonding ceremonies commonly performed in medieval Mediterranean churches to the lesbian executions in 18th-century Germany, along the entire spectrum of cultural attitudes towards mistresses, goat-lovers, prostitutes, medieval transvestites, adulterers, and other sexual-norm nonconformists, Berkowitz brings an eye-opening lens to one of the most mercilessly judged yet universal aspects of being human. (This and other reviews can be found at brainpickings.org).
2. From McSweeney’s and Tom Bissell, one of today’s finest essayists, comes Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation (public library) — a collection of fourteen essays originally published in arbiters of literary culture such as The New Yorker, Believer, and Harper’s Magazine, spanning a decade of Bissell’s best writing and dissecting the creative process through such diverse subjects as Werner Herzog’s films, video game voiceovers, Iraq war documentaries, sitcoms, and David Foster Wallace. Underpinning them is a somewhat uncomfortable reality to which just about any creator can attest — that no matter how meticulously we trace creativity’s history, dissect its neuroscience, flowcharting our way to it, and itemize it into a 5-point plan, the essence of creation remains subject to a great deal of uncontrollable chance and serendipity. (This and other reviews can be found at brainpickings.org).
3. Remember the days when you circled up around the playground, going back and forth saying things like, Yo mama got more clap than an auditorium, or yo mama's so ugly she looked out her window and got arrested for indecent exposure? Every generation has their version of "the dozens," but here's your chance to learn where the declaration of coarse word battles began. Elijah Wood, author of The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama, is here to tell you five reasons why you should know your battle history.
4. When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires. Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever. (This and other reviews can be found at amazon.com).
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the nonfiction best-seller by Rebecca Skloot, will become an HBO film. The book “tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black mother in Baltimore, whose cancerous cells — taken without her knowledge – enabled some of the most significant advances in 20th century medicine, but with devastating, and later liberating, effects on her family.”
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