I had SO much fun recommending books for the main characters of Fox’s New Girl that I wanted to give television-character-book-recommending another go. And with HBO’s polarizing Girls starting its second season, who better to rec books for right now than the lovely and lost ladies of Brooklyn?
What to get the girl who has the biggest inferiority complex in Brooklyn (“No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing anyone has to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.”)?
Because Hannah is way too liberal-arts-educated-proud to browse the self-help section of her bookstore, I’m thinking girl needs her literary medicine to come in the form of a hip classic that doesn’t suffer from overexposure. The Razor’s Edge is my favorite Maugham novel (sorry, Of Human Bondage, sorry.) It tells the story of Larry Darrell, who, after being f—ed up by the horrors of WWI, sets off in search of Life’s Meaning. Hannah needs to figure out what her life means too. She could also stand a strong dose of perspective (Horrors of World War I > Being a twenty-something in twenty-teens NYC).
Marnie is type-A to a fault and judgmental to a WAY GREATER fault. She needs to give everyone around her a break. And she needs to give herself a super-sized break (“Sometimes being inside my head is so exhausting it makes me want to cry.”)
Marnie needs a book to shove her heart in the microwave and hit “defrost,” and I can’t think of a better tome for the job than Cheryl Strayed’s printed collection of her Dear Sugar columns Tiny Beautiful Things. The columns cover issues ranging from career to family to relationships to mortality. The advice is specific, but the underlying message is always the same: be brave, be kind, be true-blue, and don’t be afraid to say “I love you.” That’s EXACTLY the kind of stuff Marnie needs to hear.
Girls‘ resident free spirit and fashion icon, do not make the mistake of labeling Jessa a “manic pixie dream girl.” You will NEVER find a manic pixie ANYTHING as acid-tongued and rock-solid-self-assured as Jessa (“I’m offended by all the ‘supposed to’s. I don’t like women telling other women what to do, or how to do it or when to do it.”) She is the barometer of cool in the world of the show.
I’m convinced that deep down Patti Smith’s memoir of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe is the life Jessa longs for–cool with actual meaning. I can definitely see Jessa reading this book on the subway, or maybe better yet, listening to Patti Smith read her own story on audiobook.
Desperate to fit in with the girl-who-has-it-all-New-York-scene, Shoshanna is a motor-mouthed flibbertygibbet trying (without much success) to pass for aspirational. But every time she opens her jib she just says the weirdest things (“I’m so happy to see you I could murder you.”). She spends all of season one trying to lose her virginity because that’s… supposed to fix… something?
One of my favorite under-the-radar novels from 2012 (only 6 reviews on Amazon? Come ON!), and a book that was a little ahead of the emerging New Adult genre trend, These Days Are Ours tells the story of a wealthy Jewish girl who gets real life beaten into her brain the year after she graduates college. She goes chasing after all the wrong things which helps her start to figure out what the RIGHT things actually might be. I think Shoshanna would relate to this novel like NOBODY’S business and reread her paperback until the cover fell off.