Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Disaster Strikes!: A Reading List of Literary Fiascos

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

This installment of Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles.

A British copywriter house-sits at his composer friend Oskar’s ultra-modern apartment in a glum Eastern European city. The instructions are simple: Feed the cats, don’t touch the piano, and make sure nothing damages the priceless wooden floors. Content for the first time in ages, he accidentally spills some wine. The apartment and the narrator’s sanity gradually fall apart in this unusual and satisfying novel.

Oskar has left several notes for his friend, gently instructing him in the proper maintenance of the flat. But over the course of one disastrous week, as the situation in (and out) of the apartment spirals out of control, the notes take on a more insistent—and creepily prescient—tone.

Anyone who has ever felt inferior to a perfectionist friend will sympathize with the narrator’s plight.


Last week, we asked for your favorite books in which things go wrong (really, really wrong) but to hilarious effect. Here are your suggestions from the comments, Facebook, and Twitter.

P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories

The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills

most Carl Hiassen novels

The Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

Acid House by Irvine Welsh (especially the story “The Granton Star Cause”)

anything by Tom Sharpe

Alter Ego by Kathy Lette

Rachel’s Holiday by Marion Keyes

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Night the Ghost Got In by James Thurber

The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake

Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Candide by Voltaire

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

anything by Jonathan Tropper

Bobbie Faye’s Very (Very, Very, Very) Bad Day by Toni McGee Causey

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Skios by Michael Fraynes

Callisto by Torsten Krol


What do you have to add?