Top Shelf: Francesca's Recent Reads


by Francesca Cardamone

Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados 

I’m not going to lie… I thought I was going to hate this book. I thought to myself, wow another book about gorgeous 20 year olds in the city for the summer. Living their best life with no rules, or responsibilities. While that is the general summary of the book, Happy Hour is so much more than that. Best friends Isa and Gala arrive in New York with no plan, and no money. To survive and thrive they do odd jobs hoping to make enough to fund the glamorous lifestyle they hope to live. By selling clothes at the flea market, as audience members at a TV shoot, foot models, makeup shoots they make enough for drinks, oysters, bare minimum groceries at the bodega, and the occasional cab ride home. They find themselves in the inner circle of the who’s who and their lives do start to feel like a movie. This book is perfect for people who want to live in the city, those who truly glamorize it. Or for the people like me, who have grown out of partying, late nights, and zero rules but for a moment in time (while reading this book) feel transported to the good old days. 



Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman

This past summer Books are Magic held a reading with Alexandra, where she discussed her latest book Something New Under the Sun. I hadn't read the book yet, but tuned in because I heard so many great things about her writing, and this book specifically. The story follows a novelist named Patrick Hamlin who travels to Hollywood to oversee the production of a film adaptation of one of his books. Upon getting there he realizes he isn’t as important on set as he hoped to be and basically just chauffeurs paranoid movie starlet Cassidy Carter around wildfire ridden, drought filled California. There is an eerie vibe to this story. The West Coast literally has no water and relies on a synthetic form of it, called WAT-R. We see what could happen in a future Earth that has fallen victim to Climate Change, where evil capitalist corporations monetize water. The two partner up to investigate the strangeness of it all and figure out if WAT-R is causing people to go mad. Something New Under the Sun is witty and spot on with the current state of our environment, and the internet full of alternative facts. Alexandra was my professor this semester at The New School, where I learned she studied Biology in College, adding so much more to the context of this book. 


The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris 

The Other Black Girl was my favorite book of the year. Zakiya gives us a thrilling, and suspenseful story with themes that span horror, thriller, mystery/speculative fiction, workplace satire, race and commentary on pop-culture. Nella Rogers is a Twenty-Six-year-old editorial assistant at Wagner Publishing. At her wit’s end with the subtle racism, microaggressions, and isolation of being the only Black employee she is excited to meet Hazel, the newest hire. Hazel is also Black, and Nella can’t wait to bond with her in their sea of whiteness. Soon after Hazel is hired Nella starts receiving strange notes telling her to leave Wager. As Nella becomes paranoid and obsessed with figuring out who is sending her these messages she finds out there is more going on at Wagner. If you’ve ever felt manipulated, overlooked, or mistreated at your workplace this book is for you. The best thing about this book is knowing Zakiya worked in publishing while writing this book and you get an inside look at the industry. If you love thrillers and staying up late turning the pages as fast as you can, this book is for you. If you want to read a book before it becomes the next binge worthy show on Hulu (because it is going to be next year) then this book is for you!

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francesca cardamone


francesca cardamone

Thanks for the great selection!!

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