Summer page turners: the trending, the classic and the eccentric

“‘Classics’ – a book people praise but don’t read,” said Mark Twain with his languid humor. But according to Stephan Kind, all books are “portable magic”. A negotiation between these two great men is to choose the right book, not the impressive book, and read it voraciously. This is especially true if you plan to lie in bed during the sweltering summer of a Covid-19-stricken Beijing, because a list of intriguing volumes should garnish your afternoon.

Here are five recommended books that can not only be purchased through apps like Taobao, JD, or DangDang, but can also be downloaded for free in multiple formats (like PDF, EPUB, and MOBI) at https://z-lib. org/

My year of rest and relaxation, a 2018 literary fiction by Ottessa Moshfegh, was all the rage in American high schools and colleges. The prose is tongue-in-cheek, New York-obsessed, depressingly beautiful, and oddly distinguished.

The young, beautiful protagonist is a recent Columbia Art graduate with an inherited fortune and spends a whole year non-stop trying all sorts of drugs to sleep. She chronicles the journey of her ambition in a journal in which the aspirations and failings of privileged young people are whispered equally poignantly, never really leaving our minds, but when they do, it is through a trail of eternal echoes.

The Secret Story by Donna Tart is recognized as a cult leader for the burgeoning Dark Academia aesthetic and social media lifestyle in the 2020s.

It is colorful in language, exciting in storytelling and full of the esoteric appeal of Greek and Gothic art. Young California student Richard enrolls at a New England liberal arts college fictionally named Guardian College, which is actually modeled after Bennington College in Vermont. Richard studies Greek and in turn joins four classmates and a mysterious professor as they explore the depths of intellect, friendship, murder and most importantly, the beauty that is sought and inevitably found in terror.

The Secret History seems to be inspired by this The picture of Dorian Gray, a classic novel by Oscar Wilde exploring the philosophy of art: aestheticism. This argues “art for art’s sake” to free the purpose of art from Victorian morality, but still makes art an expression of purposeful or purposeless beauty.

This tale of love, suicide and murder, of beguiling talkers, lovesick scholars, boring artists and arrogant celebrities, led to the book initially being criticized as immoral. It later became the epitome of social satire and clever language. Today it’s a philosophical and psychological thriller that documents the disintegration of a portrait and its muse: the devil-spirited and angel-faced Dorian Gray.

There’s more to this story! This article originally appeared on our sister site, Jingkids International.

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READ: Book recommendations from Beijing-based bookworms

Images: Ann Carter-Cash, Wikipedia, Aesthetic Wiki, Rakuten Kobo, a, Amazon, Livinia, Sofia S, Owen Zhang

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