A booklist for the ladies of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

UnknownI’m late with this post. You’ve all been talking about Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. for a year and I just read it last week because sometimes it’s exhausting reading about people who are exactly like the people you’re around everyday.  So, a year after its release, there’s not a lot I can offer in terms of original thought on the text.

I liked it; appreciated the well drawn characters, loved the kale jokes, but you’ve heard all that from any number of reviewers already.  I also don’t want to talk about Nate at all because he’s a dumb jerk and his whole persona is a little too close to home. I live in a hip literary centre too and there are always Nates around and devoting attention to Nates is like feeding gremlins after midnight. So let’s talk about books instead. Let’s talk about the wonderful female characters of Adelle Waldman’s novel and try to understand them a little bit better by what we imagine their book choices to be.

Elisa:

Says her favourite book is: Hmmm. Something super literary. Ulysses? Yes, Elisa says her favourite books is Ulysses by James Joyce.

Favourite book actually is: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. According to Nate, Elisa keeps the chick lit and women’s magazines in the bedroom. She fancies herself something of a Becky Bloomwood, starting at an unimpressive publishing job only to take the literary world by storm once her true talent is recognized.

Hannah: 

Says her favourite book is: New Grub Street by George Gissing. Remember this book? The intersection of the literary and journalistic circles, the rising literary stars, it’s perfect for her.

Favourite book actually is: Grub, by Elise Blackwell. They modern retelling of New Grub Street is better suited to Hannah’s wit and modern sensibility. And if she’s being honest, she had never even heard of New Grub Street before stumbling across a used version of Grub at her local bookshop.

Aurit:

Says her favourite book is: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because Aurit can lecture on racism vs. racialism like no one else and sees a like-minded sister in Adichie.

Favourite book actually is: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because Aurit is the shit and she doesn’t need to lie to you.

Juliet: 

Says her favourite book is: The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood or something like that with a strong female protagonist because Juliet is a Successful Strong Independent Woman.

Favourite book actually is: This is how you lose her by Junot Diaz. She reads it weeping over and over again at Yunior’s deception of all of those women while thinking that all men are exactly the same.

Kelly Krebs: 

Says her favourite book is: My Antonia by Willa Cather. A perfectly lovely, respectable, all-American novel.

Favourite book actually is: Summer sisters by Judy Blume. Kelly is the girl that Nate met on the beach the summer after freshman year in college and lost his virginity to. I’m sure she’s still pining away after him, because that’s what we do, isn’t it?

Justine:

Says her favourite book is: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. It fits into her New York fantasy; tiny apartment, her cat named Debbie Gibson and no asshole ex-boyfriends recommending boob jobs.

Favourite book actually is: The rules by Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein. She’s not great at following its advice.

Greer Cohen:

Says her favourite book is: Sex and the city by Candace Bushnell because it’s what people expect her to list as her favourite.

Favourite book actually is: Her own.

Michelle: 

Says her favourite book is: A vindication of the rights of women by Mary Wollstonecraft.

Favourite book actually is: The fault in our stars by John Green. I hate to side with Nate, but Michelle’s embrace of culture is affected. Behind closed doors she doesn’t give a shit about French phrases and New York City bookstores. Michelle wants a good read that will yield a good cry, and then to get on with things.

Kristen:

Says her favourite book is: Rosalind Franklin: the dark lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox.

Favourite book actually is: Born to run by Christopher McDougall. She knows it isn’t scientific and she would never buy into the barefoot running, but she feels like McDougall really gets her.

 

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