Books: What to Read

BAD GIRLS, nonfiction essays edited by Ellen Sussman (Norton) TO SUM UP: True tales of girls behaving badly from 26 (naughty!) female writers. WHY IT'S WORTH YOUR TIME: These essays take back the "bad girl" label from spring-breakers and celebutantes. DON'T MISS: Joyce Maynard's "A Good Girl Goes Bad," on her destructive relationship with J.D. Salinger.

Click here to purchase Bad Girls by Ellen Sussman.

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MANNY, a novel by Holly Peterson (The Dial Press)

TO SUM UP: A Manhattan mom in a dead-end marriage hires a hot male nanny for her son. You see where this is going. WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: It's like eating an entire carton of Dibs in book form. Oh, and there's a great blow-job scene on p. 166.

Click here to purchase Manny by Holly Peterson.

BEFORE, a novel by Irini Spanidou (Knopf) TO SUM UP: Beatrice, a 20-something in 1970s New York, battles the bottle and an unwanted pregnancy. WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: The realities of free love make the '80s and '90s seem pretty awesome.

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Click here to purchase Before by Irini Spanidou.

GLOSS, a novel by Jennifer Oko (MIRA Books) TO SUM UP: A TV producer's feel-good story about the beauty industry ends up landing her in prison. WHY IT FEELS SO REAL: Author Oko is a producer at CBS, so she's seen the anchor catfights up close.

Click here to purchase Gloss by Jennifer Oko.

LOVING FRANK, a novel by Nancy Horan (Ballantine Books) TO SUM UP: Fact meets fiction in this story of Frank Lloyd Wright's scandalous affair. WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Horan spent seven years researching it — the least you could do is read it.

Click here to purchase Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.

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