Books: What To Read This Month

Put on the blinders at Barnes & Noble and head right to these gems . . .

Fugitive Denim by Rachel Louise Snyder (Norton)

TO SUM UP: From the cotton fields of Azerbaijan to Cambodian factories and American boutiques, Fugitive Denim puts human faces to the cost of our deep blue obsession.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT:

Because you'll never look at those "Made in" labels the same way again.

THE FABRIC OF OUR LIVES:

"No other fabric has held the symbolic fortitude of denim-the rebellion, the anti-establishment rhetoric, the edginess."

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Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki (St. Martin's Press)

TO SUM UP: This weightless, rolling read follows three generations of the Karim family, who are preoccupied with tradition, duty, and lies.

WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT:

It exchanges typical chick-lit tropes-fabulous city jobs and designer-label name-drops-for the dry heat and colorful saris of Dhaka, India, and the damp, gray streets of London.

BEST SCENE, NOT LEAST BECAUSE IT REMINDS US OF LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE: During her grandson's rock band's concert, the vain grandma takes over the stage with a pack of Bangladeshi dancers, while the rest of the screwy, devoted gang looks on.

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How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard (Bloomsbury)

TO SUM UP:

In this nonfiction wonder, Bayard, a Parisian professor of literature, explains how to appear well-read with the least amount of, well, reading.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT:

These CliffsNotes extraordinaire will instantly purge your guilt over never having read Proust.

BEST TAKEDOWN OF THE INTELLECTUAL ELITE:

"Among specialists, mendacity is the rule, and we tend to lie in proportion to the significance of the book under consideration."

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