all of it is you.
Between playing the washboard in his band and being a soulful tattoo artist, can’t you kind of picture Josh as a poet as well? Well, even if Josh isn’t, the actor who plays him sure is. Nico Tortorella’s first volume of poetry features poems that explore all of it—from the tiniest cells in our body to the wide expanses of the universe. In addition to being an actor and a poet, Tortorella is a podcast host, a champion of the LGBTQIA+ community, and an advocate for sexual and gender fluidity, so his poems provide beautiful and thoughtful insight to the human body, emotions, and the world around us.
A Lady's Guide to Selling Out
Fans of Younger will love this novel about Casey Pendergast, a former book-loving English major, who now works for a top ad agency making buckets of money shilling creative for big brands. When her boss comes up with a top-secret idea, she assigns Casey to carry it out. Unfortunately, that means traveling the country convincing underpaid writers to ditch their literary plots in favor of writing copy for behemoth companies in exchange for big bucks. When Casey falls for one of her authors, she realizes she doesn’t want her career success to come at the cost of these writers’ integrity. Is it too late to reverse all she’s done?
This hysterical novel feels like if a Buzzfeed listicle had a baby with the Twitter account @GuyinYourMFA. Elinor Tomlinson moves to NYC, armed with a shiny new degree in journalism, ready to be hired to write long think pieces about politics and pollution. She fantasizes about marrying her journalist boyfriend and spending their days going to fabulous parties with famous authors. Well, it doesn’t quite happen that way. Elinor lives in a dank basement apartment and, apart from nannying, the only job she can get is for Journalism.ly, writing silly pieces that tend to go viral. It’s a byline, but not one she’s proud of. This novel is a delightful skewering of social media, workplace drama, and the trials of being young, broke, and ambitious.
The Female Persuasion
There’s a funny moment in Season 4 of Younger when Liza’s boss Diana Trout, head of marketing (and the exact same age as Liza), assumes she’s Liza’s mentor. Since viewers know the truth, we can’t help but chuckle, but having a boss who is also your mentor is a great thing for a young 20-something woman. Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel The Female Persuasion is all about female role models in the workplace. Greer Kadetsky meets Faith Frank for the first time when she comes to speak on her college campus. Frank, a pioneer of the women’s movement, invites Greer to come work for her, sending her down a pathway of self-exploration, away from the boyfriend she thought she’d end up with, and toward something else entirely.
Do This for Me
You know what a ball buster Diana Trout is? Here’s another character who’s similarly cutthroat. Raney Moore is a partner at a Manhattan law firm who’s known to rip opposing counsel to shreds. When she finds out her husband is cheating on her, she does the same to him—ruining his reputation, moving out, and torching their life together. When she finally looks up from the wreckage, is it too late to salvage anything? Like Diana, Raney’s antics are just as much fun to watch…from a safe distance of course.
The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky
One thing that cracks me up about Younger is we never actually see Empirical employees doing the one thing their job requires of them: reading. Not reading is at the center of this novel—specifically, not reading Noam Chomsky. Main character Leda flirts with a guy in a coffee shop who is reading American Power and the New Mandarins, and she decides she would like to be the kind of person who reads Noam Chomsky, so she buys a copy. It sits in TBR piles as she moves from apartments to homes, as she has a daughter, as she grows older—never read but observing life’s slow changes from the sidelines.
All Kelsey, Liza and Zane Anders really want to do is survive and thrive in the world of publishing, right? The main characters of Suzanne Rindell’s novel have the same ambitions, except this novel is set in 1958 and Beat poets, Nabokov, and Capote are en vogue. Cliff Nelson is the son of a major book editor, who wishes his father would notice he’s the next Kerouac (is he though?); Eden Katz dreams of being an editor, but as a woman, finds herself shunted from her goal; Miles Tillman is a talented up-and-coming Black writer from Harlem, seeking the truth about his father. They connect, protect, and betray one another as they struggle to find footholds in the industry. A fantastic work of historical fiction.
Imagine if an assistant like Liza decided to take things into her own hands and started pulling a Robin Hood maneuver that siphoned money from a multibillion dollar corporation into the hands—and bank accounts—of assistants who desperately need to pay off their student loans. Such is the premise of Camille Perri’s debut novel. Thirty-year-old Tina Fontana has spent years assisting Robert Barlow, the CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. When a glitch on his expense report allows her to—ahem—reallocate some funds to her own pocket, she decides to pay off her crippling student loans, and then figures out a way to help other in-debt assistants do the same.
At long last, everyone’s favorite show about the publishing world is back! Younger stars Sutton Foster as Liza, a 40-something mom who, after divorcing her husband and sending her college-aged daughter off on her semester abroad, tries to re-enter the workforce. Liza had worked in publishing in her 20s, but when she interviews, no one can see past the 18-year gap in her resume. So, she takes matters into her own hands. Guided by her sage artist friend Maggie, Liza decides to dress like a millennial and tell everyone she’s 26. Suddenly, she’s hired as the assistant to marketing director Diana Trout and successfully pulls the wool over everyone’s eyes—including her smoldering boss Charles. She works alongside her BFF, editor Kelsey, played by Hilary Duff, has a major fling with a hot, young tattoo artist named Josh…and well, no spoilers, but if you haven’t seen it, start bingeing it now.
I love the show for its drama—the suspense of whether or not she’ll be found out is as intense as the will-she-won’t-she-with-her-boss plot line. But the thing that has me really grabbed is how the whole thing centers around books and the world of publishing (though I can promise you, our conference room meetings at Read It Forward are way more boring than they are at Empirical Press).
Who knows what Season 6 of Younger has in store for us, but these eight books will be the perfect accompaniment for any fan of Millennial Print.
Featured Image: Astrid Stawiarz