I’ve got a new Border’s coupon and I’m ready to use it. I generally head straight for the sci-fi/fantasy aisle so that I can be sure to find something I like. I go to the mystery section next and check for new books by my favorite authors.
I expand my horizons (stupid cliche, but what the hell) at the discount table since I can pick up a hardcover there at less than the price of a paperback. I’ve found some excellent novels on the discount table in genres that I would have never considered at their regular prices.
“I Am Charlotte Simmons” is a novel that I wouldn’t have come across normally. It was published in 2004 and was written by Tom Wolfe. The story is centered on the title character, Charlotte a naive freshman from North Carolina, but the greatest character to me is the fictional Ivy League School, Dupont University, (patterned I believe on Duke) since Wolfe takes us inside the locker rooms and offices of the elite basketball program, into one of the exclusive frat houses, through the freshman dorms, into the newspaper offices, the cafeterias, and the libraries of the school.
Charlotte’s rural upbringing doesn’t prepare her for the social aspects of college life at all. She was the valedictorian of her high school class, but never socially connected to her peers so while she’s able to excell in her college class work she fails to make friends even with her roommate.
This novel is hard to put down, but sometimes a bit difficult to read. The awkwardness and the uncertanties of youth are bared wide open and it may hurt a little to see onesself in one of the characters. Check the discount tables in your local bookstore. There may be a gem waiting there for you.
I’d like to explore a wider variety of reading material. Can you recommend a good novel?