‘Girls’ Season 3 Premiere: Book Recommendations for Hannah Horvath and More
The third season of Girls (trailer below), Lena Dunham’s hit HBO series about a group of outrageous twentysomethings living in New York City, premieres this Sunday. Season 2 ended on a remarkably dark note: Hannah’s OCD reached its apex when she gave herself a Prince Valiant haircut, and jobless, lovelorn Marnie put on a seriously unfortunate musical performance during a cocktail party at her ex-boyfriend’s office. To turn things around this season, Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna—not to mention their various lovers and roommates—will need some help. We prescribe books that will help them assess their issues and pave the way to happiness—or, at least to a more lighthearted viewing experience for us fans.
Hannah has read a fair share of the Western canon and doesn't need to wrap her brain around any more intricate dramatic arcs and storylines (she's got enough of those in her own life). Given her recent OCD relapse—complete with a self-administered haircut that made her look like an Arthurian Knight and a Q-Tip sequenced that belongs in one of the Saw movies—we think she could use some relaxation reading material. There's nothing better in that class of literature than that compendium of ancient Chinese wisdom, the Tao Te Ching. The disparate wisdom verses, which are thought to be the work of a Zhou dynasty court sage named Lao-Tzu, can unravel even the knottiest of anxieties. Hannah should have no trouble finding a copy: The book tends to be a favorite among the Bushwick crowd. We wouldn't be surprised if she went as far as to add one of the adages to her growing collection of tattoos.
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Our dear Marnie, the hot mess with an impeccably tailored wardrobe, needs a proper kick in the pantsuit to reassemble her life after the Charlie breakup and her bleak job hunt. Rather than attempt another disastrous slow-jams take on Kanye West, she should adopt as her role model the protagonist of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, Ursula Todd, a woman who dies and is reborn again repeatedly, in increasingly fascinating ways.
(And if Marnie is going to bitch and moan about losing Charlie, I suggest she pick up Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. If Bridget could lose Mark Darcy and bounce back, then Marnie has no right to complain!)
Owing to last season’s controversial sex scene with Natalia, Adam Sackler became possibly the least feminist character on television. Although his chivalrous rescue of Hannah in the season finale gave us a glimmer of hope, there's no doubt that this guy needs to develop a more sophisticated view of women. Adam should begin tackling his issues by reading Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, a canonical feminist text that analyzes the oppression of women through history. Adam will appreciate de Beauvoir's brainy, unsentimental study of the role of women in society and (hopefully) find himself adjusting his outlook as a result.
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With actor Christopher Abbott abruptly departing the show, we won’t be seeing much of Charlie this season aside from a mysterious (and potentially damning) video he posts online in episode 4. It’s just as well: Marnie needs to learn to be on her own, whereas tech wunderkind Charlie has his lucrative breakup app to focus on. Before he gets too deep into the startup world, though, he should give Dave Eggers’ The Circle a read. This cautionary tale about Internet transparency is perfect for someone who would mine his personal life for success.
Source: Times Union
While the "unsmoteable," British-accented Jessa Johansson would almost certainly balk at the idea of reading a novel by a so-called "Great American Novelist"—especially one set largely in the Midwest—Jonathan Franzen's 2010 novel Freedom could teach her a few lessons about the perils of not putting down roots. (Might we remind you that Jessa started off the show running away from the father of her unborn child and ended season 2 by breaking off her flash-in-the-pan marriage?) Freedom is all about the consequences of excess liberty, but we think Jessa should pay special attention to the character of Patty Berglund. Patty spends much of the novel oscillating between her husband Walter and his bad-boy former college roommate Richard—and pays a heavy price for it.
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Ray may lack traditional ambition, but he definitely does not want for intelligence. The Ph.D-in-training has demonstrated more than once that he is well read, well spoken, and understands the world. With this intelligence comes a high level of cynicism and snarkiness that he’s not afraid to show. David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest would be a perfect book for him: Ray would outwardly hate it for its hipster reputation and take perverse joy in ripping it apart. (Hipster shaming is something Ray excels at.) Secretly, however, Ray would actually enjoy this book: Reading about a society destroyed by entertainment would satisfy his cynical tendencies.
While Shosh may be very busy enjoying her newly-single life, the girl will still need something to talk about. Hopefully she’ll turn to reading, and when she does, I’d recommend Eat, Pray, Love. At this point in her life, Shoshanna would relate to Elizabeth Gilbert’s experience: Both were sick of being tied down, so both decided to embrace life and being free. Hopefully Shoshanna’s journey helps her find herself and doesn’t make her more lost.
Andrew Rannells has hinted that, in season 3, Elijah will be brought into the fold of the show’s core friend group—and, of course, continue to get Hannah into trouble. So long as he keeps making bitchy pronouncements about the girls, we’ll gladly tune in. As perhaps the most self-aware voice on the show, Elijah should meet his comic book counterpart in Marvel’s hilariously meta assassin Deadpool, who’s constantly breaking the fourth wall. Plus, Elijah will likely enjoy the Ryan Reynolds movie version.
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