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Weekend Reading Assignments: Mobsters, Comic Books, Libertarians and More!

Book recommendations from the staff of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

12:03 PM, Apr 30, 2011 • By THE WEEKLY STANDARD
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Easily one of the funniest books I've read in eons is Steve Hely's How I Became a Famous Novelist. It's a pitch perfect satire of the publishing industry -- at one point in the novel Hely goes so far as to reproduce an entire fake New York Times bestsellers list where his mocking of publishing trends is uncomfortably true to life. (The number four non-fiction book is Needs Improvement in All Areas, "an attack on President George W. Bush, written by his former kindergarten teacher.") The novel tells the story of a guy who deliberately sets out to manipulate the obvious formulaic conventions of the book market to make money and get back at his ex-girlfriend. He studies the market trends carefully and ends up (insincerely) writing a bestseller called The Tornado Ashes Club, while skewering everything from author readings to what happens when Hollywood purchases the publishing rights. Hely abandons his cutting satiric vision for a hollow redemptive ending, but the book's so funny you'll forgive him.

—Mark Hemingway

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