The Must-Read Book Club


Shell Merrill: I was looking for a book I could read on the train on my way to teach and found the description online in a list of new books a few years ago. I decided to go for it and couldn't put it down.

If you want a fun, original, can't-put-it-down summer book for reading at the beach or out on on your fire escape, this is it. It's a bit of a coming of age story, it's a bit fantasy, it's a bit teen angst and gritty New Yorker, and it's a bit magic, of course! This is not a Harry Potter story, these are New York college kids acting like college kids do. It's more about people than magic. What would happen if you could practice magic in the real world? I like how George RR Martin described it, he said "This is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish Whiskey is to weak tea." I read it twice and I don't do that with many books.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

SM: Ok here's the one that's more yogic:

“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you'd better decide to enjoy it or you're going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”

And here's the one that's not:

“Are you kidding? That guy was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and crudely stapled to a ticking f$@#ing time bomb. He was either going to hit somebody or start a blog.”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

SM: I'd recommend it to anyone that is looking for an engaging, funny, absorbing bit of fun to read this summer. Yes, it's about what would happen if real people could practice magic in the real, gritty world. What would you do?

YCNYC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

SM: The main character, Quentin, is smart but miserable as many of us are when we're younger (and beyond). He spends his time wishing that his life would take a more exciting turn. When that wish comes true however, and his life is full of excess, drinking, sex, adventure, study, boredom, all the things that college can bring (even magic) he's not fulfilled. Things are often not as black and white as we think. Like Quentin, you need to figure yourself out first before your life can become what you want it to be.

You can purchase The Magicians here.

Have a Must-Read book to recommend? Email us here.

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