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    5 books to read during jury duty.

    Nicole Kugel

    July 11, 2023, 10:00am

    For some, being summoned for jury duty is like scheduling a colonoscopy; it’s a vague adult practice that you know from sitcoms is painful but necessary to keep a system functioning. Any interaction with government bureaucracy can induce some existential spiraling. If that is you, and if you find yourself trapped in the waiting room from Beetlejuice—but with less flattering lighting—might I suggest the following books to keep you entertained (or at least distracted):

    Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

    At 857 pages, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove is the exact sort of escapism you’ll need to brave the nondescript government cattle call rooms of the courthouse. Dust the Cheetos dust off the vending machine and crack into the adventures of cowboys and their sweethearts in the dusty west. There’s enough sweat, grime, and body lice in here to make you thankful for your air-conditioned digs and civil engagement.

    David Wojnarowicz, The Waterfront Journals

    Let Wojnarowicz’s testament to every kind of hustler, lover, and criminal in the American imagination inspire you to get curious about the teeming mass of nondescript people around you. (You could do worse than spending the day making up stories about your fellow citizens.)

    Gabriel García Márquez, The Scandal of the Century

    It’s jury duty; you can’t NOT think about crime. Why not think about crime en español by picking up this collection of Gabo’s greatest journalistic hits?

    The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann 1927 1st first edition cover

    Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

    You are going to be here for a while. Have you had this book sitting on your nightstand since college? The pandemic? Since a fickle but intellectual lover left it behind? Now’s your time to quarantine your mind in the Alps. Bonus points if this lands you a meet-cute.

    The Group by Mary McCarthy

    Mary McCarthy, The Group

    What more could you want than a dishy novel about the lives of well-to-do gals from the Northeast dealing with life, love loss, and money? McCarthy’s skewering wit and ability to render every single one of her characters lifelike, ridiculous, and heartbreaking will keep you going, no matter how long this takes.

    Oh wait, time’s up? Civic duty adjourned? See you in another four years.

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