Lauren Groff’s Beach Reads: The Lynx Recommends


In 1973, the literary critic Harold Bloom proposed a new theory of authorly angst: “the anxiety of influence.” Writers wanted to be original. They worried they were what kids call copy-cats; they wished to wipe the words and ideas of their literary predecessors from their brains, like fingerprints from a crime-scene. 

This affliction has yet to reach Miami. Perhaps it never will. For the readers and writers of The Miami Native, at least, we experience the opposite of Bloomian over-thinking: not an anxiety of influence, but rather an eagerness for it. In Miami, there is no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. There is no ceiling on the number of places you can be “from.” We display proudly the signs of the thinkers and writers who have moved and touched us, like teenagers do love bites. We want their voices in our heads; their eyes in our eyes. In Miami, we have little neurosis about our search for a rich inner life. In general, we have little neurosis about anything. 

One method to enrich your inner life is to read the favorite books of the writers you love. In this way, you absorb something of their thinking; they have a hand in shaping your mind.

The Miami Native loves the novels and stories of Lauren Groff, three-time National Book Award Finalist. She is the author of five novels and two short story collections, including Fates and Furies, Florida, Matrix, and The Vaster Wilds, among other works — Florida being, for obvious reasons, our favorite. Lauren Groff opened her new bookstore, The Lynx, in Gainesville this past April. She and the whole lovely Lynx team have done us the kindness of agreeing to get in our heads by prescribing the perfect summer reading list for us.

Lauren recommends: Middlemarch by George Eliot

“‘If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’ George Eliot is the G. O. A. T. My favorite novel. I read it once a year.”

Molly recommends: Book Lovers by Emily Henry 

“My favorite Emily Henry novel! She is absolutely worth the hype. Always a meet-cute and full of witty banter. A book for romance lovers!”

Gina recommends: Starter Villain by John Scalzi

“My number one pick-me-up recommendation! Scalzi’s writing is so smart, hilarious, and delightfully fun. I read this in one sitting. Also, how can you beat a book cover with a cat in a suit?”

Ryann recommends: Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

Big Swiss is a laugh-out-loud story about a transcriber for a sex therapist in a town in upstate New York. The transcriber falls into an obsession with a patient she nicknames Big Swiss. For anyone who enjoys reading about women who make bad decisions!”

Jackie recommends: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“This book made me a romance reader! Casey writes my favorite books about found families and queer relationships with a ton of great dialogue. Red, White & Royal Blue is the story of the fictional son of the first female president and the prince of England — there is kissing and laughing and it is the best!”

Alexandra recommends: Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

“This book is absurd, hilarious, and has so much to say. Hazel escapes her tech company-employed husband, who has been surveilling her every move, to live with her retiree dad and his sex doll roommate. A fantastic, subversive, and thought-provoking read.”

More from Issue Two

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