Extreme Reads

The Phoenix beach-reading four-pack delivers sex, drugs, and rock and role — plus black-market human organs!
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  July 22, 2009

Reading on the beach is a rite of summer as treasured as slathering on globs of coconut oil and squatting in front of a tanning mirror. Of course, five out of five dermatologists recommend that you read this special collection of book excerpts indoors — while wearing a biohazard suit with a beekeeper’s mask — but that’s where we decided to draw the line.

Besides sharing a homegrown quality, each of our four books was penned by an author with Boston-area roots — and flirts with danger.

In Larry’s Kidney, DANIEL ASA ROSE (PEN Fiction winner) tells the hilarious and quite true tale of how his mobbed-up cousin coerced him into going to China to help him hunt for a black-market organ and a mail-order bride.

In It Feels So Good When I Stop, JOE PERNICE (of local rock heroes the Pernice Brothers) pens an extraordinarily amusing novel whose protagonist escapes a one-day marriage and a drug-addled lifestyle to avoid drowning in slacker inertia.

In The Accidental Billionaires, BEN MEZRICH (author of Bringing Down the House) controversially blends fact and fiction to recreate the events that led to the founding of Facebook, revealing that computer programming has certain fringe benefits more akin to being in a hair-metal band.

And, most sobering, in The End of the Long Summer, acclaimed environmental reporter DIANNE DUMANOSKI offers a crystal-ball look into the future of our planet so isturbing that it will probably have you running back into the house for that biohazard suit and beekeeper’s mask.

The Accidental Billionaires
The End of the Long Summer
Larry's Kidney
It Feels So Good When I Stop


  • Larry's Kidney
    In this nonfiction account pretty accurately described by the book's subtitle, Daniel Asa Rose accompanies his nebbishy but mobbed-up relative on a mission for a Chinese two-fer: to get the organ he desperately needs and — why not, as long as we're here? — a wife, to boot. In this excerpt, the author first hears about his cousin's dubious — and, according to Chinese law, illegal — plan.
  • The Accidental Billionaires
    In this nonfiction account of the Harvard origins of the social-networking phenomenon, the author boils down the essence of why Facebook — orginially called thefacebook — was created and the root of its power: nerds obsessing over sex. In this excerpt, undergrads Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg begin to realize that Facebook is indeed their golden ticket.
  • Interview: Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson
    Vampires may have taken a bite out of the popular zeitgeist in the past couple of years, but the nearly $25 million in ticket sales that greeted the opening of Zombieland, as it shuffled into theaters this past weekend, just goes to prove that while flesh-eating ghouls might be (un)dead, you should never count them out.
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