Required Reading: The Bling Ring


“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten,” Ralph Waldo Emerson famously quipped, “even so, they have made me.” In this bi-weekly series, Flavorwire plays professor to some of our favorite pop culture characters, assigning reading lists tailored to their temperaments or — in some cases — designed to make them into slightly better people. After all, even fictional characters can have their lives changed by books. Or so we imagine. This week, we recommend a reading list for the eponymous Bling Ring of Sofia Coppola’s newest feature.

The characters in The Bling Ring are fashion and celebrity-obsessed teenagers who break into their favorite stars’ homes to steal their stuff. They are, of course, based on real people who did the same thing, so this stretches the “fictional” rule just a tad, but no matter. Here are a few books that these dastardly kids might enjoy, or even (gasp) learn something from.

Dare Me , Megan Abbott

“You see these glitters and sparkledust and magicks?” one girl asks in Megan Abbott’s noir cheerleader novel, “It’s war paint, it’s feathers and claws, it’s blood sacrifice.” Whether the girls of The Bling Ring have this sort of depth is unclear, but they sure take their finery seriously enough to do jail time for it. This is a perfect novel for catty criminals to read behind bars and feel a little better about themselves — hey, at least nobody died.

The Bonfire of the Vanities , Tom Wolfe

Wolfe’s classic indictment of greed might scare at least a few of these teenage robbers straight. If they can get over how totally ’80s the clothes are.

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang , Joyce Carol Oates

Now this is a real gang. They might not want to take notes, but they should definitely take note.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine , Teddy Wayne

It might be too much to hope for, but why not try to direct these kids’ obsessions onto a fictional celebrity instead? Fictional celebrities are way harder to steal from. Come on, he’s just like Bieber. No?

Glamorama, Bret Easton Ellis

Hell, this book probably reads like the inside of these girls’ heads, only, you know, without the whole satire bit. Plus, Bret Easton Ellis would totally join the Bling Ring. If they let him.