Amy Sohn writes the ‘Naked City’ column for New York magazine. She is the author of the novel Run Catch Kiss (Simon & Schuster, $23), and her second novel, My Old Man, comes out in 2004.

Women by Charles Bukowski (Black Sparrow Press, $16). The wackiest and funniest book I have ever read, Women chronicles the horizontal adventures of Bukowski’s alter ego, Hank Chinaski, who goes to the track, listens to classical music, drinks, vomits, and beds women, not necessarily in that order.

The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans (audio version; New Millennium Audio, $40). In this abridged version of the movie mogul’s autobiography, read by the author, Evans recounts his rise from actor to head of Paramount Pictures. His salty language, nicotined talk-chuckle, and refusal to be harder on anyone than he is on himself make you feel like you’re listening to a crazy drunk genius in a bar.

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Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin (Harper Perennial). This poignant urban romance is riveting because Colwin has a fundamental generosity of spirit toward all her characters and is less interested in the plot than what goes on inside her characters’ heads. Warning: This tale is so moving and life-affirming you should make sure not to call up any exes after you’ve read it.

The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten (Pocket Books, $15). The definitive Jewish reference book is more widely read and highly regarded by some MOTs (that’s “members of the tribe”) than the Torah itself. Rosten, who comes across as a lovable older uncle, explains the origin of such staples of Yiddish as “kibosh,” “shikker,” “shiksa,” and “farbissina,” a word so good it made it into the Austin Powers films.

On Love by Alain de Botton (Grove Press, $11). An intricate deconstruction of a love affair done in an intellectual, Seinfeldian style. Though the tone is heady, the commentary hits the nail on the head—such as a line that I quote often to friends who are considering infidelity: “[I]n resolving our need to love, we may not always succeed in resolving our need to long.”

Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg (Grove Press, $13). This satiric retelling of Candide is hilarious, gross, and sexy, kind of like my last boyfriend. It follows wide-eyed coed Candy Christian, as she is raucously defiled by a series of enthralling and grodey cads. I am eagerly awaiting a remake of the 1968 film, starring Britney Spears.

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