A Novel Career: Ten Novels that Highlight Careers

Dec 09, 2010

Regardless of profession, most people sometimes wish for more adventure when it comes to the workaday routine. Reading novels about different jobs can deliver a satisfying combination of professional life and fantasy. Here are ten you can check out.

career novels

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland

Ever wondered what it's like to work in the software industry? This novel follows a group of coders working at Microsoft during the boom years of the 1990s. Some of the programmers ultimately relocate to the Silicon Valley to pursue a project they hope will hold more personal meaning.

career novels

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips

Seeking out the tombs of pharaohs is serious work, but this novel by Arthur Phillips introduces a lot of humor into the mix. Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush is searching out the resting place of a king while engaging in oddball antics with everyone he comes across. When a shadowy detective comes on the scene, things become even more interesting.

career novels

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Before being adapted into a major motion picture, this novel about the fashion industry delivered laughs to readers the world over. Recent college graduate Andrea Sachs lands a position as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief at Runway magazine. The over-the-top Priestly is guilty of all kinds of rude behavior.

career novels

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Primary character Thursday Next's gig as a literary detective (who works inside of novels) is only one aspect of this genre-defying novel. Part detective novel and part comic fantasy, The Eyre Affair takes place in an alternate universe where bad guys can be imprisoned within the pages of books. This is the first in a series of books featuring Thursday Next.

career novels

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

For many music lovers, becoming an entrepreneur and owning a record store is the ultimate career option. For those who find it necessary to pay the bills via other means, this piece of escapist literature offers a look at the ups and downs of retail. Along the way, London shop owner Rob Fleming also encounters upheaval in his personal life.

career novels

The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave

Music enthusiasts may recognize the author of this book from his rock albums, but the subject matter here is a decided departure from the world of recording artists. Instead, the novel follows traveling salesman Bunny Munro as he shares his craft for roadside selling with his young son.

career novels

The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen

Being police commissioner is an important job, particularly in crime-plagued St. Louis during the 1980s. This thriller follows an upstart woman whose aspirations to gain the job are less than pure. The resulting events make for a thrilling read filled with political corruption and international intrigue.

career novels

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

The basis for a now-canceled television series, this novel follows three women who are business executives working in New York City. In addition to profiling the struggle many women encounter in making it to the top of the corporate ladder, the book also explores the difficulty of balancing personal and family life with work responsibilities.

career novels

The Body Artist by Don DeLillo

An artist lives with her husband in a house along the coast. That is, until the husband commits suicide, opening up the story that will unfold over the course of this novel's pages. In addition to exploring themes around art, there are also meditations on memory and our relationships with others.

career novels

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

What list of novels about occupations could be complete without one featuring the life of a professor? Countless creative writing teachers have put this device to use to exercise their literary ambitions. Novelist Michael Chabon is not a professor himself, which is in part perhaps what allows him to provide a freshly imagined portrait of zany college prof Grady Tripp.


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