03/08/2013 12:29 pm ET Updated May 08, 2013

16 Novels For Bright Young Things

The Roaring Twenties was a glittering era of opulence, defined by extravagant parties and dazzling wealth, an age when glamorous Bright Young Things were both celebrated and criticized by newspapers, magazines and the great authors of the decade.

As the insidious effects of World War 1 slowly faded from the European and American conscious, the impetuous desire to embrace life swept across the social landscape and ignited the youth to rebel against the strict restraints of their Victorian parents. Flappers chopped their hair into nefarious bobs and unlaced their corsets in exchange for drop-waisted dresses with scandalously short hemlines. Men unbuttoned their dinner jackets to throw back heady cocktails and dance the Charleston in steamy nightclubs. Jazz, lambasted by older critics as the devil's music, became the soundtrack that brought young people closer and closer together until the class lines were blurred and everyone partied until dawn.

Prohibition was intended to curb the rampant hedonism, but only encouraged unlawful behavior and necessitated bootleggers and organized crime. The cocktail, originally created to mask the effects of moonshine and other questionable home brews, became popular in American speakeasies and fashionable in swanky English bars.

With the zeitgeist squarely focused on the Bright Young Things--the rebellious youth who pulled pranks, got drunk in public, and threw caution to the wind--there was plenty of scandalous material to record.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh became voices of the generation, reflecting both the playful attitudes and dark indulgences of the Bright Young Things. Other great talents--Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, Edith Wharton, to name just a few--contributed masterful works that deeply influenced readers and helped shape modern literature.

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS: A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties is an overview of this gilded age of excess, a manual to the Roaring Twenties. Filled with illustrated quotes from authors of the era, wardrobe essentials for the modern flapper, classic cocktail recipes for entertaining, and tips on how to create a roaring book club, BRIGHTY YOUNG THINGS is your guide to this unforgettable era. Here are 16 must-reads from the book, perfect for the modern Bright Young Thing:

16 Novels for Bright Young Things