The Best of Everything, Rona Jaffe
Are you a lady who works in Manhattan? Read this book. Though it's set in the early 1950s, much of it is surprisingly contemporary (when I read this NYT story Wednesday, I couldn't help but think of Mr. Shalimar's more benign brand of piggishness, for instance), and the characters are well drawn and realistic. On the whole, quite hard to put down: sly at turns, funny, fast paced.
In a 2005 foreword, Jaffe writes, "...in may ways, [the book is] as relevant today as it was then. Some things have stayed the same and some have come back. The Best of Everything is a sociological document but it's also about change: how your dreams change, how your life changes, how each thing that happens to you changes something else. And that doesn't change." Indeed: how much I've changed in the five years that I've been in New York; how much I still will grow in the years to come.
(The black-and-white above is a still from the 1959 film version of Jaffe's work, which starred Joan Crawford alongside Hope Lange.)