“You can’t make this stuff up. Somebody should write a book about it.”
It’s a frequent refrain for community association board members, managers, and business partners, especially for those who have several years of experience and have collected numerous laughable, outrageous, and, sometimes, cringe-worthy stories.
Somebody, actually, somebodies, have written books set within community associations or that tackle many of the issues (neighbors, rules, pets, and more) you’re sure to recognize.
The beach is calling. The pool is inviting. The backyard is enticing. Take a seat, grab a book, and start reading.
A Man Called Ove (2014). By Fredrik Backman
Ove has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” When a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale that will shake one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. A New York Times bestseller and soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.
A River to My People (2019). By Jason Green
Follow a collection of short stories about life in the suburbs and the funny and infuriating antics, behaviors, rules, and regulations of community life. There are droll tales of walking dogs, trying to get grass to grow, dealing with speeding by teenagers and parents, errant parking, the work and the pleasure of backyard swimming pools, homeowners association election politics, and so much more.
Cats, Chaos, and Condo Board Wars (2019). By Nikki LeClair
When elections for condo board president come around, Hilary Brandt lets her friends and neighbors convince her to run against the by-the-letter, long-sitting president—also known as Hilary’s number one personal critic. As the election campaigns launch, a romance-that-almost-was reappears, a coworker tries to steal a client, and her opponent starts to fight dirty. Is the chaos just too much?
Condominium (2014). By John D. MacDonald
Welcome to Florida’s Golden Sands, the dream condominium complex built on a weak foundation and a thousand dirty secrets. It’s the home of shortcuts, crackdowns, breakups, oversights, and payoffs. Add it all up, and the new coastline community doesn’t stand a chance against the ever-present specter of disaster: the dreaded hurricane.
High-Rise (2012). By J.G. Ballard
When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. Human society slips into a violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, recreate a world ruled by the laws of the jungle. Developed into a feature film, released in 2016, starring Tom Hiddleston.
Little Fires Everywhere (2017). By Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. When an enigmatic artist and single mother arrives with her teenaged daughter and rents a house from the Richardsons, the status quo in this carefully ordered community is threatened. Named book of the year by The Washington Post, NPR, Southern Living, and more. Soon to be a Hulu limited series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
The Condo Kids: The Case of The Disappearing Pool Monster (2019). By Jackie Burns
Excitement is just an elevator ride away for brothers Noah and Michael, who are best friends with all the other Condo Kids in their building. This tight-knit group of pals just want to have fun but always wind up in hilarious, sticky situations. The latest adventure finds the Condo Kids on the hunt for a mysterious underwater monster rumored to be living in the condo pool. This is the third book in a series for young readers.
The Pinball Lawyer (2019). By Marvin Nodiff
Condo lawyer Joshua Fyler is in a fight for his life. His clients are disrupted by weaponized drones, greedy investors, and corrupt lawmakers. Fyler ricochets from one crisis to the next as he tries to salvage his reputation. Written by a founding member of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers and a retired community association attorney from St. Louis, Nodiff captures all the foibles of community association living in his sixth humorous and engaging novel.
White Elephant (2019). By Julie Langsdorf
A gaudy, newly constructed behemoth of a home soars over the neighborhood of Willard Park. When owner Nick Cox cuts down Allison and Ted Millers’ precious red maple—in an effort to make his unsightly property more appealing to buyers—their once serene town becomes a battleground. Newcomers and longtime residents alike begin to clash in conflicting pursuits of the American Dream, with trees mysteriously uprooted, fires set, fingers pointed, and lines drawn.
I also recommend “Special Assessment”