Adam wears birken­stocks and reg­u­lar­ly uses a foun­tain pen. He also at one time was heard say­ing that he was “what hip­sters wish they were.” So this list may or may not be full of books that he knew were good about before you did. But hon­est­ly, he has pret­ty good taste, so give his list a try!



Geek Love by Kather­ine Dunn
I read this book in a post-mod­ern lit­er­a­ture class in col­lege.  I went into the class not real­ly lik­ing post-mod­ern lit.  I found it over­wrought and vac­u­ous and large­ly com­pletely unin­ter­est­ing.  There were sev­eral books over the course of the class that changed my mind and this was one of the first and best.  If you like sto­ries of freak shows and weird cults, and fam­i­ly bond­ing, this book is def­i­nitely for you.


The Secret His­to­ry by Don­na Tartt
I had nev­er heard of Don­na Tartt before my good friend Jody hand­ed me this book, told me that it was one of her favorite things she’d ever read, and told me to read it.  This book inter­ested me from the out­set because the main char­ac­ter goes to col­lege and majors in Clas­sics and if a book about a Clas­sics major in col­lege sounds bor­ing to you, just trust me that the tip of this ice­berg does not begin to do jus­tice to the remain­der.  Intense friend­ships, bac­cha­na­lia, and creepy secrets make this piece by the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning author of
The Goldfinch is absolute­ly a must read.


The Jun­gle Books by Rud­yard Kipling
The Jun­gle Book and The Sec­ond Jun­gle Book were orig­i­nally pub­lished sep­a­rately, but are fre­quently print­ed and sold as one vol­ume now.  This is one of those books that no film adap­ta­tion has ever even come close to touch­ing, so if you saw Disney’s newest adap­ta­tion ear­lier this year and either liked it or didn’t like it, just for­get about it and pick up the book.  It’s fun, a great sto­ry to share with kids, and one of the most sur­pris­ingly emo­tional sto­ries I’ve ever read.  As an added bonus, the book is actu­ally a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, which makes it per­fect as a bed­time sto­ry option or com­mute book!


The Hob­bit by J.R.R. Tolkien
It is (hope­fully) glar­ingly obvi­ous to any­one who’s read this blog even a bit (or talked to me in per­son) that I absolute­ly love Tolkien.  He is basi­cally a deity to me.  
The Hob­bit is a great Sum­mer Read­ing option because it’s light and fun and about a trip, which makes it the per­fect vaca­tion book!  Plus when the vaca­tion­ing is done and you’re ready for some­thing with a lit­tle more grav­i­tas you can grad­u­ate to The Lord of the Rings, The Sil­mar­il­lion, or even Unfin­ished Tales of Numenor and Mid­dle Earth!


Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
First of all, every­one should have at least one Dahl book under their belt.  He’s a clas­sic children’s/young adult author for a rea­son, folks.  
Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox is my favorite Roald Dahl book because sto­ries about crafty ani­mals out­smart­ing humans are pret­ty much my life blood.  Plus, one of the char­ac­ters sub­sists on noth­ing but hard cider, which is how I aspire to live my life.


The Wid­ow Clic­quot by Tilar Mazzeo
I’m not a huge oenophile (though I like wine a lot) nor am I an espe­cially eager read­er of non-fic­tion, but this book hooked me. In fact, this book is one of the rea­sons I’ve been more into biogra­phies late­ly. The sto­ry of how Bar­be-Nicole Clic­quot Pon­sardin not only han­dled her husband’s com­pany like a boss after he died but also com­pletely rev­o­lu­tion­ized the cham­pagne busi­ness, ran block­ades to sell her lux­ury wine, and basi­cally was an all-around hero for, like 60 years until Death final­ly showed up and was like, “Come on, lady, you’re mak­ing me look bad here,” is one that I can read over and over again.  She was
OG, man.


Lit­tle, Big by John Crow­ley
The nov­el picked for the inau­gural meet­ing of the
KU Book Club (and also the sec­ond meet­ing when we showed up and dis­cov­ered that none of us had fin­ished it) has stuck with me in a huge way since then.  This book got me into read­ing tarot cards.  It also uses the ubiq­ui­tous idea of Faerie in a supreme­ly fas­ci­nat­ing way and basi­cally is every­thing you could pos­si­bly want in a book.  I’ve nev­er real­ly been able to ver­bal­ize this until right now, but you know what Lit­tle, Big is?  It’s a Neil Gaiman nov­el from before Neil Gaiman was writ­ing nov­els.  I don’t know if Gaiman was direct­ly influ­enced by Crowley’s book, but I have to say, I’d kin­da bet on it.


I Love You, Beth Coop­er by Lar­ry Doyle
I’ll be hon­est with you, I read this book because I saw the movie and real­ly liked it.  I saw the movie because Hay­den Panet­tiere was in it and I real­ly like her.  My moti­va­tions notwith­stand­ing, though, this book is excel­lent.  Any­one who has ever gone to high school will find some­thing to relate to here.  It’s fun­ny, heart­felt, and makes you glad you grad­u­ated years and years ago.


Moth­er, Can You Not? by Kate E. Siegel
I start­ed fol­low­ing the Insta­gram account @crazyjewishmom months and months ago.  At that time, it was just an account where this young wom­an post­ed screen­shots of text con­ver­sa­tions with her over­bear­ing, hilar­i­ous, and com­plete­ly fil­ter-less moth­er.  It has since grown into a huge viral phe­nom­e­non and Kate has rolled with the punch­es, com­ing out with this book ear­lier this spring.  It’s just as hilar­i­ous as the IG account, and I’d rec­om­mend it to any­one who’s ever had a con­ver­sa­tion with their mom that turned into some­thing resem­bling an Abbot and Costel­lo skit from a crazy par­al­lel uni­verse.  


The Blue Sword by Robin McKin­ley
I found this book in my ele­men­tary school library when I was in 5th grade or so.  It enchant­ed me in a way that no book had done before and few have done since.  It’s rare to find fan­ta­sy, high or low, that so per­fect­ly cap­tures the world it cre­ates.  Mag­ic and sword fights and pet big cats are things that all of us have want­ed (and/or cur­rent­ly want) in our lives, and this book will give you those feels in abun­dance.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Roth­fuss
Before I read this book, I noticed that one of the blurbs on the back said, “Shelve
The Name of the Wind with The Lord of the Rings and look for­ward to the day when it is men­tioned in the same breath and per­haps as first among equals.”  This, to me, con­sti­tut­ed extreme­ly — almost impos­si­bly — high praise.  Hav­ing read it, I can say unequiv­o­cal­ly that Rothfuss’s book lives up to that praise.  If you enjoy fan­ta­sy at all, you should give this book your undi­vid­ed atten­tion at your ear­li­est pos­si­ble con­ve­nience.  


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This is a book many of us knew from our child­hoods.  If you’re around my age or a lit­tle old­er, you prob­a­bly have fond mem­o­ries of the ani­mat­ed film of 1973, which is an excel­lent adap­ta­tion of what is prob­a­bly White’s most famous work.  If you have or know a young child who loves ani­mals, or if you just want to nour­ish that small child with­in your­self, pick up Charlotte’s Web and share it with some­one.  It’s a book best read with a friend. 


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Mar­t­in
The first book of Martin’s epic
Song of Ice and Fire is a fan­tas­tic book to read over the sum­mer.  While fans of the series may enjoy the lat­er books more (book 3, A Storm of Swords is most fans’ favorite), A Game of Thrones is the per­fect first book of a series, mak­ing grand intro­duc­tions, set­ting the stage for the incred­i­ble events to fol­low, and draw­ing the read­er into the uni­verse so com­plete­ly that you’ll be hard-pressed to put any of the­se books down (until, of course, you throw one of them across the room in a Mar­t­in-inspired rage.)


Pride & Prej­u­dice by Jane Austen
This is lit­er­al­ly one of the most per­fect books of all time.  Even if you don’t like peri­od pieces; even if you don’t like roman­tic come­dies; even if you don’t like British lit­er­a­ture; even if you don’t like the Clas­sics, give this book a chance.  Austen’s incred­i­ble com­mand of com­e­dy and emo­tion­al depth make P&P one of my favorite books.  You’ll be laugh­ing and ugly-cry­ing in equal por­tions due to the snark and mooshy-ness in this book.  If you don’t love it, I will lit­er­al­ly eat my hat.

So, what do you think?