Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hipster Book List

Everyone has one.*

Rachel Seigl's post this week on Pub(lishing) Crawl, Under the Radar: Authors Who Don't Always Get the "BUZZ", really got me thinking.

Everyone has those handful of books that they love but you seem to be alone in this infatuation. Those books aren't wildly popular or widely read or perhaps even highly acclaimed. But heck you don't mind because this makes them your books in a way. One might even get a little proud and, dare I say, hipstery about it.

Here is my Hipster Book List:
1. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.

So if you are from England you are probably thinking "these books are highly acclaimed and wildly popular". Yeah, well, I live in America and that is not the case here friend. I have never met another soul who has read these magnificent books and that just makes me sad.

This series is so unique and innovative and heart wrenching that it blows my mind. Todd Hewitt lives in a community made up entirely of men. Every body's thoughts are painfully audible, called "Noise". What happened to all the women? How did the war get started that caused this mess? How can a community survive with no privacy and no dishonesty? These are just the questions being asked in the first chapter! Never has a book made me cry so hard as Monsters of Men. I was a sobbing, inconsolable pile of mucus by the end of it. This is some VERY special science fiction that is genius and violent and insightful.

Everybody needs to read it. NOW...are you reading it yet? Well, hop to it!

2. One on One by Tabitha King.
This is one of those books where I honestly have no idea how I found it. Was I perusing the Stephen King section when I picked up a book by his wife? Who knows, but I am so glad I did.

Be warned: this is a sports book. Trust me though, as someone who avoids sports at all costs, that is just a thin veil over the bigger story. Sam Styles and Deanie "the Mutant" Gauthier came so close to winning the basketball state championships last year. Sam is determined that both the boys and girls team can do it this year but that means trying to help the most damaged, hostile and bizarre girl in school. Deanie shaves her head, wears chains across her face and loves smoking illegal substances. All of this is a method in concealment as she has a mother who hates her and a step dad who beats and molests her. Sam has to fight the administration, his friends and even Deanie herself to get the teams ready for state.

This is one of those books that is successfully gritty and honest and jarring. It is also the strangest and most satisfying romance I have ever read.

3. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
It seems like everyone and their cousin have read the Ender Games series by this great American author. But how many, I ask, have read this fairy tale re-telling?

Ever since I read this diamond in the ruff four years ago I am constantly measuring other fairy tale re-tellings up to it and they never compare. The elements that combine to make Enchantment great: time travel, medieval Russia, Judaism, linguistics, magic, science and the gods of ol'. I truly admire Ivan for being his bookish good natured self and Katerina for her royal tenacity.

Definitely a fairy tale made for adults who like intellectual and religious debates alongside their quests and spells.

4. Love Walked In and Belong To Me by Marisa De los Santos.

Yay for something lighthearted! (you guys probably think I'm all doom and gloom over here) These two books are where intelligence, hilarity and cuteness come together. What I imagine an Adult Nerdfigher book written by Stephanie Perkins would be like...

Cornelia Brown--a big hearted, day dreaming, literary and cinema geek--is one of the most likable and admirable main characters ever written. I want to be Cornelia. If you're looking for something gorgeously written than look no further than the books by this award winning poet. Or you could read them for the warm fuzzies, adorable romances and true to life family dramas. As feel good as these books are they also deal with such issues as mental illness, parent abandonment and cancer.

You'll learn something, be inspired, feel joyful and optimistic about life all at the same time.

5. Tea Rose/Winter Rose/Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnely.
I remember going to a school book club meeting when I was 16 and ranting and raving about these books. "They have history and romance and adventure and politics and mystery oh my!"

Seriously, when I think of epic I think of these books. They span from the time of Jack the Ripper to the end of WWI, all the while following the Finnegan family. Entrepreneurship, mountain climbing, White Chapel gangs, Parliament, England, New York, Kenya, California, the Middle East, death, birth and war. They have everything.

This series is like a one stop shop for any sort of reality based fiction you can think of. You'll cry and laugh and gasp and scream and you will love every second of it. I promise.

6. Stories of Columbyana by Linda Winstead Jones.

Now, I don't often read a lot of Adult Romance. They can be, frankly, cheesy and one dimensional. These three trilogies are the exception.

 I would describe these books as paranormal fantasy. Each trilogy focuses on the love stories of a whole slew of characters but has an over arching conflict. Curses, prophecies, spells, shape shifting, folklore and court politics play heavily into these stories.

That is probably the reason why I like them so much: you get your romance kick without feeling like you're reading complete fluff. Jones does a great job of world building and tying all of her books together.

Readers, what literary gems are on your Hipster Book List?

*I apologize to any hipsters who may have found their way to this list. Honestly I don't know if you will approve of these selections. Your taste is more obscure than mine.


  1. What a fun list! One of my fav authors is British, too (SF author Peter F. Hamilton) and he's a bestseller in the UK, but not in the US. Sad. :(

    Thanks for all the recommendations!

  2. Hey Lexa! I will have to check that author out. The Brits have the best everything right? *sigh* ;)

  3. Ooh, thanks for sharing these. I haven't heard of most of them.

  4. I haven't read any of these, but they do sound interesting. Will have to take a look at them. Thanks.

  5. Great hipster list! I'll have to check these out.

    My hipster booklist would have to include:

    The Perilous Gard (Elizabeth Marie Pope). It's a Newberry Honor book, but the only other person that I know personally who's read it is my sister.

    Ghost Drum (Susan Price). I discovered this book in 3rd grade, and it's still one of my top rereads. It's a great mix of action, adventure, and mythology.

    1. The Perilous Gard is awesome! A friend in college recommended it to me, fabulousness!

  6. Thanks Nickie, just added them to my Goodreads to-be-read list :)

  7. FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK used to be one of my hipster books for the longest time - and then slowly people started reading it (and loving it to bits and pieces, of course!). I think it's gotten to the point where most people I know have read it.

    But a definite book that got very little attention (and yet was AMAZIN!!!!!) was WITCHLANDERS by Lena Coakley. SO. GOOD. A few of the PC gals have read it now, and we've featured it as a book of the month, but I still feel like most people haven't heard of it/haven't read it. It's fantasy, and it's from the POV of 2 different boys from very different backgrounds. And it's just... well, fantastic!

    1. Ooohh GREAT suggestions Vanessa!

      I skipped Goodreads and immediately put them on hold at the library ;P

    2. YES! Awesome! Oh, you HAVE to let me know when you start reading them and let me know what you think!

      FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK made me cry. You've been warned :p

  8. And you know it's even more of a Hipster-book list when the books on it start to become more popular and you have mixed feelings because they're not your special secret anymore (or because you aren't getting credit for espousing their virtues.)

    A couple of my Hipster favs have been more recently been discovered by the Pub Crawl girls (I've been in love with Marchetta's work since Saving Francesca) but still on the list are odd little books I read as a kid that only my siblings seem to have equally appreciated. Like this interesting book called Under the Bridge by Ellen Kindt McKenzie. Of course, even the books some have recently discovered are still terrifically unknown among other groups of people so I shall still go about pushing Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief on people and making them swear to read it on trust and not look up anything about it first.