The following 28 books all have significant merits, otherwise they wouldn’t be as successful and beloved as they are.
They are also indicative of deep and abiding potential character flaws in you and your loved ones. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
1. The Great Gatsby
Unless you can show me your dissertation about Tom Buchanan’s biceps or something, this means you stopped reading in 10th grade. Shoo.
2. The Catcher in the Rye
Oh, no one understands you, just like Holden Caulfield? Why the fuck would I be the first person to start? Get away from me.
3. Fight Club
Oh, it’s so haaaaard to be a white-collar man nowadays, what with laws and feminism and Ikea restraining our healthiest instincts. Oh, wait, no it’s not. We’re coddled and chubby pink piglets who don’t have to fight in wars or protect anyone. Enjoy your Frappuccino like a man and quit complaining, you teenager.
4. The Da Vinci Code
Beyond being a terrible book, The Da Vinci Code is also a conspiracy book, which is mostly appealing to those so intellectually afraid or stunted that they cannot tolerate or conceive of a world that is complex and hard to explain. So, that.
The thing about someone whose favorite book is Twilight is that I would never really be able to tell. Like, they could keep answering Twilight to that question long after years of marriage and I’d still not be sure if it was all an ironic joke. “Thanks a lot,” Generation X.
6. The Stranger
People who like The Stranger are the human equivalent of asking the question “so what” to everything you say as a way of proving a point. It’s obnoxious and we have an unwritten social code not to do it.
7. The Alchemist
If there’s anything grosser than someone unexpectedly revealing their genitals, it’s someone unexpectedly revealing their spirituality. There are support groups for this kind of behavior, and for loving Paulo Coelho’s “allegorical novel.”
8. Eat Pray Love
How about Walk Jog Sprint away from me before I heave with frothy revulsion over your awful taste and Tory Burch flats?
9. The God Delusion
Yeah, they’re probably right, but Dawkins-thumping nerdtheists make me want to join the nearest megachurch out of spite and polish my “but you can’t prove it” piss-takes until they are Reddit-tantrum sharp.
10. American Psycho
Cool satire, bro!
11. The Metamorphosis
This is like saying your favorite album is Doolittle. What, the deep cuts were too much for you? A Country Doctor or GTFO.
12. On the Road
I’d say the best way to convey your free spirit and wandering nature is by loving the same book as every other wannabe rebel for the past half-century. I’d definitely say that.
13. Atlas Shrugged and/or The Fountainhead
Who let you out, boy? Huh? That’s a bad boy! Let’s find your mom!
14. Harry Potter, any of them
These are diverting but if your FAVORITE book is a glorified television show about a boy wizard written for 5-year-olds I’m going to wonder if you know where Afghanistan is.
15. The Giver
You know that hair that you have to shave every couple days? That means you’re a grown-up. Read a fucking book for grown-ups, grown-up. Otherwise you shouldn’t be able to vote or drink alcohol.
16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Sensitive teenagers get lines from this book tattooed on them and sensitive teenagers are the scum of the earth. Move on.
That is the last blind date I let you set me up on, Bubbe!
(For the non-Jews among us, Leon Uris’ interminable 1958 novel is about the birth of Israel.)
18. Infinite Jest
This is a good book and all but saying it’s your favorite is sort of like saying you’re proud of being upper middle class and white. Better keep that to yourself.
19. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
To be honest, you’re probably going to see signs that this person is not worth your time before they drop the T bomb. If you don’t, may I recommend the jalapeño poppers? They’re lovely.
20. Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.
The nicest thing you can do for someone who loves this book is introduce her to someone who loves the Tucker Max book and then hope they cannot make fertile offspring.
21. Portnoy’s Complaint
Masturbation epic Portnoy’s Complaint is what I call an “excuse” book, in that nebbishy horndogs use it to “excuse” the fact that they are unacceptable little hairy monsters. Like, if they can get women to laugh at their most antisocial behavior, it must be OK. It’s not, and you’re not.
22. The Game
Sort of like Portnoy’s Complaint for someone who doesn’t like language and gets confused easily.
23. Pride and Prejudice
You think waiting around is going to turn jerky-but-hot Blake from advertising into Mr. Darcy? No, the only thing you’re going to be waiting for is your cats to eat your face after you die of loneliness. Settle for a loser like the rest of us.
24. Prozac Nation
If someone you know “just loves” books like this, or that James Frey lie, they love reading about the breakdowns of others. This means they either A) Seriously relate to breakdowns or B) Take undue pleasure in the breakdowns of others. I’ve got enough schadenfreude for both of us, thanks.
25. All the Narnia books
If you’re going to say this is your favorite book, you might as well tell the truth: The Bible is your favorite book, and no amount of Santa Claus giving out swords to children to slay infidels is going to change that.
26. Finnegan’s Wake
You’re lying. If you’re not lying, why are you reading No. 25 on a list of jokes on the internet? Cure cancer.
Oh, it’s just “Nabokov’s gorgeous, hypnotic, seductive language” that you love so much! It’s just all that gorgeous, hypnotic, seductive language that is the reason you can’t stop talking about this book. It’s all that gorgeous, hypnotic, and seductive language that is the reason we’re not welcome at The Cheesecake Factory anymore.
28. “I don’t really read books anymore. Just magazines/the internet/etc.”
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