John Green is a force to be reckoned with. Whether it's through his popular YouTube series VlogBrothers with his brother Hank Green or one of his many wildly successful young adult novels like The Fault in Our Stars , John Green holds a really special place in the literary world and the hearts of readers everywhere. Even if reading young adult fiction isn't quite your jam, lines from Green's books are so ubiquitous, you've probably swooned over them without realizing: "Okay? Okay," or "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
It should come as no surprise then that John Green is a master book recommender, and not just in the young adult fiction field. His tastes in books are just as nerdy and varied as you would imagine and expect. With only a few days before Christmas, and an increasingly limited time to shop, why not give Green's picks a try? Regardless of who you're shopping for, whether it's your mom and your work Secret Santa, giving a book is a guaranteed holiday win. There's no need to tell where you got your brilliant book idea from. That can be a secret between you, me, and Bustle. And John Green. Culled from features, interviews, and vlogs, here are some of Green's very favorite books.
1. Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag
By no means a light read, Susan Sontag's meditations on photography will forever change the way you think of pictures, and as Green notes, "In an image saturated age this is absolutely required reading about the unreliability of the image."
2. Bossypants by Tina Fey
3. Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart
If you're looking for feminist book for young readers, look no further than Fly on the Wall . Included in Green's vlog on overlooked books, he notes, it's "brilliant feminist reworking of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis."
4. Sula by Toni Morrison
In The Week, John Green said that he discovered this Toni Morrison classic after reading another Morrison classic Song of Solomon . He read Sula for fun over his school break and remarked, "The friendship between Sula and Nel transformed the way I thought about love and gender."
5. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
6. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson
Green often cites The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation as one of his favorites, so it's no surprise that he expressed excitement for Anderson's latest book when he stopped by BookCon earlier this year.
7. Beyond the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
Green recommended this book for world-changers because it's one of "the most interesting and complex book about poverty" he's ever read.
8. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
9. One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal by Alice Domurat Dreger
For Green, this is more than just one of the best nonfiction books he's read. It's a book about disability, power, and how people in charge "tend to essentialize and marginalize the other."
10. The Enormous Room by e.e. cummings
e.e. cummings wrote more than poetry, who knew? Green did, and he highly recommends cummings' memoir about being falsely accused of treason during WWI. "It's also a brilliant examination of the relationship between the individual and the collective," he adds.