13 Book Club Books For Millennials, Because, Yes, We Read
When you hear the word "Millennial," what do you picture? I'm sure, depending on who you are, the connotations vary. If you're not a Millennial yourself, then you probably think of a bunch of selfie-taking heathens who are nothing more than selfish, lazy, dispassionate twenty- or thirtysomethings living in their parents' basements. (It's OK, even TIME magazine agreed with you at one point.) But if you are one of the more than 80 million Millennials who are being studied and scrutinized, you might have a better idea of what defines your generation.
You, Millennial friend — you know that we are so much more than that. We are open-minded, creative, educated, and diverse individuals with entrepreneurial spirits and a refusal to settle. We're tech-savvy and constantly connected, idealistic and adaptive. We have a drive for success, and although it might take us longer than previous generations to find it, it will be on our own terms, because if we don't like our employment options, we create our own. While many of us are skeptical about religion and big government, we still believe we can change the world. The New York Times even went as far as to call us "Generation Nice," a label many of us will gladly accept.
And although we're the most tech-obsessed generation, we also still love to read. A lot. In fact, a study from Pew Research Center in 2014 showed that Millennials read more than those in the 30-plus crowd. We may wake up and instantly reach for our iPhones, and sure, we have a bit of an obsession with Beyoncé, but we still use libraries as much as our parents, and that doesn't seem to be changing.
So, if you are one of the millions of Millennial readers, here are 13 books to introduce to your book club — because, yes, we still love books (OK, and wine, too):
The Circle by Dave Eggers
If you're part of Gen Y, then you've probably dreamed of working at a place like Google. A campus-like feeling full of bouncy ball chairs and free yoga classes outside? Sign me up. But before you go submitting your résumé, you and your book club might want to check out The Circle , a chilling novel about about a powerful Internet company whose mottos are "Privacy is theft" and "Secrets are lies," and the employees and consumers who gleefully hand over their lives to them.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Since Millennials had to read To Kill a Mockingbird at some point in high school — and probably has Atticus and Scout on their possible baby names list because of it — it's only fitting that your book club adds Harper Lee's much-talked about sequel to their reading list. Go Set a Watchman picks up the story of the Finch family some 20 years after the events of the first book, where social, political, and family loyalties still define life in small-town Alabama.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
For the literary-lovers in your book club, look no further than this first installment of the Thursday Next Novels. In a world where Britain is a police state and literary characters can be kidnapped straight from the pages of their books, Special Operative in literary detection Thursday must find out who is responsible for the changing literature, before it's too late and the books as she knows them are lost forever. Complete with an interactive website that takes you further into the world of the book, it's as if The Eyre Affair was made with Millennials in mind.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Because you grew up watching SNL and you know there is no better Hillary Clinton than Amy Poehler, this book, which is part-memoir, part-advice, and all humor, has to be added to your book club's TBR pile. Although Poehler isn't a Millennial herself (she doesn't even use Twitter, guys), her stories and mantras still ring true to every struggling twentysomething still trying to find her voice.
The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner
Motorcycles? Check. Art? Check. Revolution? Check. If you and your fellow Millennial readers ever talk about how incredible it would be to live in the 1970s, look no further than this novel about a young art school grad trying finding her voice and her purpose. From New York to Italy, this book captures the vibrant characters and unstoppable change that defined the decade.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
At the top of everyone's Best Books of 2013 lists was this stand-out masterpiece about love, race, identity, and American culture. Heartbreaking and eye-opening, Americanah is a must-read for readers of the most diverse generation ever. Still need another reason? Beyoncé loves Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, too.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Book clubs are all about the discussion afterwards, right? White Teeth will give you plenty of fodder for chats, as this novel about two wartime friends and their families presents issues of race, gender, assimilation, age, sexuality, immigration, and so much more. Oh, and did I mention you can watch the four-part television adaptation of it on Hulu? Yes, you can binge-watch after you are done binge-reading.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Without giving too much away, let me just say that this disturbing dystopian novel will have you and your book club questioning all of those times that your teachers, coaches, and parents called you special. Surprising, thought-provoking, and utterly terrifying, Never Let Me Go is guaranteed to make your book club meeting run long, because there is just too much to say about this book.
Woolgathering by Patti Smith
Even though Millennials are some of the most creative and inventive people in past generations, there are still many of us out there waiting to hit our artistic strides. Take it from one of America's greatest creatives, Patti Smith: finding yourself as an artist is never easy, but it is sure worth the effort. Her collection of stories, recently updated to include a new autobiographical piece as well as drawings and photos, will give hope to even the most tormented of artists.
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Fantasy, horror, and literature collide in this exquisite collection of short stories from Kelly Link. Peppered with magic, humor, humanity — not to mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer references —this anthology of superb storytelling and breathtaking prose will give you plenty to discuss when your club meets.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Though generations before have suffered through their fair share of hardships and devastation, Millennials too have seen war, terrorism, economic crises, and disease epidemics, to name a few things. That's what makes Station Eleven a fantastic choice for your book club's next read. A novel about what happens after civilization collapses due to an deadly outbreak of disease might seem depressing and dark, but St. John Mandel shows the inextinguishable light of humanity, even in the darkest of days — and that's something all of us can believe in.
Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas
Did you ever consider giving up your apartment in lieu of living in your car, just to save some money? Refusing to take on even more debt, Ken Ilgunas, a fellow Millennial, did just that when he was in grad school. And, luckily for the rest of us still dealing with the post-grad existential crisis of "now what?" coupled with crushing school loan debts, he wrote it all down in this hilarious and honest memoir.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
If you're a Millennial, chances are you still believe you can change the world. So if you and your book club need a little inspiration, look no further than the first of the Millenium books. Dirty police departments, corrupt politicians, and career criminals are no match for the team of journalists, computer hackers, and all-around bad asses that refuse to let the truth go unheard.