These Are All the Books Famous Authors Think You Should Be Reading Right Now

December 7, 2016 5:00 am
Books You Should Be Reading Right Now
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Books You Should Be Reading Right Now
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


If you’re a fan of books—you know, those paper-bound objects you read when you’re not glued to—it’s pretty easy to walk into a bookstore and see the “staff picks” section or the wall devoted to all the bestsellers. But have you ever wondered what the actual authors of those books are reading? After all, word peddlers are often some of the most well-read people out there, and they might be able to uncover your next favorite.

BuzzFeed recently reached out to 16 authors and asked them what books they’re thankful for. RealClearLife curated its own list of our five favorite authors, each of which provides their own picks and explanations.


Joyce Carol Oates – ‘The Best American Essays 2016’ (Edited by Jonathan Franzen)

Joyce Carol Oates
President Barack Obama congratulates author Joyce Carol Oates after presenting her with the 2010 National Humanities Medal during a ceremony at the White House on March 2, 2011. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


Besides being way better at Twitter than Donald Trump, Joyce Carol Oates is one of America’s literary treasures. (The author spoke at this writer’s commencement at Connecticut College 1,000 years ago.) If you didn’t get a chance to read her in high school, then you have more than enough books, short stories, essays, and such to choose from at this point. Said the author to BuzzFeed about her pick:

“[The] essay I hope you will all rush to read is by Justin Phillip Reed (of whom you have probably not—yet—heard) titled “Killing Like They Do in the Movies” originally published in a literary magazine called Catapult.”


R.L. Stine – ‘The Nix’ by Nathan Hill and ‘Mister Monkey’ by Francine Prose

R.L. Stine
Author R.L. Stine attends Day 1 of the Texas Book Festival at the Texas State Capitol on October 26, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (Rick Kern/WireImage)


If you’ve ever spent any time in a children’s room at your local library, you know Stine’s embossed Goosebumps covers well. He’s basically the Stephen King of kid’s books. Said Stine about his picks: “Both are endlessly brilliant, original, and entertaining—just what a novel should be!”

Chuck Palahniuk – ‘Geek Love’ by Katherine Dunn

Chuck Palahniuk
Author Chuck Palahniuk poses for a photograph during a reading hosted by Strand Bookstore at Webster Hall on May 6, 2009, in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)


Another Twitter badass, Chuck Palahniuk is best known as the author of Fight Club. The film adaptation has made him sort of a hero among the outcasts of the world, so it makes total sense that he’d select a book with “geek” in the title. (It’s about a traveling carnival.) Says Palahniuk of his pick:

“[Portland, Oregon’s] International Rose Test Gardens, where hybrid roses are displayed, was her inspiration for this strange, retrospective story about misshapen sideshow freaks. Her death this year highlights the novel’s overall sense of mourning the past.”


Sloane Crosley – ‘My Misspent Youth’ by Meghan Daum

Sloane Crosley
Author Sloane Crosley attends an AOL Build Speaker Series at AOL Studios on June 10, 2016, in New York City. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)


Confession: Crosley was a year ahead of us at Connecticut College. (We’re not sure who spoke at her commencement.) She’s been getting all sorts of buzz for her latest book, The Clasp, and the few times we spoke with her, we could just tell she had that je ne sais quoi that authors have. Here’s Crosley on her pick:

My Misspent Youth came out the year after I graduated from college and I still find myself idly thinking of lines from it. It was just so smart without being irritating, which sounds like a low bar for narrative nonfiction and yet so few clear it with such grace, wit and insight. Her confidence was contagious, her sharpness inspiring.”


T.C. Boyle – ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ by Annie Dillard

T.C. Boyle
Author T.C. Boyle attends the Miami Book Fair on November 20, 2016, in Miami, Florida. (Aaron Davidson/WireImage)


We had the chance to discover T.C. Boyle’s work in high school, when we read Greasy Lake. Then we bought a collection of his short stories and pretty much fell in love with his prose. (“Ike and Nina” is a pretty perfect short story with an even more perfect title.) Here’s Boyle on his pick:

“Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [is] a book I’ve returned to several times over the years. Why? I love it for its lyricism, its close attention to nature and, above all, for its ability to reach beyond observation of natural effects to discover their mystical underpinnings.”

To read the full list from BuzzFeed, go here.

—Will Levith for RealClearLife

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