Litlove has a great post on books that make you look cool. She has given a list of 10. She qualifies it as follows:
And I tried to think which books would engender most respect in me, if I saw someone reading them in a café. This is only a bit of fun, though, not intended to be in anyway definitive, and indeed I could have come up with about ten lists, there are so many cool books. Frankly, I think it’s cool to see anyone reading in a public place, particularly if it’s a real book with a cover that will satisfy my curiosity!
Here is my list of 10 based on books I have read myself. Feel free to do the same – in the comments or elsewhere (if you are doing Nablopomo, you may need inspiration also). I haven’t included any of Litlove’s because variety is all to the good though they are undoubtedly good ones.
1. “What I loved” by Siri Hustvedt
A truly brilliant book and a very literary one as well. You’re on a complete winner here. Just that little bit more obscure than her husband, Paul Auster, who many would consider cool but I consider utterly unreadable.
2. “Mad, Bad and Sad” by Lisa Appignanesi
A book about mental illness and women. Grand big thick book and extremely readable and genuinely interesting.
3. “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Victorian classic but not an obvious one. Very restful.
4. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote
An American classic.
5. “Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth
A completely different American classic. The funniest of all Philip Roth’s books.
6. “Stupeur et tremblements” by Amélie Nothomb
Ideally in French, obviously. Unless you live in France. A great writer with a very odd and idiosyncratic view of the world. Also, Japan is pretty weird.
7. “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard
This is very good, letters between four sisters in the 18th and early 19th century. But will it make you look cool? For historical biography you might be better off with “Castlereagh” by John Bew
8. “Maus” by Art Spiegelman
The obligatory graphic novel. There are a number of these that would do the trick [“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi also leaps to mind]. This one is clever with Nazis as cats and Jews as mice. Prepare to be depressed though.
9. “What If” Blake Morrison
This is about the case in England where two young boys murdered a toddler. It’s a great work about motivation and society. Lovely writing.
10. “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis” by Wendy Cope
While poetry is obligatory the accessibility of the poetry I read does not make for coolness. You’ll have to put in your own cool poetry book.