Recommended Reads for Adults 2023


WTBBL's April 2023 Recommended Reads


In honor of April Fools, WTBBL is taking a journey into the absurd, nonsensical, and fantastical! Join us as we explore titles that use humor to challenge the status quo, whimsy to combat existential dread, and toy with narrative structure to flip our concepts of time and meaning on their head. This month, we uplift authors that flout convention as a means of flouting authority, and champion books that hold a trick mirror up to society so that we might see ourselves more clearly. This April Fools, we will not be pulling any pranks, but rather enjoying the works of those who taunt and tease the very idea of literature itself!

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, 1865 (DB050842 and BR012746)
Extraordinary things happen when a little girl falls down a rabbit hole and encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other unusual characters. Alice's second adventure takes her to a land with a peculiar back-to-front order in which everything is reversed.
Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News by A. Brad Schwartz, 2015 (DB082063)
The 1938 broadcast of Orson Welles's adaptation of The War of the Worlds (DB038464 and BR009590) by H. G. Wells is one of the most famous events in radio history. Schwartz examines the radio play in its historical context, including the stories of panic the program supposedly caused among listeners.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins, 1976 (DB014636)
Sissy Hankshaw, a madcap young woman endowed with excessively large thumbs, hitchhikes her way through life finding new adventures and different sexual experiences. Her employer, a wealthy male countess who promotes feminine hygiene products, sends her on a modelling assignment to his beauty spa, the Rubber Rose Ranch in the Dakotas, where the cowgirls are threatening to take over. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, 1996 (DB083519 and BR021393)
The first rule of Fight Club is: you don’t talk about Fight Club. The novel that inspired the movie, by Pacific Northwest native author, Chuck Palahniuk follows an un-named narrator suffering from insomnia who finds relief in joining other men suffering psychoses in beating each other in one-on-one combat. As the group expands under their leader, Tyler, they take on a violent political motive, with quite literal explosive consequences. But, how much of it is in the narrator’s mind? – Ryan Gelskey
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino, 1979 (DBC08607 and BRG01289)
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration "when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded." – GoodReads
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, 2020 (DB098416 and BR023494)
Every day, actor Willis Wu heads to the Chinatown restaurant where they are perpetually filming a police procedural TV show. He feels like he plays a bit role even in his own life, but dreams of one day having a chance at something more. Strong language. National Book Award.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson, 2012 (DB074647)
Popular Internet blogger uses dark humor to describe her everyday life. Recounts racing armadillos and swimming with pigs during her childhood in West Texas, dealing with anxiety disorder by hiding in bathrooms during dinner parties, and discovering that her boyfriend was planning to propose--not murder her. Strong language. Bestseller.
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector, 1943 (DBC01386)
The novel, written in a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of the English-language Modernists, centers around the childhood and early adulthood of a character named Joana, who bears strong resemblance to her author. The book, particularly its revolutionary language, brought its young, unknown creator to great prominence in Brazilian letters and earned her the prestigious Graça Aranha Prize. – GoodReads
NW by Zadie Smith, 2012 (DB075525 and DB105697 -- Spanish Language)
Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals — Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan — as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone — familiar to city-dwellers everywhere — NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself. – from the Publisher
Orlando by Virginia Woolfe, 1928 (DB023691; BR009501; DBF04351 -- Russian Language; LP012065)
Fantasy about a young Elizabethan nobleman who, by book's end, has been transformed into a young woman. The author examines English literary and social history through the three hundred years of Orlando's life, and the transformation emphasizes Woolf's belief that women are the intellectual equals of men.
Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders, 2013 (DB076097 and BR019818)
Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December — through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit — not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov's dictum that art should "prepare us for tenderness." – GoodReads
The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense by Edward Lear, 2001 (DB061260)
Collected limericks and whimsical rhymes of the British writer Edward Lear (1812-1888). Includes "The Owl and the Pussy-cat," "The Jumblies," and "The Scroobious Pip."
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, 1953 (DB014653 and BR016880)
The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone — or something — named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett's language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time. – Amazon