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10 Books to Mention to Sound like a Hipster

by Nicole Sakin on November 11, 2012
Sophomore > Journalism > University of Maryland

In the living room of the house party you are at, a record player spins some strange electronic sounds, people in skinny jeans with chest tattoos and beards are talking about liberal politics and the only drink on hand is Pabst Blue Ribbon. Stereotypical? Yes. But in the case that you do end up in a situation like this and have nothing to talk about, books are always a good topic at a hipster party. To make sure you fit in (do not mention 50 Shades of Grey) here are the books to reference to at least pretend you know what you are talking about.

1. The Catcher In The Rye By J.D. Salinger

It seems that nearly everyone has had to read this book for school; smile and wait for someone to tell you how much he or she loves J.D. Salinger.  If you mention Franny and Zooey, you’ll further convince them of hipster knowledge.

“The main character is pretty much the epitome of what a hipster strives to be,” said Laura Ottinger., a freshman at Harvard University.  “Holden tries to go against the mainstream, against what seems "phony" to him…which is basically the definition of a hipster.”

2. The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

“This party would be so much better if Jay Gatsby had thrown it.”

3. Absolutely anything ever written By David Foster Wallace

The man was a genius, and the way his mind worked is a question all true hipsters strive to answer and understand. It’s also fun to say “Consider the Lobster is my favorite anthology to date.”

“I suppose a hip hipster would already be eagerly anticipating the November 6th release of Both Flesh and Not,” said Nancy Stewart, a professor of English at the University of Maryland. “Or perhaps a truly hip hipster has already read these essays online or in their original form.” 

4. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

“I became vegetarian after I read Eating Animals.”

5. Anything by Friedrich Nietzsche

Just being able to spell the man’s name is a feat, but reading and being able to discuss his books is like winning the lottery for a certain group of hipsters. Drop his name and you’ll be sure to fit in. 

“Nietzsche, with his vitriolic indictments of modern life, would reign supreme in this regard (and with good reason),” said Stewart. 

6. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

“I would think that books like On the Road, about a previous generation's rebels would be appealing,” said Ruthie Griffith, a senior at Duke University. “It's hard to say though, because a big part of making a 'hipster book' would be the person's attitude toward it.”

7. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Being able to read this book and keep all the characters straight is an amazing testament to a person’s memorization skills on its own. Besides that, saying you read this mythical realism book in its original Spanish wins bonus points.

8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By Hunter S. Thompson

There are no words; so many drugs, so much tripping, so confusing, yet so good.

9. Anything by Anton Chekhov

His short stories are legendary, and somehow subtly funny. Scream “we will get to Moscow eventually!” or “Not the cherry trees!” and you’ll instantly be the coolest person in the room (or should be at least).

10. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Because telling someone “stay golden” is like secret code for saying “I’m totally awesome and can quote a classic book we all read in middle school that left a lasting impression on me, and I will name my child Sodapop.”

 Image: Favim.com

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