Staff picks: Great books you’ve never read


Check out The Bark’s digital bookshelf. We’re all hipsters, except for Tyler and Wyeth.

Bookworms unite! These staff picks are for you. Once you’ve made it through all of the New York Times Best Sellers (or looked at the titles and decided they were too overrated), this list of non-popular, non-classical books is here to save the day. Soon enough, you’ll have a new book to introduce to your friends that will impress them with your “hipster” knowledge, so get to reading.

Me Earl and the Dying Girl goes down as one of my favorite novels ever. It was never really that popular, but I still raved about the book and the movie. Greg Gaines narrates this hilarious teen dramedy that covers the course of a year and how over that year he begins a doomed friendship with Rachel, a girl recently diagnosed with leukemia. Greg not only finds himself with an actual friend but is faced with the morality of her life and his. [Madison Tenney]  

I never really thought of graphic novels as something I would like, but Persepolis proved me wrong. In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi writes about/illustrates her life growing up in Iran during the revolution as well as her misadventures in Europe as she gets a more liberal education. The fact that Satrapi relates the tragedy and oppression that affected her early life yet still manages to make the book funny is just one of the amazing qualities of this book. Not only is Persepolis informative and entertaining, but it also humanizes what is too often reduced to politics. [Allie Gruszkiewicz]

John Green isn’t typically viewed as an underrated author since most people are familiar with his books The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, but An Abundance of Katherines is exponentially more awesome than both of these. The plot surrounds Colin, a prodigiously intelligent teenage boy who serial dates girls only named Katherine. I relate to his awkwardness and neurotic ways on a personal level, which made it an enjoyable read. [Maggie Kimber]

For mystery and fantasy lovers, the Lost Voices Trilogy is a good pick. The trilogy covers an abused girl and her journey from human to mermaid and her building of trust with her new tribe. She falls in love with a human boy and… well, I don’t want to ruin it for you. This book does present child abuse, so it may be disturbing to some readers. [Cassidy Bailey]

Mindy Kaling is me. I relate to her on so many levels, so I believe that her books have not gotten enough recognition and that they should be classics. Her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is the best autobiographical book I have ever read. Mindy is hilarious and relatable, and she is an excellent role model for anyone aspiring to be the best human being ever. (I might have a slight obsession, but that shouldn’t stop you from reading Mindy’s book.) [Katie Matthews]

I have never been and probably never will be a fan of the University of Tennessee, but I will always be a fan of one of its all time great stories. Inky Johnson was a star corner for the Volunteers and looked well on his way to an NFL career. However, on Sept. 9, 2006, Johnson suffered an injury against Air Force that left his right arm paralyzed. The story about his upbringing in a rough part of Atlanta and his story to stardom at Tennessee as well as the direction his life took after his injury are truly inspirational. Inky Johnson: An Amazing Story of Faith is one of the best books I have read in my life, and everyone should read his story and connect it to their own. [Tyler Hotz]

Most of the books that I have read outside of school are ones that everyone knows about, so I’m going to go “off the book” for my pick. I guarantee I am the only one that does this, but sometimes when I’m bored, I flip through the Tennessee football media guide that has records, stats, and recaps from past games, all packed into 300+ pages. I usually find a couple errors everytime I read it too, which is always fun. [Wyeth Wilson]