Maurice A Lady for a Duke Women, Race, & Class A Lady for a Duke The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime Spinning Silver Howl's Moving Castle
We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Carmilla In the Dream House: A Memoir Childhood's End Maurice Carry on Lolita
The Song of Achilles Tell the Wolves I'm Home The Year of Magical Thinking People We Meet on Vacation Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe It's Kind of a Funny Story Revolutionary Suicide: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Infinite Jest Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths House of Leaves Coraline Gay Bar: Why We Went Out Carmilla I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Ruthie's Staff Picks

By Underground Books

By Underground Books
Carmilla

Carmilla

Joseph Sheridan Lefanu

$17.00 $15.81

Unfortunately most vampire books live in the shadow of Brom Stoker’s Dracula, however Carmilla is not one of them. Written 25 years before Dracula, Carmilla is a dark and gloomy seductress who can hold her own weight against the king of the vampires. This book is a goth kid's dream. A Victorian woman who spends all of her time alone with her father in a gloomy mansion, has an unexpected visitor show up. This visitor is a beautiful woman who wishes to befriend her and maybe something more, but she harbors a deep bloodsucking secret. For fans of queer stories, dark settings, and sexy vampires this is the book for you.

Maurice

Maurice

E. M. Forster

$15.95 $14.83

Dark academic queer love story that is set in Edwardian England. It was also written during this time and was not published until the 70's. It is a rare queer book with a happy ending where nobody dies. Yet it is a bittersweet story about living authentically and how much you let others' opinions harm you. It is also evident that the story was written by a person who let others' opinions harm him, and that he wrote this knowing that he may never have this type of love but continuing to hope that someone one day would.

A Lady for a Duke

A Lady for a Duke

Alexis Hall

$15.99 $14.87

If there are two things in this world that I love, it is historical romance and trans rights. And OOH BABY let me tell you, I got both!!! This is a slow burn friends to lovers story. It has it all: sexy dukes, female friendships, regency era passive aggressiveness, and fancy balls. Plus if you are worried about their being any emphasis on transgender suffering, I promise you it does not! It is all trans happiness, love, and joy. It was such a breath of fresh air and exactly what queer people need. I can only hope we get more books like this in the future.

Childhood's End

Childhood's End

Arthur C. Clarke

$7.99 $7.43

Aliens are invading! (dun, dun, duh!!!!) But they are not here to hurt humanity they are here to cure cancer, end wars, and stop hunger. But why? That's the question that carries for the rest of the book. The author also wrote the cult classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and single handily inspired the entire science fiction genre.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves

Mark Z. Danielewski

$24.00 $22.32

I would recommend this book to anyone that truly wants to be horrified. It has an eerily simple plot - it is about a house that gains rooms. First it starts with a couple extra centimeters in the closet, and eventually expands into vast never ending hallways with towering staircases consuming those that live in the house. House of Leaves will force you to descend into a world of madness and cause your heartbeat to fly off the page as much as the words do. It will make you question what is real and cause you to always double check the size of your linen closet.

Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace

$22.99 $21.38

This book is not fun. In fact I put this book on here not necessarily because I enjoyed it, but because it is a prize that I have won and must show off to you like a 4th grader getting a spelling bee trophy. The author purposely made this book hard, dense, and virtually impossible to get through more than 15 pages of it at a wack. It is wordy and pretentious. The author was very obviously fond of his own voice. However, all that being said Infinite Jest has some of the most important life lessons and ideas about the modern age that have ever been written. David Foster Wallace teaches you about family, beauty, tennis, consumerism, cable TV, and patience not only through the prose, but also through the simple act of taking the time and effort to read this literary behemoth. I can not promise you that you will enjoy this book right away, for Infinite Jest is a cruel and uncaring mistress, but I can promise you that this book will change your life.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Shirley Jackson and Thomas Ott

$17.00 $15.81

Shirley Jackson's signature knack of finding the absurd and horrifying truly comes to light in this classic. In this book there are no goblins, ghosts, or ghouls. Just simply about an 18 year old girl living with her sister and the strange downfall of her parents. This novel is scary in all of the things that are left unsaid, and sneak up behind you. After reading this you are bound to think of it for days.

Lolita

Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov

$16.00 $14.88

When reading this book be prepared to get a lot of questions. Such as, “Hey isn’t that the book about pedophiles?” or “Woah! Dude do you like little girls or something?” Yes, Lolita does have a pedophile as a main character, but no it is not about that. It is about not trusting someone for what they project to the world. The main character speaks beautifully and acts like a gentleman, but he rapes children. He can sell it to you though and make you think it is love. This book is disturbing, but teaches a very important lesson through wonderfully deceptive writing and one of the most unreliable narrators known to man.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Carol Rifka Brunt

$17.00 $15.81

Loss is a horrible thing that almost all of us will have to endure at one point or another. Unfortunately, it never gets easier and there will forever be a person-shaped hole in our hearts. Tell the Wolves I’m Home deals with this in a very mature and realistic manner. The story is of 14 year old June Elbus, who is the niece of world renowned painter Finn Weiss. Her and her uncle are very close, until his untimely death of AIDS in 1987. It is a complicated story of grief, family, and a love that transcends gender, death, or age. This book broke my heart, but as someone who has lost a loved one it has helped me mourn and understand that my grief is not only normal, it is valuable.

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime

Jasper Fforde

$18.00 $16.74

A quick and easy read for fans of mystery, who need a break from all the dark and heavy themes of the genre. This is an incredibly witty book about nursery rhyme characters solving the murders and crimes that so often take place in the songs.

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

$16.99 $15.80

A queer retelling of The Iliad that follows Achilles and Patroclus up until the battle of Troy. It is a wonderful tragedy, full of some of the most romantic quotes that I have ever read. By the end of the book you will be craving for the type of relationships that are formed throughout this story. I can not recommend anything written by Madeline Miller enough.

People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet on Vacation

Emily Henry

$16.00 $14.88

See! I don't always recommend only horribly sad books. This is the perfect friends to lovers romance. Two unlikely friends who are completely different, go on vacation with each other for over a decade until they have a falling out. Two years later they reunite for a destination wedding. It was so funny and the chemistry was perfect. It is a better When Harry Met Sally, and has one of my favorite book boyfriends of all time.

Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver

Naomi Novik

$17.00 $15.81

It’s my turn for the Naomi Novik shelf talker BRUHAHAH! This is one of the most satisfying books I have ever read. It reads like a fairy tale with the weight of a Tolkien novel. In a world full of ice and winter a young woman is forced to become cold herself in order to pull her family out of poverty. Miryem is a moneylender whose talent for spinning silver coins into gold attracts a fae king. If you like snarky, but beautifully human characters and fun magical political battles then I definitely recommend Spinning Silver. Also if this doesn’t sound like the book for you check out the rest of Naomi Novik’s work! She has yet to write anything bad and has something for every fantasy fan.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Ned Vizzini

$9.99 $9.29

It is hard to do anything when you want to die. Nothing is easy, even though it looks like it should be. As a former gifted student, and full time adult with depression this book gets it. It is about an honors high school student who has depression and can not understand why just daily tasks are so much harder than they should be. So he goes to a mental hospital to get help and find reasons to keep on living. Up until reading this book I always thought that the sayings, "You aren't alone." and "I understand.", were incredibly cheesy. However, now I can say that this book showed me how nice it feels to be understood.

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle

Diana Wynne Jones

$9.99 $9.29

I watched the movie as a kid and fell in love with the fantasy world and whimsy characters. As an adult I found out there was a book and expected to get the same feeling. I did, but it was even better. I recommend this book for both kids and adults for the witty humor that I don't think I would have appreciated as a child. There is still a bunch of fun time travel magic, evil curses, and a bit of true love. It is a heartwarming story that will make you want to stay forever in the magical moving castle.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Casey McQuiston

$19.99 $18.59

This is the perfect book for fans of John Green, and people who had a crush on Regina George from Mean Girls. When school sweetheart Shara Wheeler goes missing she leaves clues to help her academic rival, the boy next door, and her jock boyfriend find her. The three of them join together to find the most important girl in each of their lives. It is a compassionate look at high school full of romance, rivalries, and found families.

Carry on

Carry on

Rainbow Rowell

$11.99 $11.15

This entire series is an homage to my favorite guilty pleasure: Fanfiction. I feel like if you run in nerdy or bookish spaces that you have probably partaken in a good fanfic. This book has all the tropes that you try to find in them. Enemies to lovers, years of yearning, and actually decent plot. It shows us the joys of being a bit bookish, and that characters are ultimately created for the fans. Also its just a great escapist book, which I feel like we could all use more of.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

$14.99 $13.94

Do you remember how it feels to be young and in love? That weird mix of confusion and butterflies that float around in your stomach. This book captures that feeling and puts it in a readable form. Two teenage boys fall in love with each other over several years of becoming friends. They tiptoe around each other and hold each other close through a move, family drama, and health issues. This is a feel good novel with a rare happy LGBTQ ending.

Coraline

Coraline

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

$8.99 $8.36

I have been told that whenever you are suffering from readers burn out that the best thing that you can do is read a kid's book. This is one of my favorites and it has reignited my love of reading many a time. As a former "know it all" only child, Coraline was like looking in the mirror. The story is scary, funny, and will want to make you hug your parents. Also for fans of the movie, the book is not only better, it is far more terrifying.

Women, Race, & Class

Women, Race, & Class

Angela Y. Davis

$16.95 $15.76

If you are white, you are racist. It is a hard pill to swallow, and Angela Davis is here to tell you why. She is cut throat and explains the issues with white “allyship”, and shows that white people have benefited from racist systems and policies and by not fighting this system have contributed to the oppression of Black people. It also has a primary focus on the roles that white women play in keeping racism alive in this country and how they are often overlooked political actors. This book opened my eyes to problems that I didn't even know were issues due to the privilege of my own race and how that plays a part in my view of the world. Angela Davis does not coddle you, but instead writes with candor and hope that her white counterparts will step up to the plate to not only teach themselves, but also fight back against America’s racist systems.

In the Dream House: A Memoir

In the Dream House: A Memoir

Carmen Maria Machado

$16.00 $14.88

Dream house as witty recommendation. The dream house is a surreal memoir about queer abuse, that takes place in a house that we have all been to but it has also never existed. This is an intimate look at a person's life and the hardships of the expectations surrounding WLW relationships. When reading this book I felt both haunted and cleansed. The idea that we all have a place, a time, and a person that we return to in our minds when we are wounded is an incredible and so deeply human. I hope that you read this book and open the doors of your Dream House to the ghosts that Carmen Maria Machado brings in.

The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion

$17.00 $15.81

Sometimes when you mourn you have to do so loudly and messily. Joan Didion taught me that through her grief. She lost both her only child and her husband of 40 years on the same day. Two people who have been in her life were suddenly gone in the blink of an eye. This book is both a primal cry about how unfair the world can be, and a somber process of grief, acceptance, and ultimately love for both yourself and the ones we leave behind. As a person that has experienced sudden grief this is one of the most empathetic and cathartic books I have ever read. Joan Didion reminds us that it is okay to feel hurt and ugly emotions, as long as we treat ourselves with grace afterwards.

Revolutionary Suicide: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Revolutionary Suicide: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Huey P. Newton and Ho Che Anderson

$18.00 $16.74

Growing up I was always told that the Black Panthers were bad. Up until college I thought that they were an over militant group that could be called terrorists. I have never been so wrong in my life. This party truly changed America for the better by creating so many direct action social programs like free lunch in schools for children, promoting literacy, and creating several food bank systems. This book was written by the founder of the Black Panthers before his untimely death at the hands of the US government. If you are looking for a historical book about race relations, this is the one for you.

Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths

Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths

Natalie Haynes

$17.99 $16.73

An equally humorous and educating feminist analysis of Greek myths. This book takes a look at the women in myth we villainize and asks us, why? I never truly realized how much influence Greek myth has on modern stories and how far back the tropes of evil stepmothers, beautiful seductresses, and nagging wives go. The first step to dismantle our misogynistic views is to understand where they originated from, and this book shows you that. It makes you realize how often justifiably angry female archetypes are, and how often we only get characters such as Helen of Troy and Pandora from the perspective of men. Haynes gives us a wonderfully sympathetic view of the myths that have captivated us for centuries. Also for fans of Circe, and Ariadne, this is the perfect nonfiction companion.

Gay Bar: Why We Went Out

Gay Bar: Why We Went Out

Jeremy Atherton Lin

$28.00 $26.04

Part memoir, part history this book gives us an intimate look at gay bars and gay culture. It speaks about the importance of gay bars, but also the problems that they perpetuated. Melancholic, and I can only describe the writing as erotic but in an incredibly nonsexual way. It speaks to the feelings of missing out. Like the best days happened before you were born or maybe they never even existed at all. Oftentimes queer history has been erased, or heavily white washed. Jeremy Atherton Lin breathes new life into the history and shows us that queer life continues everywhere, and I’ll drink to that.