What Would They Read?: Parks and Recreation Part 2
The time has come to recommend more books to our friends in Pawnee. I feel like I might have left the more difficult characters for this entry. Last month, I chose books for Leslie, Ben, April, and Andy. So let’s get started and see what we have this time around.
Tom Haverford – It is not difficult to select books for Tom. Basically, all you have to do is tell him that a celebrity endorsed the book and he would be all over it. However, I do think that is a bit like cheating. There has to be a book that fits Tom’s personality and passion for the jet-setter life. There is a book– and it’s called So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (a 2005 Best Books for Young Adults selection). Before the name Westerfeld became synonymous with the Uglies series, he wrote So Yesterday. In this standalone novel, Hunter has the responsibility to find the Innovators, people who start trends, and present them to the retail market. Tom, with his big ideas like Entertainment 720 and Rent-a-Swag, will love the adventure Hunter embarks on in a city full of unknown pockets of cool. Unfortunately Pawnee is not a hub of trendsetting activity. Tom can live vicariously through Hunter’s story. Another title that Tom may enjoy is Feed by M.T. Anderson. In Feed, it is commonplace for everyone to have a feed similar to the Internet directly inputted into your brain. The program learns your likes and dislikes and sends you advertisements customized to you. Tom would love having all of that knowledge at his fingertips.
Ron Swanson – Ron likes the outdoors and eating meat. He also has his secret identity as Duke Silver, saxophone extraordinaire. I don’t know if Ron would even read books after his awful marriage to the librarian, Tammy, but we will give it a shot. When I think of Ron’s love of hunting and survival with limited supplies, two authors come to mind; Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs. 2007 Edwards Award winner Paulsen’s most well-known series starts with Hatchet, the story of a young boy who must survive alone in the woods after his plane crashes. Hatchet is a more popular choice amongst younger middle school readers. Will Hobbs has a variety of wilderness survival stories. For Ron, I would give him Never Say Die, the story of two brothers who, after their raft overturns on a river, get trapped with very little supplies in the Yukon Territory where a frightening half-polar bear, half-grizzly bear has been spotted. While I don’t have a specific title in mind, I would also like to hear Ron’s opinions on different dystopian/post-apocalyptic books. Many of those books have no technology and the characters must rely on their own abilities to survive. That definitely sounds like a world Ron would want to live in.
Ann Perkins – Ann is pretty much the normal person in a world of huge personalities and bizarre character quirks. Ann has had a variety of boyfriends including Andy, Tom, and Chris. Romance is not the most important thing in her life, but she is interested in finding someone to call boyfriend. I would bet that Ann would like to read books about comical romances, similar to her own dating past. Sometimes it’s better to feel like others have been through weird situations as well. I would give Ann The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. Lockhart is always good for a laugh when it comes to the romance department. The first in a series, The Boyfriend List focuses on the life of Ruby Oliver, a teen who recently broke up with her boyfriend and is now seeing a shrink due to her panic attacks. In addition to Lockhart’s book, I would also recommend Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (a 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection) to Ann. Not only is there the coincidence of the main character’s name and the author’s last name, I believe this title would be enjoyable for Ann because it lightly discusses the transition between what someone thinks they want and what they actually need in a relationship. In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna leaves her home in Atlanta to go to school in Paris. Anna is leaving behind a relationship, but then soon realizes what can happen if cuts the ties at home and looks at what is in front of her in Paris.
Chris Trager – Chris is by far one of the most positive people, in real life and on TV. The first book I think of when I think about Chris is a book by Matthew Quick. Quick is mostly known for his book, Silver Linings Playbook. That is not, however, the book I would give to Chris. I would give him Quick’s first teen novel, Sorta Like a Rock Star, a 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. Amber Appleton is a teenage girl version of Chris Trager. Even in the face of adversity, she stays upbeat. There is an incident in Amber’s life that manages to stop Amber’s unending positivity, just like the incident in Chris’ life that leads him to therapy. These are two fictional characters with whom I would absolutely love to go to coffee or see a movie. It would be an unending amount of optimism. I would also like to appeal to Chris’ love of fitness. The second title that I would recommend to Chris is another 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, Fat Cat by Robin Brande. In this book, Catherine changes her lifestyle to reflect the eating habits and daily routines of the hominims, the earliest species of man. Catherine changes to a paleo diet and walks as a means of transportation. I can see Chris using Brande’s book as a guidebook for changes in his own life.
That’s it for the Parks and Recreation crew. If you have any ideas for future entries, let me know. Next month, I plan to go back a few decades and choose a few titles for Eric Forman and his friends.
-Brandi Smits, currently Reading: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi