This time of year, it feels as though if you pick up another damn text book, you’re going to use it to beat yourself into a coma and hope to not come out until finals.
To keep from going insane, but still keep the mind sharp, it’s best to read works of literature outside the typical college syllabuses. Reading literature besides required texts is good for the brain. It makes you a better writer and a better thinker.
But what to read? Well, since it’s not advised to trust anyone over the age of 40, then why the hell should we read their words? How about some authors a little closer to college age. Here are five authors under the age of 35 to check out the next time you’re killing time at a bookstore or stealing books from the library. Oh, right, “borrowing.”
According to Brown’s website bio, the author “spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.”
Brown’s Red Rising trilogy has earned him not only a mountain or praise but he’s been called “a prodigy” and his books dubbed “relentlessly entertaining.” Think Hunger Games and Divergent for dudes.
Anthony Marra has one published book so far but that debut novel netted the young writer a ton of hardware for his bookshelf. Marra took home the Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize, and the Narrative Prize and his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction, and the inaugural Carla Furstenberg Cohen Fiction Award. Those probably don’t mean much to the average reader but it’s like walking away with the writing equivalent of an MVP, playoff MVP, World Series MVP all in the same season.
The Chicago Tribune called Marra “an author talented way beyond his years” and I hope he got that printed on a shirt.
Allie Brosh is the creator of Hyperbole And A Half (think The Oatmeal for the certified disturbed) and the lone “funny” person on the list. Funny isn’t a strong enough word. Let’s go with “fucking hysterical” and look not further than Brosh’s own website bio.
If I had to explain myself in six words, those words would be “heroic, caring, alert and flammable.” That’s only four words. Oh well, I guess I should have thought of that before I started writing. Too late now. Here, I drew you a picture of a unicorn.
Her debut novel, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, is a twisted and maniacal look into the mind of the hilarious and hilariously depressed. Brosh has been called “a connoisseur of the human condition” which is a nice way of saying “we’re all fucked up but she’s fucked up and funny.”
Klay is a former U.S. Marine and served in Iraq. That’s a life experience few of us could ever imagine. Klay turned his unbelievable experiences behind enemy lines into a book of short stories, Redeployment, and the book was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. It won the National Book Award for Fiction.
Publishers Weekly called the book “a powerful statement on the nature of war, violence, and the nuances of human nature” and while that probably isn’t something that would go on a shirt, it does make for an awesome bullet point on a resume.
Peter C. Stenson
The Amazon Review of Stenson’s first novel, Fiend, begins as such — “Peter Stenson isn’t dipping his big toe into the shallow end of the pool here; it’s more like he’s cannonballing naked into a murky lake of unknown depth, wearing a blindfold just for kicks. ” Dayum.
Fiend is about, you guessed it, drug addiction, hallucinations, meth addiction and the end of the world. It’s not going to leave you feeling like the world is a great place, but screw it, we already knew that.
Stenson has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Fiend will be just the first of many novels from the man that will cannonball into your psyche and possibly never come up for air.