Young Adult author Philip Siegel stopped by the Dallas Flagship Half Price Books back in July as part of the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast tour and is one of the 12 fabulous authors featured in the 2015 Half Price Books – Books Authors Read calendar (which can be yours with a $30 HPB purchase! or bought for $2.99). Check out Philip’s suggestions and pick up your calendar today!
I’ve always had varied tastes in books. I love reading non-fiction as much as fast-paced YA fiction as much as sprawling general fiction. It’s good to diversify your reading, especially if you write, too. Soaking in those different author voices will help craft your own unique voice. Here are some books that I just plain LOVE, and if we ever meet in person, I’ll probably recommend them to you, too.
1) The Duff by Kody Keplinger. This book spoke to me, not just because I was (and let’s face it, still am) the fat friend. I love the mix of truthful writing, soapiness, romance, and humor in the writing. Keplinger’s books have a warm, lived-in aura to them that remind me of shows I used to watch on The WB growing up. (Dawson’s Creek, Felicity) I’ve made at least three of my friends read this novel, and whenever I’m asked for a YA recommendation, The Duff instantly comes to mind.
2) The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. I remember I found this book at a garage sale in high school and was so excited to read it. At the time, I had an obsession with the 80s and New York society. I had never read such a long book, nor such an adult book. The Bonfire of the Vanities is a searing and hilarious account of race and class in a pre-Giuliani New York. Tom Wolfe writes books with a journalistic eye, getting down every character tic and cultural detail. His books are sprawling epics that take you inside specific environments: New York in the 80s, Atlanta in the 90s, college campuses, Miami of the ‘10s. For me, a Tom Wolfe book is an event, not just because he only publishes about once a decade.
3) The Tipping Point/Outliers/Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m cheating and putting these books as one because I can’t choose my favorite. They’re all fascinating, eye-opening examinations of human behavior. How does something become a fad? Why do some people succeed while others fall short? How do we make decisions? What makes these books so much more than research findings is Gladwell’s spunky writing. He’s not only giving you the facts; he’s telling you a story. He makes these topics come alive. You can feel his excitement leap off the page. Years after reading these books, I can still remember the case studies.
4) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I know I’m not alone in loving this book, but it delivers. It delivers so hard. The twisty plot, the hyper-smart characters, the settings. I will never get the image of people sleeping in an abandoned mall out of my head. This book kept me turning pages, kept me glued to my subway seat, and blew my mind about fifteen different times. And Amy’s tirade against being “the cool girl” is worth a reread.
5) The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. I can honestly say this book changed my life. The authors write about the truly wealthy people in America, and they’re not doctors driving BMW’s to their McMansions. They’re your unassuming neighbors next door who drive a modest car, live in a modest house, and wear non-designer clothes. The book gives countless examples about the importance of living below your means, not trying to keep up with the Joneses, and investing wisely – all lessons to live by. Never again will you be impressed by your friend’s flashy new purchase.
Philip is the author of The Break-Up Artist.