Here are some recommendations from some guys we trust.

Eliot Schrefer

Eliot Schrefer is a primate who writes novels about apes.

Eliot Schrefer

  • Homeland
  • R.A. Salvatore
  • “The first fifty pages of the Dark Elf Trilogy have enough swordplay and plot twists to make you gasp.”

  • The Tin Woodman of Oz
  • L. Frank Baum
  • “All the Oz books, actually. But I liked the Tin Woodsman the most, so this is the book I’m listing. Let’s not psychoanalyze.”

  • The Belgariad
  • David Eddings
  • Also, The Mallorean. “When I was the new kid in school, the characters in these books were my buds. Funny, courageous, and there’s 1000 pages worth of them.”

  • The Princess Bride
  • William Goldman
  • “Funny and clever and full of heart.”

  • Dragonlance: Chronicles and Legends
  • by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. “I started with the computer game and then turned to the books. Lots of gods and glowy magic and giant spiders rearing in pain! Awesome.”

Patrick Jones

is the undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion of All-Things-Wrestling-In-The-Library.  This is his Book / Fight Club List: Ten best for teen boys about things in the ring.

  • Becoming the Natural, My Life In and Out of the Cage
  • There are many UFC biographies out, so it's who you like. I'm an old guy; I like the old guy.

  • Headlock
  • A novel about a teen breaking into wrestling while wrestling with some problems of his own. The author is a Ric Flair fan (whooo!).

  • Lion’s Tale, Around the World in Spandex
  • There's a lot of wrestling biographies out there, but Y2J's is probably best of the newer ones probably because he takes himself the least serious of all the squared circle scribes.

  • Mondo Lucha A Go-Go, The Bizarre and Honorable World of Wild Mexican Wrestling
  • Filled with photos of these masked Mexican wrestlers, this is a must to understand the history and scope of pro wrestling.

  • Octagon
  • Nothing but photos of UFC fighters through all stages of their careers. From the founders like Ken Shamrock to the modern kings of eight-sided cage, a wonderful way to browse the history of UFC.

  • Title Shot, Into the Shark Tank of Mixed Martial Arts
  • The book follows the author's journey to become a MMA fighter. He thought training for the Army was hard work. Welcome to the cage.

  • Warrior Angel
  • The 4th novel of a series that started in the 1960s still punches hard with hard punches and harder choices.

  • Whole Sky Full of Stars
  • A quick little read about a young man trying to earn money, and respect, by winning a boxing tournament.

  • Why I Fight, A Novel
  • The gritty covers lets you know the story inside is a tough one about a young man searching for himself, one fight at a time.

  • WWE Encyclopedia
  • You get photos, lists, more photos, and more lists. As JR would say, "Business is about to pick up."

Elizabeth Patridge

Elizabeth Partridge is the author of over a dozen books for children and adults, among them the highly celebrated Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary, as well as biographies of Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon. Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Michael L. Printz Honor, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, SLJ's Battle of the Books, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

Her story, "Mojo, Moonshine, and the Blues," appeared in the fifth volume of the Guys Read library: True Stories.

Elizabeth is on the core faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

The following is a list of books she's either loved reading with her two boys, or that she just thinks are fantastic.

 

  • Robot Dreams
  • Sara Varon
  • I love this wordless graphic novel. A dog builds a robot and they become friends, but the robot rusts and can't move after he goes in the water at the beach. Both funny and sad.

  • American Born Chinese
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • The Monkey King, a Chinese folk hero, messes with the main character who is trying to fit in at his all-white school. Graphic novel.

  • The Graveyard Book
  • Neil Gaiman
  • How can you resist a book with these first two lines: "The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade sharper and finer than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you'd been cut, not immediately."

  • One-Eyed Cat
  • Paula Fox
  • What if you found a gun and were told never to shoot it, and one evening you shot at a flickering shadow, and you thought you might have hit a cat, right in the eye? How would you deal with the cat, and your guilt, fear, and shame?

  • Robin Hood
  • Get the biggest, fattest version of this book you can find from the library. It should come in at 150-200+ pages. Total adventure and high jinx.

  • Danny, the Champion of the World
  • Roald Dahl
  • Danny and his father feed rum-soaked raisins to the pheasants on the estate where they are never allowed to go hunting. They set out to poach a record number of pheasants from the dreaded estate owner. Dahl is the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mister Fox.

  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
  • Steve Sheinkin
  • Why were 50 sailors, all African American, tried for mutiny by the US Navy during WWII when they refused to go back to work after an explosion killed 300?

  • Kinda Like Brothers
  • Coe Booth
  • Jarrett's mother takes in two foster kids: one a baby, one a boy a year older than Jarrett. As it says on the back cover: "Kinda like enemies. Kinda like friends. Kinda like brothers."

  • Revolution, (The Sixties Trilogy #2)
  • Deborah Wiles
  • This book is a hybrid. It's a novel that takes place during Freedom Summer in 1963, and yet it is full of photographs and real quotes. Mesmerizing.

  • Eleanor and Park
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Two smart, funny, quirky misfits find each other. This book has one of the most tender love scenes ever, so go get a copy right away.

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series. 

photo credit: Jill Liebhaber

  • The Complete Tales Of Winnie-The-Pooh
  • A.A. Milne
  • Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
    I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.

  • Anything by Roald Dahl
  • Roald Dahl
  • There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.

  • Labyrinth
  • A.C.H. Smith
  • Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.

  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • Philip Pullman
  • Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.

Micol Ostow

Here are some of my favorite spooky novels (in some cases thrillers or otherwise twisty), and in particular books that influenced me while I was working on Amity!

  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • Shirley Jackson
  • "The ne plus ultimate haunted house story, I like to think of Amity's Gwen as sort of a modern spin on Eleanor, a young woman seeing and experiencing ghostly things, whose mind and perceptions can't be trusted."

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Shirley Jackson
  • "A slow-burner filled with atmosphere. Merricat is the platonic ideal of an unreliable narrator."

  • The Shining
  • Stephen King
  • "A suggestible man, prone to violence, isolated in a hotel that exerts evil force over his will... Jack Torrance is to Amity's Connor as Hill House's Eleanor is to Gwen."

  • Tighter
  • Adele Griffin
  • "A modern take on The Turn of the Screw, Griffin draws from chilling source material and makes it her own for today's teen readers."

  • To Die For
  • Joyce Maynard
  • "A dark and twisty thriller (the movie's great, too) that serves up multiple POV's on a platter. I spent a lot of time poring over the many distinct voices of that book."

  • The Maddaddam trilogy
  • Margaret Atwood
  • "Epic and sprawling, boldly visionary, and still she manages to tie all of her narrative threads together by the series' conclusion. To spend ten minutes in that woman's head!"

  • Dangerous Girls
  • Abigail Haas
  • "Pacing, pacing, pacing. Totally un-put-downable."

  • The Amityville Horror
  • Jay Anson
  • "(That one probably goes without saying.)"

  • We Were Liars
  • E.Lockhart
  • "The pages turn and the ending twists!"