It’s a generalization, to be sure, but the typical library book club tends to attract older female readers. In an effort to bring the more elusive thirtysomethings into the fold, many
libraries are trying out book clubs where the target audience
is largely younger, diverse professionals. The quirky moniker
“Genre-X,” a nod to Generation X, points to the relevant age
group. These are fairly adventurous readers who have strong
opinions. Choices for them could include microhistories, literary fiction, genre fiction, short stories, or graphic novels.
Offer a selection of recent titles with broad appeal, such as
those suggested below.
Armada. By Ernest Cline. 2015. Crown,
In his second geek-coming-of-age tale,
Cline once again brings crackling humor
and fanboy knowledge to a zesty save-the-planet story featuring an unlikely hero,
adrenaline-pumping action, gawky romance, and touching family moments.
Friendship. By Emily Gould. 2014.
Farrar, $26 (9780374158613).
Best pals Bev and Amy are about to
hit 30, and neither woman is where she
wants to be. Gould’s savvy first novel zeros in on modern ennui and the catalysts
that force even the most apathetic out of
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about
Horrible Things. By Jenny Lawson. 2015.
Flatiron, $26.99 (9781250077004).
Lawson, known as the Bloggess to read-
ers of her immensely popular blog of
the same name, fills her second memoir
with stories that revolve around the crazy
things that happen in her life, with an
emphasis on her struggles with mental ill-
ness—mainly anxiety and depression.
Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. By Rachel
Hulin. 2017. Doubleday, $25.95
Hulin’s razor-sharp and sardonic debut
novel explores the relationship between
thirtysomething fraternal twins Harry and
Matilda Goodman. The plot, divided into
six parts and spanning a year, is delivered
via the rapid-fire e-mail correspondence
between the siblings.
Hot Little Hands. By Abigail
Ulman. 2016. Spiegel & Grau, $26
Ulman’s noteworthy debut is a collection
of nine short stories, each centering on a
young woman ranging from early teens to
late twenties as she assesses her place in the
world or explores her sexuality.
How to Build a Girl. By Caitlin Moran.
2014. Harper, $26.99 (9780062335975).
British comedian Moran’s characters
are huggable and aggressively real; her
setting—1990s Wolverhampton and
London—touchable; and her depiction of
growing up well worth reading.
Modern Romance: An Investigation. By
Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg. 2015.
Penguin, $27.95 (9781594206276).
Stand-up comedian Ansari has some
interesting things to say about dating in
our technology-saturated age. There is
plenty of snark here, but it’s coupled with
considerable research, which elevates the
book above the typical lightweight comedic venture to an exceedingly relevant
exploration of romance in our smart-phone society.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero.
By Isabel Greenberg. Illus. by the
author. 2016. Little, Brown, $25
With immersive storytelling and a wry
sense of humor, Greenberg weaves classic
fairy-tale tropes through these tales—but
there’s a distinctly modern sensibility to
the message here. Lush world building,
captivating storytelling, and idiosyncratic
artwork will entrance fans of literary
What the F: What Swearing Reveals
about Our Language, Our Brains, and
Ourselves. By Benjamin K. Bergen. 2016.
Basic, $27.99 (9780465060917).
Bergen takes a look at 11 different
“dimensions” of swearing—name your
favorite b-word or c-word—blending an
academic narrative with lots of humor.
There’s something here guaranteed to
offend everyone, but microhistories are
hot, and lovers of language will savor
Genre-X Book Discussions
Book-discussion programming remains a mainstay in
public libraries, but many libraries are attracting a younger
crowd by billing some as “Not Your Mother’s Book Club.”
BY REBECCA VNUK