Nerdfighter Book Recommendations: A Gift Giving Guide for Nerdfightastic Readers

by on November 27, 2012

In which John Green recommends some of his favorite books to some of his favorite people (Crash Course fans, Whovians, Sherlockians, Harry Potter fans, Swoodilypooper supporters, and nerdy readers of all kinds). Recommended books include:

The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Sula by Toni Morrison
Mansfield Park and Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Blood of the Lamb by Peter de Vries
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Matched by Ally Condie
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny November 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Book Recommendations:
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Bev May 9, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Patrick Rothfuss. How could he not be on the list? The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are excellent books. As a Doctor Who, Sherlock, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Tolkien’s entire collection, HG Wells, Star Trek, and Star Wars fan, I suggest Patrick Rothfuss.


Erica Beaton (@B10LovesBooks) November 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hey John!
What a rockstar! Thank you for this post. You totally just planned my book talk for class tomorrow. My sophomores are going to be so geeked to get recommendations from YOU! They’re loving Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars. Thanks again for the post and your general awesomeness!


Jeanine November 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Great list! I second the Delirium series rec by Jenny. The first book is a little slow but does an awesome job at world-building. The second book moves quick as a whip and is wholly entertaining. The final book MUST COME OUT NOW!

Have you read any Patrick Ness? The Chaos Walking series is AMAZING and I cried real tears over A Monster Calls. PN has an adult novel coming out next year and I am S-T-O-K-E-D.

Other faves from 2012 include:

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King – Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

Every Day by David Levithan – In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a “wise, wildly unique” love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.



Karen November 28, 2012 at 12:37 am

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. It starts out as an intelligent, epic romance, but the second book I see as a metaphor for the Arab Israeli conflict. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since finishing it a week ago.


Laura November 28, 2012 at 2:59 am

The Art of Fielding was perfection.


laure-lise November 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

The brief and wonderous life of Oscar Wao by Junos Diaz! wonderful


Steve November 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Just wanted to let you know I bought your box set as a birthday present for my wife. She has already read two of the books within one week. She is starting the third right now. She wanted me to pass along that if that makers her a nerd, she is proud of it!


Angela November 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I agree with Jeanine. The Chaos Walking series is amazing and brings up a lot of issues that affect us today. Plus the whole premise is interesting. Sooooooo I really recommend it.


Leela November 29, 2012 at 7:32 am

Wow, thanks a loooot for your recommendations. I love books and I’m going to check these books out, that’s for sure :D

My recommendations.

Since you loved Anna and the French Kiss, I recommend you Lola and the boy next door by Stephanie Perkins.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. It’s about a girl who has to fight against vampires, werewolves. I loved it. Very funny.

Nick and Norah’s inifinite playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.

Dash and Lily’s book of dares by David levithan and Rachel Cohn. Dash and Lily play a game in which books and a notebook are involved, yeah, I loved the idea :)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (Adrian Mole #1) by Sue Townsend. This book is hilarious.


Lexi December 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

JOHN GREEN I NEED HELP!!!! Ok, so odds are you wont even ever read this comment, let alone answer it but I really need your advice.
So, I’m trying really hard to be a novelest even though I’m still a teenager but it’s not really working for me. Most of the time I’ll write 2-6 chapters in the book and then get a new idea and completely forget about the original book I was writing. Except I got the idea for the currant book I am writing a year ago and I’ve been writing in it for one year, one month and three days(give or take a few weeks). I have 112 pages and 19 and a half chapters.
I started out really well; I was writing a chapter a day sometimes more and most of my friends thought it was a really good book and I could get it published some day. But over these past few months I write, like, a chapter ever two months and I feel like I’m loosing the main character’s voice; like I don’t have the ability to be him anymore.
So I guess my question is: How do YOU write your books? Do you have any advice for me? Should I just stop trying to write novels and stick to short stories and poetry and stuff? How do I finish this book without ruining it?


Rana December 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I know you want John to reply but I couldn’t stop myself. John Green takes three years to finish one book. Take your time and if you get new ideas, jot them down and write them. You might get a new idea about the novel you’re writing while writing a new novel, or maybe you could join the two in a way. Keep on writing but if you have a knack to writing poetry and short stories, do that as well. After all, you’re still a teenager. You have time. Read more. Get your own flavor to your writing.


Pi December 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

If you have not yet read Ishmael I highly recomend it, also wintergirls.


Mike December 2, 2012 at 9:56 am

John! I don’t know if you are a mystery fan, but I am currently reading The Black Box by Michael Connelly (fantastic read by the way) and on page 200 the protagonist’s daughter is reading The Fault in Our Stars.
Just thought you’d like to know!


Silvia December 3, 2012 at 12:25 am

Dear John, have you read any Murakami’s? what do you think about his works?
you must be very happy that so many people gives you books as a gift


Deirdre December 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

A friend linked to your video on FB, and I’m so grateful to have seen it. Can’t wait to share it with my son. He is 10, loves to read, but has wondered out loud if reading is “too girly” because he doesn’t know any men who read (his dad is awesome, a wildland fire-fighter, but he only reads the newspaper). He just read Where the Red Fern Grows…he had been telling the story, serial style, to his two younger brothers and then he came home devastated and told them he couldn’t tell them the rest, it was too sad.

When I leave for bookclub once a month, he often asks if guys ever have bookclubs and I’ve encouraged him to start one. Do you have any guidelines for a boy-friendly (whatever that means) book club? I’d love to find a dad to facilitate it but I’m not sure that will happen. I’d love any recommendations you could give. Thanks!


Deirdre December 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Oh—and book recommendation-wise, Gilead was the best thing I read this year…for readers who liked The Shipping News or who don’t mind novels low on plot. State of Wonder has plenty of plot and deeping thinking too, highly recommended.


growler December 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I can’t believe you recommended “The Blood of the Lamb”!! That is one of the funniest, most insightful, and moving books I have ever read.


Casey Camilleri December 7, 2012 at 5:50 am

Just stole all of these book titles and popped them into my To Read on my GoodReads account. Thank you!


Fred LeBaron December 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hey everybody! Lots of awesome recs, for sure! A new book I think nerdfighters (well, and everyone) would love is “The Sea of Tranquility” by Katja Millay. The synopsis calls it “a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.” And in some ways it’s good not to know more than that. But if you’re interested, here’s a link to my spoiler-free review on Goodreads:
To me, this was the best book I read in 2012, and that’s saying a lot!


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Melly July 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Here are some of my recommendations:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist by those two previous authors ^^
The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
And finally,
The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Hope you guys enjoy these books!


Madelynn August 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Some of my favorite books are (all different genres):
Between Shades of Gray (not 50 Shades of Gray. At all.) by Rita Sepetys
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by (the great) Kate DiCamillo
Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo


Daminee December 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Taylor December 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Last year for Christmas I asked for Behind the Beautiful Forevers and The Magicians and they are two of my most favorite books of late! I also am readin Sula but having a harder time diving in. Thanks for your amazing recommendations and I am glad to have a list to come back to.


Jacqui Elkayam February 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm

John, this was great– my 16 year old is looking for books to read, and I always am too, so it was good to get your recommendations. Not sure if you will see this since this post is from ages ago, but if you’re still looking for good reads, I’m just finishing The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Although I’m not sure if I like the book (very close to the end but not there), that’s mainly because I like the main character so much and I’m not sure if I like the ending for him. It also reminds me, and I’m not sure if I can articulate why, of your work.


Karalyn Faulkner May 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. If you have not read this, please, read it right away. I am telling you! Right away!


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