The best books for minimum wage daydreamers, undercover, and undiscovered LGBTQ superheroes

Who am I?

During my time on this earth, I have done everything and nothing. I’ve traveled the world during my time in the military, but all that made me want to do was work a normal retail job, with normal scheduled hours. Now that I reside in a limbo where there is a creature inside me that can only exist via my writing and art. And I’m certain I’m not alone. I want to inspire retail warriors, minimum wage heroes; anyone who spends their days rattling around in their own head, I dare you to turn the salt shaker and release the superhero inside.  

I wrote...

Dakota Son

By Mary Ramsey,

Book cover of Dakota Son

What is my book about?

Ever feel like you’re having a bad day? Sean Foster has been having a day since the moment he exited the womb of a teenage mother who abandoned him at the hospital, to the day he was given a life-changing diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. He was adopted and grew into a normal teenager with self-esteem issues (and the body of an Olympic athlete.) With all the opportunities, a compromised immune system shadows his life over his head like a cloud of impending doom. Among other things. 

The Fault in our Stars meets Fight Club, in this deeply psychological look into the life of a terminally ill bullied teen who has more power than he ever realized.

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The books I picked & why

Looking for Alaska

By John Green,

Book cover of Looking for Alaska

Why did I love this book?

I kept a copy in the equipment room, reading it while on the clock. That seemed like something the lead characters would do. The basic plot is a YA teen drama about kids at an exclusive boarding school in the deep south. Protagonist Miles is a daydreamer with a fixation on death; last words. Alaska was a goddess in the form of an alcoholic teen who blamed herself for her mother's death. 

The story is a tale of teens who fought hard to reach their goal of independence, looking towards the future with virtual reality glasses. No matter how we age, we are all still daydreamers walking towards a fog. 

By John Green,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Looking for Alaska as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning, genre-defining debut from John Green, the #1 bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award • A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist • A New York Times Bestseller • A USA Today Bestseller • NPR’s Top Ten Best-Ever Teen Novels • TIME magazine’s 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time • A PBS Great American Read Selection • Millions of copies sold!

First drink. First prank. First friend. First love.

Last words.

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life…


By Chuck Palahniuk,

Book cover of Haunted

Why did I love this book?

A group of writers held in paradise, forced to write stories that would define a generation. And then the insanity drips in, turning the story into something reminiscent of a reality show/horror movie; how far would you go for the chance to create literary perfection? 

The book itself is a series of increasingly dark short stories, connected to the overarching ‘house’ narrative. As a writer I find the character studies to be truly inspiring. And as a writer of internet horror (known as creepypasta) the idea of an invisible antagonist bleeding out creativity/ideas the same way one would drain out blood from a corpse is a unique, twisted view of what it is to be a content creator.

By Chuck Palahniuk,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Haunted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Haunted" is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of them to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter - sometimes all at once. They are told by the people who have all answered the ad headlined 'Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months'. They are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of 'real life' that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But 'here' turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theatre where they are utterly isolated from the…

Book cover of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Why did I love this book?

I read this during my first retail job, post military. My job was nothing compared to the protagonist’s role at the New York Times, but I could relate to her sense of urgency. She needed to push herself; to always exceed expectations even if it was causing her physical/emotional pain.

People called her a drama queen or even a self-centered bitch. That was why the diagnosis of a brain illness was, in a way, a happy ending. She wasn’t a bad person; she was just sick and needed help (or at least an ounce of compassion from her superiors.)

This is a great book for anyone who feels like the world has gone to crap; maybe it has, or maybe it’s all in your head. Either way, you’re not alone.

By Susannah Cahalan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Brain on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brain on Fire is the stunning debut from journalist and author Susannah Cahalan, recounting the real-life horror story of how a sudden and mysterious illness put her on descent into a madness for which there seemed to be no cure

'My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming days and weeks, I would never again be the same person ...'

Susannah Cahalan was a happy, clever, healthy twenty-four-year old. Then one day she woke up in hospital, with no memory of what had happened or how she…


By Sophia Amoruso,

Book cover of #Girlboss

Why did I love this book?

When life brings lemons make lemonade, when life dumps a load of garbage sell it on eBay. I can relate to protagonist Sophia, as a former eBay seller and a San Francisco native lost in her own existence. This book reads like a fairy tale; a girl given every opportunity in one of the most expensive cities in the world, but she’s stuck in a filthy apartment filled with thrifted clothes and day-old pizza. Then one day she discovers her passion. Slowly the pieces fall into place allowing her to create the brand, Nasty Gal. 

This book is a must-read for anyone trapped in a daydream; the finish line is out there just waiting for you to find it.

By Sophia Amoruso,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked #Girlboss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In this New York Times bestselling sensation, founder and Executive Chairman of Nasty Gal Sophia Amoruso shares her story and inspires women everywhere to join the #GIRLBOSS movement.

'#GIRLBOSS is more than a book . . . #GIRLBOSS is a movement' Lena Dunham

'A millennial alternative to Lean In' New York Magazine

'A compellingly motivational read' The Telegraph

'The book you need in your life' Marie Claire

*Winner of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Business Book*

In the space of ten years, Sophia Amoruso has gone from high-school dropout to founder and Executive…

Book cover of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

Why did I love this book?

Jenny Lawson is a woman who took her mundane life and turned it into a world of humor, magic, and cultural insanity. In a previous life, she worked in HR (dealing with employees who sent dick pics), suffered half a dozen miscarriages, among other mental/physical hardships. She moved to Texas with the world’s greatest husband, settling into a life of writing, collecting humorous taxidermy, and crushing on Nathan Fillion. Her nonfiction life is a series of adventures that will inspire the freaks and outsiders of society to take notes and create something beautiful for future generations to examine. 

By Jenny Lawson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Furiously Happy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand. And that's what Furiously Happy is all about."

Jenny’s readings are standing room only,…

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