Many of us have been there. You're at a new fella's apartment and *covertly* wander over to his bookshelf, taking care not to seem too studied as you appraise his collection and draw conclusions (okay, judgements) based off of its contents.
The titles seem harmless, if a tad basic, enough; until you notice an overarching trend. Jack Kerouac is next to Jonathan Franzen, who's next to Chuck Palahniuk, who's next to — oh goddamnit, is that "Into the Wild??" With a mixture of dread and disdain, you realize you've unwittingly stumbled into the lair of a fuckboy.
Now, allow me to make an important disclaimer: These books and authors are not exclusively read and/or enjoyed by fuckboys. A majority of the following titles, to clarify, have been favorably received by the women of Revelist. But when you see these same works aligned with little to no variation on one gentleman's shelf — that's a red flag you're chartering into douchebag territory.
Here are 29 books that indicate you're dealing with a literary fuckboy.
"Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse
Favored by the psuedo-spiritual, "I took a class on Buddhism once" fuckboy.
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values" by Robert M. Pirsig
If the dude ventures to reference "classical versus romantic understanding" in conversation, you can be assured he's a fan even before locating Pirsig's presence on his bookshelf.
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
This requires no explanation.
"Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut
More than one Vonnegut title on said gent's shelf, and you can be assured of who and what you're dealing with.
"Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace
Chances are he hasn't finished, or perhaps even started, "Infinite Jest," but it will nevertheless be visibly present on his shelf.
"Women" by Charles Bukowski
As described by Esquire in its heteronormative 2015 compilation of books every man should read: "It's about Bukowski. And women. And sex. And you."
"Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer
Just go ahead and call this the Bible of boys with a passion for fuckery.
"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
Or wait... could this be the one true fuckboy text of biblical proportions?
"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
The true literary fuckboy empathizes ardently with Holden Caulfield.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemmingway
Below, please find an explanatory exchange between our soldier protagonist, Robert Jordan, and Maria, the Spanish teen who, despite having lost her family and being raped and imprisoned, is cured of her suffering by Robert's penis:
Maria: "And now I am happy that I did not die. I am so happy that I did not die. And you can love me?"
Robert: "Yes. I love you now."
M: "And I can be thy woman?"
R: "I cannot have a woman doing what I do. But thou art my woman now."
M: "If once I am, then I will keep on. Am I thy woman now?"
R: "Yes, Maria. Yes, my little rabbit."
"Rabbit, Run" by John Updike
Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is a man-child having a mid-life crisis at age 26. He impulsively abandons his pregnant wife and young child, then immediately begins banging a new woman with whom he refuses to use birth control.
The one who should be running is you when you see a dog-eared copy of this on a dude's shelf.
"American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
Bet he's only watched the movie.
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
"I am pretty sure that murderers and fuckboys alike read that," said my best friend Adam.
"The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene
And he'll suggest that you read Greene's other famous work, "The Art of Seduction."
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Maybe he feels he's been done wrong by a Daisy, and that was the catalyst propelling him to fuckery. Or maybe he was just invited to a 1920s-themed party and needed to brush up on his Lost Generation lingo from high school.
"Watchmen" by Alan Moore
Guarantee he has either this or "V for Vendetta." OR "Batman: The Killing Joke." Of all the comics out there, these three are the ones you're likeliest to see on the fuckboy's shelf.
"Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman
Because he's, like, into poetry, y'know? He also read "Howl," remember?
"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce
"The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand
He *kind of* gets that it's a manifesto of conservative ideologies, but still likes it because FREEDOM. Go 'Murica!
"Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen
In which upper-middle class white dudes complain about how tragic it is to be an upper-middle class white dude. But hey, at least they're being "honest" in their misogyny?
"Animal Farm" by George Orwell
This book singularly informs his understanding of the Soviet Union.
"Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" by Chuck Klosterman
“Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less.” The fuckboy has this line committed to memory.
"The Awakening" by Kate Chopin
REDEMPTION. (This is a joke, ha ha.)