What could be better than a hand-picked recommendation from someone in the know? Every Wednesday the XOXOAD team likes to find out what some of its favorite authors are reading. Today we asked Caroline Kepnes, author this year’s most perversely clever and dangerously twisted thriller, You, to tell us!


I have been deep cleaning, foraging through boxes. So I have been cringe-reading journal entries from my college days. I recover from this process by spending quality time with John Dufresne’s immensely pleasurable collection, Johnny Too Bad. I was drawn to the cover; I can smell a book about Florida a mile away. You know there will be murder, intrigue and pastels. Dufresne’s stories have so much atmosphere, it’s like the pages are emitting heat. It’s been the perfect book for this heat wave that’s taken over LA, too.

Around this time of year, I always read some Charles Bukowski. Back-to-school season makes me want to revisit his anti-establishment ire. The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship combines his diary entries with illustrations by Robert Crumb. Bukowski is so blunt. I love blunt. He writes about his toenails with such clarity.

I am also excited because sociologist Kjerstin Gruys’s Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at it For a Year will arrive in the mail any day now. Suspenseful, structurally smart nonfiction always dazzles me. Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Nick Reding’s Methland are two of my favorites.

I can feel myself into going into list-every-book-I-ever-read mode so I will stop now, with one more mention, Lucinda Rosenfeld’s What She Saw…. I need to read that book again after I finish organizing my decaying journals.