Community is a strange show. There’s almost no other adjective that describes the comedy. Except maybe kooky. Or crass. But mostly, it’s strange.
Community follows a study group at Greendale Community College and the downright zany situations they find themselves in. (Paintball, anyone?). And luckily for us during this wonderful Library Week, a large part of the show takes place in the library, perfectly fitting our theme. But choosing books for Community fans is no easy feat. Based solely on the people who I know watch the show, we’re a really eclectic group. But there is another book-picking solution.
A big part of Community‘s charm is the characters. The NBC staple is full of people who have such over-the-top characterizations that it’s impossibly easy to pick out a book for each of them to love and cherish. Ever think you are just like Annie (or Troy or Shirley)? Then these books are for you:
For Jeff Winger: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
Hands down, this was the easiest character to pick a title for. Jeff Winger — hipster, womanizer, ego-maniac — meet your match in Tucker Max, the man who single-handedly brought the world of blog-world of frat humor into the literary world. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is a collection of stories about Max’s exploits, and while presented in a way that is funny and engaging, they also sort of make you feel like scum for even being part of the same species as this guy.
An excerpt from the introduction of the book is proof enough:
My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead. But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way: I share my adventures with the world.
For Britta Perry: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged. (CanaryTheFirst will surely flay me for that.) I actually have almost no idea what it is about besides the fact that trains are definitely involved. I do know that while I was getting my mind blown by Ender’s Game in high school, my super literary friends were having the same experience with Atlas Shrugged.
It’s one of those books, one that has such an impact on a formative mind that the reader simply cannot shut up about it to absolutely everyone they meet. And we all know that’s precisely what Britta will be doing after reading this book. She will march out into the world and tell them about the evils of corporation (or is that the other way around?) and sexist tendencies in every walk of life and all of the things that we definitely maybe need to hear.
For Abed Nadir: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
No, it’s not just because Abed is a quintessiental antisocial nerd. He has a career to think about, people. The budding film director would surely be thinking about his own take on the film adaptation of the scifi classic.
Set in a fairly distance future, Ender’s Game follows Ender Wiggin, a six-year-old recruit to Battle School, a place where the military trains the future leaders of the galactic army. Lurking on the edge of the gritty, highly-psychological story is the threat of another Bugger invasion. And who wouldn’t want to see Abed’s version of a Bugger?
Imagine the cast: Annie as Valentine, Jeff as Peter, Britta as a bugger, Pierce as a Bonzo, and Chang with his youthful baby face as Ender. Brilliant.
For Troy Barnes: Those books over there!
Troy is the Constable Reginald Wigglesworth to Abed’s Inspector Spacetime. And you know his books list is full of just atrocious B-movie-grade scifi trash that we all secretly love.
And we know he wouldn’t just pick one.
For Pierce Hawthorne: Native Son by Richard Wright
Pierce tries. He really does.
The sexist and wildly racist comments he makes are just because he is a product of a different generation. Either that or he’s really just an asshole at heart. So what better way to try and break through the stereotypes than read one of the most influential pieces of African-American literature: Native Son.
Wright’s story is about a young African-American who murders a white woman in 1930s Chicago. It covers a whole range of topics in which Pierce certainly could use some enlightenment: poverty, race, gender, etc.
Though…I think it’s safe to assume he’ll miss the point entirely.
For Shirley Bennett: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Ha, you all thought it would be a hardcore Christian book like the bible, didn’t you? But I think when Shirley sits down to read, she picks up a book with a badass female heroine who is full of wit and humor. And there is hardly another character out there that fits the description better than Stephanie Plum, Evanovich’s break out star of a protagonist.
One for the Money is Plum’s first adventure. It follows the tell-it-like-it-is New Jersian as she embarks on a career for which she has absolutely no training: a bail bonds woman. Full of hilarious characters, action and flirtation galore, it’s a perfect read for any woman looking for a kindred spirit.
For Annie Edison: The Know-it-all by AJ Jacobs
The true story follows Jacobs’ attempt to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. For a generation that has abandoned the book for the likes of Wikipedia, the feat could not be more daunting: 33,000 pages, 44 million words. It’s an insane quest, something that only someone with Annie’s determination could ever hope to pull off. It’s one of my favorite pieces of nonfiction that weaves personal story with education, humor and curiosity.
I recommend it for anyone who has ever attempted to know something about everything.
What do you think of Community? What other books would those characters be checking out?
Past TV Tuesday features: