I laughed when I read the Hipster Lit Flowchart from Goodreads. “Hipster” is one of those words you only ever use to describe someone else. But if the shoe fits, you know?
It’s also convenient to be able to fit a name to my reading tastes. Now when people ask what I’m reading I can tell them, “I’m reading this great book, but it’s pretty obscure, you probably haven’t heard of it.” (Which in my defense is usually true.)
That being said, naturally Goodreads left off some classics of the hipster genre. If you want to delve more deeply into Hipster Lit, allow me to humbly recommend the following:
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware
Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O’Nan
The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
The WASP FACTORY: A NOVEL, Iain M. Banks
Achewood (3 hardbound books and/or the webcomic), Chris Onstad
VALIS, Philip K. Dick (hipsters will argue which PKD book belongs on this list. I have chosen Valis somewhat at random.)
Bossypants, Tina Fey. (A touch mainstream, but Tina Fey, come on!)
Hmm, what else? I was going to say Winter’s Bone: A Novel, but they made a movie out of it, which would ordinarily exclude it from hipsterdom. But the movie was bleak and critically well-received while also kind of a flop financially. So put that in the “maybe” pile.
Update: Similarly, I debate whether Murakami belongs on the list, or are his books too mainstream? I think the most correct answer, if you want to be a true Hipster Lit aficionado, is to sing the praises of his earlier work (like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) while turning up your nose at his newer offerings.
P.S. I read Murakami before it was cool. Seriously! I picked up Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World when it was published in 1993, and it blew my mind.