10 Books to Pretend to Read in a Coffee Shop so the Bae of Your Dreams Will Notice You

Ever dream about an epic meet-cute? The one where exactly the right type of person approaches you for reasons beyond your toned pilates bod or edgy haircut? Do you want the man/woman/non-binary cutie of your dreams to think your deep? Worry no more, your solution is here!

This book list will tell you what to read and why. Each book attracts a certain type of (pseudo) intellectual bae. Read some Sylvia Plath if you want a gothic cutie. More into woke political types? Let him/her/they catch you reading some Noam Chomsky while nibbling on a scone with a pensive grimace.

It’s all in the byline baby.

1 | BASIC BAE: The Cruise of the Rolling Junk by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We all read The Great Gatsby in high school unless you were, like, homeschooled. Congrats! You’re 16! Now learn about all the excess of the 1920’s and the difference between the cool part of the Hamptons and the shady part! The pseudo-intellectual cutie will be drawn to this the second his eyes meet the familiar author. He’ll be all, “Oh! F. Scott Fitzgerald, I know that one!” The special someone who approaches you with this book in your hand is a basic bitch in disguise… but then again, so are you.

2 | EMO BAE: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Welcome to your emo calling card! Do you want all potential love interests to know that you had a tumultuous adolescence? Can you not pull off the ripped fishnets and platform Doc Martens that would deem you a proper Internet goth? YOUR SOLUTION IS HERE! With The Bell Jar in hand, you will attract someone who (also) still likes Death Cab for Cutie — you guys can read Tumblr poetry until the cows come home. Just please… don’t stick your heads in the oven.

3 | POLITICALLY RESPONSIBLE BAE: Hegemony or Survival By Noam Chomsky

Do you want someone who is just as bummed as you are about America’s quest for global dominance? Does thinking about colonialism too long make you want to get bangs? Hold 304 pages of knowledge bombs in your hand and watch as a cutie in horn-rimmed glasses and uncombed hair approaches you (who has time to comb their hair when they’re up at 2am writing political memos anyway?). This bae will drink black coffee with you and explain over and over again why libertarian socialism is not an oxymoron.

4 | AGRO BAE: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

For whatever troubling reason, toxic masculinity turns you on. You want a partner who’s going to get in a bar fight in your honor. Hopefully your friends will have an intervention with you before you get serious with anyone like this, but for now, you think his/hers/their backward notions on gender roles is vintage — just like your pin curls. On the other hand, the bae that sees the EH byline and struts on over to you is a project. But maybe, by the end of it all, you’ll have them petting kittens and reading Audre Lorde in the bathtub.

5 | HOMOEROTIC YUPPY BAE: Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

The bae that saunters over to you after peeping your face buried in this darkly hilarious piece of literature loves the collar popping pastel looks of the 80’s. They believe sexuality is on a spectrum which is cool by you and all, but for some reason they think this bears repeating. (They also want you to have a threesome at the New York City public library with their best friend Blake from Exeter.)

6 | IMMATURE BAE: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

This bae may literally skip over to you in a pair of overalls with a T-shirt of Rey from Star Wars’ face on it. But this is perfect for you. This is a bae willing to cosplay for any movie that comes with its own line of merch at Targét. You two can shamelessly collect Fuko Pop! dolls to your dust allergy’s dismay. Also YA bae is sensitive AF. He cried so hard in The Fault in Our Stars that he could not finish his Reeses Pieces. A world of Fruity Pebbles and watching Hey Arnold! on Hulu awaits you. And to be honest, Hey Arnold! is a masterpiece.

7 | SOCAL INFLUENCER BAE, South and West by Joan Didion

So you’re an avid follower of the Emma Roberts’ book club, Belletrist, and live in Atwater Village with your two kids and their abundance of tiny fringed moccasins. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to be flirted with when you venture over to Intelligentsia in Silver Lake for some “me time.” Flip open a copy of South and West by the Queen of California Cool herself, Joan Didion, and watch a guy with a wider-brimmed hat than you come right on over. You two can talk farmer’s markets and sustainable living while also endorsing one another with matte fit tea for some extra cash money. Those baby moccasins don’t buy themselves!

8 | SELF-INVOLVED BAE: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Self-care is every millennial’s middle name. Want a bae who gets that taking care of yourself first is for the greater good? And yes, sometimes that means investing in some MDNA moisturizer over saving for your anniversary trip to Ojai. If your last life partner didn’t get it, let Ayn Rand’s tour de force lure in the rational objectivist of your dreams. You two can philosophize about why the western world is crumbling! Or perhaps all he knows is that The Fountainhead is about architects in the 1930’s. At the very least, you two could visit some Frank Lloyd Wright houses for some very Instagrammable dates.

9 | LIAR BAE: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Run, hide, scream. You put potential bae to the test and potential bae failed. By approaching you with an “I LOVE Infinite Jest!” He is implying he has actually read more than one sentence of this book. No human has gotten past the cover of Infinite Jest. I have a conspiracy theory that this book was made to tell if you are a robot or human. So this guy is either a robot or Jesse Eisenberg. In the case of the latter, ask him to sit down and tell you if Armie Hammer’s thighs are as muscular as they look in Call Me By Your Name.

10 | WOKE BAE (and probably your best bet): A Mercy by Toni Morrison

You read Beloved in AP English and you’re now trying on some of Morrison’s newer works for size. By cracking this baby open in public, you are actually bettering the entire establishment. The bae that sees you reading this incredibly layered, difficult piece — and knows what it is enough to approach you could be LONG-TERM BAE. Congrats, you have a woke cutie on your hands! This is a bae you could take to a sensitive museum exhibit who would actually act accordingly and leave the flash photography for posing in front of a Liechtenstein at LACMA.

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