We get such an intimate look at the residents of Pawnee, Indiana on Parks and Recreation, yet we have no idea what Leslie, Ben and the other employees of the city government are reading. Luckily, after spending six years with them, it’s pretty easy to guess. Though you’d never see them borrow these books from a library, you can be sure that this is what the characters from Parks and Recreation are reading:
Leslie Knope: Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
For Leslie, reading isn’t just a recreational activity — it’s a chance to learn about the women in politics that she admires so ardently. Leslie’s copy of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Living History is annotated, highlighted and nearly falling apart from all the times she’s flipped through it. She has already pre-ordered Clinton’s second memoir and calls the publisher each week to confirm that they are absolutely, positively sure that there isn’t a way the book can be sent early to Clinton’s biggest (emotional) supporter. Of course, everyone needs a guilty pleasure, too — and that’s where Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden comes in. Leslie likes to refer to it as her “romance novel.” It is also annotated, though you don’t want to know with what.
Ron Swanson: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Listen, Ron loves Diane — really, he does — but when it comes to the number one woman in his life, that will always be Ayn Rand. For starters, she’s a brunette. But it’s so much more than looks: It’s that sexy libertarianism that has made Ron an Ayn Rand fan since day one (when he began working at six years old). He believes that The Fountainhead — not a Gideon Bible — should be placed in each and every hotel room across America.
Tom Haverford: The Big Book of Small Business by Andrew Griffiths
And to think it was only last season that Tom would have been reading Nicole Debauville’s How to Meet P. Diddy. But now with Rent-a-Swag becoming larger and larger, Tom has finally started to tuck away his dreams of moving to Miami and becoming Dwayne Wade’s best friend, and is getting serious. The Big Book of Small Business is currently at his bedside — next to a framed photo of Kim Kardashian that he cut out of US Weekly. He’s grown a lot, but he refuses to put everything away.
April Ludgate: I Hate Everyone by Matthew DiBenedetti
For years, April had trouble finding a book she could relate to. So many of the ones she read were about people being redeemed or falling in love or even just being happy together. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon Matthew DiBenedetti’s I Hate Everyone that she finally found a book that speaks to her heart. She likes to hide the cover of the book so that when people ask her what she’s reading, she can respond, “I Hate Everyone.” It makes her laugh every single time.
Andy Dwyer: How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
Andy was super excited when he picked up a copy of Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? He was, however, less than excited once he finished the book and realized that Heti provides no conclusive answer. He is now waiting for the sequel.
Ben Wyatt: Game of Thrones and Philosophy by Henry Jacoby
Ben prefers to go for a book that satisfies both parts of his personality: the thinker and the gamer. Game of Thrones and Philosophy speaks to him on a deep, personal level, and — bonus points — it has only made him cry once. Well, only made him cry in public once.
Chris Traeger: Immortality by Stephen Cave
Chris Traeger has always had an obsession with immortality, but now that he’s going to be a father he is lit-erally determined to live forever. He has been listening to Stephen Cave’s Immortality on tape while he does his morning run of 30 miles.
Jerry Gergich: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gale Gergich gave Jerry Gone Girl for Christmas. Unfortunately, April spoiled it for him before he could even get a quarter of the way through. April didn’t even read it — she just Wiki-ed the ending and read it aloud to him.
Ann Perkins: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
When April realized how much fun it was to spoil Gone Girl for Jerry, she gave a copy to Ann. Ann was touched and told Leslie that she feels like her and April are finally starting to form a bond. Two hours later, April sent Ann an email with the subject line, “Saw this and thought you’d enjoy!” It was a spoiler to Gone Girl.
Donna Meagle: Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Donna is currently reading — and sorely disappointed in — Fifty Shades of Grey. Her book club promised a scandalous and stimulating treat, but Donna has had first dates rowdier than Ana and Christian’s love affair.
What will the Parks and Rec crew read next? What are their favorite books of all time? When will they finally do away with that damn library?! Share your ideas in the comments below!
Michelle King grew up in South Florida, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her contributions have appeared on BULLETT, Refinery29, xoJane and The Huffington Post. Harriet M. Welsch is still her role model and probably always will be.
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