March 12, 2015 • Cee • Lists

Do you ever wonder about what books shaped the lives of the characters you read about? What were Kami Glass from The Lynburn Legacy, Seth from More Than This, or Taylor Markham from Jellicoe Road reading? What books did they love?

In Essential Reading, readers and authors share five to seven books (children’s, YA, general fiction, romances, nonfiction, and all) that they or their characters love, or has impacted their lives or their characters’s lives.

I’m incredibly excited about this series. I wanted to do a feature that focused on authors and their characters, and that gave me the opportunity to contact authors, and voila! We have this lovely feature. It’s a great idea, right? Because we all have those favorite books we hold close to our heart, but what about those characters? They are readers too; they must have books they love.

So, I am very honored to have David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland, kick off this feature. Let’s give him a warm welcome!


by David Arnold

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein



In addition to Mim’s multiple references to LOTR throughout the book, in my mind, there is no greater “road trip” than Frodo’s journey from the Shire to the fires of Mount Doom. I try to reread LOTR every other Christmas (alternating between this and Harry Potter), a habit I believe Mim would whole-heartedly approve of.



The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky



In the earliest drafts of Mosquitoland, the story was about a new kid at school. That changed eventually, but this “new kid” mentality is something I tried to maintain throughout the revision process. To me, Perks is the ultimate book for any new kid. Not to mention the epistolary angle. Mim spends much of her time writing very personal, introspective letters, and I think she definitely would have considered Charlie’s letters in doing so.

Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash and Patrick Carr



At the heart of Mosquitoland, Mim is desperately trying to connect with her mother, and in doing so, find her own identity. Music is one of the many things she clings to when considering her mom, specifically Johnny Cash. I like to think this may have even been a book they read together.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J.D. Salinger



I would be remiss not to include something from Salinger on this list. The ultimate first-person snark. And while he’s more known for Catcher in the Rye, I think Mim would prefer one of his Glass family novellas. All those brothers and sisters, each one a genius in their own right—hard to imagine an only child like Mim not finding the appeal here.

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak



Here’s another one Mim actually mentions in the book. Far different from the others, this is an absolute masterpiece by Maurice Sendak, a chapter book for the morose child. The protagonist of the book, a strong-willed lad named Pierre, is in a perpetually apathetic state (his go-to phrase being “I don’t care”), and ultimately he gets… well, I don’t want to spoil the ending. But I think this is a book grown-up Mim might read to her children.





David Arnold is the author of MOSQUITOLAND (Viking/Penguin, 2015). Previous “jobs” include freelance musician/producer, stay-at-home dad, and preschool teacher. He is a fierce believer in the power of kindness and community. And chips. He believes fiercely in chips. David is represented by Dan Lazar at Writers House. You can find him at and on twitter @roofbeam.




And in honor of this inaugural post, I am giving away a copy of Mosquitoland! Yeeeeee. If you aren’t convinced that you need to pick up this book, here are my reasons why I’m so pumped for this book!

The rules:

  • This giveaway is opened internationally (as long as The Book Depository delivers to you).
  • The giveaway will run from March 12 to 28.
  • You must be 13 years (with your parent’s permission) or older.
  • You will be disqualified if you pick up entries you haven’t done.
  • If the winner does not respond to my e-mail within 48 hours, I will have to choose another winner.
  • I am not responsible for any items lost in the mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read any of the books that are on Mim’s essential reading list? 


19 Responses to “ESSENTIAL READING | Five Books Mim from Mosquitoland Would Love + Why!”

  1. I’m dying to read Mosquitoland and this fab reading list just proves that I need to get myself a copy stat! I love that Perks is on here (one of my fave books!) and that Mim likes to write letters like Charlie! What an awesome new feature, Cee!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Eep! I love the letter aspect, I didn’t know that about Mosquitoland but now I want it even moarrrr. AND MUSIC? SIGN ME UP. I absolutely love that as an only child, Mim would find brothers and sisters appealing.

    I’m sooooo glad you finally got this feature up and running. IT’S FAB and it just makes me want to read the book more and more and more.

  3. Alexa S. says:

    What a fabulous feature! I love the idea behind this so dang much, and I loved seeing what Mim would probably be likely to read. Definitely looking forward to hopefully checking Mosquitoland out soon!

  4. This is such an awesome new feature I have come across! I am really excited to reading Mosquitoland in the future as it’s definitely a book that I’d surely be interested to read! Thank you so much for the giveaway! This is such a great opportunity :)

  5. I have read TPOB, and LOTR has forever been on my TBR list. Looking forward to reading Mosquitoland, one way or another.

  6. Cee, that’s it. YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF CREATIVITY. These features of yours will have my heart FOREVER. I’ve been eyeing up Mosquitoland land forever, and now I’m even more intrigued. I love a bit of Salinger. And if this main character loves a bit of Salinger then count me in!

  7. I LOVED Mosquitoland so I am super loving this post. What a great post idea. :D

  8. I really want to read The Perks of being a wallflower and I still haven’t got around to it.

  9. Sydney says:

    Mosquitoland is definitely on my list! I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. And then there’s Lord of the Rings which my friend let me borrow but I never read because I am REALLY lazy and it’s a really big and involved book. D: I’m ashamed to say this but…it’s so much…

    THIS FEATURE IS SO CREATIVE TOO WHAT THE HECK. I love it and I seriously can’t wait to see what other authors you interview!

  10. Isa says:

    I’m so excited to read Mosquitoland. The only books I’ve read from this list are LotR and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I loved both though Tolkien’s language was sometimes difficult to get through. Its really interesting seeing the different selection of books and how they connect with the character.

  11. Piroska says:

    I’ve read LOTR, and Perks of Being a Wallflower

  12. Sarah R. says:

    Awww, I loved Pierre when I was a kid! I’ve only read The Hobbit, but not Lord of the Rings (but I’ve seen some of the movies–does that count? Probably not!).

  13. Bruna says:

    Mosquitoland sounds awesome! I haven’t read any of these books, besides the first LOTR book, but I am also planning to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This feature is so great! I love the idea of thinking up personality quirks for my favorite characters, like favorite books or food and stuff like that. =)

  14. Denisa says:

    Oh man, I absolutely ADORED Mosquitoland and it’s great to see what Mim would love to read. I actually haven’t read ANY of these books (shame on me, I know) but I do plan on picking them up.

  15. I haven’t read any of the books… Not even Lord of the Rings. Someday, though… :D

  16. rebecca e says:

    I’ve Read Perks and loved it and the movie :D

  17. Krystianna says:

    I’ve actually only read one of the ones on the reading list! I’ve read Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is actually one of my all time favorite books. My edition is all beat up and has tons of post its all throughout it, marking up my favorite quotes! The movie is also pretty awesome too. :)

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