Rent Is Due, But These Books Are Free

Living under late-stage Capitalism is WEIRD. Iced lattes are somehow a bajillion dollars if you ask for oat milk. Celebrities are now rich enough they can, like, go up into space on a random Tuesday, and I'm sat here wondering if buying yet another candle is considered a "treat" because I have a tummy ache and it might make me feel better to gleefully spend my hoards of gold I make as a public librarian*, or whether a sixth P.F. Candle Co. is "FINANCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH MILLENIALS!!!!" It's all very overwhelming. ANYWAY. Despite all of the nonsense that's happening in the "real world", I have good news to share: library cards are totally free, and so are these books.

Below you'll find a list of 10 books that live rent-free in my head, all for the low-low price of no money spent whatsoever. Now no one can judge you for buying those Grecian bust bookends you just "had" to have**. 

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen

It's no secret that I adore K.J. Charles, and I'm pleased to report that her most recent series is her best yet. This is a dreamy book, one that had me recounting the events of the plot like counting sheep, tucked away in bed late at night, ridiculously happy. 

Juniper & Thorn

An eerie, yet romantic novel that has all of the sinister whimsy of classic fairy tales. Whenever my mind wanders, I go back to this book and I can't stop thinking about the satyr character, for better or worse. This one is great for the spooky season. 


When people talk about "hot girl" books, this is the one I immediately want to recommend. Luster is a simmering and impactful tale about the realities of being Black in the U.S.A. The story is never easy, but ohhhh, does it stick with you. 

The Colony

Recently, I got the pleasure of geeking out about this book with a patron, which reminded me just how GOOD this novel is, both witty and poetic. This will teach you more about the troubles, and the plight of some of the last native speakers of Irish. 

Lone Women

A genre-defying novel that is as adventurous as it is empowering; a story of survival and terror, but also the importance of finding your family. I was expecting a scary story, which it can be, but it's also such a beautiful story that champions the marginalized. 


Years and years ago, when I finished reading this excellent family drama, I was sobbing my eyes out, and even now, I could cry just thinking about it. I don't think I could ever forget this book, or the characters. If you haven't read this one yet, you should!

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

You think Capitalism is weird? Well, nothing compares to the strangeness of a Karen Russell short story. Not a week goes by in which I do not daydream about a minotaur hauling a wagon on the Oregon trail, and yes, you read that sentence correctly. 


Octavia Butler is a pillar of science fiction, and there is a reason why her books are ALWAYS checked out; it's because she's just that phenomenal. Kindred is a book I read when I was still in undergrad, and nearly a decade later, I still think about it constantly. 

The Companion

A lovely, carefree historical romance where the marginalized characters are allowed to just exist and be happy. There's very little conflict and the plot meanders peacefully, until things um, heat up, if you will. This is escapism at its spiciest. 


A creepy modern gothic set in a remote, snowed-in area, where the protagonist is a parasitic alien and the antagonist is... an even worse alien. This book is for the hot ghouls who love a spooky story with unique characters and storytelling. 

The Fair Fight

What is better than female pugilists in the 1700's?? Fiction written about them! It's been awhile since I read this one--it might be time for a reread. I have (in)famously recommended this book about a thousand times, and I'll keep doing it, no one can stop me. 

*That was a joke, I assure you your tax dollars are being utilized responsibly.

-Adam is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.