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The library is for lovers

OPINION

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June 26, 2012|By Jen Kim, For RedEye

Are you lonely? Do you have no friends? Are you sitting at home every Friday night watching other people have fun—and finding evidence of it in your hallway the next morning?

Well, suffer no more of these solo nights staying in. I'm pleased to tell you that you do have friends—lots of them—and they can all be ordered on Amazon or checked out from your local library.

Yes, those heavy things that you used to lug around in your backpack in high school are not only making a comeback, but they could also have a significant impact on your social life. Books, my friends, are friends that will help you get friends.

I've compiled this helpful guide, which contains books you should have on hand for various social situations, depending on the outcome you desire.

If you want to attract the opposite sex, read anything by Haruki Murakami. Once on the bus, I practically mauled a guy reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" (my favorite Murakami book). It didn't matter that he didn't speak English or that it was actually a Japanese copy of the book. I loved him just the same.

Classics such as "The Great Gatsby" (F. Scott Fitzgerald) or "The Catcher in the Rye" (J.D. Salinger) have similar effects. Remember, you don't necessarily have to actually "read" these books, but in case your future soul mate has a question about Holden Caulfield, you're probably going to want to at least have scanned the book's Wikipedia page.

If you want to appear smart or intellectual, read any hardcover book that is more than a thousand pages (or looks it), such as "Steve Jobs" (Walter Isaacson), "The Fountainhead" (Ayn Rand) or "War and Peace" (Leo Tolstoy), which actually clocks in at 1,296 pages! However, reading books like this may come across as arrogant or intimidating, so use accordingly.

If you want to have a conversation, like, now, read the "Hunger Games" trilogy (Suzanne Collins). A few years ago, I would have said the "Twilight" series, but society has since evolved. There is a reason why "The Hunger Games" was on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 100 consecutive weeks and why the film adaptation still is in some theaters, more than three months after its initial release.

The eerie pervasive power of "The Hunger Games" is infectious. Nearly anyone you meet will have read it or at least have heard of it—and it's not difficult to spend at least a half-hour discussing the badass-ness of Katniss or why she should choose Peeta over Gale (or vice versa). "Games" aficionados also can discuss the nuanced parallels between the book and other similar dystopian youth novels, such as "Battle Royale."

Other series that have similarly ubiquitous followings are "Game of Thrones" (George R.R. Martin) and "Harry Potter" (J.K. Rowling).

Then again, maybe you don't want to welcome any new visitors into your life. You spend your weekends perfectly content eating cold pizza and watching your fish swim laps in its tank.

Just as some books are magnets for friends, others serve as equally effective repellents, such as: "Going Rogue" (Sarah Palin), "Notes From the Underground" (Fyodor Dostoyevsky), or any books centered on weight loss or eating your way into being thin.

Happy reading!

JEN KIM IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.

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