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joe teaching a class in \'you\' season 4
joe teaching a class in \'you\' season 4
Culture > Entertainment

All The Books & Authors Mentioned In ‘You’ Season 4

In You, Joe Goldberg’s love for literature has lived on more than his various identities. And probably his victims. 

Stepping into the life of university professor Jonathan Moore for Season 4, it’s expected that, like the episodes before — in which the protagonist took on roles as librarian and even bookstore manager — mentions of classics and name-dropped authors will be sprinkled throughout this season. Spoiler warning: Spoilers for Season 4 of You follow.

His American short stories syllabus for his students, though, contains more than just some book recs: It sneaks in some of the season’s main themes and motivations. Foreshadowing, much? 

And, paired with some of the reading choices by the leading characters, it provides the tone of thrill, passion and creepy-ish vibes You is famous for going for. 

So, hello, you. Check out below every book and author mentioned in You Season 4.

My Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
nadia and joe in season 4 of \'you\'

Written from October 2003 to December 2004, My Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is one of the most recurring works in You, appearing both as a gift from Joe to his student Nadia and in the farewell speech in one of the character’s funeral, both in Episode 3. 

A brave and emotionally charged analysis on loss and life, this novel is remarkably honest and pungent. From one of America’s most iconic writers, it follows her attempts to understand grief after the sudden passing of her husband John and the illness of her daughter, Quintana.

Five Decades: Poems 1925 – 1970 by Pablo Neruda

Maybe the inspiration behind aspiring artist Simon Soo’s pieces was reading Neruda. Played by Aidan Cheng, the character was depicted reading Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970 right before his most… memorable exhibition in the episode “Portrait of the Artist.”

A definitive collection of the works by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, the novel includes elements from Residence on Earth, A Hundred Love Sonnets and more, showing Neruda’s dexterity on writing about topics like love and politics.

The Man Of The Crowd by Edgar Allan Poe

Part of Jonathan Moore’s American short stories syllabus, The Man Of The Crowd is told by a nameless narrator who, after people-watching in a café, decides to follow an old man through the streets of London. Written in 1840, the story has interpretations that span from the loneliness of living in a big city and even the conflict of being “the man of the crowd,” alone but never alone.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
joe looking through a window in \'you\' season 4

Another short story from Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of the author’s best known works, often considered a Gothic literature classic. Recounted by yet another anonymous character, the story is told by a narrator that commits a murder in what he explains is the perfect crime. 

With no apparent motive for the killing, he constantly tries to prove his sanity to the reader. Sounds like foreshadowing.

Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang is an American science-fiction writer, known for short stories and novellas such as Exhalation, Hell Is The Absence Of God, and Story Of Your Life, which was made into the 2016 film Arrival. Understood as a “humanist” sci-fi writer, Chiang has a style distinct within the genre for its sensibility, as it nods to subjective themes like love, memory and redemption. 

Featured in “The Best American Short Stories” collection, the author has had his work translated in over 20 languages and won 27 major sci-fi awards throughout his career.

The Body in the Library and Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Given that this season is a mix between an Agatha Christie mystery and Gossip Girl, it’s expected for the English writer to be mentioned at some point.

Recommended by student Nadia and included in Joe’s reading list — hello, The Body in the Library and Murder at the Vicarage — Christie’s novels earned her the place of most-read author of all time. With 66 novels and short stories under her belt, she is recognized for being the most important figure in crime fiction.

Hercule Poirot, a fictional detective born by her pen, is even mentioned by Joe, as he thinks to himself after a murder, “What would Hercule Poirot do?”

Charles Bukowski
joe walking in london in season 4 of \'you\'

The fourth season opens up with one of Charles Bukowski’s most famous verses: “Find what you love and let it kill you,” a quote from one of his letters.

Iconic for his writing on loneliness, emotion, sexuality and urban life, Bukowski is deemed a cult-classic author, using his verses as a mechanism to deal with memories of abuse, violence, and experience. More often than not seen as offensive, his style set him apart as one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century. Among his novels and short stories are Sometimes You Are So Alone It Just Makes Sense, Love Is A Dog From Hell, and Pulp Fiction.

Robert Lowell

Featured on Jonathan Moore’s bookshelf, the novel Day by Day is written by Robert Lowell, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Considered one of the pioneers of confessional poetry and one of the most important poets of the 20th century, Lowell turned to his personal life for inspiration. 

One of his most acclaimed works, the collection Life Studies, was published in 1959 and went on to win accolades like 1960’s National Book Award for Poetry and the title of Groundbreaking Book by the Academy of American Poets. Breaking his past tendencies to use meter and rhyme in his poetry, Lowell sprinkles his autobiographical sketches with intimacy and pain.

Thanks for the recs, Joe. I guess while I wait for news of Season 5, I can start making my way through my suddenly much-longer TBR.

Isabella Gemignani

Casper Libero '23

Isabella Gemignani is a National Writer for Her Campus and editor-in-chief of Her Campus Casper Libero. She covers everything culture-related for the national website - and oversees her chapter's content production, which involves editorial, social media, podcast and events verticals and makes up a team of over 100 girls. Beyond Her Campus, Isabella writes for the architecture and design magazine Casa e Jardim, Brazil's oldest magazine currently in the editorial market. With a 70-year-old history, Casa e Jardim is known for its traditional culture, gastronomy and lifestyle curation. When not writing – which is rare –, Isabella can be found reading classic novels and looking for new music releases that remind her of the feeling she had when she listened to AM for the first time.