Book Recs for the Animal Crossing: New Horizons NPCs
[source: blog post author Gabrielle Bujak]
Over the years, the Animal Crossing franchise has brought us comfort and joy via adorable animal villagers, ridiculous word play, and rewarding activities from catching that rare coelacanth to terra-forming the perfect waterfall. The irony of Blathers’s entomophobia makes us laugh, the way Timmy and Tommy echo one another makes us aww, and the surprising drama between Redd and Tom Nook build a world we can easily immerse ourselves in.
With the current state of the world, it only makes sense that we turn to the latest Animal Crossing: New Horizons to bring us that much needed sense of control and peace of mind, and because of their ability to delight and comfort us, it’s only fair we pay it forward…with personalized book recommendations! We’ve seen them pulling out books with their down time, and it’s about time they got that right. Here’s some reads they can add to their TBR piles.
For Tom Nook: The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
Is this book already on Tom Nook’s radar? Is it probably one of the books he regularly flips through at the Resident Services counter? Most likely, but if he hasn’t gotten his little tanuki paws on it yet, then we know he’d gladly devour this book during one of his overnight shifts. Nook’s a businessman through and through, but he’s also a kindhearted person and would appreciate sections like “Greet Each Day with Love in Your Heart.”
For Timmy and Tommy: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
Yes, this rec may be a bit too young for them, but it’s the sentiment that counts. This iconic picture book is the perfect congratulatory gift for graduates of any age, and although we don’t know much about Timmy and Tommy’s education, we do know that as sales clerks, they take their jobs seriously (…seriously) and are going to go far with their business ventures. It would be even sweeter if a certain tanuki mentor was the one to give it to them.
For Isabelle: Bites of Terror by Cuddles and Rage
We all know she’s cute. We all know she’s deadly (Have you seen her as a combatant in Super Smash Bros Ultimate? Have you watched her brutally destroy other racers in Mario Kart 8? Do you know who her best friend is?). What better book is there than a diorama styled comic book featuring adorable food puns and diabolical tales written by the sculpting duo that goes by Cuddles and Rage? During her morning announcements, Isabelle mentions the dramas, reality shows, and other TV she watches on her time off, and we think she’d eat up the drama in these pages. And when your job is as demanding as hers, you may not have time to invest in a large-scale series or even a full-length novel, so these 10 short novels are perfect for her 24/7 work schedule.
For Wilbur: The Obama/Biden Mystery series by Andrew Shaffer
Have you ever visited a friend’s island, walked into their airport, and tried to walk through the gates and to the right? Well, if you do, a hidden Wilbur stops you and asks if you’re a visitor or a spy (Note: you can only accomplish this by boundary breaking, like YouTuber Shesez does at 9:35 of this video). That got us thinking that with an imagination (or a keen eye) like that, Wilbur could be a fan of spy novels or at least mysteries, and once that idea took flight, it wasn’t hard to imagine him enjoying Andrew Shaffer’s Hope Never Dies and Hope Rides Again mysteries. Both Wilbur and Joe are dedicated to a specific mode of transport (Amtrak and Dodo Airlines), both work closely with colleagues they’d call their brothers (Barry and Orville), and both sport the slickest of aviators.
For Sable: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Remember the “Mistress Mary, quite contrary” rhyme? Now think of “Seamstress Sable, withdrawn at her table.” No, we’re not saying Sable is as caustic as Mary is in the beginning of Burnett’s The Secret Garden, but the two share a similar character arc. They’ve both been thrown into difficult situations after the death of their parents, they both start off as standoffish misanthropes, and they both develop bonds with select individuals that help them open up and find a bit of happiness. If Sable ever stepped away from her sewing machine, we think she would gladly follow Weatherstaff’s robin into the secret garden and lose herself among the rose-covered garden with Mary, Dickon, and Colin.
For Mabel: The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell
Oh, to be the youngest child and have to watch your family bicker over bills and individual dreams and life’s big decisions. For those new to the Animal Crossing franchise, there’s a prickly past between the two older Able sisters that luckily seems to have been resolved in New Horizons. Now that those dark days are behind her, Mabel could enjoy a series like that of the Corfu Trilogy, a humorous and heartfelt story of another family that struggled to make ends meet and regularly clashed along the way. Mabel could relate to Gerry’s usual level-headed way of thinking, his ability to make friends easily, his having to relocate and restart, and his frustration and love for his unusual family.
For Label: Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida
Imagine a character who’s a bit spoiled, has impeccable fashion sense, struggles a bit with their self-identity, carries the drive and determination of an entrepreneur, and holds a surprising amount of heart and loyalty for their loved ones. Are we talking about Label or Mia from the upcoming Siri, Who Am I?? Yes, it’s both. Similar to her sisters, we think Label would best enjoy a story featuring a relatable character, which will allow her to separate from her family for a bit and self-reflect on what’s important to her. Also, maybe Mia could give Label a good laugh and a spine-tingling mystery to invest in.
For Blathers: Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg
If you don’t think Blathers is reading every book he can find about fish, fossils, art, and yes, even bugs, then that’s completely valid, but we feel any book we recommend to Blathers about those subjects has already been cataloged in his brain or at least on his TBR list. The guy’s a true civic hero, pushing through his fear of bugs so he can give us the curated details about the toxicity of paper kite butterflies (who knew?). We think he’d greatly enjoy reading Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People. It’s not that Blathers doesn’t understand the importance of social spaces in forming social bonds, it’s just that as the island’s museum curator, it may be nice to have your job validated every now and then.
For Celeste: On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Give this girl a space opera. Even better, give her a long, illustrated space opera where she can immerse herself in a story soaked in space dust. Better yet, give her a story that follows a band of amazing women (and a non-binary individual) discovering themselves among the stars. You know how Celeste just stops in the middle of the beach or the town plaza and looks to the skies with stars reflected in her wonder-filled eyes? That’s how we think she’d feel reading through Walden’s epic graphic novel, On a Sunbeam.
For C.J. and Flick: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
C.J. constantly tells stories about how he and his artsy partner Flick grew up together. Although the official guide states they’re business partners, crushing the spirits of many LGBTQ+ Animal Crossing fans, we like to think our a-fish-cionado and bugged-out art fiend are at least close enough to appreciate a beautiful tale of a special relationship between two boys with seemingly clashing personalities. And since they’re roommates, they’d have time to start a mini book club (when they’re not updating their social channels and working on their art, that is).
It’s also pretty difficult for LGBTQ+ representation to make it into mainstream Japanese media, especially via a global video game franchise that’s marketed for children, so nothing is preventing you from letting your own imagination take over.
For Wisp: Over the Garden Wall comics by Pat McHale and various artists
Is Wisp a ghost? A will-o’-the-wisp? A “lamp spirit?” Maybe even a secret Boo who snuck over to Animal Crossing from Super Mario? Whatever he is, the poor guy’s basically afraid of himself, and we want to help with that. Not with a standard self-help book, but with the humorous and sometimes introspective Over the Garden Wall comics by Pat McHale. Wisp could find a kindred spirit in the main character, Wirt, if not for their shared and often irrational anxieties than for their similar uncanny situations that seem to teeter in a reality between life and death. Wisp could take a few pointers on finding courage and confidence from Beatrice, and Wirt’s brother, Greg, could also give Wisp a good laugh and a chance to destress a bit.
For Gulliver: Vampirates series by Justin Somper
Have you ever noticed that time and time again Gulliver washes up on shore, but there’s not one scratch on him? And he sends you rare booty from around the world to thank you for helping him? The only logical explanation is he’s an immortal pirate. We’re not saying Gulliver’s a vampire (maybe more of a sea-ghost than a seagull), but he runs with a shifty crew and has a lot of treasure to dish out. Maybe he’s just an endearingly airheaded sailor. Maybe his crew members just let him fall overboard because they’re a bit tired of him, but maybe Gulliver can relate to Lorcan and the other vampire pirates from Justin Somper’s Vampirates series more than we thought.
For Kicks: Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Kicks is a bit of an enigma. His newsie appearance suggests he’s a youthful skunk trying to earn a living by selling shoes and bags, but his stoic, composed personality projects that of a more mature businessman. It’s no wonder his appearance is based off of Oliver Twist, an iconic example of a boy who struggles and works hard to find success in life. Similarly, Terry Pratchett’s Dodger (also based on a Dickens’s character) is a young sewer scavenger who rescues a girl and catalyzes a stream of unforeseen events. Kicks would probably appreciate Pratchett’s ability to write for young adults without oversimplifying the writing as well as Dodger’s sharp tongue, scrappy habits, and compassionate personality.
For Redd: Villains series by V. E. Schwab
What could compete with the age old rivalry between Redd and Tom Nook? Potentially that of the vengeful dynamic between Victor and Eli from Scwab’s Villains series. Would Redd root for Eli and his grand-scale plan to eradicate all other superhuman EOs or for Victor and his ten year plot of revenge? Maybe neither. Maybe he’d just appreciate the question of what makes a person good or bad and enjoy the crazy ride that follows.
For Leif: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Similar to Blathers and his thorough reading of all museum related content, Leif must already have read all the latest and greatest books about flowers, shrubbery, and even fertilizer. He is the specialist in those fields after all, but has he branched out into tree territory yet? If not, then The Hidden Life of Trees by forester Peter Wohlleben is the perfect read to start off with. It’s based on scientific discoveries, but it leans into a more unique take on trees by studying their social network in relation to human families. For a sloth who often refers to his wares as “happy,” we think he may enjoy this humanizing comparison.
For Saharah: Field Guide to Stains by Melissa Wagner, Nancy Armstrong, & Virginia M. Friedman
As a travelling carpet and wallpaper sales-camel, Saharah would easily find useful tidbits and how-tos in this stain-combating guide. But she’s a camel on the go, and she needs reading options, so if she has room in her knapsack, she should also grab a copy of Race Me in a Lobster Suit. Villagers from City Folk say she used to be a comedian after all, so she’d get a laugh or two out of the ridiculous Craigslist prank ads.
For Daisy Mae: Aesop’s Fables
Daisy Mae may be starting to get the hang of her gram-gram’s turnip business, but as one of the youngest NPCs in New Horizons, she’s got a lot more to learn about life. Even though she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and just as good a heart, a tale or two from Aesop’s Fables each night before bed could help her get a headstart on things. They’re kid-friendly, easy reads, and moral stories that she could enjoy with her grandmother, Joan.
What would Orville, K. K. Slider, Lloid, or Harvey read? How about Katrina, Rover, Cyrus, Reese, or any other Animal Crossing NPCS? Tag @quirkbooks on Twitter and let us know!
Gabrielle likes a lot of things and dislikes very little. Retired ice cream cake decorator, occasional farmhand, and reminiscing library worker, she spent her childhood dreaming of fighting fires and her college days writing about Bong Joon-ho before he was cool. Now, she preaches the importance of dental hygiene; chats up books, movies, and comics via the Quirk blog; and legally climbs silos. Whether the legality of the silo climbing makes her more or less interesting is up for debate. Email [email protected] if you want to review our titles or feature our authors.