Welcome to the second installment of our summer reading recs from local writers. This time, fiction writer Mark Baumer has three reading experiences to recommend to you.

We're not sure if this is Mark Baumer.
We’re not sure if this is Mark Baumer.


Mark Baumer once taught a class on mathematics at Hudson City Community College, but his formulas were so abstract that no students signed up for the class. To make up for the emptiness in the classroom, Mark drew human shapes on a brick wall and stood three inches from the brick wall while he gave his lectures. A few of his lectures have been archived at: fiftynovels.com.


from Mark:

  • My favorite “novel” ever is one that I actually read yesterday. It is called “The Survivors”. I’m not sure who it’s by, but from what I can tell a bunch of children wrote it. One of the children is named “Bear Paradise.” Some people might not believe me when I say it’s the greatest novel ever written, but it is…so there’s nothing to not believe. Here is the opening paragraph: “At11:30am, central standard time something happened. It’s not clear what it really was. The human world just kind of ended. No one floated away or acted crazy with signs about the end. No one even died. Not immediately. They all just fell asleep. Like millions of bears in winter. Except that it was summer…” From there it went to glowing purple bears to farting trees and smoking peaches.


  • The third greatest book ever written is “Ghost” by Sarah Tourjee. This book is like a beautiful, high-powered racing horse that never dies because after its racing career ends it begins a secondary career as an economic consultant on a spaceship orbiting a distant planet thousands of years after earth melted. ***
vision quest

  • If I was only allowed to read one book the rest of my life I would probably read “Vision Quest” by Terry Davis because it is the only book I’ve read that was better than the movie version while also existing in a world where the movie version was also better than the book version. The movie and book versions of Vision Quest both exist in equal parallel universes of greatness in my own brain. 

Thanks, Mark!

***Note– we did not pay Mark to recommend Sarah Tourjee’s book. It just so happens that Frequency has the author of “the third greatest book ever written” teaching a class for us this summer. Coincidence.