Book Recommendations for the Soldiers, Poets, and Kings Out There
There’s a new viral personality quiz on TikTok that asks are you a poet, a soldier, or a king? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a Uquiz based on The Oh Hellos “Soldier, Poet, King” song has been all the rage on TikTok lately. Over a series of 20 questions that ask what duty is to you, what the home waiting for you has, the obligatory pick-a-quote about love, and what anger feels like to you, the quiz then assigns you a role: the poet, the soldier, or the king. It’s not about your hobbies, but the way you see the world and your role in it.
The king is about duty. About being steady even when the world around you isn’t. Even when you don’t want to be. It’s about wanting to let go of your obligations but knowing you can’t. The king wants to be something else, to feel something else, but never lets it show. A king can’t let their people see their hands shake.
The poet is about creativity and the distinct hope and doubt of creating something in a burning world. The poet writes or sings or dances for others because they know what it feels like to be devoid of that. They put their heart on the line, though it’s terrifying and fraught and futile, and they hope it does some good.
The soldier is caught in someone else’s battle, and they swing their sword gallantly. Righteously. They are angry, but not at the enemy. They are angry that all they’ve ever had is a fight. They want peace, they want kindness, they want no more bloodshed. But they are asked, demanded, to keep marching on.
Truthfully, I think we all have elements of each in us, but maybe that’s just the king in me wanting to be, at least a little bit, of a poet and a soldier too. Regardless of your result, here are a few book recommendations for the soldier, the poet, and the king in us all.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Rin is determined to get into the best military school, Sinegard, to escape her arranged marriage and make something of herself. After getting in and training to fight for the Nikara Empire, she discovers she has the rare skill to use shamanist magic, a powerful but hard-to-control ability that can save her people. But the carnage left in her wake, the decisions she must make, might erase the very humanity she’s trying to save.
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Red and Blue sit on opposite sides of an infinite time war, their lives dedicated to changing the universe to eradicate the other side. When they start leaving letters taunting each other, their connection seems to be only as enemies. At least at first. As they continue leaving letters in the wake of their jobs, their feelings start to change, and they find they both have questions about who they are underneath all of their training.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Who are you if you’re not following the orders of someone else? In order to find out, you have to set boundaries. Learn to say no. Find out what you and you alone want and think and feel. Set Boundaries, Find Peace talks you through how to set boundaries in your relationships, work life, and within yourself so you can be your true self.
Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
Teenage Frankie and her new friend Zeke spend their long summer days making art together. They want, more than anything, to make a mark with what they create. After they put up one of their posters around town, it spreads like wildfire, appearing in places they never expected. The town is in an uproar, some are convinced their poster is a warning that Satanists have come to town while others take power from the image and its words. For a reminder of the power of art and the deep need to create it that lives in your soul, this is a perfect pick.
The Meaning in the Making: The Why and How Behind Our Human Need to Create by Sean Tucker
Sean Tucker is a YouTuber who makes videos about creativity, photography, and storytelling. In his book, The Meaning in the Making, he talks about how he views creativity, its impact, and how to silence your inner critic, especially in the modern day of social media and constant feedback. While the book is focused on photography, his chosen medium, his philosophy of creativity and art can apply to everyone with a creative spark in their heart.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
After making a bargain with a devil to escape marrying into a life she didn’t want, Adeline “Addie” LaRue is cursed to be forgotten the moment she’s out of sight…for eternity. She spends her days ghosting through life, desperate to leave a single sign that she was here. Until, one day, 300 years later, a man who owns a bookshop sees her and doesn’t forget. This novel is about love, about wanting your life to mean something, and about the enduring power of art.
Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang
After losing his family to cholera, Robin Swift was taken in by Professor Lovell and trained to be one of Oxford’s prestigious translators. Their knowledge of languages empowers the British Empire to colonize any and everything they set their sights on. But for Robin, this means empowering the British and betraying his homeland in China. He must choose his life of power or a life fighting against it.
Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, MD and Jeanette DeWyze
Many of us present ourselves as perfect on the outside while inside, we struggle and panic over the need to be perfect. Dr. Mallinger and DeWyze explain why the struggle for perfection can take the fun out of life and argue for the benefit of the imperfect. Through case studies, strategies, and tests, you’ll learn to see your need for perfection what it is: a mask that distances you from the world and all of its delights.
Twice as Perfect by Louisa Onomé
When 17-year-old Adanna’s brother, Sam, left the family after a fight six years ago, she was left to be exactly what her parents need. She works hard in school so she can become a lawyer, joins the debate team, and does everything she can to be the perfect daughter. But when she sees her brother is performing a poem at a show nearby, she’s left confused. He was supposed to be an engineer, so how did he end up writing poetry? And does she really want what she has planned or has the pressure of being perfect forced her to become someone she’s not?
Curious about other recommendations based on personality quizzes? Check out these 16 genre recs based on your Myers-Briggs or these book recommendations based on your attachment style!