Portrayed by Penn Badgley, Joe Goldberg has a penchant for murder, violence, collecting women’s underwear and reading books. It seems almost funny to enlist his hobbies in a single sentence given the unbridgeable distance among them on a spectrum. Goldberg is brutal, terrifying and perverse, but his love for books and reading is admirable.
In the first season, he was introduced as the good-natured bookstore owner whose love for books knew no bounds. Beneath his boy-next-door facade, he hides sadistic tendencies, saviour complex and intense obsession for women who catch his eye, often prompting him to try and possess them.
Over the three seasons, Joe’s love for books has been as constant as his eye for hiding bodies. In the third season, books form an integral part of the narrative. He moves to Madre Linde with his equally despicable, murderous wife, Love Quinn, portrayed by Victoria Pedretti, to start afresh.
He soon gets bored of the superficial relationships and privilege in the posh suburban neighbourhood and finds his disillusioned self wandering off to the library. There, he flirts with the next-door neighbour via book titles and that escalates the narrative. Later, he strikes up a romance with the librarian who gives him the job of restoring rare and vintage books.
The library is Joe’s safe haven as he manages to stay away from Love, his dwindling marriage and their constant quarrels and building tension. Goldberg is a connoisseur of books and his love for restoring them is palpable. From Richard Yates to Shakespeare, Goldberg makes various literary references and reads a variety of books over the course of ten episodes.
In case you wanted to add books to your reading list, we, at Best of Netflix, decided to list out all the books and literary references made by Joe Goldberg in You season three:
Every literary reference by Joe Goldberg in You Season 3
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Wildflowers of New York by Andrew Garn
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
- Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
- More Than Two by Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux
- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson