Help Me Compile a List of Genuinely Addicting Books

When I was a kid, I used to build cozy little nests around our house. I’d drag the comforter off my bed, pull pillows and blankets off the couch, grab some snacks and whatever book I was reading, then set up camp in whatever odd nook I could find: the closet, the landing of our stairs, the floor of my room or, my favorite, a cramped triangle of space on the carpet behind our living room couch. I’d pull the couch away from the wall, snuggle in and, using the sunlight streaming down from the window above, read there all day. In the evening, as the sun sunk below the trees, I’d inch my book closer and closer to my face to see the words. And I remember, so vividly, the feeling I’d get when my mom would flick on the lights, startling me out of my dark cocoon. “How’s that?” she’d ask, and I’d be overjoyed because it meant I could keep reading.

It took me a curiously long time to come around to reading, but once I did it was like a switch was flipped. I couldn’t stop. Book after book after book. I kept a list of everything I read in a secret drawer, took it out every once in a while just to look at it. I romanticize those years now, when books could whisk me away so easily, make my soul sink and sing in equal measure. Reading was such a consistently visceral experience.

Enjoying a book is different from living for it. In my adult life, I’ve had trouble finding books that take me to that intense place. Maybe I’m too cynical or distracted or maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but most books don’t nestle into my head and heart the way they did when I was younger. I miss my desperation to pause the real world and get back to the story at hand. It still happens every once in a while — The Goldfinch will forever by my most genuine, full-hearted recommendation — but it comes along so rarely.

Incredible books are out there, though, aren’t they? They have to be.

What is your most genuine, full-hearted recommendation? What’s the last book you really had to force yourself to put down? The one that could actually get you in bed early (but kept you up late)? It doesn’t have to be recent or hip or well-known. It just has to be so good you never wanted it to end.

Update: We’re planning to compile your answers into a Goodreads list here, so keep your eye out.

Photo by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

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  • Adrian Koenigsberg

    The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was HANDS DOWN one of the best books I’ve ever read.
    Its around 700 pages and I swear I read the whole thing in two days.
    Please please give it a try if you’re into a good murder mystery.

  • Sonia

    -Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi
    -The Chronology of Water by Lydia Yuknavitch
    -Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    -The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
    -The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard


    • Cait

      I finally read Chronology of Water after having it on my Kindle for ages and I can’t believe I put it off for so long. It was so good!

  • Leah

    Night Film – Marisha Pessl

    • Jenilee

      Loved this book, very dark and realistic!

  • Abby

    Right now I’m reading The Wangs vs. The World. I’m only about halfway in but I’m enjoying it so far! I also really enjoyed Get in Trouble by Kelly Link recently, which is a pretty quick read of short stories with magical elements.

  • jowi

    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    On Beauty by Zadie Smith
    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

    • Julie

      seconding middlesex

      • Quinn Halman


        • fourth! that book is so crazy good. (as is anything by zadie smith)

          • Arden

            fifth vote for Middlesex!

    • Haley Nahman

      Shit you’re reminding me that I’m halfway through Oscar Wao and forgot to finish

    • spicyearlgrey

      junot diaz got me back into reading i luv him forever for that gift

  • clairmk

    I feel the same way — recently the only books to get me back there were The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Room by Emma Donoghue, or What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarity.


    • yep i read room in a hour and a half

    • Haley Nahman

      I could NOT get into the Nightingale but my sister said the same thing. Maybe I need to try again

      • clairmk

        Def give it another go — especially given the current ~political climate~ it makes you want to go kick ass on your own

        • Isabel Sanoja

          I agree! It took me a little bit at first, but after a while I was in drowning in tears and couldn’t put it down.

  • padutchchick

    Mine is kind of silly, but if you want something delightfully British and fun, I HIGHLY recommend the Lucia series by E.F. Benson. I am old so perhaps it won’t be as fun for youngers, but do have a look. I have read them multiple times. It’s time for another read!

  • The Color of Water by James McBride
    Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mock
    Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
    A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr

  • Shannon

    In The Woods by Tana French is incredible.

    • Adrianna

      I second the recommendation

      • Yessss, couldn’t stop reading this (and frankly anything by Tana French)

        • Harling Ross


        • Adrianna

          She’s one of the rare authors I wait to publish new books, but I gave up on her last one!

    • Kay

      Omg so happy to find tana French fans!!!! I srsly haunt her press for when she puts out new books

  • paulina

    The best book I’ve ever read is hands down A Little Life. I have recommended it to all my friends, and each one is equally obsessed. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will feel so invested in the story you will not be able to put it down. The only bad thing, is that every book you pick up after will pale in comparison.

    • Haley Nahman

      Can’t believe how many times that’s shown up on this list

      • paulina

        will ruin all other books for you

      • Sonia

        I’m one of the few people who did not like A Little Life. I actually hated it. That said, I couldn’t put it down even though I wanted to. It was one of those reads where I’d gotten far enough that I had to know what happened but was very irritated by the time I finished. Reminds me of those hyped-up restaurants that you feel like you should try, so you do, and you hate it, but you’re glad you tried it anyway.

        • Adrianna

          I hated it too, stopped reading half way. And halfway was 300 pages. But I wasn’t glad that I tried it.

          • Sonia

            I’m so happy I’m not the only one in this chatroom who hated it!

            I guess when I say that I’m glad I tried it I mean that I’m happy to say I’ve read it only so that I never have to be tempted again.

          • Sha sha Chu

            Is this written by Hanya Yanagihara? Just wanted to make sure. Thanks!

          • Katrina Grillo

            Same! I got it from the library and when the loan was up I was actually relieved I didn’t have to keep going.

        • malene

          You are not alone. It feels like an accomplishment to have read it, but in the way that is done that, will never fall for it again.

        • Kay

          I’ve got about 80 pages left, and I have to say I had almost fallen in love with the book right before I got totally annoyed and exhausted by the subject—one thousand and one reasons of the protagonist’s self-deprecation. still appreciate this writing for a number of reasons, though.

        • nomaki station

          ive heard the book described as torture porn and I fully agree

        • Coralie

          I did find it a page turner and thought it was good but it would not make it onto a favorite books list for me at all. It’s just too much.

          • Elke V.

            Yes, agreed. It’s not great literature (characters are a bit flat, the drama is like all the operas in the history of opera got together, drank a truckload of whisky and wrote a book), but it’s very hard to put down.

        • Maja

          I read a sample and didn’t like it either.

        • ArtsDuMal

          Hated it too. Overblown and overly sentimental tragedy porn with EXTREMELY unrealistic and unlikeable characters.

        • Cléo Charpantier

          I had the same reaction: couldn’t put it down but hated that I couldn’t look away from the sadness and violence of it. kinda traumatized by it actually…

    • Maria Fernandez-Davila

      first book that has made me openly sob while reading at more than one point. It’s so incredibly painful to read at times but it’s forever a favorite

    • Monique

      I second this, truly the best book I have ever read.

    • Ashley Steenson

      I’m reading it now!!!!!! Ahhhh!!!!!

    • Lucia Fontaina-Powell


    • Lebanese Blonde

      DEFINITELY one of the best books I’ve ever read. Finished it at work during a lunch break and openly sobbed and had to run to the bathroom so my coworkers wouldn’t think I was losing my mind.

      • Rachel

        I had to stop reading it once because I was full-on sobbing in Starbucks. More recently, I finally read When Breath Becomes Air, and, thank God, I was on a nearly empty train because finishing it was just all ugly crying.

        • Emmie

          YES BREATH BECOMES AIR – i finished this crying on a bus

    • esther

      Same here! It became my favorite book after my very first read. I’ve recommended it to so many friends since, and I’m currently working my way through again.

    • Zoe Weiner

      I LOVED this book, but almost wish I could un-read it because I find myself thinking about it so often and crying all over again. It completely rocked my world in good and bad ways.

    • Maggie Dunlap

      Yes! I’d also recommend A Little Life! I didn’t leave the house for two entire days to finish that book. By the end, I felt not only like I’d actually watched a movie of it, but also as if I had experienced the entire plot myself. I was physically depressed when it was over.

    • Caitlin Hussey

      came here to recommend exactly this! A Little Life is the most affective book I’ve ever read (and I was an English major in college–I read A LOT of books). I finished it 6 months ago and still find myself thinking about it almost daily. Heartbreaking and uplifting and important

    • I legit had to download Audible just to make it through A Little Life. I’m glad I did, but holy sh*t, the first 200 pages were SO slow.

  • Ap4rna

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer will always be my favorite – I haven’t felt emotion and magic like that from another book in years! Milan Kundera’s work, and The Stranger by Albert Camus have stuck with me for a long time as well.

  • Julie

    A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – Anthony Marra

    • Adrianna

      I second this 100%

  • Emily

    A Little Life, Hanya Yanagahira

    • Mihaela Samson

      God this tore me to pieces, my favorite book now and one that I will never forget. I slept with it in my bed while reading it..

      • When I put it down I collapsed in the shower in tears. It’s excessive in every way, which is the point.

  • Guin

    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It’s the Arthurian legend told from the point of view of the women and it is amazing.

    • Harling Ross

      YES!!!! i forgot about this weird/wonderful book

  • The Ocean at the End of the Land by Neil Gaiman.
    Beautiful and un-put-downable.

    • PS. My mom always would flick the lights on for me too. And now I do the same to/for (?) my roommate who I always find sitting in the dark. Whoops.

      • Haley Nahman

        Love that. And i read that book! So weird! (but good)

    • Sonia

      The Ocean at the End of the Lane made me feel SO weird.

      • I’m so curious what “weird” felt like to you after reading this!

        • Sonia

          There was something about that whole worm coming out of the foot thing that made me feel really strange.

          • Sonia

            Creeped out? Uncomfortable? I can’t quite put my finger on it but now you have me thinking!

          • Yes! I don’t disagree. Totally squeamish and then really tense!

  • mant

    Anna Karenina is so good and real and true i just want to scream

  • Julia

    ‘Professor Imanishi Investigates’ by Seicho Matsumoto kept me up far past my bedtime for several nights in a row. It’s a brilliantly written murder mystery that is that is even better if you’ve traveled to or spent time in Japan. Two other recent releases that also kept my attention and took away from my 8 hours of necessary sleep per night: ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi and ‘The Wanderers’ by Meg Howrey..

  • Jillian

    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (all 4), and Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
    To this day the most important books about friendship – both as a teenager and as an adult – I’ve read.

    • angela nash

      Loooooved the series obsessively as a late teen but sisterhood everlasting ruined everything.

    • angela g

      Loooooved the series obsessively as a late teen but sisterhood everlasting ruined everything.

  • Sophia

    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
    Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
    The Phantom of Fifth Avenue by Meryl Gordon
    The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

    • Kate

      Second for The Marriage Plot!

  • jerryan

    if you enjoyed the goldfinch, the secret history (also by donna tartt) is wonderful! i binge read it on a saturday and it was so captivating. most of my reading right now is academic so that’s the last book i read “for fun” that really enthralled me. it’s extremely compelling and i’m in love with it.

    • Haley Nahman

      Loved the secret history, want to re-read

      • Audrey

        Literally just finished reading it. I bought it for my mom for her birthday because she and I both loved the goldfish but ending up stealing it from her before she could get a chance to start

      • Basil

        The also read “little friend”. It’s the other other book she’s written. She really needs to write more … the world needs it

        • Emmie

          i’ve been waiting VERY PATIENTLY for book number 4

      • Hansika Vijayaraghavan

        I have given 7 copies of this book as various birthday/secret santa/housewarming/when-you-need-a-gift-but-not-like-a-super-nice-gift presents

    • JessK

      I love The Secret History. I’ve only read it twice, but recommend it to everyone.

    • Kate

      Just coming here to say that even if you hated the goldfinch (like I did), you might still like the secret history.

      • Liz

        Yessss I HATED The Goldfinch but The Secret History is my #1 favorite book

        • Kara Cargen

          SAME! So much disappointment with The Goldfinch. I actually reread The Secret History to assuage my disappointment!

        • Jane L.

          Wow, I thought I was the only person who didn’t like The Goldfinch!!

    • Tarah Michelle Darge

      Agreed!! Loved both 🙂

    • Rachel D.

      Am I the only one who kind of (adamantly) hated The Secret History?? I feel like all of the cool people love it (and it was a gift from one of my best friends), but it just did *not* do it for me. I don’t want to go on a full-blown rant but I felt it was pretentious and her prose was too self-congratulatory. Umm.. a-anyone e-else? Just m-mee?

    • DonutEverLetMeGo

      The Secret History is one of my all-time favorite books. I actually missed it when it was over. Time to re-read!

    • Kara Cargen

      YES to The Secret History! I was so hoping to love The Goldfinch just as much but it just didn’t happen for me. I am forever searching for a book to match my love for The Secret History . . .
      – As for Nonfiction: Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty and Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face.
      – Two other great fiction reads: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes and The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell (also an incredibly immersive listen on Audible – my usual 4 mile hikes often turned into 10 milers – hmm…need to find another one of these . . .

    • kes

      the secret history is my faaaaaavorite!!!

  • Christina

    When Watched, The Nix, The Secret History (Donna Tartt really knows what’s she’s doing), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (anything by Solnit is addicting IMO)… also cosigning A Little Life (but it is DEVASTATING)

  • Halina

    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay is incredible

    • esther

      I’m 3/4 done with this now and I love it – definitely having trouble putting it down!

  • Laken

    Kafka on the Shore by Murakami helped me remember what it was like to have a genuine imagination.

    • Emily

      I second this- anything by Murakami makes my world more magical

      • Basil

        Oh yes. If you want to keep yourself busy for a while, then the 1Q84 series. I would recommend looking up the Tokyo gas attacks and the cult that perpetrated them, as having read underground a few years later, I think 1Q84 is based on them a lot.

        • Brennah

          1Q84 series?! I only read 1Q84, I didn’t realize there were more in the same universe. Thank you for putting me onto this!

          • Nico

            Pretty sure 1Q84 is not a series…They put out a paperback version of the book after the hard back release and instead of making it one large book, it was divided into 3 or 4 smaller books prob for design sake. I’d guess this is what Basil meant 🙂

          • Jonah

            1Q84 was released in three volumes originally in Japan. I don’t know too well about the english version but I do think that it was published as a larger single book.

          • Nico

            Ah, I didn’t know it was published as 3 originally in Japan. All I was aware of was the way it was released here. Thanks! 🙂

    • I came here to put this one! Fave.

    • Annamarie Morris

      Currently reading the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, love it for about a chapter at a time, but having trouble really getting through it for whatever reason!

      • Lauren Gallagher

        I found that too! but in the end I really liked it. I guess it was originally published in three separate books, I think it might have been a little easier to tackle that way.

      • Tess

        I think the reason might be that it’s a 600 page book with no plot. My distaste for the book is better said by NYT’s revered book critic, Michiko Kakutani, “For most of us, art is supposed to do something more than simply mirror the confusions of the world. Worse, ”Wind-Up Bird” often seems so messy that its refusal of closure feels less like an artistic choice than simple laziness, a reluctance on the part of the author to run his manuscript through the typewriter (or computer) one last time.”

    • Tori Johnson

      Wow, same! Kafka and 1Q84 are my favorites, however I do prefer Kafka over 1Q84.

    • Jeanie

      I was just reading that. Felt a bit uncomfortable with the incest rape suggestion and women as one dimensional sex objects. THEN the cat murdering came and I had to stop. The writing was pretty, but the world was so casually horrible it wasn’t worth it.

      • Lil

        Love Murukami novels, but his female characters almost always disappoint me.

  • Ooh, so I did *not* love The Goldfinch, but Donna Tartt’s other book—The Secret History—is one of my favorite books, and was 100% a “don’t talk to me until I’ve finished this” read.

    Other books that felt like that:
    Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
    Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
    Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
    The Nix by Nathan Hill

    • the nixxxx yes i die

      • it was SO GOOD

        • i’m a youth and i had to do a presentation on this for my ap lit class and no one but me knew what was going tf on it was fabulous

          • angela g

            I feel it’s a small victory when I can find and checkout these suggestions on my e-book app- just got the mix, thanks!

    • anne_blushes

      yes to ALL OF THESE, especially Leaving the Atocha Station. I’ve read and reread and re-reread it. i will probably re-re-reread it again this summer.

      • yes! same. such a good reread. it’s so funny and sad in equal measure. i still think about having a “Profound Experience of Art” all the time

    • Abby

      Fates and Furies was so so good!

    • Audrey

      so hype about to start the nix

  • Frankie Karrer

    Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, a book I have read 4 times now. A bit of a beach read, and has this undercurrent of truth that keeps calling me back. But beware: it will make you crave oysters and good wine…

    • Oh, this is the book that came to my mind when I read the title of this article! Such a gem.

    • Chevi Friedman

      Yes yes yes!! Came here to suggest this, but assumed someone had already done so. When someone asks if I like it I’m still honestly not sure… but I feel so compelled to read it again and again. Totally addicting.

      • Frankie Karrer

        Yes! I almost hesitate to recommend it to friends, because the book is less about the story and more about the feeling you get from the writing.

    • Carrie Callaway

      I just got this from Goodwill! So excited to read it!!

    • sugar_magn0lia

      This book is so contrived and awful. The writing style is unreadable

      • Frankie Karrer

        To each their own I guess, I personally couldn’t put this book down the first time I read it (and ended up spending an entire vacation day on it).

  • JessK

    I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman at least once a year. Also, The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart. I read her novels at a relatively inappropriate young age, but they are the root of my passion for travel and writing.

    • Autumn

      Yes! American Gods is amazing!! And was apparently made into a miniseries recently?? I have Neil Gaiman’s newest one Norse Mythology on my book list but haven’t read it yet. Also, his comic book TheSandman is of course wonderful.

      • Eva Skewes

        It’s a full series! The first season ends juuuuust before the House on the Rock, so the whole series will be about five seasons, I think. Laura Moon is more fully fleshed out and it is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

        • Autumn

          Gah! I need to watch it for sure now, because I just did a Google image search of the show. Looks incredible. And Peter Stormare (Czernobog) is in it and he’s wonderful. I was worried the show wouldn’t do the story justice but I feel better about it now 🙂

          • Eva Skewes

            It’s really doing wonderful things with the secondary characters (though Ian McShane as Wednesday is PERFECT and Ricky Whittle is lovely as Shadow) that I appreciate. The first season has a really dreamy quality and can feel a little slow but it does the Coming to America stories absolute justice. Some of them are just electric.

            I’m anxious to see Sam Black Row, but the show has a bit to go before she pops up.

    • Brennah

      I read Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” and had to keep stopping to reread passages that struck me. I eventually even wrote some of them down because I just couldn’t get over them.

      • JessK

        I feel that way about almost all of his work. Some of his short stories haunt my dreams.

  • Adrianna

    I always have about ten books from the library. I say that I read a lot, but I also don’t abide by the rule that I need to finish the book. The following books grabbed me from the first page and/or made me remember why I love reading.

    Edit: After compiling my list, I should preface this by saying that I worked in the book industry for four years…

    – Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. Believe the hype. I cried after I finished the second book
    – A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – Anthony Marra
    – Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
    – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    – The UnAmericans
    – Shadow of the Wind
    – The Poisonwood Bible
    – Valley of the Dolls
    – Peyton Place
    – Rules of Civility
    – The Paying Guests
    – The Book of Unknown Americans
    – The Lullaby of Polish Girls
    – The Paperboy

    – Street of Eternal Happiness
    – Unorthodox
    – Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing
    – From Scratch – inside the Food Network
    – The Gilded Razor
    – Truth and Beauty – Ann Patchett
    – Poorly Made in China
    – The Fiddler in the Subway
    – The Unsettlers
    – The Argonauts
    – The Rules do not Apply
    – The Longest Way Home – Andrew McCarthy

    Graphic novels:
    – Y the Last Man series
    – Saga
    – Trees
    – Contract with God
    – Blacksad

    • The Rules Do Not Apply actually killed me. Read it in like a day—was one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.

      • Adrianna

        Same. I’m a big Ariel Levy fan, (probably the only New Yorker writer I could name, and I’ve been subscribed for seven years) so I was already familiar with her story. I think you would enjoy The Argonauts.

      • Sonia

        Couldn’t agree more. I got on my bed, opened it, and didn’t leave for the rest of the day.

    • Andie

      Seconding Shadow of the Wind… such a beautiful novel, will always be one of my favorites. Definitely took a screenshot of this list!

      • Adrianna

        yay! Happy to hear. If I had more time I’d include links or one-sentence summaries, but I figure ppl could google.

    • Kristie

      Hardcore second for The Neapolitan Series!

      • Sonia

        Apparently HBO is making a series…

        • Kristie

          0_0 good tidings of great joy!!

      • Chelsea

        I have GOT to get through the first one. It must just reflect my horribly stunted attention span this day in age.

        • Adrianna

          I found the first one harder to get into than I anticipated. It can be hard to keep track of all the kids who grow up to be significant characters

          • Kristie

            Yeah I think at some point I just gave up trying to keep everyone straight and just ravenously followed what was happening to the 2 girls, and eventually as each character got more significant I figured out who it was. Then at the end I immediately wanted to reread to remember what all of em were like as kids.

    • Sonia

      How could I forget Rules of Civility! I did not like Gentleman From Moscow though.

      • Adrianna

        Oh no, haven’t read that yet. Rules of Civility was the perfect vacation read. I traveled to three countries and took six flights my last vacation.

      • Kate

        Agreed! Rules of Civility is the perfect vacation, stay up late in bed book

    • Basil

      Such a good list. I really enjoyed Americanah. A short read on a similar theme (the immigrant’s experience in the US) is “we need new names” by no violet bulawayo, about a girl from Zimbabwe. Really beautifully written.

      • Adrianna


        We read Americanah for my book club at work and all the immigrants (myself included) in our group were in love with it. The Americans didn’t seem to believe us that the two immigrant storylines weren’t an exaggeration…

      • Coralie

        I did enjoy reading Americanah but I also found it annoying – all the characters are pretty awful people! BUT I know that Adichie has spoken a lot about not wanting to write likeable black characters just for the sake of it, and that she just wants to write them based on real people she knows. She just seems to know a lot of annoying people!

        Anyway, all this to say that you should read her first book, Half of a Yellow Sun, which is incredible, very interesting historically and with strong and, in my opinion, far more interesting and inspiring characters.

        • Adrianna

          My book club also brought up disliking the book because the characters were unlikable, to which I say: The Sopranos, Carrie Bradshaw, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men

    • Charlotte

      Yes Middlesex is so good!

    • Charlotte

      Another amazing graphic novel is Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. You can read it in an afternoon and the illustrations and the story are so great.

      • Adrianna

        I read it back in 2010!

    • Magan Biggs

      Absolutely could not put down Middlesex and Americanah!

    • Kristin

      I am not embarrassed to say I only read romance novels, but do need to read some real things every now and again and this seems like a good place to start. Thanks for the list!

    • Valley of the Dolls IS really good! Great list overall but I had to say that lol

      • Adrianna

        I was surprised how much I got into it!!

      • ApocalypsoFacto

        I reread that book like once a year and it never gets old, NEVER

    • lauren

      I came on here to recommend A Constellation of Vital Phenomena! So happy to see this. I recommend it to everyone. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Marra is also great, but constellation. Wow.

      • alessandramdb

        I absolutely loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I ended up reading it again right after I finished the first time. So good.

    • Taking this list with me to the library today!

    • Mitch

      Rules of Civility is a personal favourite 🖒

    • Bo

      Nothing to Envy is 10/10. Impeccable oral history. I’ve bought it around seven times but keep loaning it out to people who never give it BACK, that’s how good it is

      • Sydney Thompson

        LOVE this book. Opened my eyes.

        • Bo

          Actually buying it online for the 8th time as we speak

    • Elke V.

      Signed into Discuss for the first time in two years to endorse this list. Especially Ferrante. Well done, kindred soul!

      In the category ‘great literature that totally absorb you’ these are some books I would add:
      – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (and afterwords you can move straight on to the series)
      – Atonement by Ian McEwan (most of his books have this quality – Sweet Tooth for instance I thought was a perfect holiday read)
      – The reader by Bernard Schlink
      – We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
      – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
      – A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

      In the non-fiction section:

      – My Traitor’s Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience by Rian Malan
      – Anything by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Maria Fernandez-Davila

    Middlesex, Americanah and A Little Life!!!!!
    these have been mentioned in previous comments which means hey, everyone here has awesome, similar taste to mine. brb stealing recs!!!

    • Harling Ross


      • Harling Ross

        also Middlesex.

        • Harling Ross

          I should probably read a little life since we clearly have the same book taste.

          • Maria Fernandez-Davila

            long read and I openly sobbed in at least two points during the book but its so WORTH IT

      • Haley Nahman

        Have this on audible but want the real thing. fuck audio books tbh

  • Kellie Mason

    “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara

    Woah. This book hit me right in the gut. Well worth the length

    • Haley Nahman

      So many recs for “A Little Life”!

    • esther

      YES. Ultimate favorite.

    • Pastorlc

      Funny story: I got in the elevator at work with a random stranger a couple weeks ago. We both happened to be holding copies of A Little Life and I could see our bookmarks were at about the same point in the book. We made eye contact (through puffy eyes), exchanged knowing glances, nodded at each other to say “yeah, I’m okay. You?” and then just went on with our days. It was beautiful.

      Gotta read it!

      My experience was that the first like 1/3 of the book was a little slow and confusing. It felt like I was missing the entire story. I hadn’t done so much as read the inside cover of the book, so I was coming in totally cold. And then before I knew it I was completely and utterly wrapped up into the character’s lives and had to see what happened to them. It was like a sneak attack. Haha. But in a good way.

  • Ashley Hamilton

    Hey guys! Adding these suggestions to our “to-read” Goodreads board so that it’s easier to comb through!

    • i’m literally listing books off of my goodreads

    • Haley Nahman

      Ashley works at Man Repeller for the record

  • Emma St.George

    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is the most beautiful, heartbreaking, and genuine book I’ve read in a long time, if not ever. It’s the first book I recommend to anyone, but be prepared to feel all the feels.

  • Hannah

    Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin (!!!) Women recount their ecstatic, psychedelic, unmedicated birth experiences on ‘The Farm’, a rural community in Tennessee, during the 1970-80s. Even if you are not a birth worker, expecting a child, or even thinking about having children … this book is hard to put down!

  • Rachel

    The Magicians series by Lev Grossman was the first series of fantasy books since Harry Potter that really captured and transported me. I can best describe it HP goes to college and crazy, dark shit happens.

    • the showwwww is also very good but they aged them up a Bit.

      • Katrina Grillo

        I liked the show better than the books! I feel horrible for saying that, but it’s true.

        • yeah the first book all mushed together was kinda whack.

    • Haley Nahman

      um amazing review

    • T-Fierce

      I met him and he was just as amazing as his books are!

    • esther

      I actually really disliked The Magicians…like, a lot. I stopped after the first one because I couldn’t stand Quentin and thought the writing was really inconsistent. I thought the show was better, and I have a bunch of friends who like the books, but it’s just one of those things I can’t get myself to enjoy.

    • Jeanie

      Interestingly, I liked the books more after watching the show. The series captured depression and the let downs of adult life really well.

  • jiggahava

    The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. One of the best novels I’ve read about friendship and money, and how friendships change as you get older. I wanted to gift this book to all my friends.

    • Haley Nahman

      Duddddde that book fucked me up!! Read it on a beach vacay (bad idea) but loved it

  • Julia

    girlfriend in a coma by douglas coupland !!!

  • this is gonna be a List

    -kids of appetite by david arnold
    -the secret history by donna tartt
    -fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe by fannie flagg
    -sometimes we tell the truth by kim zarins (a retelling of the canterbury tales I live!!)
    -the diva rules by michelle visage (my all time favorite person)
    -uprooted by naomi novik (who doesn’t love russian-inspired high fantasy??)
    – if we were villains by m.l. rio (girl its the secret history but SHAKESPEARE and no queer-baiting)
    -dark places by gillian flynn (anything by gillian flynn)
    -the comet seekers by helen sedgewick (france. magic. awesome)
    -the westing game by ellen raskin (if you didn’t read this in the sixth grade read it NOW)
    – flappers and philosophers by fitzgerald (for easy one off stories that are great for car rides)
    – we have always lived in the castle by shirley jackson (fueled my weird Emo phase this winter)
    – pachinko by min jin lee (shows the multi-generational lifes of zainichi koreans 10/10 cried like 9 times)
    -i capture the castle by dodie smith (come on it’s easy pretty light reading who can turn that down)
    – the entire howl’s moving castle series by donna tartt (has been my fave since i was like 7 better than the film)

    • The Westing Game! I Capture the Castle!

      Just as good right now as they were when you were 11.

    • Chelsea

      ooh glad to hear you say THE SECRET HISTORY bc I loved THE GOLDFINCH so much and I’ve been waiting to pick up another one of her books (it’s actually on my bedside table and I spelled an entire glass of water on it.)

      • Shevaun

        the little friend by Tartt is good too!

    • Jessie Mai

      Yesss! OUT was fantastic! I related the details of the book to my husband a bit gleefully, I think. Needless to say, he’s been a very good boy.

    • Magan Biggs

      Out by Natsuo Karino was AMAZING!!

    • Claire

      Kim Zarins was one of my teachers in college! She’s an amazing person 🙂

    • Abby Mathieson

      LOVED the westing game!

    • Dymond Moore

      Ahhh the westing game had me shook at the end!

    • Carrie Callaway

      Ahhhh I love the westing game I used it as inspiration for an assignment for class this past fall!! So so so good. And yes to we have always lived in the castle!!! I recommended it too because it is just sooooo good! I love Jackson, and I just bought The Haunting of Hill House last week!

    • Hope

      We have always lived in the castle and I capture the castle are two of my absolute faves! A little concerned as to what that says about me as someone who seems unhealthily attarcted to being a castle dwelling hermit, but I just loved them. So eccentric and weird and kind of haunting.

    • Betsy Greaves

      OUT is amazing!!! Her other books aren’t nearly as great but this is definitely one of my favourites.

    • PCE

      Fried green tomatoes. Makes my heart ache. Loved it.

  • Nicole

    A Little Life
    The Nix
    Tiny Beautiful Things
    All Over The Place (a quick but funny, charming read)
    The History of Love
    An Untamed State
    The Woman Upstairs
    How To Murder Your Life (a train wreck that I couldn’t put down)

    • HOLY CRAP i forgot about how to murder your life i still haven’t read it dang thanks!!!

      • Nicole

        The stories are unreal. So, so good.

    • Nicole

      White Oleander

      • Marie-Eve

        Loved this!

      • Adrianna

        Loved the book and the movie. Kind of rare!

    • pterridactyl

      I second How To Murder Your Life. I got so engrossed in it the morning I started reading it that I didn’t realise my boss was parked outside for ten minutes to give me a ride to work…

    • esther

      You’ve named a few of my favorites so I’m putting everything else on my reading list!

    • Sydney Thompson

      I second Tiny Beautiful Things and the Dear Sugar podcast in general.

    • Betsy Greaves

      How To Murder Your Life is amazing!!!

  • Aggie

    I wish I didn’t live in a shared house right now because taking half of your bedroom out to make a book was my favorite thing to do when i was kid. I even used to go to my friends house and all we would do was read besides each other! ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel


    Have you read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski? It’s a mind-fuck of a book. I definitely recommend for an October read.

    • Haley Nahman

      Love that for Oct, you’re so thematic

    • Coralie

      Oooh that was on my list too! I read it on a 6-hour plane delay and I was actually sad when we boarded and I had to stop (can’t read on planes – too scared). You should read Geek Love – the only connection there is that it’s also fucked up. And SO good.

      • LAURA

        Thanks for the rec! A friend of mine gave that book to me awhile back and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. I’ll be sure to pick it up soon!

  • Sarah

    – His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)
    – Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

    • Abby

      I loved His Dark Materials so much when I was a kid, it might be time for a reread!

      • Eva Skewes

        There’s an ‘equel’ coming in October, La Belle Sauvage, which is part of a new trilogy called “The Book of Dust.” I’ve been waiting for it for years and re-read His Dark Materials as prep. The new book, as I understand it, will take place when Lyra was a baby, as well as after the end of The Amber Spyglass. Pullman doesn’t like “prequel” or “sequel” as terms though…so it’s an “equel.”

      • Sarah

        I started re-reading them in June and the books are still just as magical 🙂 I believe Pullman is releasing a new prequel sometime in October!

  • Marie-Eve

    Some books I truly could not put down (and I regularly just opt out of finishing a book):

    -The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (fantasy, English tradition fairy tales and quests, poetic)
    -Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (dystopia, retro fiction, non-cheesy romance)
    -The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (nonfiction, biography, wilderness, unbelievable)
    -Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey (space oddisey, “soft” science fiction, character centered in the sense of a sitcom, easygoing, funny)
    -Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (historical, female centered, crime)
    -The Beach by Alex Garland (explores the conflict between civilization and will to power, a bit like Lord of the Flies – better than the movie)
    -The Road by Cormac McCarthy (dystopia, terrifying)
    -Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari (nonfiction, essay, drugs, psychology)
    -Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan (nonfiction, essay, sex, sexism, feminism)
    -The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (memoir, family, female centered)

    • spicyearlgrey

      THE ROAD i so agreeeeee

  • Elyse

    Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts literally dismantled me and everything I know, only to build me back up into a changed person. so cathartic. an arresting read!!

    • Haley Nahman

      Damn that’s a REVIEW

  • Jerri

    Last book that I couldn’t put down? LATITUDE by Jamie King. My husband is 38 and even though it is technically YA, he couldn’t stop reading

  • Inaat

    Loved The Goldfinch. Another fave is A visit from the goon squad and for bio Madness by Marya Hornbacher is really good.

  • Rachel D.

    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I’ve been telling everyone to read it — I gave my copy away to a friend the minute I finished because I *had* to pass it on. Nothing has moved me like that book, maybe ever. It’s a memoir where Jeannette recalls her childhood with neglectful parents & extreme poverty, but it’s hard to put into words just how moving it was.

    I watched the trailer for it and it looked AWFUL — totally struck the wrong notes and actually made me a bit upset to to watch. Anyway, please read!! It’s so, so powerful and I couldn’t put it down.

    • Haley Nahman

      Loved Glass Castle — her other book Half Broke Horses is good too!

      • Rachel D.

        I’ve been meaning to get my hands on that!!!

      • Jane L.

        Loved, loved, loved both of those books–The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses!

    • Marie-Eve

      I loved The Glass Castle!

    • T-Fierce

      Ooh I know I could hardly recognize that the trailer was related to the book!! Which is sad because I love Brie Larson

      • Rachel D.

        omg thank god it wasn’t just me!!!!!! I was actually fuming when I saw that trailer.

    • Hansika Vijayaraghavan

      I had to read this for school and although I wasn’t a huge fan, the book chilled my bones and made me actually think about life and happiness for the first time as a high schooler!

    • lauren burvill

      The Glass Castle is my absolute favourite. I couldn’t put it down and afterwards made all of my friends and my mum read it. I really wish I could find out more about Jeannette Walls but all I could find was an old Oprah interview on Youtube. I’m currently reading A Little Life and while I am hooked, The Glass Castle is so much better to me because it really happened! And is written so respectfully too.

  • Coralie

    The Goldfinch is incredible, as is the Secret History which people say is the best, but my own personal favorite Donna Tartt is the middle one, the Little Friend!

    Otherwise I am seconding the recommendations for the Neapolitan novels (I definitely cried that there weren’t any more when I finished the last one), Middlesex, The Poisonwood Bible and Zadie Smith (White Teeth for me).

    I’ll add Geek Love by Katherine Dunne (I’ve never recommended a book so much), House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and the Rabbit series by John Updike

    • Haley Nahman

      I started the My Little Friend but never finished, now I want too!

      • Coralie

        I couldn’t stop reading it. I took it with me on a bachelorette party and opted out of some of the activities to read instead!

    • White Teeth!!! <3

      • Aistė Bakutytė

        ahhh! white teeth! it’s a well written masterpiece, i read it in two days.

        • Camille M

          Kavalier and Clay!! A long read but once I was in I could not get out… riveting read

      • White teeth is amazing!! My favorite Zadie Smith novel

    • Ashley Steenson

      I just finished Zadie Smith’s NW!! Have you read it?!

      • Coralie

        Yes! It’s actually my least favorite of hers, though I still liked it. Her latest (Swing Time) is similar to NW and in my opinion it’s better. And the one I haven’t read, On Beauty, is very beloved! On my list for soon.

      • NW was tough for men because I have a hard time connecting with such weak minded characters lol. But it’s experimental and I like it. On Beauty is my least favorite of hers.

    • libs

      I think you’re the first person I’ve ever seen favour The Little Friend out of all of Donna Tartt’s books!

      • Coralie

        I know! It might because I read it on holiday… But also, I am European now living in New York, and I have been to university, so the Little Friend was the most removed from my world. I found it completely fascinating.

        I also think it’s the best structured. The Goldfinch especially (which I still loved!!) would have benefited from way more editing. The last 150 page were straight up terrible!

        • Haley Nahman

          “The last 150 page were straight up terrible!”

          Damn, those were my favorite pages of the book.

    • Audrey

      Currently reading Middlesex for my summer reading for school…I like the book but the incest freaks me out

    • rlar

      House of Leaves!!! So different and amazing.

      • Coralie

        It’s insane, I still think about it very often. Also it was my first ever instagram post!

        • rlar

          that’s amazing! I studied it for my culminating class as an English major in college – it was a great class.

      • Layla Mcmurray

        No. The footnotes did me in. By the time i’d read and process the 2 page footnote, i’d have dropped the thread of what was going on in the book and would have to skim back. it was way too much like work. But my husband loves it.

    • PCE

      Ugh… tried so so hard to like the poisonwood bible but I never could. I felt defective, I heard so many great things about it.

  • Dani

    I’m not sure if any or all of these have been listed already in the comments, but…
    – Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose
    – Middlesex, The Marriage Plot, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (he also has a new book coming out in October!)
    – The Secret History by Donna Tart (I know this one has been commented already because of your Goldfinch reference, but its worth multiple mentions)
    – Oola by Brittany Newell
    – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
    – Marlena by Julie Buntin
    – The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
    – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    – Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
    – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

    • Oof, “Marlena” was so good. “Too Much and Not in the Mood” has been on my list.

      • Sonia

        I second Too Much and Not the Mood. Great to just pick up when you don’t know what you feel like reading.

  • Jessi Masarin

    Lolita. I could read it or listen to it over and over again.
    All the Light We Cannot See (you will cry that it’s over.)
    American Gods
    Twenty Chickens for a Saddle
    City of Thieves (Listen to the audiobook by Ron Perlman; unforgettable!)

    • Carrie Callaway

      HOW did I forget American Gods?!?!?!?! Such an addicting book, I can’t wait to binge the series!

      • okay I am so lost in American Gods, I’m like 80% through it and it still hasn’t grabbed me. I don’t really get it, the story is interesting, the characters are interesting(even tho shadow’s non-existent personality annoys me) but I’m just finishing it as a chore. what am I missing?!

        • Carrie Callaway

          I think what grabbed me was a combination of the idea in general– all the gods coexisting and just chilling in America, like what?– but I thought Shadow had a personality, even if it was muted. I mean, the guy had just gotten out of prison where he had to dull himself to the world, only to find out the terrible thing that he does upon his release–I wouldn’t expect anyone to really spring back to their full emotional, vulnerable self so quickly. Regardless, I was also gripped by Gaiman’s use of America as a backdrop, and the book really made me appreciate small town America so much more than I have in the past.

          • idk, maybe it would have been more real (to me) if he had been a frayed ending of nerves, as he’s out of prison and gets horrible news and gets thrown in the deep end in the oddest situations? I agree tho, Gaiman is a master at drawing side characters and srtting moods like the small towns, those are my fav parts so far. maybe it’s just not my book -i loved Coraline so I guess there’s a Gaiman for everyone

    • Jeanie

      I’ll second American Gods. Is the show any good?

      • Jessi Masarin

        I started watching it and lost interest. To me, the story the book paints is just so much more intense.

        • Jeanie

          I’m not surprised. I might still check it out though. I like combining the visuals and the writing in my head and kinda get the best of both worlds.

    • Reba

      city of thieves is my favorite book to give as a gift – it’s so, so good.

      • Tess

        Funny, I don’t often gift books, but the couple times I have, it’s been The City of Thieves. Also, fun fact, it is written by David Benioff who is one of the showrunners/writers of Game of Thrones (the TV show).

  • Kate

    Heartburn, Nora Ephron.

    • Haley Nahman

      Been meaning to read forever

      • missmg

        me toooooo

    • “I had gotten to the point where I simply could not make a bad vinaigrette, this was not exactly the stuff of drama. (Even now I cannot believe Mark would want to risk losing that vinaigrette – You just don’t bump into vinaigrette that good.)”
      I love her.

  • The Fluffy Owl

    OMG I have so many I couldn’t put down, here’s 12:

    The Harry Potter series ( finished all 7 books over the course of a summer, and currently re-reading them with my husband)

    Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Blunt (coming of age, broken home, complicated relationships, sibling rivalry, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time)

    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (if you liked The Kite Runner you’d probably like this one),

    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (Woman coming to terms with her mother’s Nazi past, stock up on tissues)

    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (another tear jerker),

    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid (coming of age in the Jim Crow South),

    Little Bee by Chris Cleve (young refugee girl trying to establish herself in London)

    Dispatches From The Edge by Anderson Cooper (memoir on his life and career beginnings)

    Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (first book to make me cry)

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (if you’re into sci-fi this is a winner if you can separate the art from the artist)

    Girl in Translation- Chinese immigrant family establishing their life in the United States

    Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (sci-fi, the multi-verse, alternate realities, sexy stuff,)

    • T-Fierce

      I feel like Cutting for Stone is SO polarizing–I wasn’t a fan but I’ve met people who were OBSESSED.

      • The Fluffy Owl

        omg i’m so obsessed with this story lol, it’s usually the first thing i recommend when asked 😉 What about it made it polarizing to you? Maybe I missed something?

        • T-Fierce

          Oh I didn’t think the content was polarizing, just haven’t met anyone who is “meh” on it, they either love it or hate it. I didn’t love the writing but I know others who did.

          • The Fluffy Owl

            ohhhhh i gotcha i thought you were talking about the story itself…i will say the first chapter was a struggle for me (typically not a good start for a book), I actually needed to take a break and didn’t get back to it for months and eventually just started over, glad I did though, once I was past that I couldn’t put it down 🙂

  • dk

    Ready Player One was the last book I did not stop reading literally until I was finished; probably now 3 or 4 years ago. It’s easy entertainment, shock full of 80s and 90s references, fun and trilling.

    • Autumn

      Yes! This book was wonderful!

    • Magan Biggs

      I’m on the waitlist for this book from the library at this moment. So close!

    • Carrie Callaway

      Someone suggested this to me today! Right after I told them I was watching the anime Sword Art Online…

  • T

    Any of Marian Keyes’s early novels: Angels, Rachel’s Holiday, The Other Side of the Story, Sushi for Beginners, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married.
    Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems
    Hammer of the Gods, the Led Zeppelin bio by Stephen Davis
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
    Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor
    The Razor’s Edge by M. Somerset Maugham

  • Callie Kitchens

    Since you liked the Goldfinch…the Secret History is written by the same author and my all time favorite. Fates and Furies is similar to those two (it’s long and gripping) and it’s a great summer read! For a quick read (perfect for train delays) try This Is How You Lose Her by Diaz. Lastly, what’s a book recommendation without Murakami? Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, often overlooked, but great.

    • Haley Nahman

      I feel like I’m the only anti-Fates and Furies person in the world. Her writing style drove me nuts! Maybe I should try again

      • Callie Kitchens

        I’ll be honest, it took me a while to finish because of that. But the story was too good…and I’m from Florida so the fact that she mentioned Weeki Watchi hooked me.

        • Haley Nahman

          Oh good, I’m relieved you agree but still thought it was good. Perhaps worth it then..

      • Gigi

        Agreed! My roommate just gave me this book, and I have been wrestling with the first 50 pages for this exact reason. Finally, I read an old New Yorker review of the book that seemed to put things into more context.

      • CeeEm

        FWIW I felt that way while I was reading Fates and Furies (I was all like “how is this Obama’s favorite book of the year?”), UNTIL I got to the second half of the book which comes from the wife’s point of view. It made it worth it.

        • Magan Biggs

          Absolutely, the back context made everything so bittersweet

      • Nico

        I loved her style but I can totally see how it’d drive some people nuts. Maybe try Arcadia by Lauren Geoff next?? I picked that up right after finishing Fates and I def loved it more.

    • esther

      LOVED Fates and Furies!

  • mmmmon

    Amy Tan’s books get me everytime.

  • Without You, There Is No Us – Suki Kim

    • CeeEm

      Reading this right now! Really love it so far.

  • Laura_B

    Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. I literally read this in 2 days and felt like a possessed woman! Spooky, enduring, funny, and so very well written, I’m so happy I stumbled on this. If you watched Scooby-Doo as religiously as I did as a kid, then this is for YOU

    • Megan Bodie

      I read the review that NPR did on Meddling Kids and immediately requested it from the library. Glad to hear it is fun! Can’t wait to read it!

      • Laura_B

        AHHH You’ll love it I swear! I thought it was a little corny at first but after a while I got stressed out for the characters like it was all happening to me hah

    • Claire

      I loved Scooby-Doo when I was little and I for real can’t wait to read Meddling Kids now. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Eva

    Books you can’t put down, summer edition:
    – Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (very funny. It’s a modern re adaptation -super witty- of Pride and Prejudice);
    – Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (if you want to feel you’re in High School again -only it’s prep school);
    – The Vacationers by Emma Straub (imagine you’re on vacation with a sort of dysfunctional family in Mallorca);
    – Modern Lovers by Emma Straub (two threads: first, love between teenagers who are opposites; second, the functions and dysfunctions of 2 couples who are respectively the parents of the teens;
    – A visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (this book not only won the Pulitzer Prize, but it is also one of my favorites of all time. It has everything, from drama to laughter. Also, it’s written in an innovative way. Not in the sense that you don’t get where you’re going or it’s intricate. No. It’s not a pretentious book. It’s really great and follows different moments in time and different characters. Additional perks: a small part of it is set at NYU -not law, but still-);
    – Everyone worth knowing by Lauren Weisberger (welcome to the events world of a Mid-2000 NY. Much fun, super girly)
    – Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger (very sex and the city but written far better. Perks: you can identify yourself and your friends in each one of these pretty characters
    – Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (I loved it. It is far darker than all of the above, but it gives you an eye on the restaurant world -it will make you want to cook and know so much more about wine-. But it is pretty dark);
    – Candide by Voltaire (trust me, it’s funny. Yes, it sounds super pretentious, but you follow around Pangloss, Candide and his beloved among the paradoxes of this impossible world and it’s full of adventure, comedy, sex. Perks: it was a book banned by the church when it came out.
    – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    • Ap4rna

      The fact that I did not think Sweetbitter was that dark makes me think there’s something wrong with me, or I’ve just spend my life reading really dark shit and I just had no idea.

  • Amy L Campbell

    THE GIRLS by Emma Cline

    • Ashley Steenson

      I read it and could not put it down but found the ending sensational?! It REALLY bothered me for some reason!!!

      • Amy L Campbell

        The ending left me totally unfulfilled, I don’t know what I was expecting but I was slightly underwhelmed. But it left me thinking about… a sequel

    • Basil

      I have notes. It could have done with better editing – I don’t know if it’s because they paid her so much that they didn’t feel like interfering, but it was a great premise, her writing is beautiful but it was too much. It slowed down the pace of the book

  • WM

    Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts

  • Sophia

    The Poldark novels by Winston Graham. The first novel is called “Ross Poldark.” I am intensely picky about the books I read (comes of being an English major… haha) and these novels have completely swept me up into their world. They’re set in 1780s Cornwall and follow Ross Poldark’s life and adventures after he comes home from the American Revolutionary War. Published in the 1950s they are true historical fiction classics.

  • Jessica

    American Gods – (great fiction)

    The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson (this one will change you)

  • T-Fierce

    Ooh excellent thread, I read a LOT but the un-put-downables are harder to find. Definitely seconding all the Donna Tartt fans and Middlesex and A Little Life (fucked me uppppp) and the Magicians but I’ll have to add:

    -Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for sure, one of the best books I’ve read this year and you should totally get to it before the movie
    -The City & The City by China Mieville–weird not quite fantasy premise
    -Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey for some extra sexy fantasy
    -Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series
    -It’s What I Do- badass photojournalist memoir by Lynsey Addario
    -The Rules of Attraction is probably my fave Brett Easton Ellis novel and its soooo good
    -The Cartel by Don Winslow

    • Lebanese Blonde

      LYNSEY ADDARIO IS MY ROLE MODEL and I somehow didn’t know she had a memoir! Going to library asap.

  • Tanisha

    My top three books that I still wished never ended are Leslie by Omar Tyree, The Human Stain by Phillip Roth, and The book of night Woman by Marrion James. Each book still lingers around in my mind as if the characters and each stories existed beyond those pages. And I’d like to add that this is just my whole mood trying to find new books is so difficult if it’s not listed as a best seller it’s like you don’t hear about it. Anyway thank you much !

  • graceyu

    Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems, Maestra, and Domina have been my summer guilty pleasures.

    • Jane L.

      Yes, yes, yes, that Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan was so much fun!

  • Lindsey

    OMG I cannot wait for this compiled list. I’d say the one I read most recently was Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I loved it SO MUCH. Also, I still recommend Fates & Furies all the time. Those two both completely swept me away, though they have completely different writing styles.

  • Shevaun


    First book: the name of the wind
    Second book: a wise man’s fear

    The best books I’ve read in the last 10 years. They are magical, well-written, engrossing with BUTTERY WRITING. If you want something that you cannot put down, then it’s these.

    • Shevaun

      I’m a librarian and a huge geek. If you want fantasy recs hmu.

      • T-Fierce

        all of them, please!

        • Shevaun

          -Kingkiller Chronicles
          -LOTR obvs
          -The Hobbit
          -Inkheart (I don’t like the sequels tho just the first one)
          -The Belgariad by David Eddings
          -In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip
          -Howl’s Moving Castle
          -A Wrinkle In Time by L’Engle
          -Protector of the Small series and Lioness Quartet series by Tamora Pierce

          Currently reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (he’s a Wizard Detective!) and The Riddle-Master of Hed by McKillip and the Icewind Dale Trilogy and the Farseer Trilogy by Hobb.

          Some of the recs on my list are technically YA but I feel like fantasy supersedes genre and age restrictions so they are all A+’s in my book and are great even if written for a younger audience.

          Also I hate Game of Thrones. Also here is a very good list of recommendations from ur boi Pat Rothfuss (some awesome ladies in the comments have left lists of female fantasy authors too):

          • spicyearlgrey

            You might like David Eddings’ series (multiple, first is The Belgariad) – i DEVOURED that shit as a kid, its heavy on the description but a really beautiful world

          • Shevaun

            Yes! I love The Belgariad. I read it a couple years ago and really loved it. I tried the Mallorean and wasn’t a fan but the Belgariad is so great.

          • spicyearlgrey

            Have u read the solo books on Polgara and Belgarath bc u MUST

          • Shevaun

            I haven’t yet!!!! My husbu always points them out when we’re book shopping. I will definitely read them. I love Polgara and Belgarath.

            My main issue with the Mallorean was dumb ol’ C’Nedra. Like, I get it you’re high-maintenance. But I love all the other characters.

          • spicyearlgrey

            yo i actually LUV her wat a babe. i like that at the beginning she’s just high maintenance and nothin else but by the end u realise O FK she’s a brainiac at ruling and leadership WowowoowowOWOWowOWOw

          • Cait

            Have you tried the Rebel of the Sands books? I just inhaled the first 2, and I’m not sure how I am going to survive until the 3rd book comes out in the Spring of 2018.

          • Shevaun

            I have not! Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check those out! 👏🏾

  • Ashley F.

    The Dark Monk and The Hangman’s Daughter. So good!

  • Shivani Lakshmi

    a visit from the goon squad!!! terrifically addicting. was the best companion to a solo trip to tulum.

  • maddie b

    invisible monsters!!!

    • Haley Nahman

      that book fucked me up

      • maddie b

        very true

  • Mason Huckabee

    Outlander is legitimately the best book series I’ve ever read (brightside is she is still writing more so that would be 8 and counting books)! You’re welcome🙌

    • Megan Biles

      this is true

      • Jane L.

        Yes, my guilty pleasure obsession is totally the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon! Love the books and the Starz television show. The show runners and producers really loved the books and wanted to stick to them as much as possible. And I think think they were successful!

    • Ash


    • PCE

      English major/lawyer here – you’d think I’d look down my nose at this series, but I am EFFING obsessed. I can only describe it as a trash novel for literature nerds. Just read it, you won’t regret it.

  • Audrey Abrams

    OH this is awesome! I love sharing books I’ve read that I re-read because they were so captivating the first time around!!
    -Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    -Chrestomanci series by Dianna Wynne Jones
    -Sabriel, Lirael, & Abhorsen (technically a series) by Garth Nix
    (these two series by Jones & Nix are more on the YA fantasy side of literature, but they’re both about strong female witches, and I still re- read them as an adult when I’m in a reading rut)
    -Commonwealth by Anne Patchet
    -East of Eden by Steinbeck
    -Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
    -Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    -The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
    – Blankets (graphic novel) by Craig Thompson
    – Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman, kind of a quick beach read, but still good
    – Pretty Little Dirty by Amanda Boyden, definitely a YA novel, but I remember it being really captivating to me as a teen.
    – Room by Emma Donoghue

    • Lindsey

      Ohhhh Blankets is SO GOOD, and I’ve never been a graphic novel person, typically.

      • Audrey Abrams

        Same! But that one is just amazing- it hits all the feels- especially when you’re an emotional wreck of a college student….

        • Lindsey

          I also grew up in a conservative Christian home, so that whole aspect was very on point for me, too. All of it is just so good!!

    • Chelsea

      I loved East of Eden so much yet I don’t think I’ve read Grapes of Wrath.

      • Audrey Abrams

        Same! I’ve read East of Eden multiple times… but never Grapes of Wrath!

      • Cait

        I don’t think Grapes of Wrath is as gripping as East of Eden, but worth it. For some totally different Steinbeck, I adore Travels with Charlie– his memoir about driving around the US with his standard poodle.

        • Shevaun

          I LOVE TRAVEL’S WITH CHARLY! I recommend it as a fun alternative road-trip book to the somewhat polarizing “On The Road” by Kerouac.

  • Selda

    Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovic. A touching memoir. Well recommended.

  • Emily Bruce

    The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. This book is a must read for older millennials and pseudo-creative types.

  • Sonia

    She Left Me The Gun by Emma Brockes. Almost as harrowing as The Glass Castle and just as exquisitely written.

  • Arden

    One summer my friends and I shared a copy of The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and knew exactly which part we were at by when we GASPED OUT LOUD. For a similar audible reaction book, would also recommend Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. For something a little more *~intellectual~* and less action, def have to say Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Read it for high school philosophy class and it hasn’t left my brain since. And if you want some nonfiction, def try Breaking Open the Head by Daniel Pinchbeck! (Also the Oral History of the Daily Show for some good memz.) You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein is a great memoir if that’s more up your alley.

    Just realized this is way more recs than I intended to list but OH WELL.

  • Jenilee

    A Little Life – this was the most intense book I’ve ever read, it will rip your heart out and stomp on it.

  • Emma

    Hot Milk
    Norwegian Wood
    Skippy Dies
    In Cold Blood
    Cat’s Eye
    Play it as it Lays
    Kite Runner
    Song of Solomon
    East of Eden
    Anything by Elena Ferrante/Toni Morrison/Hemingway

    • ErinPaige

      This is my favourite list so far because I loved six of them. Only not Hot Milk but I had a bad time with the Booker last year.

      • Emma

        <3 <3 <3 loved Hot Milk much more than expected, feel like its the kind of novel you feel guilty for liking and relating to bc parts of it are so ridiculous, but in a way that makes them more real. Also i think part of my love for the book is the title

    • Carrie Callaway

      In Cold Blood! Song of Solomon! SO GOOD!

      • Emma

        read In Cold Blood on a 20 hour train ride from NYC to ATL and finished it in the dark at 2 am while the train was stalled. One of the best reading experiences ever

    • Tess

      Kite runner is really good! Although I actually preferred A Thousand Splendid Suns, which my teacher once described as the “female version of TKR” so I guess it makes sense that as a girl I would prefer the one with strong female protagonists.

  • Monique

    She’s Come Undone- Wally Lamb. An Oprah selection book from way back when but it is the most beautiful story of becoming one’s true self. Dolores will stick with me forever, I remember her story as if she was a close friend from my younger years.

  • Oh! Also have to add “Slow Days, Fast Company” by Eve Babitz. It was a sheer delight.

  • Autumn

    OMG so many!
    Eleanor & Park
    Crazy Rich Asians
    Ready Player One
    How to Murder Your Life (Haley, I think I got this recommendation from your originally)
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    The Fault in Our Stars (because I’m a sap)
    Memoirs of a Geisha

    • Ashley Steenson

      I was just about to comment that I’ve been meaning to read Kevin Kwan!!!!

      • Autumn

        He’s great! Highly recommend. I’ve read 2/3 in the Crazy Rich Asian trilogy. Being made into a movie (of course) which I’m kind of excited for – the fashion in that movie is going to be incredible.

  • kait

    Hillbilly Elegy!!! It will change the way you view the American people. Or at least one group of people (the marginalized, the forgotten). It was incredible and will remind you how lucky we are.

  • – A Little Life. Not for everyone, it will grab you or it won’t, but I found myself tearily in it’s grip. I still think about it constantly.
    – The Art of Fielding. Ignore the page count. This one was pleasant and engaging thru-out
    – Secret Life of the American Girl. Can remember reading as a high schooler and really enjoying.
    – Memoirs of Geisha. Read this on a vacation when it rained the whole time. Couldn’t put it down,
    – Barbarian Days. The best book I have read in years. I don’t understand quite why I loved it so much, but I think I really loved being plunged right into a very esoteric and unfamiliar subculture. Very technical, but you can follow along from the context. Truly striking.
    – The Neopolitan Novels, especially the 2nd one. Any woman will identify with the dynamics of their friendship.
    – The Pearl by John Steinbeck — a quickie but compelling story.
    – Just Kids by Patti Smith. Beautifully told, also you will want a grey trenchcoat after.
    – A Moveable Feast by Hemingway.
    – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    – Super Sad True Love Story. A prescient, highly readable parallel universe type novel.
    – The Scarlet Letter

    ugh is there a better feeling than when you are rude to those around you because you.just.cannot. put down what you are reading???

    also — i am going on a long drive (5.5 hrs each way) to a wedding this weekend – so if anyone has any particularly good recs for the audiobook medium LMK!!! (bossypants by tina fey is rly fun on audiobook because she personally reads it)

    • Chelsea

      I second JUST KIDS. Really transports you back into the Chelsea Hotel years.

    • blythe

      I second Super Sad True Love Story!!

  • kait

    Hillbilly Elegy! JD Vance tells the story of his upbringing in Ohio/Kentucky. It’s the story of a marginalized and forgotten population – so incredible I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

    • Mae

      Reading this now! So good.

    • Carrie Callaway

      My friend read this a few months ago and I’ve been meaning to borrow it from him! Good to hear that it’s worth the read!

  • Meghan

    This thread is incredible! I’ve been combing through all these recommendations and looking the books up on Goodreads. My poor Amazon cart.

    3 most recently read books that I couldn’t put down:

    -The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (It’s a series on Hulu now which is also amazing but the book slayed me. Every woman should read.)

    -Fates and Furies by Laura Groff (I’ve seen it mentioned a ton throughout and I recommend trying to power through even if you don’t like the prose at first)

    -Norwegian Wood by Haruki Marukami (Legit read it in one single day. His style of writing gets me every damn time.)

    • Autumn

      I had to stop reading Fates and Furies because I couldn’t handle the writing style. I know everyone loves it though.

  • Madeline Marie

    “Where’d You Go Bernadette” and “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple. So smart and funny and wonderful!! I read them after A Little Life because how else can you move on from that??

  • Sarah Bauer

    I love a book that you skip out on plans for, or leave early for. Here are a few goodies:

    Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, if you want a intrepid young woman’s opinion on the industry of death.

    Gold Diggers by Charlotte Gray, if you seriously think you were meant to be coming of age in the Yukon during the 1890’s.

    Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston, if you are interested in looking at the relationship of women with alcohol from a mature, incredibly intelligent Canadian professor’s perspective.

    Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, if your love of Reichl is as unparalleled as your love for homemade carbonara.

    East of Eden by John Steinbeck, if you want to go home.

    • libs

      I love carbonara! And I didn’t know until now that I wanted to come of age in the Yukon during the 1890s. So, thanks for these suggestions.

  • Jacqueline Melendez

    I know they made a show out of it and everyone has heard about it by now but Big Little Lies has been one of my favorites I’ve read this year.
    The Nix, Gone With The Wind, The Girl With a the Dragon Tattoo series are some of my favorites.

    Nonfiction: anything by Jeff Benedict, he writes about different topics that are equally fascinating.

  • Ashley Steenson

    Below are 10 books devoured by me this summer!

    1) NW – Zadie Smith – Four vignettes in which Northwest London is a character in itself!
    2) America’s Queen – Sarah Bradford – A biography of Jackie Kennedy painstakingly compiled by a British historian (the Times called it “compulsively readable” and they’ve never been more correct!!!)
    3) My Life On The Road – Gloria Steinem – No descriptors necessary…
    4) God Bless You Mr. Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut – Once again, no descriptors necessary…
    5) Last Words – George Carlin – A “sortabiography” of Carlin’s life and work!
    6) Island – Aldous Huxley – The story of beautiful Pala, an imaginary island where the inhabitants have combined the best philosophies of both the eastern and western worlds!!!
    7) Slouching Toward Bethlehem – Joan Didion – A collection of Didion’s essays during her time in LA in the 1960s (apt beach read of course)
    8) Mythologies – Roland Barthes – He uses semiotics and philosophy to deconstruct objects and concepts from our daily lives/ reveal their implicit mythologies.
    9) Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction – Walter Benjamin (essay, Penguin edition) – What does art mean within the machine age?!
    10) Now reading…..! A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara – Please tell me y’all have read it!!!!

    • Ashley Steenson

      Now seeing that I’m the last one to read a little life!!!! LOL

  • nessa

    “How Should a Person Be?” by Sheila Heti is like.. mesmorizing and wise and funny and just like… a beautiful experience. The graphic novel “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel is awesome, as well.

  • Chelsea

    Gotta add SHANTARAM. It’s big one but plainly written and based upon a man’s impossible adventures in India as a recovering heroin addict criminal mercenary. Throws you into a world you’d never know otherwise. Right there into all the palaces and prison pits!

    Right now I can’t put down Sherman Alexie’s new memoir, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME, about his complicated relationship with his oh-so-complicated mother. Actually, I have put it down sometimes to savor the words and cry or laugh or digest it before I go onto the next chapter. Buy this one.

    • Magan Biggs

      Absolutely Shantaram!!

    • Cait

      You should check out the recent episode of Fresh Air where Terri Gross interviews Sherman Alexie. It made me want to get the audiobook for You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me because he reads it himself.

      • Chelsea

        Thanks for this info! I will check both out!

  • Liz Warners

    Tina Fey’s Bossypants is really all I ever need in a book or life advice.

  • Nicola V

    I am so happy for this thread! I can never find enough good books. Taking so many notes. I have many ideas but my no. 1 recommendation is always “All My Puny Sorrows”, by Miriam Toews. Both the saddest and funniest book I’ve ever read. I read it for the first time last year, and have already read it again 2 or 3 times ….

  • CeeEm

    Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.

    I had a habit of missing my train stop while reading this.

    • CeeEm

      also: Never Let Me Go by Kauo Ishiguro

      • lisa

        Agreed! I read Never Let Me Go in high school (~8 years ago) and still think about it, v haunting

  • Sami

    White Oleander by Janet Finch. It’s dark, beautiful, complex, and completely engrossing. I would also highly recommend the movie adaptation.

  • Ashley

    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen = my fav book ever.

  • I’m not throwing out any recs but I just want to say y’all in the comments section are killing it with yours and I am HERE FOR IT.

    In recent years I’ll occasionally get asked a dreaded question by a new acquaintance or friend: “What kinds of books do you like to read?” I’ll look at them blankly for a while before either admitting I haven’t been reading much of anything lately or lying and pulling a suggestion out of my ass. But I do WANT to start reading for fun again and I can’t wait to take you all up on your suggestions.

    • Aydan

      start with wanderlush–its completely silly and fluffy and not even that “compelling” (to be pretentious for a second), but it is FULL OF LAUGHS and is the perfect way to get your mind, body, and brain back on that reading train! (plus there are companion ones which are hilarious)

      • Aydan

        also the royal we! That is another fun read that isn’t too much to handle and is a breeze!

      • Aydan it’s as if you know me. Sprinkled in between years of reading next to nothing I HAVE read my fair share of comedic memoirs. They are wonderful even if they’re not, like, critically acclaimed or whatever. I will start with this one and it will be great, tysm for the suggestion.

        • Aydan

          YESSS! Glad to be of help! I’m always constantly switching up what types of books I read because I do believe its very easy to get yourself into a reading block 🙂

  • tragic heroine #1

    1) Patti Smith’s Just Kids 💕 I could not stop reading and I remember it vividly even though I only read it once and six years ago.
    2) Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – It changed the way I see writing and reading as a personal and collective experience (even if I read the English translation)
    3) Iris Murdoch’s Under the Net and
    4) The Sea, The Sea (or anything by her, really)
    5) Pamela Des Barres’ I’m With the Band (one of the craziest non-fiction books I’ve ever read purely because everything reads like fiction)
    6) White Teeth by Zadie Smith (I dropped and broke my phone in a train station cause I was reading this while walking)
    7) City of Spades by Colin MacInnes (and the rest of his London Trilogy)

    • Gigi

      You should check out Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities if you have not already!

    • Hope

      loving the Iris Murdoch shout out! Under the Net is my all time!

    • Lindsey

      Felt the same way about Just Kids. Just read her newer one, M Train while I was on a work trip in NY and it was completely magical. I felt like she guided me around the city.

    • Carrie Callaway

      Calvino! I also recommended If on a winter’s night a traveler. Read it for class last fall and it was by far my favorite book of the semester.

  • The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman – Booker Prize longlisted. Bonkers brilliant.

  • ESS

    The Husband’s Secret- Laine Moriarty
    The Nightingale- Kristin Hannah
    The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd
    The Hate you Give- Angie Thomas
    The Paris Wife- Paula McLain
    I’ll Give you the Sun- Jandy Nelson (YA but still great)

  • a genre-inclusive & rly very small smathering of delicious reads :
    Event Factory by Renee Gladman
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    Orlando by Virginia Woolf
    Mean by Myriam Gurba
    The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector
    Invitation to a Beheading by Vlad Nabokov
    White Girls by Hilton Als
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
    Nilling by Lisa Robertson
    The Turning of the Screw by Henry James
    Beast Feast by Cody-Rose Clevidence
    My Antonia by Willa Cather
    Ficciones by Borges

    • spicyearlgrey

      WOOLF <3

  • Hannah Laub

    “The Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell. Just finished last night and each page was absolutely phenomenal. Started “Middlesex” this morning and I already know I’m going to have some late nights with this one.

    And just to add some more nerdiness to this comments section, the entire “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” series is AMAZING. You will not put it down and it will fill a small part of the void left by the ending of the “Harry Potter” series. Also, the movie is garbage, please ignore.

    And lastly, “The Golden Compass” series. It holds my heart.

  • Paige

    The Kite Runner! It is so heartbreaking but also one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. A Thousand Splendid Suns is also incredible – Khaled Hosseini’s imagery truly makes you feel as though you’re there, living with the characters.

  • Apart from many, many books mentioned here ♡♡♡ I love to get swallowed by a Joyce Carol Oates or two…

  • Kay Nguyen

    Manhattan Transfer – John Dos Passos

  • Annie

    It helps that it was the first book I read with my boyfriend, but Station Eleven is one of the more recent, magical books I’ve read. 10/10 would highly recommend!

  • Charlotte Gjedsted

    Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, most recently, kept me up and had me thinking about the story even when I wasn’t reading it.

    Also, Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Mary Burns, The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey, and A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Happy reading!

  • Ana

    Not as good as secret histories/goldfinch/a little life (could have done with some editing….) but in a similar vein and I really enjoyed it: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

  • Jessie

    There is nothing I love more than devouring a book whole (life’s too short for bad books!). That’s why I turn to YA again and again — they’re not heaped with subtle innuendo and they’re not blocked by sanctimonious tomfoolery, the characters just are who they are. Without further ado, I reco:

    –Red Rising series by Pierce Brown (truly divine characters)
    –Legend (trilogy) by Marie Lu (what a goddess at crafting a superb plot)
    –6 of Crows series by Leigh Bardough (Dark. Chilling. Heist!)
    –Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (GIRL’S AT IT AGAIN. #DivergentQueen)
    –I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (her writing is straight up poetry)

    Non-YA fiction recos:

    –A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (really anything by Backman)
    –Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I have given this book to everyone I know)
    –The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (classic heartbreaker. #havetissuesready)

  • Can’t recommend David Sedaris enough – “Me Talk Pretty One Day” has made me the snorting-with-laughter crazy girl on the bus this summer.

  • Rachel Pryzgoda

    Sin by Josephine Hart

  • Not as well known but a family favorite is The Camerons by Robert Crichton… It’s a depressing rainy day read that I for sure was unable to put down until it was finished.

  • lisa

    I have to recommend The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan – it’s a collection of essays and stories written through her years in high school & at Yale, published posthumously after she died a few days after graduation. She was super talented, and taken with the context of her life & death, some of her stuff REALLY gets to you. V timely especially for those in their early 20’s who have no idea what’s going on in life such as myself!

    In addition – some other favs are Station Eleven, the Poisonwood Bible, & the Interpreter of Maladies. For nonfiction, just finished Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, highly recommended if you’re interested in social justice / law enforcement / prison reform, but DO NOT BRING ON A BEACH VACATION you will be even more depressed than you already were about the current state of affairs in this country

    • Cait

      +1 for Just Mercy– my friends are sick of me telling them they have to read it (which I would stop doing if they’d just read it already)

  • Elizaveta

    1. The Handmaids Tale
    2. The Phantom Tollbooth
    3. Vanity Fair
    4. Master and Margarita

  • Mika Deshmukh

    Vida by Patricia Engel is a beautiful, quick read. Each chapter is a vignette from the protagonist’s life and deals with romance, family, growing up Colombian in the US, and finding yourself as an adult. I’ve read it three times now, and each time it makes me laugh, cry, and think about my own personal growth! 10/10 would recommend!

  • Gabby

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is fantastic. I feel so understood, engaged, and excited about life every time I read it. It stimulates my brain and I love it.

    • spicyearlgrey

      this is the one and only scifi i hold dear to my heart! this is such a good rec!!!!!

    • Jeanie

      Yes, yes! So beautiful. I wanted to recommend it as well.

  • Grace Ann Roberts

    The First Bad Man by Miranda July. So unique, so hilarious, so poignant… I have never read anything like it and remains a steadfast favorite. Everything I read for a while after I finished it was disappointing!

    • Cici

      Did you read her short stories, No one belongs here more than you ? One of the most weird and wonderful books I’ve ever read

  • Malene

    1) Matt Haig – The Humans. It is simply a must-read and it sets life in perspective with great portions of wonder, humor and wit! Without saying too much, I’ll tell you that the protagonist tries to understand humans in general and as individuals whilst it (I really don’t know which gender the protagonist has – which actually is cool) eventually learns to love and feel, It is definitely a must read for ALL humans.

    2) M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans. This book will probably stay a favorite of mine and it is, though it seems hard to do so, better and more beautiful than the movie (which I highly recommend as well1).

    3) Blaine Harden – Escape from Camp 14. Quite another genre than the other two before mentioned books, but nonetheless worth a read! Gives great insight (at least I think) on a otherwise rather closed country, and sometimes Shin’s story was simply too much to bear.

    • Malene

      Also I just started reading “Feminist Fight Club” and that book should be given to all girls when born (or well you know, when they learn to read) – very empowering and lady-boss-cool!

  • Ellie

    -The kite runner
    -Sarah’s key

  • Jillian K

    The books I’ve read in recent memory that you would have had to fight me to put down:

    Middlesex (Eugenides), Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Chabon), A State of Wonder (Patchett), Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel), Big Little Lies (Moriarty) and while I know this is a very 2008 answer, I think the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series is one of the most compulsive reads I’ve ever encounterd with one of the most memorable heroines of 21st century lit!!

    -love, an English major who should probs start reading for her thesis but instead is going to spend time devouring these MR recs!!

    • Audrey

      literally me and I also just started game of thrones and a new needlepoint project and i can’t bring myself to read for school when i have so many other book recs

    • Coralie

      Oh,I can’t believe I forgot Station Eleven on my list! I picked it up in a café because I had forgotten my own book and couldn’t move until I finished it. Adding your rec I haven’t read to my future reading for sure!

    • Jeanie

      I loved how in Big Little Lies, the women supported each other so much between friends. And then they supported their enemies as well when it really counted in the end. It’s a great book for women.

    • Cait

      I hate Shakespeare and am kind of over the whole post-apocalyptic story line, but for some reason I picked up Station Eleven anyway and LOVED it. So so good.

    • PCE

      yessss state of wonder and station eleven. Also Commonwealth by Patchett

  • The unbelievable Dr. Siri Paiboun stories by Colin Cotterill – Siri being an old coroner in Laos. He also seems to share his body with a shamanic ghost and is a most accomplished detective.

  • Eliza

    Last book I read that I COULD NOT put down: The Girls by Emma Cline. It was last summer and I think I finished it in 3 days (barely slept, showered or ate).

    I’ve been reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett since January, because I have mostly been distracted with work, life, work, etc. It’s really good though and I highly recommend it!

    If you like classics, please read Nine Stories by JD Salinger. It’s such a page turner. I keep it on my bedside table in case I ever need a break from my Netflix addicition.

  • Ash

    Thank you for putting together a Goodreads list! I was going through trying to download samples to my kindle of every. last. book. Then my tired brain thought I should check to see if you were putting together a Google docs list or something…

  • Keeley

    My best friend and I are visiting Newfoundland because of the book The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. Her writing really got me; it’s dry, sad, and funny all at the sameness time. She also gives her characters the best names: Tert Card, Wavey Prouse, Diddy Shovel, Sunshine Quoyle.

    • Keeley

      All at the “same” time!
      Darn autocorrect…

  • Shelby

    Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier is amazing, and you need to read it first so you can read: Cybele’s Secret (by Juliet Marillier ), the sequel/ companion. It is my all time favorite fiction novel because it captures a little magic into the beauty and mystery of historical fiction. It takes place in 16th century Istanbul and has a strong female main character. It’s so fascinating and descriptive, and you will fall in love with the lead, Paula and watch her come into her own.

  • Swool

    Patti Smith’s Just Kids. I could read it weekly if my book’s pages weren’t already falling out.

    Currently re-reading A Wrinkle in Time and of course highly recommend.

  • libs

    so many good recs in these comments (apart from Sweetbitter – I feel like the only person that disliked this book, but honestly I have so many problems with it). All my unputdownable books are historically influenced if not direct historical fiction – I like fully immersing myself in that different environment and these are all relatively plot-driven compared to what I often read, which adds to the joy of reading them in one go.

    Ghostwalk – Rebecca Stott
    The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
    H Is For Hawk – Helen McDonald
    How To Be Both – Ali Smith

    for non-fiction: Rebecca Solnit and Patrick Leigh Fermor!

  • starryhye

    I will always, always, always, recommend David Sedaris to people, specifically “Me Talk Pretty One Day”. I usually prefer fiction, but Mr. Sedaris’ essays and short stories are always entertaining. More often than not, I find myself laughing out loud and he paints such a vivid and ridiculous picture of his family. I just grabbed his newest book from the library and am looking forward to digging into it this weekend at the beach!

    Now off to read everyone else’s recommendations! <3

    • Nicole

      Yes!! Love David Sedaris and Me Talk Pretty One Day is definitely the best

  • Kristi Ellis

    The Nightingale
    All the Light We Cannot See

  • Basil

    I need some inspiration as the books I’ve read most recently have been REALLY dull. I’m re-reading Catch 22 but I need something new.

    My recommendations are:
    All the light we cannot see
    Do not say we have nothing
    Purity by Jonathan Franzen (is a bit like the Goldfinch, though sadly not quite as good)
    The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
    5 Days at memorial (if you’re into medical ethics)
    A Kim Jong Il Production (also kind of topical right now) and on a similar theme (North Korea)
    The Orphan Masters son

    • Tess

      Oh hey, I think you’re the only one to say The Orphan Master’s Son. Good call, great book. Super fascinating look into North Korea.

  • Nicole

    You and Hidden Bodies is a good, dark thriller. They’re turning it into a mini series next year!

  • Audrey

    Hi! This is my first time commenting on MR but I’ve been reading it for years. I’m going to be a senior in high school this year and I just wanted to share because The Goldfinch will always be my top recommendation as well. Here is the rest of the books I’ve read recently that I’ve absolutely loved:

    The Secret History (Donna Tartt)
    The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah) (addicting and I even got my friend who hates reading to fall in love with it)
    Exit West (Mohsin Hamid) (gorgeously written, I read every page multiple times just to soak in the words)
    The Light We Lost (Jill Santopolo) (literally read this in one day)
    Rules of Civility (Amor Towles) (& A Gentlemen in Moscow, but I liked this one better)
    All Our Wrong Todays (Elan Mastai) (just lent this to my grandma, addicting sci-fi at its finest)
    Milk & Honey (Rupi Kaur) (the most raw and heartbreaking poetry, incredibly relatable as a woman)
    Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) (I put this on my college apps as the one book that should be required reading in school I’m not kidding)

    The short list of al my books but the best!

    • Alexia

      Ha ha we have some similar books on our lists!! I’m going to throw “The Precious One” out there as a book you might like.
      Also I just finished The Light We Lost. Can’t stop thinking about that ending. Spoiler: At first I liked Darren (ish) but after the paper doll scene and you need to stay home and be with the kids BS I wanted to chuck something at him

      • Audrey

        Hardcore agree on the Darren thing. When he was wooing her I was really into it because he was so sweet but then he turned out to be an ass. The ending just made me cry, and the beginning too really. Also thanks for the rec!

  • Paulina

    The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami. Ethereal, poetic, incredible story-telling. Nobody writes like Murakami. One of my favorite authors.

  • Flo W

    A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
    unbelievable love story that’s really can. not. stop. reading. Plus its a trilogy, the next two books are equally brilliant: Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.
    Also, maybe considered trash but the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, make me laugh out loud and I am not able to put down.
    – Love this idea Haley! –

    • Cait

      A Discovery of Witches is amazing– I scoffed when a friend recommended it, and then devoured it and read the next 2 ASAP.

      • Flo W

        Thank you for not letting me be alone on this one ❤️☝🏻

  • Kathi Steins

    There are so many amazing books! Some of my favorites are:

    Infinte Jest – David Foster Wallace (Super long and a little confusing, but if you keep the ‘Wallacewiki’ open on your computer – no problem!)

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera (Set in post-war Czech-Republic, it’s about love, philosophy and life. I couldn’t put it down)

    East of Eden – John Steinbeck (A family drama which plays out over several generations)

    The Spectre of Alexander Wolf – Gaito Gasdanow (Russian Thriller from the 1930s)

    I hope I can find some more books through this list <3

  • Rachel

    I read The Bell Jar every year, and every time it presents new meanings and messages. Such a quick and easy read! Also anything by Sloane Crosley.

    • esther

      I’ve been meaning to read The Bell Jar for forever! (And not because of the name, either, although that’s a fun bonus!)

      • Carrie Callaway

        It is so good! That is another one I should have put on my list!

  • Krista Grenier

    Cannot recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah enough, also the Century Trilogy by Ken Follet. I am a historical fiction nut, and the way he weaves all the characters together is absolutely spellbinding.

  • Aydan

    fiction: the strays, the terranauts, made you up, the imperfectionists, the hundred-year house, we all looked up, moonglow

    nonfiction: the secret history of wonder woman, the men in my life, the only thing worth dying for

  • Kenny

    Personal History by Katharine Graham – amazing memoir and lots of US history from 1950,60,70s

    Wallace Stegner – Crossing To Safety

  • Jessie Mai

    In the past few years I’ve been reliably spellbound by Zadie Smith (of her novels I like On Beauty the best, and it’s great to read in dialogue with Forster’s Howard’s End), Elena Ferrante, and Karl Ove Knausgaard (I’m 2400 pages into My Struggle). I’ve recently discovered Ivy Compton-Burnett’s novels, which are delicious.

    • Lindsey

      I’m sorry, but the irony of a book called My Struggle being over 2400 pages is just too good. Lol

      • Jessie Mai

        The last book in the series (his publisher split up the 3600 page manuscript into 6 books) includes a 400 page essay about Hitler X-{ But the curious thing is that he’s totally engaging and his prose somehow very light even when he ventures into really painful emotional description. It’s sorcery~~~

        • Lindsey

          Sounds intriguing! And six books is much more manageable! I’ll have to look into this person…

  • Lindy

    The Secret History, also by Donna Tartt.

  • mapillski

    I’m on this kick this year where I’m only reading books written by women. I started because I got The Red Tent in a New Year’s book exchange and I couldn’t put it down. I know it’s old and insanely popular but I think I read it in a week (I only read at night when I’m in bed). It really made me rethink my role as a woman/daughter/sister/friend to others. Cannot recommend it more highly. I would also recommend Just Kids by Patti Smith. It’s my all time favorite book but the prose is sort of difficult to sift through, it’s worth the time though.

    • I actually started to do the same thing this year!! I’ve read 30 books this year and 25 of them were written by women. I also tried to read as many by women of color that I could! I highly recommend Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women” and Gabourey Sidibe’s “This is Just my Face” if you haven’t read them already.

      • mapillski

        Amen to Roxanne Gay! I’ll add Gabourey Sidibe’s book to my list, although it’s getting longer by the day…

  • Zey

    The secret history’s by Donna tartt is my all time favorite, but I’ve also recently been resding The Idiot by Elif Batuman and it’s amazing

  • Mary Kate Burke


  • Mary Kate Burke


  • Abbey Leroux

    I love this topic. Though I read a fair amount of books, I feel the criteria you set is very specific and I totally feel you on the yearning and nostalgia for that level of intensity. Not many have come close for me lately so I’m getting dizzy with hope from these comments!
    Here are a few that come immediately to mind for me…

    City of Thieves by David Benioff
    The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
    Another Country by James Baldwin

  • Juli

    The Girls by Emma Cline

  • blythe

    Thank you for this thread!!! I have been a terrible reader and needed this boost. My suggestions:

    -Anything by George Saunders
    -A Confederacy of Dunces (you’ll never love to hate a main character so much!!!)
    -A Hologram for the King (super fast read)
    -East of Eden
    -Super Sad True Love Story
    -Perfume by Patrick Suskind (dark and creepy and bizarre and so fun)

    Thanks everyone!!!

  • Magan Biggs

    Have to add a list too, there are so many great books out there! Also, trying to add those that I haven’t seen in the comments so far, but again, so many great books!

    Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami
    One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Americanah- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Bel Canto- Ann Patchet
    All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr
    The History of Love- Nicole Krauss
    Dry- Augusten Burroughs
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith

    Pretty sure I cried in most, if not all of the books above.

  • Emily Capehart

    Dalva by Jim Harrison. I’ve never wanted to know a fictional character more than Dalva Northridge. Jim Harrison was a national treasure.

  • Claire

    ANYTHING BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (start with his short stories before attempting Infinite Jest)!
    Strangers Drowning – Larissa MacFarquhar
    The Rules do Not Apply – Ariel Levy
    Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
    The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
    When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
    American Pastoral – Phillip Roth
    The Neapolitan Series

    • spicyearlgrey


  • Ulricha Ferdinandsen Bodenhoff

    Everything Murakami just hits a soft spot in my brain, some dark n’ stormy, others more mystical and romantic. All the pleasures of reading are in his works (at least to me); lyrically intriguing, real deep feels, unexpected plots – the lot folks! ‘Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world’ is my favorite so far 🙂

  • Nicole Gannaway

    Shades of Magic trilogy
    Crazy Rich Asians
    Salt to the Sea (young adult, but one of the truly most beautiful books I’ve ever come across)
    Sweetbitter (which I’ve seen y’all mention in another book piece, but still. So so good.)
    Shadow of the Wind
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    The Night Circus
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog

    • Lindsey

      Just finished Lincoln in the Bardo and loved it!!

    • Brennah


    • All 3 of the Crazy Rich Asians books are the most addicting books of all time.

  • Marie

    Definitely Good Omens! Great authors and a hilarious comedy-apocalypse

    • Brennah

      Two of my favourite authors co-writing, I loved it!

  • Rosselle Sandoval

    All the Light We Cannot See, while i haven’t finished i literally, several times a week, wonder if the little french girl and german boy ever meet each other. It is really a beautiful story but make sure you have at least two days of no distractions to read through one sitting.

  • Caitlin

    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Really long but super addictive, and so creative and sad and interesting.

  • Catherine Humphrey

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half a Yellow Sun – it’s my all time favourite book.
    Khaled Hosseini – A Thousand Splendid Suns – heartbreaking and beautiful.
    Emma Cilne – The Girls – couldn’t put it down and recommend to everyone I know.

  • Eimear

    Just finishing The Handmaid’s Tale, which I’ve lied, and glad to see NW on this list – I actually preferred it to White Teeth. I enjoy Emma Cline’s The Girls a lot, and can’t heap enough praise on Half of a Yellow Sun.

    To throw some exceptional Irish authors into the mix:
    A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride: haunting, singular, a masterpiece.
    Asking For It by Louise O Neill: every woman, every person, should read. I read it from cover to cover on a long-haul flight and an anger was ignited in me. I gave it to a friend to read the moment I landed.
    Brooklyn by Colm Toibin: even better than the film. For anyone who has ever emigrated, or moved away from home.

    • Brennah

      If you like The Handmaid’s Tale and are okay with reading more dystopia, I highly recommend “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. I also read it on a long-haul flight and think that “every woman, every person, should read”.

  • aronnoco

    Ooh ooh ooh! These are not necessarily the best from each author, but definitely the most compelling/couldn’t put it down/didn’t want to stop reading at any point:

    The Edible Woman — Margaret Atwood
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle — Haruki Murakami
    Every book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series — Douglas Adams
    The Quick and the Dead — Joy Williams
    The Stranger — Albert Camus
    The Bone Clocks — David Mitchell (but I prefer the companion story series Slade House)

    And as a tribute to 13-year-old me, the Great and Terrible Beauty/Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray.

    • i loved the gemma doyle books but hated gemma

    • Brennah

      Oh wow, The Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy!! I must have read those a hundred times as a pre-teen/teen. I think they’re still at my parents’ house, I should revisit them.

      Also at my parent’s house, “The Edible Woman”. Read this at 12 or 13 and definitely did not have a proper understanding of social context to read into it but I remember being fascinated and horrified all the same.

      • aronnoco

        Edible Woman is heavy handed with its metaphor but still so, so good and compelling and meaningful. I read it like once a year and it always hits me.

    • Carrie Callaway

      The Stranger!!!

    • Tess

      I don’t mean to stoke your fire, but I must disagree, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle so incredibly far from a book you can’t put down. It’s closer to a book you have to choke down to finish. It doesn’t have a plot, plain and simple.

  • Brennah

    I created a Disqus account just to say… Please read “The Power” by Naomi Alderman!

    It’s a dystopian novel that imagines what life would be like if women suddenly had the power to produce electricity from their hands. It is INCREDIBLE, on par with “A Handmaid’s Tale” in terms of getting me amped up about society and gender dynamics. The plot and characters are also really engaging.

    I read it in one sitting. I may go read it again right now.

  • Callie Clemons

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – the book that made me love reading. Every little girl (and woman) should meet Francie.

  • Lorrie Moore anything. But if I had to choose one, it would be Birds of America.

    • Margot

      Came here expecting more Lorrie Moore recs! I have a special love for Like Life since it’s the first collection of hers I read but Birds is great too. She’s just so gooooooood

      • She’s amazing, life changing even. She was a major reason why I decided to major in English and concentrate on creative writing. #hero

  • Clea

    (In no order other than scrolling through my Goodreads Read List)
    – The Poisonwood Bible
    – What is the What (Dave Eggers)
    – When will there be good news (Kate Atkinson)
    – Life after Life (Kate Atkinson)
    – Burial Rites (Hannah Kent)
    – The light between oceans (M L Stedman)
    – The Lake House (Kate Mroton)
    – The Heart Goes Last (Margaret Atwood)
    – The Baltimore Boys (Joel Dicker)
    – The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Joel Dicker)
    – See What I have done (Sarah Schmidt) – creepy but good

    • Cait

      Kate Morton’s Forgotten Garden is also excellent!

  • Emily

    Re: the Goldfinch — have you read The Secret History? It’s a good follow up (I read both in succession). Recently, I found Commonwealth by Ann Patchett almost impossible to put down. And the best book I’ve read this year is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

    • Emily

      ALSO, have to give a huge rec. to Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. Fates & Furies has more buzz (and was good too) but Monsters immediately became one of my favorite books.

    • Claire

      I just finished Homegoing and it was great. So beautifully written.

  • Bee

    Books I Always Recommend:
    – Crazy Rich Asians (not very high brow, but definitely addicting)
    – Jane Eyre
    – American Wife
    – The Secret History
    – Station Eleven
    – The Magus
    – Saints for All Occasions
    – The Hate U Give
    – All The Light We Cannot See
    – It’s What I Do (by Lynsey Addario)

    • spicyearlgrey

      WHy do you like JAne Eyre?? I wasn’t a fan, but curious to know where your love comes from!!

      • Bee

        That’s a difficult question because there are so many reasons (I feel like I could write a thesis on Jane Eyre haha). In a nutshell:

        I love that Jane isn’t valued for her looks or social standing, but rather her morality and intelligence. She ruminates on the limitations she has been given as a woman and seeks to defy them. Yet, simultaneously, she is emotionally vulnerable, particularly when falling in love with Rochester.

        She personifies the kind of femininity that I most admire—strong, intelligent, and independent yet comfortable with her sexuality and ability to love and be loved. I don’t see many characters that strike that balance the way that Jane does.

        More casually, I just really enjoy all of the different elements of the story—how it spans many years and focuses on many different elements of Jane’s life 🙂

  • Hansika Vijayaraghavan

    I make everyone I meet read Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald – it’s his last complete novel and it’s the most magical 1920s romance for everyone who wishes they were a flapper in the French Riviera

    Also Harry Potter, forever and always

    • Jessie Mai

      Tender is the Night is one of my favorite books ever — so beautiful, so glamorous, so profoundly dark and twisted!

  • Vanessa Gentile

    The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe is like Sex and the City in the 50s. So real and relatable for every women <3

  • Tori Johnson

    Another Country by the one and only Mr. James Baldwin (also his birthday today). His writing style is perfect. Truly grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go. I recommended to all of my friends as soon as I finished.

  • Lauren Gallagher

    the Slade House by David Mitchell, is the shorter sequel/related book? to the Bone Clocks. I didn’t know it was the sequel so I read it first and it is the only book I have read for a while that I just dove into for the story and suspense and didn’t have to think too introspectively on.

    On the introspective side Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, as well as Kafka on the Shore really suck you in.

    • LL_Stones

      Kafka on the Shore is so perfect!

  • Vanessa Gentile

    1. Middle Sex — Jeffrey Eugenides

    2. The Best of Everything — Rona Jaffe

    3. On the Road — Jack Kerouac

    4. Slouching Towards Bethlehem — Joan Didion

    5. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald

    6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — Betty Smith

    7. Just Kids — Patti Smith

    8. Army of Lovers — Sarah Liss

    9. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

    10. Nine Stories — JD Salinger

    • spicyearlgrey

      tbh i rly hate great gatsby and salinger. like i understand that the great gatsby was supposed to be soulless and it was social commentary (and this is applicable to tv at large as well) – in that just because people r mean or anti-heroes doesn’t mean they have to be soulless. also i hate the number of times salinger says goddamn in catcher

      • Vanessa Gentile

        BUT the thing is – Gatsby DOES have a soul, and its everyone around him who doesn’t and dampers that life within him. So its kind of beautiful in that sense, and also sad.

        • spicyearlgrey

          oooo that’s a lovely interpretation i like that

      • Cait

        For me Salinger is one of those authors you need to read at the right moment in your life– I adored Catcher in the Rye when I first read it as an early teen, when I re-read it in my late 20’s I found Holden Caulfield insufferable. I happened upon Franny and Zooey when I was in my early 20’s and was taking time off from college and absolutely adored it– I won’t risk re-reading it!

  • bets

    House of Mirth by Edith Wharton — so glamorous and sad and sharp. Even better than expected
    Bridget Jones’ Diary — always worth a reread, always makes me laugh
    All the Simon Rich books have made me laugh out loud. And they take about an hour to read, so no danger of putting them down

  • Silvia

    My 2 cents:
    One Hundred Years of Solitude
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  • Kaya Williams

    I am head-over-heels in love with “One More Thing” by B J Novak. His delightfully funny short stories are perfect for reading on a short commute or for devouring over the course of several hours

  • Madeleine

    The Braindead Megaphone and Tenth of December by George Saunders, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, the Elena Ferrante series, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. Also, A Little Life will shook you to your core, but is definitely worth a read!

    • Madeleine

      PS can MR pls start an international book club?

  • Kortney Kavanagh

    Thriller: In a Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware (she also wrote Girl in Cabin 10)
    LOL/Essays: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life -Samantha Irby
    Ok, I needed that: The Opposite of Loneliness -Marina Keegan

  • Lindsey

    Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels

  • Emily

    The Argonauts, East of Eden, IQ84, Gilead, Station Eleven, A Little Life, Wind Up Bird Chronicles, The Luminaries. I could go on and I love this thread.

  • marissa

    Wow, overwhelmed at the amount of comments!! I don’t think I’ve seen any mention of these two though:

    “Where I was From” by Joan Didion & “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchet

    Hayley, as a californian i think you’ll love the Didion one! it’s kind of an anthropological look at the history of california and how it has shaped the culture even today. I think it’s one of her less talked-about books, but it’s one of my favorites! And Commonwealth is slow to get into, but its really good and worth the read!

  • theperriertree

    The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt – this book honestly feels like it was written by the Coen Brothers. It’s dark, westerny, and so fun.

    The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whitall – this novel is a whirlwind. It tackles rape culture and its effect on the family and friends of the accused in a way that feels very real.

    The Witches of New York by Ami McKay – this book is beautifully atmospheric, and the characters might be some of my all time favourites. 1880s New York, witches, feminism – what more could you want?

  • Erin

    I recently read The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto and loved it. It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and one of the few books that has gotten me to physically cry because I am so invested in the characters and story. The story is actually narrated by the personification and spirit of music itself. It name drops and includes a lot of musicians from the past and today, which is really cool, especially if you love music. It is also written by the same author of Tuesdays with Morrie, which I have not read, but it is a highly acclaimed novel and loved the writing of Frankie Presto so I’ll probably read this one as well.

    • Carrie Callaway

      Highly recommend Tuesdays with Morrie! I read it in 5th grade after finding it in my mom’s room, didn’t fully understand it, but still loved it, and then reread it a few years ago and fell even more in love with it.

  • spicyearlgrey

    hi fellas! some serious intellectual reads in the comments luv!

    but also, i NEED to share my luv for Penny Reid, she writes chic lits but with women who r not manic pixie dream girls but REAL SMART BADASS KWEENS highly highly rec

  • Patti Shellhaas

    Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen,The Secret History by Donna Tartt and the unputdownable,The Whites by Richard Price. The good news is that you will have time and want to get lost in books again when you are older. Something to look forward to….

  • esther

    This thread is amazing! The latest book I finished that I couldn’t put down was Shrill by Lindy West. I also like recommending Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer for anyone looking for science fiction (I’ve been meaning to keep going in the trilogy for years, but the first book is definitely fantastic!)

  • Vicky

    I don’t think these have been mentioned yet, but my top three would be:
    Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer – so powerfully written that I literally could not put it down, and it’s possible that my coursework suffered because of this, but no regrets.
    Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali – evocative account of unrequited love from a painfully introverted man in 1920s Berlin.
    The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy – underrated masterpiece, in both content and style. I’ve been searching bookshops for more McCarthy (also read The Group, also recommend) but she’s so hard to find in the UK!

  • Valentine

    Modoc by Ralph Helfer…
    Based on a beautiful true story. I couldn’t put it down, the relationship between this boy and his elephant is just so heart warming. It’s spiritual, adventurous, and emotional. I’ve learned so much about different cultures, animals, and myself by reading this book.

  • jiggahava

    Also, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It will make your heart POUND.

  • Jenna Lang

    Books and reading are my two top reasons for living. I gotta say that I could not put down/stayed up all night to read:

    * The God of Small Things
    * All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    * Jane Eyre (a few times)
    * Wuthering Heights (a few times)
    * anything by Angela Carter
    * Ella Enchanted (a few times)
    * anything by Sarah Addison Allen
    * The Goose Girl
    * The Time Traveler’s Wife
    * the Cormoran Strike books (by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling)
    * A Great and Terrible Beauty
    * Middlemarch (although there is not way to finish it in a night)

    And then countless ya and romance novels–for some reason, those are so much easier for me to stay up and read compulsively than Serious Adult Books.

    • Carrie Callaway

      Gail Carson Levine is amazing! I loved Ella Enchanted but my favorite of hers have to be either Fairest or Ever.

      • Jenna Lang

        Ahh–I feel like people have forgotten about her! She is so magical. I read Fairest but I’ll have to put Ever on the top of my list!

    • Morgan

      LOVE to Cormoran Strike novels!!!

      • Jenna Lang

        They are the best! I want the next one to be out now! I had a publishing internship and the editor who worked on the American publication talked about when it came out that JK Rowling wrote the books. So cool!

    • Tess

      Ah Goose Girl, that was my favorite book as a kid (and maybe still one of my favorites now as an almost-adult)

      • Jenna Lang

        Have you ever listened to it as an audiobook? They do a full cast audio version that is a masterpiece! I’ve listened to it about 10 times!

        • Tess

          No I haven’t! Thanks for the rec!! (when looking it up, what should I search?)

          • Jenna Lang

            Here’s the amazon link:

            I was super lucky and when CDs were still a thing, I borrowed it from my public library and then ~illegally~ downloaded it onto my computer. However, my public library has an online partnership with overdrive where patrons can download kindle, ebooks, and audiobooks so you could always check that out for free in your city!

            Anyway, I’m SO happy that you’re going to check it out. It is quite possibly the best thing to happen ever.

  • I read a lot so I’ll have to update as I remember but off the top of my head:

    White Teeth – Zadie Smith. Easily my favorite by her. It has such a crazy ending too but in a good way. Just a warning though, its in 4 parts and the first two are centered around much older men so it could potentially turn people off but the background characters in those parts made it worth it.

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling. All Harry Potter is good but this one just stands out the most to me. I think it’s because it’s not so Voldemort or history centric. It’s mysterious and cool AF… plus Sirius Black.

    White Oleander – Janet Fitch. My favorite book of all time. It’s #aesthetic and such a beautiful and emotional story.

    The Mothers – Brit Bennett. Beautiful story about loss, love, the the complexity of friendship and unresolved relationships.

    The Star Side of Bird Hill – Naomi Jackson. Beautiful prose. I read it because I saw Roxane Gay read it and she loved it and so did I lmao.

    • rachel

      PoA was my favorite HP when I was younger! Actually, it might still be my favorite.

    • Nico

      Yes, I was going to mention The Mothers too!! A recent read for me and I could not put it down!

    • Morgan

      Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite HP as well! I felt like the introduction of Sirius offered Harry so much hope and a sense of being connected and loved (after all of the drama, of course). (I named my first car Sirius)

      • OMG that’s so cute!!! Sirius and Remus really made that novel for me. It was great that Harry had a piece of his parents’ past with him in the flesh.

  • anne

    From my goodreads all-time favorites:
    A Little Life – Yanagihara, Hanya
    Fates and Furies – Groff, Lauren *
    Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness – Cahalan, Susannah
    The Secret History – Tartt, Donna
    The Circle – Eggers, Dave

  • cecilrahn

    Slaughterhouse-5 is an absolute classic for good reason. I would plan on being a total recluse for the duration of this book because it’s just that good!!

  • Abby Mathieson

    Pillars of the Earth
    The Nightingale
    The Art of Fielding

  • Cassidy

    Some classics:
    Under the Volcano – Malcom Lowry
    Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy, All The Pretty Horses
    A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
    Rabbit, Run – John Updike
    Tortilla Flat – John Steinbeck, Sweet Tuesday
    Everything by Ernest Hemingway, most things by Evelyn Waugh

    Some recent rando 5 stars from my amazon reviews:
    Swamplandia – Karen Russell
    Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel – Tiphanie Yanique
    Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Legends of the Fall – Jim Harrison
    The Glass Castle: A Memoir – Jeannette Walls
    All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
    The Secret History – Donna Tartt

  • ErinPaige

    Books that made me feel it was ok to ignore the world:

    1Q84 – Haruki Murakami (and agree with all recommendations of him below)
    Infinite Jest -DFW (if you read this with a friend it’s the absolute best)
    The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
    And as everyone has said – Elena Ferrante’s series and A little life. Had to come up for air.

    The Great War for Civilisation – Robert Fisk (I’ve written down vast swathes of this in my journal)
    Mountains Beyond Mountains – Tracy Kidder
    The Devil in the White City -Erik Larson

    • Carrie Callaway

      I read The Devil in the White City 5 years ago and I still think about it so often. I think it is about time for a reread. I was reminded of it most recently when watching the 5th season of AHS– they made a character based off of H.H. Holmes!

    • Sapna Malik

      Infinite Jest? How did you manage!? Nobody I know has managed to tackle it – I started but couldn’t get beyond the first few pages. Does it get better or do you just have to grit your teeth and get through it?

      • Cait

        It does not get better. I only made it through because I was in the Peace Corps and was desperate for anything in English.

      • ErinPaige

        A friend read it just before me and I trusted him when he said, “trust me, keep going”. Also he bookmarked a page about…200 in that listed the timeline (like the orders of the weirdly named years), which somehow gave me structural satisfaction to know where on earth I was within it (because it is kind of intentionally scrambled). I also read it with another friend and we’d use the book as an (unnecessary) excuse to meet for dinner and talk about it. It took…maybe 6 months. Which is an abnormally long time for me to spend in a book. But I STILL think about it all the time, and actually spent months after disecting it with the notes of Aaron Schwartz. So you have not reason to trust me at all, but trust me, keep going.

      • mlle

        I found that it got easier/more engrossing as I read more. General consensus is that this usually happens somewhere between 150 and 250 pages, since most of the characters have been introduced by then and their sundry narratives start converging, plus there’s a chronology of subsidized time at p. 223.

        As a technical matter, two things that helped the first time I read it: (1) I used two bookmarks, and (2) I didn’t stop reading to look up words I didn’t recognize (though this was pre-smartphone, so I assume it’s easier now). There are also guides from various group reads (Infinite Summer, Infinite Winter, etc.) and general reference sites, though I didn’t use them.

        I loved it enough to re-read but obviously book preferences are highly variable.

      • Sarah

        I went back and read everything else DFW had written, then came back to Infinite Jest. Now it is one of my favorite books. I wouldn’t put it on an easy read list, though!

  • Gracie Livingston

    The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. HANDS DOWWWWWN the best book I’ve ever read. I loved this book so much I made a guy I was talking to on Bumble read it. I suggest it to every single person who ever asks me for a book recommendation because it is incredible in every sense of the word

  • Alexia

    I’m loving the recommendations here!
    Here’s my personal list. I read a fair bit and from a variety of genres. I will not go past the 100 page mark if a book bores me.
    The Nightingale was incredible. It will always always be a favorite of mine.
    I just finished “The Light We Lost”. My heart still aches and I can’t stop thinking about it.
    If you’re in the mood for something light, romantic, but with a serious underthread I HIGHLY recommend a Court of Mist and Fury. You kind of have to suffer through the first book (which is good but not wow) to get to it.

  • Nicole S.

    The Handmaid’s Tale
    The Nightingale
    A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • Carrie Callaway

      Handmaid’s Tale!!! I read that in a few days!

  • Kay

    All of tana french’s books (if you like crime), the crimson petal and the white, and I really love sula by Toni Morrison. I’ve read it 3 times and every time there’s something new that I didn’t see before.

  • aeelizabethae

    Love this! FYI, my picks are based on these qualifications: quality of writing, visceral reaction to the story itself and/or a weird feeling of loss when the book ends.

    – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
    – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (I never re-read books, but I’ve considered re-reading this one and also saved it on my bookshelf much to Marie Kondo’s chagrin)
    – The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
    – American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
    – Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (love this book, but worth noting that I read it about 10 years ago when I was in my mid-20s)
    – Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

  • Dymond Moore

    The Night Circus!I hadn’t read for pleasure in a long time, and it’d been even longer since I read a fantasy book. I read it all in one go until past 2 am, and it left me feeling full of air and, well, magic. I then found a spotify playlist with songs that reminded the maker of the book and I just stared at the ceiling contemplating my own existence. It was that good and I highly recommend it for fiction readers.
    I also related heavily to The Girls by Emma Cline, Reconstructing Amelia, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. All dealt with LGBTQ themes and the teens figuring themselves out and it kinda sucker punched me because I never had a chance to “figure it out per say” because I was outed to people that shouldn;t have know, and ended up having to be firm in my conviction from day 1 because it was the only thing that wouldn’t break my spirit. So each time I read those books, I kinda “figure myself out” just a teeny bit more, and allow myself to have the emotions I didn’t get to have at the beginning.

    • Carrie Callaway

      My friend just gave me The Night Circus so I am glad to hear that it was good!! And Perks!! Such a good book, really helped me figure out some mental illness stuff and come to terms with how my brain was working.

    • PCE

      HOW DID I FORGET THE NIGHT CIRCUS!! you can literally smell the popcorn and cotton candy as you read it

  • Jolie

    I’m 3/4 of the way done with the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, which I was hesistant to read at first. I’m the same way as you – I love books and reading, but I haven’t found in a really long time the type of book that used to totally absorb me when I was a kid. You know, the type where you think about the characters even when you’re not reading.

    These books have truly surprised me, and I’m completely here for it. The storyline is fascinating, the characters are complex and unpredictable and fascinating, and there are 4 whole books to satisfy that craving. Seriously, read them.

  • Loving this thread – so many good recs!

    To add a few of my own…

    The Lightkeepers
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog*
    Anything my Tana French
    Anything by Murakami
    We Were Liars
    2 a.m at the Cat’s Pajamas
    Harry Potter*
    Infinite Home
    Brain on Fire
    A Year of Magical Thinking*
    All My Puny Sorrows
    The Family Fang*

    * indicates the extra special love-of-my life books that I couldn’t put down the first, second, or even fifth time reading them

    • Cait

      +1 for Brain on Fire!

    • Sarah

      I loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog! The best book I have read in the last two years easily.

  • Liz

    I am so happy we are talking books! A few of my top books that have not been mentioned are The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner (especially apt for artists, as it follows a 70s art grad through Nevada/Italy on her motorcycle), Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (quick, fulfilling read that makes you want excited to walk down your city streets again), and The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (biting satirical depiction of Hollywood culture through the lens of workers in the cemetery business).

    Books that I second that have been mentioned are The Goldfinch, Secret History, Bell Jar, and Sloane Crosley (weirdo and angel). Also, I just read Sula by Toni Morrison and she’s an incredible writer

    • Cait

      Have you read Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited? It is so so good.

  • Grace

    The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket/Series of Unfortunate Events). I guess it’s technically young adult but bear with me when I say it’s almost in the same vein as Secret History (another fave). Sarcastic, hilarious and dark. Definitely hard to put down.

    On a completely different note, this book is a little bit dated from the best seller list but I must insist everyone read Where’d You Go Bernadette. The formatting makes it super quick and the story and characters give beware-of-reading-in-close-public-spaces LOLs.

  • caroeliz

    The best page-turner I’ve read recently is Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. Sooooo creepy and fascinating and just plain good.

    Some of my other all-time favorites:
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin
    The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
    The Likeness by Tana French
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

  • Emily

    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton!
    Just read it and couldn’t put it down!
    Also, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter is a favorite of mine- as disturbing and creepy as some of it is.
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) is amazing.

    • Magan Biggs

      Two of these books are on my shelf waiting to be read- is there a specific mood needed for Middlemarch and Luminaries? Certain type of tea perhaps?

  • Rebekah

    I don’t think have a favorite book but The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman has to be up there. Or pretty much anything by Gaiman, children’s books included. David Sedaris’ stories are easy to get lost in too. If you’re into suspense, Attica Locke’s novels are impossible to put down, especially Black Water Rising.

  • missmg

    I read heaps of books but ‘Me Before You’ by Jo Jo Moyes was one that stayed with me. I read it on the bus, on my lunch break, before bed at the beach mainlined it in two days and when I finished at 2am had to go and get a heatpack to cuddle because I cried that hard. It was recommended to me by a girlfriend and then I recommended it to my friends and so on. When the movie came out we organised a group screening and 25 of us showed up – goes to show how powerful books are.
    Also cant believe no one has recommended Me Before You yet!!

    PS I have a little life sitting on my bedside table but cannot bring myself to begin 🙁

  • madison

    Anthony Kiedis’ Scar Tissue had me HOOKED. I was already a fan of the band, and YES, it is a memoir about addiction, but the incredibly detailed history of the Los Angeles music scene, the music recommendations, and the fact that SO many details (interviews conducted with almost everyone mentioned for accuracy) included about the 30 odd years of the band enthralled me. If you like rock docs this is a must. I tore through the 550 pages in two days.

  • rachel

    I realize fantasy is not everyones bag, but for me it was absolutely The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Honestly, even if you’re not big into fantasy but enjoyed Harry Potter as a kid I would still recommend it, despite the fantasy elements it is a really down to earth story that is beautifully told.

  • Kel Domina

    Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. It is a wonderful, intimate vision of growing up female. It has prose that feels viscerally of poetry. I’m in love with this short little book.
    (And am eager to hear the thoughts of others who have read this book, or wish to read it)

    • Yoli

      I read this after Brown Girl Dreaming and loved it. She is a wonderful poet

      • Kel Domina

        I haven’t read Brown Girl Dreaming yet! I feel like I must now!

  • Daria Poletaeva

    Favorite books of all time: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry

  • Carrie Callaway

    Dune by Frank Herbert for science fiction. The world building is incredible, and it’s 900 pages long, but once you get going, it is very easy to read over 100 pages in one sitting (small pages too!). For something kind of creepy, I suggest We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. So many people have read her short story “The Lottery” in high school or college, but few people read her full length work. It is a creepy read, very ominous, but super addicting. For non-fiction I suggest The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. The Immortal Life is a fascinating look at the development of medical ethics alongside the rampant discrimination and abuse faced by African Americans by the American medical system. I Know Why is a classic, but I finished it in less than three days, it is truly a masterpiece. Picking Cotton is about wrongful incarceration, and is a very human take on the issue. I could go on and on, but here is just a quick list of some others:
    Young Adult: The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
    Interesting Form: If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
    Literary: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    Informational (?): How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster (trust me)

  • Lebanese Blonde

    This is the best article, wow wow wow! Here’s my list (there are a few overlaps):

    The best page-turners:

    -Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier (my #1 favorite book of all time, a bit like Jane Eyre)
    -A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
    -I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
    -The Princess Bride, by William Golding
    -Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres
    -1984, George Orwell
    -Eligible (A Modern Re-Telling of Pride and Prejudice), by Curtis Sittenfeld
    -Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
    -The Cuckoo’s Calling (and all the other books in the series), by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling!)
    -Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
    -The Martian, by Andy Weir
    -The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    -Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
    -A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
    -A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

    A few not-quite-page-turners that are just extraordinary and really stay with you:

    -Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCan
    -The World According to Garp, by John Irving
    -The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
    -Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah
    -A Good Man in Africa, by William Boyd
    -Winter of Artifice, by Anais Nin
    -Remains of the Day, Kazuo Isiguro

  • Chelsea

    Special topics in calamity physics and Night film by Marisha Pessl had me reading all through the night!

  • Bethany Marie

    A few of my favorites that I re-read every year:
    Let the Great World Spin – Colum McCann
    The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephon Chbosky
    Absolute favorites
    Ooo and one book that has been passed around from friend to friend in my friend group (literally a sisterhood of the traveling book):
    Anthropology of an American Girl – Hilary Thayer Hamann

  • Jordan Masters.

    In college, I would speak to men in bars strictly about Edgar Allan Poe death conspiracy theories and finding this article on the site titled “Man Repeller” really calls to me in more ways than one. BLESS YOU, HALEY.

    More recently, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab was amazing (as is the whole series)
    Weirdly into Flush by Virginia Woolf (it’s a telling of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s life through her dog’s eyes)
    The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
    Emma by Jane Austen
    A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    She Comes Undone by Wally Lamb

    Not books, but poems:
    Dive for Dreams by e.e. cummings
    Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
    She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

  • Nico

    So many great suggestions so I’ll try to mention ones that I haven’t seen here…

    Two of my favorite reads are by Jonathan Safran Foer!! Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Everything Is Illuminated. The characters he creates are so real and so magical at the same time.

    The Circle by Dave Eggers
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary
    Commonwealth by Ann Pachett
    The Mothers by Brit Bennett
    M Train by Patti Smith
    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki…by Murakami
    The Salt God’s Daughter by Ilie Ruby (kinda hard to find but SO good)
    Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward
    Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
    An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin (yes, the actor! I 💛 his books)
    Also the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) are good vacation reads!

    Also I LOVE Goodreads!!! I try to convert all my friends to use it 🙂

    • Lindsey

      OMG, I read The Circle maybe…4-5 months ago? I think about it all. the. time. Though I heard the movie was truly awful, the book has really stuck with me.

      • Nico

        I know, it did to me too!! I haven’t seen the movie yet for that very reason… I don’t want it to ruin the book 🙂

        • Nicola V

          I read The Circle in a book club and everyone hated it, they didn’t like the main character. But I loved it, and find that so many times something comes up in life that makes me think of it! Like the continually increasing number of screens she gets – so funny and not far from our current reality. Also, the movie looks crap, will not see.

  • KH

    Lately so many good ones!! Bel Canto! When Breath Becomes Air! The Awakening! THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS (this is my utmost fave)! Maggie Nelson is also fantastic, as is Anne Carson, and Elena Ferrante. I love them all. OOoooooh and Never Let Me Go absolutely stunned me. So beautiful. Oh! Oh! And Galore—100 Years of Solitude but set on the east coast of Canada in a tiny fishing village. So good.

    I’m reading Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds right now, and it feels like some of the best poetry I’ve ever read.

  • Josie Pesce

    Not to be a complete psychopath but Dave Cullen’s “Columbine” is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The writer was one of the primary journalists covering the Columbine shooting and this book is essentially the compilation of all of his research and coverage 15 years after the fact. It’s completely fascinating and heartbreaking, 100% true but reads like fiction.

  • Lola Sanchez-Carrion

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. I also absolutely loved The Goldfinch, literally could not put it down.

  • gface

    The Secret History by Donna Tartt is my all time fave. I also loved The Little Friend but could not finish The Goldfinch.
    Anything Jeffrey Eugenides.
    Anything Curtis Sittenfeld. I never related to anything as much as ‘Prep’ when I was a teenager
    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath I read all the time
    Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi about the Manson trials
    Jurassic Park and The Lost World I can always read haha
    We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

  • Freya

    This topic is an irresistible trap for a bookseller! I read a lot for work and pleasure but also find it hard to match the sheer joy of my childhood reading. Most of the time I can’t switch off the critical and analytical part of my brain that needs to pull everything apart and pass judgement, which tends to keep me at an emotional arms-length from the books I read. These six somehow managed to bypass that compulsion:

    Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel – about the culture we keep alive after a catastrophe. Despite the post-apocalyptic setting, this novel is about so much more than hardcore survival (though there’s plenty of that too); it’s about the complex web of personal relationships, about literature and music, and a dinner party so awkward its memory lingers long after the end of the world as we know it.

    Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan – a controversial choice as many Ian McEwan fans I’ve discussed it with really didn’t like it, but I kind of don’t care because I found it so gripping. Seventies Britain, Cold War espionage with a literary angle.

    The Idiot, by Elif Batuman – meandering and a bit plotless in a way that made it wonderfully true to life, it follows Selin through her first year at university and a summer teaching English in Hungary. Perfectly captures the awkwardness of the school-to-university transition, highly charged email exchanges with crushes, and the peculiar quirks of roommates. It was Selin’s strange and comic way of seeing the world that kept me thoroughly absorbed.

    Emma, by Jane Austen – I don’t know why, out of all Austen’s books, it was Emma that hooked me so completely, but it was the first classic I read with the level of devotion I had previously reserved for Harry Potter, and Philip Pullman’s books – the kind of devotion that leads to whole days of reading when I was meant to be engaging in family holiday activities. Even now if I just flip the book open to any page I find it so easy to get sucked into the minutiae of life in Emma’s Highbury.

    I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This, by Nadja Spiegelman – about the complex, at times difficult, but ultimately loving relationships between Nadja and her mother and her grandmother, and the ways in which everyone remembers family history differently.

    The Ladies’ Paradise, by Emile Zola – about a young woman who gets sucked into the intense microcosm of a nineteenth century Parisian department store, a machine-like enterprise that is both seductive and ruthless in its pursuit of the hearts and money of Parisian consumers. Bonus: Discover the origins of IKEA’s labyrinthine layouts in this book!

  • Hmm, it would seem you will be putting books on the Goodreads list for the rest of this month 🙂

    It makes me so happy just to scroll through the commentary section here – books … and so many of them … read with passion … wow.

  • Kate

    White Oleander will forever be the book that most closely replicates the urgent can’t-put-it-down reading feelings of childhood for me – and offers that rare feeling that an author understands your exact perspective, observations, and frustrations. That said, many others get honorable mentions. Jonathan Franzen’s early novel Strong Motion is one of the most effortlessly masterful things I’ve ever read – it baffles me that this is not the book he is known for. In it, he accomplishes the nearly impossible feat of both writing one of the most realistic female characters I’ve ever read and distilling our American penchant for mythologizing our superiority while sublimating the only things actually worthy of elevation (our landscape/environment and our diverse heritage). There’s an incredible passage about how a tree in colonial Massachusetts translates over time into the wealth represented by a silver tea set in a modern-day Boston mansion that’s unforgettable. To round out my reading trinity, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is mesmerizing. Charming, whimsical, philosophical, redeeming. It’s the story of a wealthy Parisian child, Paloma, who – due to her frustration with the hypocrisy and vacuity of her family and class, decides to kill herself on her birthday (not as morbid as it sounds!). During the month-long countdown to her death, she befriends the worn, weary blue-collar super of her apartment building, a toad-like woman who turns out to be hiding a prolific library and life of the mind. Another resident – an artful, elegant Japanese man – figures prominently and provides the contemplative/meditative context for the other two’s gradual growth and revelations. It’s an absolutely stupendous book – the publisher Europa is best know for the Neopolitan novels, but in my opinion, this trumps all of them combined.

    • Nico

      I LOVED The Elegance of the Hedgehog! You should also check out the movie version too. It’s a well done adaptation.

  • Ale

    A few of my favourite ‘all in’ books:
    Pride and Prejudice
    Cold Comfort Farm
    Everything is Illuminated
    Slaughterhouse Five
    Lonesome Dove
    My Family and other Animals
    Cassandra at the Wedding
    The Master and Margarita
    A Visit to Don Otavio
    A Room with a View
    True Grit

  • Emmie

    100% The Goldfinch made care for the characters so much, I thought about Theo even when I wasn’t reading it. Talking to people about how worried I was for him, they’d ask me how he / I was getting on.

    Other books: both Do No Harm & Admissions by Henry Marsh, a neurosurgeon writing about his time in working in Ukraine and Nepal. In the same vein, Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby, a cardio surgeon – the cases in each chapter, the drama reads like the subject for a Grey’s Anatomy episode (which could be a good or a bad thing for you, I don’t know)

    A Little Life – OFC

    The God of Small Things – I finished this book, and had to discuss it with someone immediately.

    And anything David Sedaris has written I will not put down until I have laughed all the way through it.

  • skyline

    I frequently reread my favorite books — it’s a form of therapy for me. My favorite book of all time is The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. Ignore the funky title and the cover design. I have a painful relationship with my mother and reading this book has soothed me countless times. Other all-time favorites: One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Poisonwood Bible, all 7 Harry Potter books. I’ve realized what makes for a gripping book for me is a lush, transportive setting and fully realized characters that are treated with love.

  • Ellen O’ Malley

    ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ . Set in WW2 each chapter switches between a young blind girl in Paris and a young male Orphan in Germany. Descriptions so vivid you feel fully immersed in the story and locations and invested in the characters.

  • Georgia Charalambous

    As The Goldfinch is also my ultimate number one book ever, I think you would appreciate The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I never wanted it to end.

  • Yana Georgieva

    Some really nice suggestions here (I was deliberately avoiding A Little Life, but reading through the comments, now I just have to read it) 🙂 Here are mine, with no particular order or preference, just a few books that, at least for me, totally fit the can’t-put-down description:

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
    Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
    She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir
    Clair de Femme by Romain Gary
    The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque
    Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
    The Lover by Marguerite Duras
    The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (or anything by her really)
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (a guilty pleasure)
    (the last two are perfect for a light summer read, preferably on the beach or while traveling 🙂

    • Tess

      I love the title of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I think one of the best titles of all time, along with Their Eyes Were Watching God.

  • Eline Cordie

    Oh how I love these recommendations!
    A few of mine:

    A visit from the goon squad – Jennifer Egan
    The Girls – Emma Cline (devastating and the best book I’ve read in a decade)
    Euphoria – Lily King
    The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

  • K

    The books you can’t put down are not necessarily the ones that stay with you, or you ultimately care about the most. Some of my most favourite novels (e.g. To The Lighthouse) were not unputdownable. They were hard to read so I put them down a lot! But once I had finished them, they had a proufound influence. Perhaps that’s the difference between reading as a child and reading as an adult.

    Having said that however in the spirit of the post a book i found both unputdownable and brilliant is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

  • Ulrika

    The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka, it’s amazing! I read it a few years ago, couldn’t put it down and still think about it

  • Bambi loves Rose

    Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume helped me couple of years ago to enhance my view.
    Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar I read in one breath…

  • The Marriage Lie, No One Knows and Since We Fell

  • Stockholmless

    Stoner by John Edward Williams.

    People say it’s the most underrated American classic. It was originally published in 1965 to little fanfare, and didn’t become popular until the early 2000s when a Swedish reviewer wrote about the book and launched into infamy. It’s since been through multiple re-printings and has become popular the world over.

    I devoured it in a week and was depressed for weeks thereafter, worried I would never read something as good (and I still haven’t, but I’m doing better!). The book follows the unspectacular life of a Midwestern professor from his boyhood through to old age from the early to mid-twentieth century. It’s such a simple if not obvious story arch but the way it was told was so heartbreaking and engrossing.

    Although I mourn the fact I will never get to read it a first time again, it did help me to land on a genre of book that I think most appeals to me: Books that tell stories about the angst and melancholy of everyday American life, preferably in mid-century. Other books that helped to fill a hole in my heart after finishing Stoner include Revolutionary Road and the Easter Parade by Richard Yates.

    I’m heartbroken all over again just thinking about it <3

    • A Sister of Thought

      Love your picks, 100% endorsed! In the same vein, try Carol Shields ‘The Stone Diaries’, and Carson McCullers’ short stories – you won’t regret it 🙂

    • Sarah

      Yes, great recommendation. I just read Stoner for the first time this summer when a colleague recommended it.

  • EmilyWilson

    If you’re a fan of the musical Hamilton, the biography (Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow) that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the musical is pretty awesome. Chernow’s writing is visceral; I love the account of the hurricane.

  • sin_plomo

    Patty Smith – Just Kids
    Donna Tartt – The secret history
    Carson McCullers – the heart is a lonely hunter
    Richard Wright – Native Son
    To kill a mockingbird is also just incred (re)read it if you don’t believe me

    • Oh, how could I forget to kill a mockingbird …havent read that one in a while, must re-read!

  • Shadow of the wind & Angel’s game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    The Spy – Paulo Coelho – I could not believe that a Paulo Coelho book can be addictive reading, finished that in 2 hours on a train!!!
    Moonstone – Wilkie Collins – apparently the first ever English language detective novel
    2 guys, 3 girls and a mad professor – Ravindra Godse – hilarious and more appealing because it isnt available anywhere
    City of falling angels – John Berendt
    Wings of Fire – APJ Abdul Kalam
    The various flavours of coffee – Anthony Capella
    The emperor’s tomb – Steve Berry
    Smoke and Mirrors : An Experience of China – Pallavi Aiyar

  • Hayley

    The Dark Tower Series (8 books) by Stephen King.

  • Taylor Noffsinger

    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Murakami, Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion!

  • Paulina

    When I saw the post on Facebook the first book I thought of was the Goldfinch! Obviously you’ve got that on your list already 🙂

    I’d like to add: The secret history (also by Donna Tartt), East of Eden (John Steinbeck), The truth about the Harry Quebert affair (Joel Dicker) aaaand Anna Karenina (I was so afaraid I’d never finish such a big book but it is such a good read!)

  • Kelly Velemirovich

    The tale for time being ,a must read xxk

  • Megan Mann

    the poisonwood bible by barbara kingsolver and middlesex jeffrey eugenides are two of my all-time favorites, along with the goldfinch.

  • rlar

    I would put A Little Life up there with the Goldfinch in terms of best books of all time. Yes it is so sad and will make you sob but the writing is so beautiful and you just can’t put it down. Also recently finished Fates and Furies which was great as well! If you’re into sci-fi, the Red Rising series is really great, and I have to give a huge shout out to Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! so powerful and just beautiful writing.

  • Savannah Marie

    In Sunlight and In Shadow is one of my all-time favorites. The story is all romance in 1940s New York but it’s the writing that really captivates you. I’ve highlighted and underlined the crap out of that book to remind myself that the purest form of magic comes from stringing beautiful sentences together.

  • Megan Mann

    oh, and one more: all the light we cannot see by anthony doerr!

  • Kristie

    welp, have fun reading

  • Catie

    “The Son” by Philipp Meyer!! The AMC show is God awful, but the book is AMAZING. Best thing I’ve picked up since “The Goldfinch.” Here is the Times review:

    Donna Tartt’s first book, “The Secret History,” is excellent as well.

  • Tahmina

    Yaa Gyasi -Homegoing. I don’t need to say anything else.

  • Tahmina

    Also The Good Immigrant – Ed. Nikesh Shukla. BOOM.

  • Kayla

    I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
    You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

  • kate

    If you like suspense/thrillers, All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is excellent. I’m currently reading The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter, another good one. The Woman in Cabin 10 was good, and the book I read in less than 24 hours is Girl on the Train. For chick lit, Mary Kay Andrews books are great, as are Mary Alice Monroe’s.

    • kate

      Another good one is The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

  • Kayla

    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks

  • Anna

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens!

  • Trina

    I’ve recommended Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle to basically everyone I come into contact with for the past 2 years and so far no one has taken me up on it, but it’s such an incredible read. Maybe I need to work on my pitch – “engrossing and internal, weird and fascinating, also pretty heartbreaking but you should really go into it blind” might not be the best way to get other people to pick it up? IT’S SO GOOD THOUGH! and damn, I need someone to talk about it with!

  • Esmé Valette

    I’m very picky about what kind of books I read for fun–they have to draw me in from page 1; they have to be relatable, accessible, devoureable. They are rarely “impressive” choices (i.e. you’re never going to catch me reading Anna Karenina on the subway).
    “And the Heart Says Whatever,” by Emily Gould was the last book that really drew me in. It’s got everything that a memoir written by a 20-something-year-old should have: sex, heartbreak, pot, anxiety, narcissism, self-indulgence.

    • mant

      Felt a twinge of embarrassment reading this, because I’ve been lugging around Anna Karenina all week (and even instagrammed about it twice) but I made the feeling go away because the book is just THAT GOOD. It’s just a good book! And it’s relatable, accessible, devourable, all those things.

      • Esmé Valette

        Now I feel a twinge of embarrassment having to admit that I’ve never actually read (or tried to read) Anna Karenina… maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a book by it’s weight.

  • Edith

    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides!

  • jennoski

    every fall i re-read the harry potter series and i always ALWAYS take something different away or it gives me something different. i can never put it down and even have a whole ritual associated with it – i light a nice candle, make a good cup of tea, put on fuzzy socks, and snuggle up with it. i started re-reading it when i studied abroad in london, a very amazing time in my life, and it makes me nostalgic for that but also feels very back to school when i do it in the fall, like i’m also headed to hogwarts! — also the queen of the tearling trilogy. GOOD.

  • Nicole

    Adding more as I think of them, but Behold The Dreamers was great.

  • Julia Schnell

    Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake trilogy. I got through the second book and was *so mad* that the library had *dared* to close for the night, forcing me to wait until the next morning to start book three.

  • Sara Grace

    Brain on Fire by Susanna Calahan is at the top of my list. It’s so good and she did so much research into her illness and speaking with everyone in connection.

    The Time Traveler’s Wife. I can read it over and over again like it was any Harry Potter book.

    Me & Mr. Darcy is just pure love for any Austenite.

  • Cici

    So many good recs, this kind of article is exactly why I love Man Repeller and the comment community. (Although I hardly comment)
    Everything Laurie Colwin wrote (home cooking included), the idiot by Elif Batuman, Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson, too much and not the mood by Durga Chew-Bose, a girl is a half formed thing by eimear mcbride

  • Anna

    City of Thieves. I brought it to a music festival and enjoyed it so much I read it during The XX set because I didn’t want to stop.

  • Sarah Hassan

    Sweetbitter. The English Patient. Lolita. Georgia. Hopscotch. Love in the Time of Cholera. What Can I Do When Everything is On Fire? Crime & Punishment. The Poisonwood Bible. The Master & Margarita. Fugitive Pieces. After Claude. Wonderland. On Being Blue. (Hope these help, love everyone’s input! <3)

  • Andrea Hill

    Ah! these is a great thread, I have been trying to get back into the swing of reading and needed some inspo. To contribute >> The Red Tent – Anita Diamant, great read, couldn’t put it down.

  • Jeanie

    I’ll add a few I didn’t see in the comments so far.

    Stephen King’s On Writing is great. Especially for anyone in creative positions. A must for any writer.

    Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk is a radical take on our relationship to beauty. He always has something great to say against society’s tired obsessions.

    And if you like Stranger Things, Lost, and Sci Fi mysteries, 14 by Peter Clines is a super fun read. More for Sci Fi nerds, because the references are half the fun.

  • Alex Contristano

    Currently reading Lullaby by chuck you know it’s a little dark and twisty (but good!!)

  • Cameron

    I also feel like I haven’t found an enveloping book in a while but I’d be remiss to not include the Millenium series (better known as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo + its companions). Are they high art? Perhaps no, more so falling into the crime novel category (although this brings into question what high art is) but THEY ARE SO GOOD. Especially the first two. I could not put them down and have now read the original three books three times through. The story and writing is phenomenal and a kick-ass character like Lisbeth Salander can’t not make you feel empowered

  • Audreyna

    Please read A Little Life by Hana Yanagihara. It is quite thick book and going to be a long read. But trust me you cannot just simply put the book down. Its beautifuly written and I absolutely love this book. Highly recommend!

    • Have bought it yesterday and will start reading it now, thanks to all of you who recommended it.

  • Robin Bromberg

    How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell –about addiction and it is addicting! Love it!

  • Gaby Clarke

    I recently read The Martian and could not put it down. It is incredibly funny despite its heavy content, and celebrates ingenuity and problem-solving in a very real way. I was traveling the Greek islands, and my travel companion wasn’t too pleased with me, but he was the one who recommended it to me in the first place, so he understood!

  • Lindsey Hook

    The Secret History by Donna Tartt! I read the Goldfinch immediately after and it honestly paled in comparison- this book will mess you up. About a group of Classics scholars at a small liberal arts college who murder one of their classmates (not a spoiler, I promise). Other books I got crazy invested in are Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

  • Mairzi

    While the book I recommend is set in 1987, a time which probably is before most of those commenting here were born, it addresses many issues that are relevant today, especially to women. Riot by Shashi Tharoor is one of the best and most memorable books I have ever encountered, not only for its interesting structure/format but for the way it tackles love, religion, cultural divides, class stratification, white privilege and so much more

  • Samantha Jarnagin Cerniglia

    My all-time favorite book is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

  • Grace

    Fates and Furies is one of my absolute favorites, it really does live up to all the hype it gets. Also if you like The Goldfinch you have to read her other books! I liked the Secret History even more than The Goldfinch! And lastly, Wild got me through a very tough time and I always recommend it to friends as the first book they read after a breakup.

  • Laura

    My two all-time favorites are The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns both by Khaled Hosseini. He is such a wonderful story teller and with each of those books I felt like I was living it. Other recent favorites are The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy (read in literally one day), The Cider House Rules by John Irving (life changing), and This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz.

  • Jane

    The Nix was excellent! Highly recommend.
    The Underground Railroad was great and profoundly moving. I hope it becomes a movie.
    Fates & Furies are was an addictive read.
    I cried and cried during The Goldfinch – I know it’s so five year ago, but I found it really moving…I know pretentious critics have said it’s like a fairytale for children but that’s why it’s so good!

  • Adding a few I haven’t seen so far on here:

    1.) This is just my face by Gabourey Sidebe — best memoir of the year. This chick is HILARIOUS.
    2.) Difficult Women by Roxane Gay — I think it was better than Hunger and received WAY less praise.
    3.) The Reminders by Val Emmich — found this in the “librarian’s choice” section of my library. I laughed, I cried, and I couldn’t think of another novel to compare it to.
    4.) Crazy Rich Asians (All 3) by Kevin Kwan — truly the definition of “addicting” books.

    All of these came out in 2017 (except the first 2 CRA) and I couldn’t recommend enough!!

  • Sage Leopold

    Carsick by John Waters!! Always read it on my subway commute to and from work and had to pinch myself to stop from bursting out laughing

  • Lizzi

    I love this idea! Thank you, Haley! These are just a few of my favorites.

    – Coraline, Neil Gaiman (I read this on a train and couldn’t stop, it’s so beautifully creepy)
    – His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass is a bit slow at first, but when it picks up it’s brilliant; The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are just amazing)
    – Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (I remember reading this in about one day, I couldn’t put it down)
    – I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (one of my all-time favorite books, I’ve read it so many times)
    – Carter Beats the Devil, Glen David Gold (another all-time favorite)
    – The Once and Future King, T. H. White (I read this when I was in Italy and often found myself staying in to read it instead of going exploring, so what does that tell you?)

    – Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood, Barbara Demick (this is haunting and so well-written; it will break your heart but you won’t be able to put it down)
    – Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus (Bangs’s writings are insane, hilarious, and pure genius; I love this book)
    – Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, Lester Bangs and John Morthland (see above)
    – Columbine, Dave Cullen (if you’re fascinated by true crime, this is a must-read; even when I felt that I had to put it down, I could not put it down)

  • Kirby

    Blood, Bones, and Butter!! (and I have you, Haley, to thank for that recommendation!)
    But this is so so true. I was just reading I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron, and she talks about this too. Thank you for this post I look forward to getting more great recommendations from the MR community!

    • Frankie Karrer

      “Blood, Bones, and Butter” is SO GOOD!

  • Mallory Braun

    “Pond” by Claire-Louise Bennett. I have the same problem and this novel (her debut) is the most excellent, peaceful book I have read in a LONG time. Kept my attention (sucked my entire mind in even) and made me feel so good while reading it and a long time after reading. I work at a bookstore and it has been my monthly staff pick for 3 months. Also the cover is the most beautiful thing.

  • Mary Kathryn Karasek

    The best two books I’ve ever read are the Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson. So far, the series consists of two books – Way of Kings, Words of Radiance – and they’re tied for my top spot! The books are definitely in the fantasy category, but are accessible in a way that the Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings novels aren’t. If you’re searching for some pleasant escapism, this series is a good candidate for an epic adventure to whisk you away!

  • Mary

    My favorite two books I’ve ever read are the Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson. So far, the series consists of two books – Way of Kings, Words of Radiance – and they’re tied for my top spot! The books are definitely in the fantasy category, but are accessible in a way that the Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings novels aren’t. If you’re searching for some pleasant escapism, this series is a good candidate for an epic adventure to whisk you away!

  • OK here’s my list of favorites: (includes fiction, nonfiction and some poetry)
    Just Kids & M Train – Patti Smith
    Chelsea Girls – Eileen Myles
    Any of Eileen Myles Poetry
    A man called Ove – Frederick Backman
    15 dogs – Andre Alexis
    The price of salt – Patricia Highsmith
    Why be happy when you could be normal – Janet Winterson
    Bossypants – Tina Fey
    The witch of portobello & The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
    The Book of Frank – CA Conrad
    Lady chatterley’s lover – D.H. Lawrence
    Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
    Stardust – Neil Gaiman
    The Great Gatsby
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s- Truman Capote
    Born standing up – Steve Martin
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg
    The search for signs of intelligent life in the universe – Jane Wagner
    The Hours – Michael Cunningham
    The autobiography of a Yogi
    The Vagabond – Colette
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    Running with Scissors
    South & West – Joan Didion

    Excited to see what you come up with!

  • Sarah

    LOVED the Goldfinch, 100%.
    Other books I couldn’t put down that resulted in severe lack of sleep were:
    – The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)
    – Room (Emma Donoghue)
    – Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi)
    – Waterland (Graham Swift)

    • Mun

      Homegoing is fantastic! Frantically pinning the titles now. This thread is so good 🙂

  • Cait

    I’m seriously procrastinating at work and just read all 610 comments (and spent a lot of money buying Kindle books). Here are some of my favorites that I don’t remember seeing suggested yet:

    Empire Falls—Richard Russo
    Brideshead Revisited—Evelyn Waugh
    Cider House Rules—John Irving (the book is a million times better than the movie)
    Don’t Let’s Go to The Dogs Tonight—Alexandra Fuller (all of her books are amazing, but I think this is the best one to start with, I suspect people who loved Glass Castle would also like this)
    The Painted Veil—W. Somerset Maugham
    Ahab’s Wife—Sena Jeter Naslund
    Tales of the City—Armistead Maupin
    Fall on Your Knees—Ann-Marie MacDonald
    Truth and Beauty—Ann Patchett
    Cutting for Stone–Abraham Verghese (I saw one shout out for this, but it was so far down in the comments that I wanted to highlight it again, because everyone should read it!)
    My Life in France–Julia Child
    Comfort Me with Apples–Ruth Reichl
    I know This Much is True—Wally Lamb

  • Jamie

    Has anyone said The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, yet?

  • Malina Kelley

    Just kids by Patti Smith
    Jaws by Peter Benchley

  • NVD

    another Donna Tartt gem: The Secret History (her first novel from 1992). it has a Twin Peaks-vibe to it, if you’re into that!

  • Kate

    So many good recommendations on this list! A few of my favorites from this summer:

    -Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz. Such a fun, quick read. Murder mystery within another murder mystery
    -Crazy Rich Asians Series, Kevin Kwan. Gah, I love these! Escapism at it’s best.
    -Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel. I couldn’t put this one down, such a haunting, post-apocalyptic book, but not in the gory walking dead way.
    -Lord of Rings Trilogy. I read these all when I was a teenager, and was so fun to pick them back up this summer.
    -Hunger, Roxanne Gay. This book is heart-wrenching. The memoir of a woman struggling with food, weight and the effects of sexual assault.
    -The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova. This is the best book if you are dying to travel abroad, but aren’t able to swing it. The descriptions of small towns and villages in Europe are amazing. Oh yeah, and the book happens to be a murder mystery about Dracula. I oddly loved it!

  • Hannah

    The Stranger by Albert Camus. Read it in two days. The sparse (and on the surface languid) prose are somehow packed with so much meaning and feeling that it’s impossible to put down – it’s like narrative poetry. Really makes your brain FLEX.

  • Jillian Astrid

    Just Kids – Patti Smith

  • Theresa

    Goldfinch and A Little Life are tied for my #1 !!!

  • Mitch

    The Princess Bride is a lot of fun.

  • Cristina

    I agree with you! For some reason, as an adult, I’ve become a lot more demanding of books. Capture my attention and catapult me into your world in the first chapter or I’m out! I love Thrillers to Beach Reads and a few I’ve loved recently:
    The Butterfly Garden (disturbing, but couldn’t put it down)
    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (again, disturbing to the point where you feel like maybe it’s illegal that you can’t put it down)
    Final Girls by Riley Sager (this was an easy but good read)
    Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris (Could not put this down. Don’t think I did. Don’t think I blinked)
    Behind Her Eyes (the ending is as WTF as everyone says. Couldn’t wait to wake up and read more)
    BA Paris has a second book out and I’m number like 7 million in line on hold at the library haha!
    Can’t wait to check out the Goodreads list!

  • Bo

    Fiction – The Man Who Planted Trees by John Giono is the most wonderful little book I’ve ever read. It literally magically appeared on my bed one day shortly after my grandfather died and everyone in my family swears blind they didn’t put it there (haunted much!). It’s not a long novel but it’s charming in every way.

    Nonfiction – A Nation Of Counterfeiters by Stephen Mihm is a rollicking history of the early United States’ surprisingly huge surfeit of counterfeit money, and the various people who made it, circulated it, and tried to stop it. I read it for honours a few years ago still think about it weekly.

  • Emma Glennon

    Big Little Lies, Rules of Civility, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Group, Game of Thrones, Valley of the Dolls, The Book Thief, Let the Great World Spin

  • Mun

    I’m taking notes! Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi captured my heart this year.

  • Annabel Flores

    Too Much and Not the Mood really knocked me out, I keep going back and rereading essays over and over. Patti Smith’s Just Kids was also amazing, instantly an all time favorite. As far as fiction goes, I can always get totally lost in anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  • Donna

    Love this post! I’m usually reading two books at once.

    Books I couldn’t put down:

    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (Currently reading and I know this story will stay with me long after I finish.)
    Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (I flew through this in two days last week. Had me on the edge of my seat! So well done and I can’t stop thinking about it.)
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Everyone needs to read this one! I finished it in 48 hours. This one broke my heart. I cried, laughed, felt sick to my stomach, and angry. Such a necessary read!)
    Fractured by Catherine McKenzie (Read it in two days!)
    The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (read it twice)
    I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (read it twice)
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (So happy I finally read it!)

    Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin (An incredible biography. I recommend this to everyone!)
    Columbine by Dave Cullen (Must-read. It was a difficult read but it opened my eyes to so much.)
    Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson (I devoured this memoir a few Sundays ago. Beautifully written, 100% authentic and inspiring on soooo many levels!)
    Food and the City by Ina Yalof (Can’t stop recommending this one!)
    The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (a must-read for bookworms)
    Gut by Giulia Enders (Smart, funny and easy to digest)

    Happy reading!

  • Estelle

    The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood was the first book in years that i genuinely could not put down. It’s a pretty rough read though, not recommended for anyone who just wants a good time
    Also, NW (Zadie Smith) and Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

  • CC

    Where’d You Go Bernadette. Reading it felt like binging on a new netflix series. (A film version is being released with Cate Blanchett and Kristen Wiig it’s that good.) A fun, lol-worthy read!

    • CC

      There’s no romance, it’s not melodramatic, no deep message but you will absolutely get hooked. It’s about a neurotic, “quirky”, agoraphobic mom who disappears and her young daughter’s mission to find her. Add in some Arrested Development level humor and you won’t be able to put it down.

  • Morgan Jenkins

    The Girls by Emma Cline, bar none – Perfect cocktail of feminine self consciousness and cultish perversion, peppered with a cryptically nuanced style of writing that comes around once in a blue moon.

  • Audrey

    Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates. So fascinating…

  • Mari

    The Corrections

  • Kubla

    Stoner by john Williams – it’s so good I don’t want to finish it because then where would I be?

  • Sheila

    2 that I read this year:
    – Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. An amazing 10-year work of journalism that reads like fiction. The last line of the book just gets to me…
    – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The running themes are strong women and love of books, so basically it’s perfect.

  • Hannah Zak

    Who Though This Was a Good Idea and Other Questions You Should Have Answers to If You Work in The White House made me laugh and cry, and I could not wait to keep reading

  • Sydney Thompson

    A Man Called Ove. I cried a lot.

  • Sasha

    Hi! The Neapolitan Novels by Ellena Ferrante are absolutely WONDERFUL. I found myself truly immersed for the first time in years. If you have the chance, read it. Beautifully written.

  • Alex R Florence

    I loved Fear of Flying from 1973 – classic and so contemporary. Plus hilarious!

  • I read Atonement in a day, it was that engrossing. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. and Fates & Furies are also very addictive, I devoured those recently.

  • The Rosie Project is just a perfect mix of everything you want and need from an addictive book! I couldn’t put it down and it has a sequel for when you love it!

  • Emma FK

    A Lit Major’s Top 5 With Love

    Giovanni’s Room-James Baldwin
    North West-Zadie Smith
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being-Milan Kundera
    Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
    A Map to the Door of No Return-Dionne Brand

  • Mia Nazareno

    Just Kids by Patti Smith <3

  • margherita

    Every Murakami’s book transport you literally in another world.
    Or also The little Paris bookshop (Nina George), Pride and Prejudice, Silk (Alessandro Baricco).
    And a tribute to my childhood, a book serie that I’m still totally addicted : Fairy Oak by Elisabetta Gnone

  • Catie

    “The Son” by Philipp Meyer!! The AMC show is God awful, but the book is AMAZING. Best thing I’ve picked up since “The Goldfinch.” Here is the Times review:

    Oh, and Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About my Neck” will make you LOL IRL.

    omg and Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy (“The Golden Compass;” “The Subtle Knife;” “The Amber Spyglass”). They ain’t just for kids. TRUST.

  • Nuala Murray

    Loved The Goldfinch and also The Secret History and currently enjoying The Little Friend. Agree with All the Light We Cannot See is beautiful and Station Eleven definitely a good read. A Little Life is brilliant despite being an uncomfortable read at times. The Ferrante trilogy is great too!
    My other faves (that I don’t think have been mentioned so far or as far as I’ve got through the comments!): Gone with the Wind
    Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (don’t let the film put you off!)
    A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hossini. Many tears were shed during all of the above!
    Oh and The Grapes of Wrath – a brilliant classic! Looking forward to trying some of the ones already mentioned!

  • Paige Gurski

    Brainstorming my recommendation over here. But first dropping by to say how glad I am that this post exists :’) thank you

  • Tess

    I can’t believe nobody said (that I saw) To Kill a Mockingbird. I cannot praise that book enough. So endearing, so heartwarming, so pleasurable to read.

  • Tess

    Shocked so many people here listed Middlesex. I didn’t dislike the book, but I found it slogged on a lot, and really REALLy would have benefitted from a great deal of editing.

  • #1 favorite is Aleph by Paolo Coelho. I absolutely need a movie based on the book.
    #2 I couldn’t put down Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Besides having a great plot, the construction of each chapter is of a TV-show-like, it ends in the most intriguing place.
    I have to agree on Goldfinch. I still can’t believe I finished it, one of the few books I would like to reread.

    #3 A house in the sky – memoir by Amanda Lindhout, had an almost life-changing effect on me.

  • Tara MacDonald

    For Summer reading (or anytime!), highly recommend:

    – Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
    – This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

    (my guilty pleasure beach reads – but you can’t put them down!!)

  • Summer

    I was always the kid walking out of the library with 10 books, then coming back the next week to return them and get 10 more– such a bookworm! Earlier this summer, I decided to take a stand against my new default of watching Netflix rather than reading and actually used re-reading the whole Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series to jumpstart it. I love thrillers/ murder mysteries and unlikeable female protagonists– throw in a Scandinavian backdrop and I was so SO hooked!

  • alessandramdb

    I love anything by Haruki Murakami! I recently read the Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Haman (and am disappointed to see it doesn’t have great reviews), and was immediately emotionally invested in the characters + story line. Also just started reading Swing Time (a little late to the party, I know!), but am having trouble getting into it.

  • Betsy Greaves

    How To Murder Your Life – Cat Marnell !!!!

  • Hannah

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translation by Alison Anderson. On top of wonderful characters and a sweet plot that wraps you up in warmth, the words are beautiful. I would sit with a dictionary right by me – sonorous AND educational.
    Also, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Read it SO fast.

  • Minna_DS

    I would recommend What I Loved and The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt, and pretty much anything by her husband Paul Auster. I want them to adopt me.

    Read Mrs Dalloway by Virgina Woolf. Then read The Hours by Michael Cunningham. Then watch the film The hours. Perfect.

  • Minna_DS

    Oh, I forgot: An Equal Music by Vikram Seth. Broke my heart.

    • A Suitable Boy is not bad, either 🙂

  • lisa

    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. A life changing read.

  • ApocalypsoFacto

    The last book I seriously could not put down (like, I was awake at 3 a.m. still reading, fully aware my alarm was going off at 6:30) was Donna Tartt’s first book, The Secret History. I still have not finished The Goldfinch but I made it through The Secret History in 2 days.

    Others that I think should be on the list:
    Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (nonfiction)
    The Short Nights of the Shadow-Catcher by Timothy Egan (nonfiction)
    Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (nonfiction) – you don’t have to agree with it or the assertion that white people are downtrodden (which I personally don’t agree with, NOPE NOPE), but it’s an important book to read to understand where people are coming from when they make that assertion. We must know the enemy to defeat the enemy, amirite?
    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (fiction) – laugh all you want, but I have read this probably 20 times and each time, I can’t put it down till I finish it.
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (fiction)
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (fiction)
    The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero
    Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (I thought this was far superior to Gone Girl, JMHO)

  • Isabelle

    Book Junkie over here. Having read books from the beginning of literature till contemporary prose, here is my personal favorites when it comes to bring reading.
    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
    Friesta: The Sun Also Rises & A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway
    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
    The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

    I hope at least one catches your attention because they are each very special gold mines of genius.

  • Andy

    MR should have a book club!
    PS I couldn’t put down Heartburn by Nora Ephron

  • Alissa Zilber

    I’m a book worm and always have been, but I’ve still only read a handful of real page-turners. My most genuine, full-hearted recommendations are:

    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (my absolute favourite book for the moment)
    The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy
    Just Kids by Patti Smith
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Yoli

    So many of my favorites have already been mentioned, so I’d like to add a few that I think have been missed:
    Just Mercy -Bryan Stevenson
    Trail of Broken Wings -Sejal Badani
    When the Emperor Was Divine – Julie Otsuka
    The Complete Persepolis -Marjane Satrapi
    Mischling -Affinity Konar
    The Dew Breaker – Edwidge Danticat
    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman

    Thanks for all of the wonderful suggestions. My To Be Read pile continues to grow. Enjoy!

  • Ana

    I know I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to pitch in and say I’m so glad The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao is on the official GoodReads list because it’s the BEST. It strikes the perfect balance of literary and readable. I believe Harling put it as her recommendation for a book list a bunch of months ago, which to me just confirmed my suspicion that she is The Total Package.

    I would also recommend a selection or two from John Irving. I particularly like A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules. Reading them gave me that same totally absorbed feeling I used to get as a kid, like Haley’s talking about (speaking of which, I’ve been experiencing the same problem!! Really looking forward to this book list coming out! How does Haley always know what I’m feeling?!)

  • PCE

    Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    Also loved Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife

    Station Eleven, I think the author is Emily St John Mandel or something like that

    I’m an avid reader and I know that feeling you’re talking about – living in another world. It’s why I’m such a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. As an adult life gets in the way – but, I find that if I finish a book but can’t stop thinking about it, that’s a top choice.

  • maggie

    I second Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 10000%. Also The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker.

  • Shea

    The Vacationers by Emma Straub!

  • Emii Lou

    This is such a great idea. I also used to make a book den, but this year I’ve actually had to set myself a target number of books to read because I just don’t find the time any more.

    I found it genuinely difficult to get over finishing the following:
    – Lolita, Vladamir Nabokov
    – Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
    – How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
    – Invisible, Paul Auster
    – Haunted, Chuck Palahnuik
    – The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstein

    I also have gotten really into audio books so I can fit more books into my life – would definitely recommend getting an Amazon Audible subscription.

  • bella

    ahhhh honestly i’m such a sucker for the secret history also by donna tartt. I was the biggest reader as a kid like i would bring two books to school with me each day because i would finish them so quickly and then i got in a huge reading funk during my second year of uni and couldn’t get out of it but i read the secret history and finished it in two days even though it’s decently long because its just so good and easy

  • Sara

    A few of the books that have stayed with me long after finishing:
    The Book Thief
    All the Light We Cannot See
    The Nightingale
    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
    American Gods
    Atlas Shrugged (insufferable but worth reading)
    The Time Traveller’s Wife

    Easy-breezy books I loved:
    The “Rich Asians” series (1 and 3, didn’t love #2)
    In the Woods
    The Likeness
    Girl in Cabin 10
    Missing, Presumed
    Big Little Lies
    And Then There Were None
    Small Great Things
    Be Frank With Me

  • Cléo Charpantier

    A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozekihard and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are hard to put down + compelling all the way through

  • Serena

    I love all these recommendations and so grateful for the MR community!
    Finally finding a minute to share my list. A mix of fiction and non-fiction*

    – The Idiot by Elif Batuman
    – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (a masterpiece, I reread every few years)
    – Option B by Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant*
    – The Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike novels (delicious!)
    – The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
    – Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande* (a formative book – required reading for all humans)
    – Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Sedaris is perfection on audio)
    – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
    – The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer*
    – The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison (I read this in one day)
    – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese*
    – Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick (I love this book, it speaks to my soul)
    – Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker* (a memoir but also poetry. She’s a wonderful writer)
    – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (the first of his I ever read)
    – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (a book-lover’s book!)
    – Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (I was completely sad when this one was over, beautiful!)
    – The Humans by Matt Haig
    – A Man Called Oveby Fredrik Backman
    – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (a masterpiece!!!)
    – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    – Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg*
    – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    – Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    – Yes Please by Amy Poehler
    – One Day and Us by David Nicholls
    – Room by Emma Donoghue
    – Heartburn by Nora Ephron (I love her)
    – One More Thing: Stories and Other StoriesB. J. Novak (lovely, the best collection since Roald Dahl’s and a treat on audio)
    – Bossypants by Tina Fey (my first ever audiobook and I convinced myself Tina and I were BFFs after)

  • Devon

    Totally late to the party but had to add one that I can’t believe isn’t on the list, at least that I’ve seen. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Some of the subject matter is intense but it is a book that will suck you in and won’t let go, even after you finished.

  • Cassidy Perdue

    So much yes to The Goldfinch and The Rules Do Not Apply. I’d also add:

    When Breath Becomes Air
    The Clasp
    Fates & Furies
    The Idiot
    A Visit From the Goon Squad
    The Corrections
    Bel Canto

  • Hayley

    The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I reread the whole series once every year it two and it never gets old.

  • Maria Ines

    Never Let Me Go – Kazuo ishiguro
    Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
    ​Tokyo Blues – Haruki Murakami

  • clara

    since you’ve been gone- morgan matson
    genuine and lovely and includes a playlist for almost every chapter which definitely adds to the ambiance of the innocent romance.

  • Christel Michelle

    The Alchemist is my favorite book of all time!!!!!!!!!!!! Everybody should read it

  • Alyssa

    Bluets – Maggie Nelson
    The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson
    The Rules Don’t Apply – Ariel Levy
    The Girls – Emma Cline
    When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
    Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler
    Just Kids – Patti Smith
    Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
    Option B – Sheryl Sandberg
    Salad Anniversary – Machi Tawara
    Against Everything – Mark Greif

  • Day 2 after the Night 2 of reading A Little Life: How come I neglected the fact lack of sleep feels so terrible? A week to remember, it will be 🙂

  • Julieta Volujewicz

    I felt 100% identified with this post. I don’t find the cannot-put-down-book so easily these days and I also attribute it to my cynicism… But there is this one book that I’ve read not so long ago and I keep recommending, it’s called Los enamoramientos by Javier Marías and there is a translation into English called The Infatuations ( It’s such a smartly and eloquently written story! I definitely think it should be on the Goodreads list.

  • Anna

    Tbh most of my recs could be classified as “young adult” but I think they’re still worthwhile! Six of Crows for sure- it’s an ethralling heist story with magic and wonderfully crafted characters.

  • Lauren

    Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
    The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
    The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
    Bossypants – Tina Fey
    Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
    Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
    The Rules of Inheritance – Claire Bidwell Smith

  • Kjrsten Madsen

    The Magus (1965) by John Fowles

  • Kate Goodbody

    Books I Couldn’t Put Down:
    The Dinner – Herman Kich
    Big Little Lies – Liane Moriaty
    The Dud Avocado – Elaine Dundy
    Anything by David Sedaris because the man is a genius.

  • Indre

    All Harry Potter books + “IT” by Stephen King

  • Paige

    – Endless Love by Scott Spencer
    – My Struggle (book 1) by Karl Ove Knausgard
    – Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

  • Lucia

    The Girls

  • Leah

    First, thank you for this list. I need this list!

    And my contribution is The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay.

  • E

    I had a real addiction to:
    Shantaram – Gregory D. Roberts

    P.S. I saw you added Ferrante’s book, but it is a tetralogy:
    1. The brilliant friend
    2. The story of a new name
    3. Those who leave and those who stay
    4. Story of the lost child
    All of them equally amazing

  • Alex

    A few people have said this, but Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides <3

  • Brooklyn


  • Brooklyn

    also Little Bee

  • Christina FitzMorris

    Swing Time by Zadie Smith; The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee; A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers; The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Steven Chbosky; The Stranger by Albert Camus; The History of Love by Nicole Krauss; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; StoryPeople by Brian Andrias; The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed; Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami.

    All 5 stars

  • Lydia Yun

    Goldfinch, atlas shrugged, grapes of wrath, the sympathizer, lord of the rings

  • Sarah Ikenberry

    I know most of these are probably already on here but!!
    The Goldfinch
    Vaclav & Lena
    The Color of Water
    Play it as it Lays
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    The Road
    On the Road
    All the Light We Cannot See

  • Rachel

    A little life by Hanya Yanagihara
    The truth about The Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker
    The interestings Meg wolitzer

    • E

      Totally agree with Joel Dicker’s bestseller!!!

  • Bria

    Hands down, You by Caroline Kepnes. It had me hooked by the first paragraph and it still has not let me go almost two years later. It had such a unique and unconventional point of view. You will find yourself questioning your own morals. It is smart, brilliant, funny, and addictive. Trust me. I think everyone in the world needs to read this.

    • Harling Ross


  • Alyson

    Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain is my new obsession. Empowering and relevant, it serves as a reminder of the true cost of war. Brittain documents her struggle to persue an education in World War One era, suburban England and her eventual role as a VAD nurse. Her writing is beautiful and, despite the harrowing subject matter, the book is often uplifting and inspiring. She was a feminist ahead of her time. I literally can’t put it down and I will definitely re-read this book.

  • Becca

    I can’t wait for this list!!!

  • Rebecca B

    Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
    The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
    Lit by Mary Karr
    Hemingway in Love by A. E. Hotchner
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
    Short Cuts by Raymond Carver
    The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

  • Emily M

    ‘Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey Into Bhutan’ by Jamie Zeppa!
    It’s a memoir. SO good, SO addicting, I was SO sad when it was over and it made me re-think my entire life and desperately want to move to Bhutan. I’m gonna go find it and re-read it again now that I think about it…

  • Helene Sejr Atzen

    Joanna Moorhead – The surreal life of Leonora Carrington
    Margaret Atwood – Handmaids tale
    Patti Smith – JUST KIDS
    Cormac McCarthy – The Road
    Isabel Allende – The House of the Spirits

  • Megan George

    I feel like everyone has already read it already but it may be nice to remind those of you who have of the beauuuutiful story of The Little Prince. It’s always the perfect reminder of what’s important and of my inner child. I actually have one of the illustrations tattooed on me :))

  • Marcela

    The unbearable lightness of being – Milan Kundera
    The son of a thousand men – Valter Hugo Mãe

    These two books have literally changed my life- the way I see myself and others around me. I will never stop recommending them. 💙💫

  • Carolina

    I love Tinisima by Elena Poniatowska and Leonora also written by her. I love how she writes and these books both take place during the surrealism age. They both talk about an an era where great artists, photographers and painters emerged such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Tina Modoti, Pablo Picasso, Dali, etc. I love this era, so if you do too please take a look at these books!!!

  • Jane

    Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchet

  • Annie R.

    The Harry Quebert Affaire and The Baltimore Boys, both by Joël Dicker. When you read a five hundred page book in two days, you know it’s golden.

  • AYR

    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
    Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
    Beach Music by Pat Conroy
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
    The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton

    …off the top of my head

  • katie t

    the brief wondrous life of oscar wao by junot diaz! (:

  • Rebecca

    I’ve just left a job in a bookshop and this is my JAM. HERE WE GO:

    – This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
    – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
    – The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
    – Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
    – Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
    – Crosstalk by Connie Willis
    – The Summer of Drownings by John Burnside
    – Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
    – Jazz by Tonight Morrison

    Non Fiction:
    – The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
    – Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
    – Women in Clothes by Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & Sheila Heti
    – H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
    – Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
    – Negroland by Margo Jefferson
    – Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance

    And on and on and on…

  • Molly Fleet

    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is hands down the best book i’ve read in years. I got in bed at 8 for 2 weeks straight.

    • Claire Banks

      Yes! One of the most moving books I’ve ever, ever read. I read it on my Kindle and on the day I finished it, it said I had something like “17%” of the book to go. I wasn’t looking at (or feeling/seeing) actual page numbers so I figured I’d be done within a few hours. I ended up reading for the next 8 or 9 hours straight, completely unaware of how much time was passing (or that I had missed two meals!), until I finished and realized I was sitting in the dark because an entire day had come and gone… So. Good.

  • Louise Robles

    Call me by Your Name by André Aciman

  • Eszter Sólyom

    Has East of Eden been mentioned yet?? It’s truly amazing!

  • katie t

    hi!! the brief wondrous life of oscar wao CHANGED my LIIIIIIFE. forever. it’s what made me fall in love with reading when I was 23 years old. i recommend it to anyone and everyone and i finished it, in a vulnerable and emotional state, on my couch at 3 am before christmas. haha

  • Currently reading A Gentleman in Moscow and LOVING it.

  • Annie

    – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    – A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    -Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    – Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
    -Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer