Literature and Fiction

We Are Not Ourselves

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas follows the story of a family who, over the course of numerous decades (the ones taking place during the second half of the twentieth century), walks through heaven and hell, seeing both the best and the worst of what people do to, for and because of each other.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan follows the life of a young surgeon and prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, as he first struggles to survive on the most basic level, and eventually tries to understand his life, what he has gained, what he has lost, and who he really is deep on the inside.

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The Laughing Monsters

The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson tells the story of two friends and comrades, Roland Nair and Michael Adriko, who, after spending seven years apart, find themselves reunited in Sierra Leone and join forces in search of wealth, alongside with the latter's fiancee. However, all have agendas and plans of their own, willing to ultimately reach heightened extremes in their hunt for fortune.

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100 Sideways Miles

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith is a coming-of-age novel, following the adventures of Finn Easton and his friend Cade Hernandez as they end up taking a grand detour right through the many trials and tribulations life tends to throw at everyone eventually, learning more about life and guiding their own fates than they could have ever imagined.

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A Life in Books

A Life in Books by Warren Lehrer is a fictitious biography, written from the perspective of its author, Bleu Mobley. He retraces the path taken in his life, looking back on himself as a youth in a public housing project, a journalist, a novelist, a professor, an unexpectedly bestselling author, and an unindicted prisoner, sitting at the end of the line with his 101 books being the only real trace of him to remain in the world.

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Adultery by Paulo Coelho is a bit of a deviation from the traditional stories brought to us by him, taking on the subject of marital relations, self-love and fulfillment, following the life of Linda, an upper-class woman who despite having an idyllic life finds herself restless for more out of it, becoming entangled in a life-changing adventure.

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The Lucky One

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks follows the story of a U.S. Marine by the name of Logan Thibault, who goes across the country in search for the woman appearing on his lucky charm photograph. However, this journey has him entangled in a torrid love affair with Elizabeth, a divorced mother. Logan's feelings for the woman are put into question, and the journey becomes more inside Logan's conscience than anything else.

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty tells the intertwining stories of three women living in a relatively idyllic beachside community, and how their presence in each other's lives ends up transforming all three of them to states far beyond anything they thought imaginable.

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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding tells the story of a group of English schoolboys who find themselves washed up on a deserted island after a plane wreck, leaving them stranded and none but each other to depend on... a condition which may also spell their doom.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell follows the story of Cath, a young girl who has never really been alone and finds herself completely outside of her comfort zone and the world she is used to upon heading off to college. What's worse, up until that point, her entire life revolved, and still does, around the Simon Snow series, leaving her on the fringe of the world she entered.

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The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway follows the stories of four different people living in Sarajevo as the city is under siege, each one of them facing their own trials and tribulations, eventually all of their stories intertwining and telling a tale of where the definition of humanity is put into question.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell tells the story of Georgie McCool, wife to Neal McCool and television writer, she finds herself obligated to stay in town during the Christmas holidays to write what is destined to be her magnum opus. Unhappy of such a turn of events, her husband takes the kids and leaves for Omaha, as was originally planned. With the marriage seemingly on the brink of failure, a way to redeem it suddenly opens up to her, though it is somewhat surrealistic.

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The Hundred-Year House

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai is a family saga told from the point of view of an academic, Doug whose research leads him to slowly unravel the secrets of the Devohrs' house, alongside Zee, a Marxist literary scholar who is also the latest descendant in the family. This path leads to the acquaintance of the numerous, mysterious personalities who inhabited the house for the last century.

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The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez is the story of two families of Latin origin who find themselves intertwined after moving to America, and the boy from one falls in love with the other. At the same time, it serves as a testament to the harsh and unique experience it is to immigrate to the United States from Latin America.

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Driven by James Sallis is the sequel to Drive, and is a hardcore noir novel which follows Driver is embroiled in a sudden quest for vengeance after the love of his life is gunned down in cold blood by mysterious hitmen, turning upside down his new and rather idyllic life, years after the whole ordeal with Bernie Rose.

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an unconventional murder mystery told through the point of view of a man who travels back to his hometown, twenty-seven years after the brutal and somewhat inexplicable murder of Santiago Nassar, in hopes of finding not why or how it was committed, but why none bothered to intervene despite virtually everyone knowing about it beforehand.

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Euphoria by Lily King tells the story of three young anthropologists in their early 30s who find themselves caught in a passionate and destructive love triangle while studying the female-dominated Tam tribe in New Guinea.

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Drive by James Sallis is an acclaimed contemporary noir novel, following the story of a rather mysterious stuntman and getaway driver who, through his line of work, ends up becoming entangled in a bloody plot revolving around a bag full of cash and the kind of people who will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

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The Light We Cannot See

The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the story of a young and blind French girl who and an equally-young German boy who, despite finding themselves on the opposite sides of the Second World War, catch a glimpse of that elusive unconditional human kindness, each of them being dragged through their own hellish odysseys.

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee (Introduction) is one of the great classic American plays out there, centered on a bunch of brothers who are trying to squeeze themselves into their dying father’s will.

The story is widely viewed as an essential commentary on the burden, necessity and repression sexuality and communication can be in today’s society, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, despite the controversy it brought with it.

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The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is a rather well-known coming-of-age story that was also adapted into a movie, telling a story centered on a family where five girls commit suicide over the course of a year, and the narrators who are trying to piece together this rather macabre and morbid mystery.

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The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt tells the story of Theo, a young man who has been sucked into the world of underground since a young age when his mother died in an accident. As an adult, he embarks on a globetrotting adventure in search of a missing painting, learning in the process about the nature of art as well as the importance of friendship and motherly love.

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin tells the story of a bookstore owner who is enduring his darkest moments yet; his wife passed away, his store is doing worse than ever, and his most prized possession (rare Edgar Allan Poe poems) has been stolen. In these somber times, when all hope is lost, A. J. Fikry finds redemption in love, literature, and their mixture.

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Power Play

Power Play by Danielle Steel has us following two corporate CEOs, Fiona Carson and Marshall Weston, who have managed to achieve great success in their industry but are nevertheless still confronted with very unique and debilitating difficulties on a day-to-day basis, with the most important one of them being power.

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Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (and translated by Jay Rubin) is a coming-of-age novel which follows the story of a young Japanese couple who, under the pressures of college life, start to withdraw from each other, with one subsequently reaching out to others, and the other one imprisoning herself further and further in her own world.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a bit of a sinister story revolving around a rather depraved, isolated and potentially-murders family living in their castle. More precisely, it revolves around the arrival of a cousin to the estate, and how it changes everything for them.

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Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen follows a young photographer, Rebecca Winter, whose career has passed its peak and is on the downslide. In an attempt to “reset” herself and escape from the daily chaos she endures Rebecca decides to journey to the middle of nowhere… only for love to follow her in the form of a roofer, Jim Bates.

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The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is a rather extensive narrative spanning more than thirty years, following Hetty Grimke, a slave assigned to the family’s daughter, Sarah. Their thoughts and actions end up having more impact than they believe, each one shaping the other one’s destiny.

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Left Neglected

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova is a bestselling novel in which we are told the story of Sarah Nickerson, a lively mother in her thirties upon whom lady fate decided to frown, throwing her into a car accident as a result of which she develops an unusual brain injury, causing her to lose awareness of everything happening on her left side.

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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is a rather unusual take on the family saga genre, telling the story of a young girl who grows into a man all while trying to live his/her life as a normal person and experience what the United States have to offer during the second half of the twentieth century.

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Andrew’s Brain

Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow is a rather unusual story by the author, being centered on the monolog of a man named Andrew, who is basically confessing his entire life and reflecting on it while sitting in a room with someone only known as “Doc”.

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Longbourn by Jo Baker tells the story of an orphaned housemaid named Sarah, as well as her colleagues, all being servants of one matter or another for the Bennett household. As they try to establish some kind of order and stability amidst the chaos and drama which permeates through the air, the arrival of a new footman promises to turn things upside down for all.

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (and translated by Jay Rubin) tells the story of a young man who finds himself drawn unimaginably deep into Tokyo’s underground netherworld after searching for his wife’s missing cat.

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For One More Day

For One More Day by Mitch Albom is a touching novel following Charley, a man who was always forced to choose between his parents. Recently, he somehow got the chance to relive his mother’s last day alongside, having previously decided to visit his father on that day.

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami presents us with two narratives, the first one following a woman who has accidentally entered a parallel existence, and the second one being centered on a man whose work as a ghost writer makes his life unravel in ways he never expected before. As the story advances, the connection between the two plots becomes clearer and clearer.

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The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom is a rather unusual story, following the punishment bestowed by God upon the man who invented the world’s first clock, and consequently, a way to measure the greatest gift humanity has ever received.

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A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki tells the story of a sixteen-year-old girl living in Tokyo, whose life is filled with bullying and loneliness. She decides to put an end to her suffering, but before doing so, she sets out to document the life of her great grandmother, a Bhuddist nun who lived to be more than a hundred years old.

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Necessary Lies

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain tells the story of a fifteen-year old girl, Ivy Hart, who lives in a shack on a tobacco farm while having to take care of her aging grandmother, mentally ill sister, small nephew, and not to mention, her epileptic self. As a social worker enters her life in an attempt to offer a helping hand, she ends up putting it all on the line to save one girl.

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Winners by Danielle Steel is a fictional novel following a group of people who are walking a common path, unbeknownst to each other; they are all managing to plough onwards through life and make the most of it despite the overwhelming challenges they have to face.

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The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert follows the Whittaker family on their two-century saga (18th and 19th centuries) as they go from rags to riches with plenty of extraordinary stories in between. They are first led by Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman with an enterprising spirit, and subsequently by his daughter, Alma.

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S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst tells the story of how two readers of the same book discover each other in a moment of personal crisis through margin notes left in a story penned by a mysterious author.

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We are Water

We Are Water by Wally Lamb explores how the human character reacts in the face of tragedy and adversity, following the life of a family whose life is turned upside down following the homosexual wedding of the mother to a wealthy art dealer who orchestrated her success.

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Wonder Boys

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon tells the story of a former publishing prodigy who is stuck on a virtually endless book, and his student and protégé who is a budding writer and is obsessing over what he believes to be Hollywood’s tendency to self-destruct.

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Songs of Willow Frost

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford is the story of a twelve-year old Chinese American orphaned boy who, with the help of his friend Charlotte, escapes his orphanage in search of Frost Willow, a movie actress who the boy believes to be, in fact, his mother.

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Dear Life: Stories

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro is a collection of short stories from one of the world’s most prolific short story writers, all centered, in one way or another, around the point of no return we have all crossed at some point.

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The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a very popular story set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, following a father and his son as they travel the long road to the coast, having nothing but a pistol, the clothes they are wearing, and a few bits of scavenged food.

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The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks tells a story in which two drastically different couples see their lives converge during critical moments in their lives, influencing each other in ways they never even considered possible.

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Help for the Haunted

Help for the Haunted by John Searles tells the story of a teenage girl whose parents specialize in helping the dead find peace. We follow Sylvie, the girl, as she tries to solve the mystery behind their murder upon receiving a strange phone call around a year ago.

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The Orphan Master’s Son

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson is the story of a young North Korean boy who demonstrates his loyalty to the state and rises through the ranks as a professional kidnapper, ultimately enduring more than any human could be asked to.

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Burial Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a story inspired by true events, telling the tale of a young woman in 1829 Iceland who is accused of murder, and how her final days are spent on a farm with a family tasked with housing her.

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The Bartender’s Tale

The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig is a coming of age story, following a young, twelve-year old boy who sees his world turned upside down when a long-forgotten element of his father’s past makes its way back into his life again.

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The Maid’s Version

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell is a dark story which follows a maid’s attempt to bring what she believes to be the truth to light after her scandalous sister’s life is claimed in a ballroom explosion, which also cost 41 other people their lives as well.

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is the story of a young orphan, thief and clock-maker who lives in a Paris train station. His greatest desire is to bring his late father’s small automaton back in working order, an objective which ends up launching him into an adventure during the course of which he encounters many fascinating characters.

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The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri tells the story of a young man who, after leaving his old neighborhood in Calcutta to pursue scientific endeavors in America, is called back to his childhood home in an attempt to salvage what is left of his family after a terrible tragedy strikes it. However, that only gets the ball rolling for an entire saga…

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The Gravity of Birds

The Gravity of Birds is Tracy Guzeman’s first novel, and it follows the story of two sisters who have disappeared, a reclusive artist, and a priceless painting which ends up being more trouble than it’s worth, unearthing old memories forgotten long ago.

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is the story of a young boy who decides to kill his former best friend and himself on his own birthday. But before that, he sets out to write four goodbye letters to the people in his life who, in his opinion, truly matter to him.

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The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan tells of the story of four Asian women who gather together regularly for over forty years to play mahjong, eat dim sum, and share their observations about life with each other. Together, they have formed the Joy Luck Club, and in spite of their tragedies and troubles, they manage to find happiness in life.

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Something Happened

Something Happened by Joseph Heller is a satirical story placing the reader inside the head of what can be described as the average American citizen, leaving a life that can be considered the American dream.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is a coming of age novel based on the author’s own life and centering around the life of a young girl as she tries to survive with her family in the poor Brooklyn borough at the turn of the 20th century.

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The Daughters of Mars

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally tells the story of two sisters living on an Australian farm, Naomi and Sally Durance, and their brutal exploration of the world through efforts to help those wounded during the First World War.

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In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez tells the story of the four Mirabal sisters, all of whom opposed the terrible Trujillo dictatorship in their own ways, paying with their lives but paving the way for countless more freedom fighters.

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The Namesake

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is the story of a Bengali couple who, after finding themselves together because of an arranged marriage, decide to move away from their families all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in the process learning what it is to adapt to living in a place very far away from home.

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Beloved by Toni Morrison tells the story of a former slave who, more than eighteen years after leaving the farm where she was imprisoned, has her house and memories haunted by the ghost of her own dead baby.

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The Husband’s Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty tells the story of three middle-aged women whose lives are turning upside down, and how they find a connection when one of them reads a fifteen year-old post-mortem letter written by her husband, right after the birth of their first child.

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What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty is the story of Alice Love, a 39 year-old mother of three whose life is falling apart in shambles, as she tries to re-piece together the events of the past ten years of her life in hopes of finding out how she got to where she is, and whether or not it is too late to start over.

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The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes is a somewhat dark and complex love story spanning almost a century and revolving around one woman’s desire to see her husband again while being ruled by the iron German fist, and her portrait which, 100 years later, sparks a battle for the determination of its legitimate owner.

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Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes tells the story of a young girl, Louisa Clark, who has never ventured further than her village, and has come to develop a close bond with an old and wheelchair-bound man who has experienced pretty much everything the world has to offer him, or so he thinks at least.

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Orphan Train

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline follows Molly Ayer, a juvenile delinquent who holds a community service position, cleaning the house of Vivian, an old lady. As the two of them start to look deeper into Vivian’s past to try and find some answers, they form a strange bond none could ever predict.

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Invisible Man

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is the story of one man’s desperate attempt at truly making something of himself while living in a black community in the racist South, journeying from college student, to spokesperson for “the Bortherhood” and ending in a lair of seclusion where none can see him.

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson follows the unusual and quirky adventures of centenarian who, on the verge of his 100th birthday, decided that it wasn’t too late to start his life anew and escaped through the window of his nursing home.

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is the unusual and quirky story of a young British misfit geek who, after getting struck by a meteorite at the age of 10, became a scientific genius but a social outcast. One day, he befriends an aging American war veteran, and his life is changed forever.

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The Art Forger

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro tells the story of a woman who, after being hired to forge a Degas painting by a powerful gallery owner, enters an old and mysterious web of intrigue and begins to suspect that the piece which was hanging at the museum and later stolen had been a forgery all along.

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1984 is a classic and highly-regarded novel by George Orwell, wherein he describes in a novelized fashion how he perceives the eventual future of mankind to be like: a dystopian society where life bureaucratic, formulaic, highly-controlled and repressed.

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a classic satire in which personified animals living on a farm take sides in what ends up being a small revolution, showcasing the seeming inevitability of totalitarianism, how appearances can be hauntingly deceiving, and how in the end, power always corrupts.

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The Silver Star

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls tells the story of two sisters, Bean and Liz, who are respectively twelve and fifteen and leave for Virginia in search for their mother. However, they unknowingly blunder into the cruel and unforgiving world of adulthood, and their lives are forever changed.

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Three Comrades

Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque is the story of three friends who are barely making ends meet in 1928 Germany all while trying to survive the violent political upheaval happening inside the country as Hitler and the Nazi Party start to gain power and eventually take control.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque’s most widely celebrated masterpiece, and it is a long reflection and meditation on war and its futility, as seen through the eyes of a twenty years-young German soldier who becomes disillusioned during the First World War.

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Arch of Triumph

Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque follows the journey of a German doctor who, while hiding in France in 1939, performs illegal surgeries on the country’s elite. At the same time, as the Second World War is brewing this doctor, Ravic, is also searching for the Nazi who tortured him back in his home country.

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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann tells three separate stories, each one occurring in a different country, during a different time period. However, as the reader finds out shortly enough, all of them are interconnected through various people whose actions sent ripples across time itself.

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Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin is a critically-acclaimed novel written by Colum McCann in which he depicts 1970s New York in all of its glory and diversity through the extraordinary lives of a few citizens, each one trying to live life to the fullest while making ends meet.

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And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed is Khaled Hosseini’s latest work of writing, and just like his previous ones, it mainly focuses on family and ties that bind us. More precisely, it follows the adventures of a very large family around the entire world, during which they discover many important things about themselves.

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Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie is a compelling family saga taking place in India, following the life of Saleem Sinai and a thousand other “midnight children” such as himself, born at the same moment the country finally claimed its independence from Western oppression.

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Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is a comedy story centered around a bunch of misfits living in an addicts’ halfway house as well as a tennis academy, exploring the essential question as to what entertainment really is to us and how it controls our lives.

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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried is a classic novel by war veteran Tim O’Brien who himself served in Vietnam. The book is basically a novelization of his experience, and more importantly, a precise depiction of the lives and fates of the men of Alpha Company.

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The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea is perhaps one of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous and enduring novels, telling the simple and yet deeply meaningful story of a Cuban fisherman’s struggle to catch a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream.

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The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated novels. Published in 1926, it follows his most recognizable characters, Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, as they go on an odyssey of self-discovery around Europe, in an age where all illusions are broken and moralities disregarded.

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Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is a book that takes you on a grand promenade through time and space, exploring the lives of many colorful characters and looking at how they affected each other over the course of many years.

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Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles - Book 1)

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer is the first novel in the Clifton Chronicles, and it follows the story of Harry Clifton, a young man working on the docks who ends up having to choose between taking his place at Oxford or joining the Navy and fight back against Hitler.

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The Sins of the Father (Clifton Chronicles - Book 2)

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer is the second book in the Clifton Chronicles, and we once again follow Harry Clifton as things get a bit more morbid. Hoping to escape his dark past, Harry seizes the opportunity to assume the identity of a dead American officer, but that only lands him into a world of trouble as he discovers what awaited that soldier upon returning.

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Best Kept Secret (Clifton Chronicles - Book 3)

Best Kept Secret is the third novel in the Clifton Chronicles trilogy written by Jeffrey Archer. This time around the story is centered on a passing of the torch, as Giles makes his last stand and Harry’s prodigal son gets himself into a world of trouble, honoring the family tradition.

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Be Careful What You Wish For (Clifton Chronicles - Book 4)

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer is a sprawling novel following the conflict and rivalry between two families, the Cliftons and Barringtons, who are trying to outmaneuver each other as an attempted murder occurs and the position for chairman of the latter's shipping company becomes vacant, leaving the opportunity for both sides to gain and lose everything

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The Burgess Boys

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout is a New York Times bestseller novel, revolving around the story of two successful brothers, Jim and Bob Burgess, who are one day called back to their hometown by their sister to save their third brother, Zack, who has managed to get himself into trouble like no one else can.

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Paris written by Edward Rutherford is an epic novel about the City of Light, spanning across more than seven hundred years, from the building of Notre-Dame in 1261 all the way to the riots of 1968.

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Life After Life

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is the curious story of a girl by the name of Ursula Todd whose curious destiny led her to having an infinite number of lives. Indeed, she can die and be reborn again. As the twentieth century marches on towards war and despair, will her unique power allow her to bring mankind some kind of peace and salvation?

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The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind, written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and translated by Lucia Graves, tells the heartwarming story of a boy who finds solace in books during the Spanish Civil War, mostly because his father works as a book antiquarian. However, as the boy digs deeper into an author, he inches his way closer to a terrible secret the city has hidden.

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The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky is novel by Paul Bowles touching on inner emptiness and self-destruction. The author’s thoughts are conveyed through a story of three American travelers wandering in the deserts and cities of North Africa during the Second World War.

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World Without End

World Without End by Ken Follett is centered around the people living in Kingsbridge a whole two hundred year after they constructed their great cathedral. This time around, we follow the adventures of four young boys whose lives are changed as they witness a brutal murder.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee’s famous classic novel that was made into more than one full-feature movie. It tells the story of Atticus Finch, a man who struggles for justice when he has to defend a black man accused of a heinous crime in an extremely racist town in the Deep South, during the 1930s.

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Still Alice

Still Alice is Lisa Genova’s debut novel, and it tells the story of a fifty year-old woman at the peak of her life suddenly coming face-to-face with Alzheimer’s disease and struggling to maintain her life as best she can.

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Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts tells the story of Lin, an escaped convict from a maximum security prison in Australia who decides to merge with the underground world of Bombay, where he opens up a small and gets deeply involved with the local mafia.

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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner was the first novel written by Khaled Hosseini, becoming internationally-acclaimed for telling a very touching story of an unlikely friendship which lasted for more than thirty years in a country on the brink of destruction.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is the story of two girls, Mariam and Laila, who have a more modern conception rather than traditional conception of what their life should be like. As the war escalates, the two young women are put to the test like never before, finding sense in something that is senseless.

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Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War was written by Karl Marlantes, a Vietnam War veteran, over a period of more than thirty years, telling the story of a young Marine lieutenant and the perils he faces in the war.

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Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingslover tells the story of a young lady who makes a very unusual discovery in her small town in rural Tennessee. While religion dictates it to be a miracle, a scientist believes that it is the sign of an impending disaster.

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East of Eden

East of Eden is a novel by John Steinbeck, author Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath. While it may be a lesser-known novel that wasn’t received too well, it may very well be one of the author’s most original works, being a modern re-telling of the book of Genesis with the use of modern Americans (at least modern at the time he wrote it).

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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men is a classic novel written by John Steinbeck, adapted into a Broadway play, and twice into a full-feature movie. It tells the story of Lennie, a gentle and mentally disabled giant, and George, his guide, protector and companion, two alienated and misunderstood farmers who move from job to job in California, one day hoping to own their own acre of land and a shack to live out their days.

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The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick follows the life of Pat Peoples as he slowly recovers his memory and understands what the world around him is truly like. More importantly, his story serves as a meditation on what makes life truly worth living, and what approach to it is the most rewarding in spiritual terms.

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Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green follows the story of Miles “Pudge” Halter, a sixteen year-old boy who hasn’t really experienced anything in life and is about to move to a boarding school, seeking what the French poet Rabelais referred to as “The Great Perhaps”. And he does indeed find it in Alaska Young, the girl who changes everything.

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The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper is a Kate Morton novel in which, once again, we are taken on an extensive historical tour, this one spanning around fifty years. We follow Laurel Nicolson, who at fifty-six years of age, returns to the farm where she lived during her teenage years, remembering her long journey while trying to finally piece together a shocking crime she witnessed when only sixteen years old.

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The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours is a touching book by Kate Morton, starting in 1940s Britain where a family takes in an injured enemy pilot, changing their lives forever. The story continues nearly 20 years later, as the family’s child, Queenie, now a successful playwright, returns home to her dying father and relives some of her most harrowing memories.

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The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton tells the story of a small girl who was abandoned on ship headed for Australia and raised by the dock master and his wife, who eventually reveal to the girl, Nell, all about her English heritage, setting her on a long path towards recovering the past she thought she never had.

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The House at Riverton

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton tells the story, through a giant flashback, of the life Grace Bradley was leading as a house servant for the Hartford family at the Riverton house, a place where poet killed himself in front of the Hartford family’s daughters, who only disclosed the truth to Grace herself.

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Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles follows the adventures of Katey Kontent, daughter of Russian immigrants, and Evie Ross from the Midwest, who despite lacking in money are as ambitious as ever about getting to the top of the world and shining a bright light on New York city.

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The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is the story of Hadley Richardson who felt reborn when she met and married Ernest Hemingway. Upon making their way to Paris and being part of the “Lost Generation”, they realize that the lifestyle of drinking, living fast, loving and Jazz leaves them with a lot to handle.

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The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult tells about the life of Sage Singer, a baker who found a very unlikely friend through her grief support group. As she gets to know him, he reveals a secret and asks for her help. However, this leads Sage to question whether it is morally right for her to do what is asked, and subsequently questions her entire system of morality.

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The Pact

The Pact by Jodi Picoult is a tragic story about how love can bring desolation to everything. Two neighboring families have lived next to each other for years upon years, and it wasn’t long before their children, Chris and Emily, started dating. However, a call comes in at three in the morning, violently and tragically ripping apart long-time friends and family.

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The Ghost Writer

Not to be confused with the Roman Polanski movie by the same name, The Ghost Writer, by Philip Roth, is the first novel of a trilogy, one that follows a young and imaginative writer as he tries to make sense of the world and find a place for literature in his life.

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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger is probably a book you have heard of at least once, that is if you weren’t forced to read it back in school. Regardless of your relationship towards it, it is heralded as being one of the great classics of literature that will live on forever, and here is my take as to why that is.

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Nine Stories

Nine Stories is one of J. D. Salinger’s most celebrated books. As the title says it, it’s a collection of nine different stories, most of them being somewhat surrealistic in tone, and despite all of their differences, all of them are bound by one common factor: war, whether within or without.

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The Great Gatsby

Most of you have probably already heard about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but if you’re here, chances are you haven’t gotten the chance to actually read it yet. In any case, here is my take on the story of wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby, and more importantly, the story of America during the Jazz Age.

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Language of Flowers

It is fascinating to observe how languages are born and developed, and in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh we get to see one of the most short-lived and fascinating ones on this planet, the Flower Language, used as a central plot point to the story of a dejected girl for who flowers are the best method of communicating.

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The Shoemaker’s Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani is one of the author’s most ambitious, if not most ambitious piece of work, following the story of two lovers, spanning across multiple continents and generations, and how they lose each other for what seems like forever before finally reuniting once again.

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The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom tells the story of an orphaned girl from Ireland who, upon arriving to the United States by ship, is made to serve as a kitchen slave with the rest of them. One day, however, she gets accepted into the world of her masters, leaving her torn between two worlds: the one that made her what she is, and the one that promises her the future.

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The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey tells a somewhat surrealistic story about a childless couple on the brink of disaster in the deadly Alaskan wilderness. One winter, they come to meet a little girl named Faina, who seemingly came out of a fairy tale, having learned to survive on her own and with the animals in the wilderness. However, as always, things take a turn for the worse.

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Pastoralia by George Saunders is an eye-opening novel following three separate storylines, all set in the same world: an American wasteland ravaged by greed, capitalism and the hunt for power, a place where all are deformed in one way or another, living out their lives under an Orwellian government that always watches.

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Tenth of December

Tenth of December is a George Saunders novel, and as it is customary, it is a collection of three stories. The first one focuses on a boy who witnesses a kidnapping, the second one on a disconnected soldier coming home, and the third one on a cancer patient about to commit suicide. Regardless of their events, all of the stories share a common theme: self-discovery.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz follows Oscar, a morbidly-overweight nerd living in a New Jersey ghetto, were he dreams of finding true love and becoming known as the Dominican Tolkien. However, Oscar’s desires may never come to fruition, seemingly due to a curse, the fukú, which has haunted Oscar’s family for generations upon generations.

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A Week in Winter

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy is a humorous novel that follows the events that take place in an unlikely holiday house over the course of a week. Said events are centered around a colorful cast of peculiar characters who are staying in the house as guests.

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Wolf Hall

In Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel the life of Henry VIII is explored, or more precisely, somewhat re-imagined. As he is looking to create a male heir before he dies, the king wants to annul his marriage and unite with another woman. However, he encounters strong opposition in doing so, and one man by the name of Thomas Cromwell makes himself Henry’s trump card in those dark times.

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Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel is the sequel to Wolf Hall, and this time around, Thomas and Henry try to bring down Anne , the new Queen, for in seven years she bore no sons to Henry. However, to seal the deal and hammer the nails in the coffin of the Boleyns, Thomas must set his bitterness aside and ally himself with the Pope.

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The Yellow Birds

While we may find ourselves glorifying and fantasizing about how war must go down, the truth is that it is one of those things you can only understand once you have experienced it. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers looks in detail as to how modern warfare in Iraq comes to affect two freshly-deployed recruits.

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Something Blue

Something Blue by Emily Giffin tells the story of a young woman who goes by the name of Darcy Rhone, whose fiance suddenly confesses to having betrayed her. With her perfect life being shattered, she departs on a spiritual and literal journey through which she learns how to survive in life.

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Heart of the Matter

The perfect and ordered life can often be nothing more than an illusion, as is the case in Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin, a book that tells the story of two nearly polar opposite women who are brought close together because of a tragedy.

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Where We Belong

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin tells the story of a thirty-six year old television producer, Marian Caldwell, who has convinced herself that she is living the life she wants. However, certain events shatter her flawless world, and she finds herself on a road to discovering the meaning of family, loyalty and friendship.

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The Book Thief

While the Second World War is a setting often used to tell tragic stories, in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, we are treated to something different. We are told the story of a little girl who lives in poverty just outside of Munich with her father, an accordion player, and learns just how previous books can be when it comes to escaping from reality.

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A Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is a war story, but unlike most others. It tells the tale of a Chinese boy named Henry who has the misfortune of living in America, more precisely, in Seattle, during the Second World War, a time when Asians were harshly discriminated against by the U.S. population.

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