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The ReadDown

Best Books: Literary Fiction

Booksellers, readers, and authors can’t be wrong… these are some of the most beloved books in literary fiction.
  1. 1
    Of Mice and Men Book Cover Picture
    Of Mice and Men Book Cover Picture

    Of Mice and Men

    by John Steinbeck

    A classic for a reason – Steinbeck’s George and Lennie loom large in American literature. Dusty California, a dream of a better life, hand-to-mouth labor, and a tragedy you’ll never forget.
    Of Mice and Men Book Cover Picture
    Of Mice and Men Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture
    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture

    The Handmaid’s Tale

    by Margaret Atwood

    Breaking bestselling records even today, this dystopian society hits uncomfortably close to home. A world where handmaids are prized for their fertility and the price of rebellion is unthinkable.
    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture
    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture

    Things Fall Apart

    by Chinua Achebe

    A nuanced and epic novel that tackles the Europe’s colonization of Africa. Okonkwo, a wealthy and powerful Igbo warrior, comes face to face with the religious and political forces that will end his way of life.
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    The House on Mango Street Book Cover Picture
    The House on Mango Street Book Cover Picture

    The House on Mango Street

    by Sandra Cisneros

    A beloved novel of childhood and self-discovery. Esperanza Cordero is a a young Latina girl in Chicago finding her way.
    The House on Mango Street Book Cover Picture
    The House on Mango Street Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    Lilac Girls Book Cover Picture
    Lilac Girls Book Cover Picture

    Lilac Girls

    by Martha Hall Kelly

    Set in WWII, Martha Hall Kelly’s novel celebrates the unsung women who fought for freedom, justice, and love.
    Lilac Girls Book Cover Picture
    Lilac Girls Book Cover Picture

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  6. 6
    The Kite Runner Book Cover Picture
    The Kite Runner Book Cover Picture

    The Kite Runner

    by Khaled Hosseini

    Hosseini’s novel has touched millions of readers since its publication in 2003. It follows the tender and unlikely friendship between two boys – one wealthy, one the son of a servant. As they grow and change, they encounter political upheaval, betrayal, and forgiveness.
    The Kite Runner Book Cover Picture
    The Kite Runner Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    The Underground Railroad Book Cover Picture
    The Underground Railroad Book Cover Picture

    The Underground Railroad

    by Colson Whitehead

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this novel follows Cora, a runaway slave. In Whitehead’s world, the Underground Railroad is literal – the secret transportation whisks Cora and her friend out of slavery, and into a terrifying escape.
    The Underground Railroad Book Cover Picture
    The Underground Railroad Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Book Cover Picture
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Book Cover Picture

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    by Mark Haddon

    Christopher John Francis Boone is singularly focused on a murdered neighborhood pet and sets out to find him. Told through an autistic boy’s eyes, the novel is tender, intimate, and barrier-breaking.
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Book Cover Picture
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9
    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

    Americanah

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Ifemelu leaves Nigeria for the United States, and is suddenly confronted with a new identity – being black in America. She dives into academia and into her adoptive country’s history and racial issues.
    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

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  10. 10
    Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life) Book Cover Picture
    Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life) Book Cover Picture

    Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life)

    by Jodi Picoult

    Jenna has never been able to accept her mother’s disappearance, so  with the help of a psychic and a detective, she starts investigating her past, hoping to find answers.
    Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life) Book Cover Picture
    Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life) Book Cover Picture

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  11. 11
    A Gentleman in Moscow Book Cover Picture
    A Gentleman in Moscow Book Cover Picture

    A Gentleman in Moscow

    by Amor Towles

    Count Alexander Rostov is confined to house arrest in 1922… at least it’s in the glamorous hotel Metropol in Moscow! Despite the political upheaval just beyond his door, the Count comes to create a fulfilling life for himself (though its scope has shrunk considerably).
    A Gentleman in Moscow Book Cover Picture
    A Gentleman in Moscow Book Cover Picture

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  12. 12
    The Circle Book Cover Picture
    The Circle Book Cover Picture

    The Circle

    by Dave Eggers

    A dystopian vision of surveillance, privacy and invasive technology. Mae Holland starts working at The Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company. At first she’s impressed and delighted by the amenities and status, but soon begins to wonder about larger implications of total online control.
    The Circle Book Cover Picture
    The Circle Book Cover Picture

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  13. 13
    Everything I Never Told You Book Cover Picture
    Everything I Never Told You Book Cover Picture

    Everything I Never Told You

    by Celeste Ng

    Celeste Ng’s novel follows a Chinese American family in 1970’s Ohio. We learn in the first pages that the beloved teenage daughter is dead… what follows is an intimate and engaging family portrait: misunderstandings, pressure, love.
    Everything I Never Told You Book Cover Picture
    Everything I Never Told You Book Cover Picture

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  14. 14
    The Little Paris Bookshop Book Cover Picture
    The Little Paris Bookshop Book Cover Picture

    The Little Paris Bookshop

    by Nina George

    It’s every reader’s dream: the perfect book chosen just for you. Monsieur Perdu mans a floating bookstore on the Seine and prides himself on finding the most appropriate read for each customer.
    The Little Paris Bookshop Book Cover Picture
    The Little Paris Bookshop Book Cover Picture

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  15. 15
    The Stranger Book Cover Picture
    The Stranger Book Cover Picture

    The Stranger

    by Albert Camus

    Published in 1946, Camus’ tale of an ordinary man who commits murder still compels readers today. In this book, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd”.
    The Stranger Book Cover Picture
    The Stranger Book Cover Picture

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  16. 16
    Station Eleven Book Cover Picture
    Station Eleven Book Cover Picture

    Station Eleven

    by Emily St. John Mandel

    When a virus wipes out a significant chunk of the world’s population, civilization as we know it collapses. What’s left are the wanderers, banded together by memories of culture and science, their world before everything changed.
    Station Eleven Book Cover Picture
    Station Eleven Book Cover Picture

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  17. 17
    The Invention of Wings Book Cover Picture
    The Invention of Wings Book Cover Picture

    The Invention of Wings

    by Sue Monk Kidd

    Inspired by the life of Sarah Grimke, this novel explores the history of abolition and women’s rights.
    The Invention of Wings Book Cover Picture
    The Invention of Wings Book Cover Picture

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  18. 18
    Before We Were Yours Book Cover Picture
    Before We Were Yours Book Cover Picture

    Before We Were Yours

    by Lisa Wingate

    Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.
    Before We Were Yours Book Cover Picture
    Before We Were Yours Book Cover Picture

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  19. 19
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Beloved

    by Toni Morrison

    A powerful and devastating novel following Sethe who escaped slavery years ago. No matter how long it’s been, she cannot rid herself of her painful memories and her new home is haunted by her late child.
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

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  20. 20
    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture
    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture

    Invisible Man

    by Ralph Ellison

    The nameless narrator traces his life from his Southern childhood to Harlem where he becomes a spokesperson for “The Brotherhood”.
    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture
    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture

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