'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini
This heartwrenching look at the lives of women in Afghanistan addresses love, loyalty, and the amazing lengths women will go to for their families. Hosseini weaves the story through a multi-person narrative spanning 30 years to give readers eye-opening realizations and tears.
'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman
In this ambitious novel, Neil Gaiman combines ancient mythology with Americana and fantasy. He addresses the American spirit, death, and myriad other issues throughout the novel while keeping a savory plotline that showcases his literary abilities.
'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn
This psychological thriller takes readers on a roller coaster ride through the institution of marriage. It’s filled with plot twists, thick characterization, and raw descriptions that leave readers haunted by the story long after closing the book.
'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini’s first literary success is a heartfelt story of friendship set in the complicated turmoil of Afghanistan in the 21st century. Hosseini addresses the relationships between children and their friends, fathers and their sons, and people and their choices.
'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book chronicles the journey of Christopher McCandless, a 25-year-old man who hitchhiked to Alaska and, eventually, his untimely death. This future classic is an exploration of self-discovery, mystery, and finding out where one fits in society. While there is some skepticism over the details provided by Krakauer, the writing and story are nonetheless impressive and here to stay.
'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr
This World War II-centered novel from Anthony Doerr follows the lives of two very different children as they grow up during one of the world’s most tumultuous times. Through his stunning use of metaphor and unpredictable timeline, Doerr explores kindness and how people perceive the world.
'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel
Life of Pi, a fantasy and adventure novel, tells the story of a young man stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger after a devastating shipwreck. As the characters fight to survive at sea without being able to understand one another, Martel discusses personal growth through tough times and the act of believing in something greater than oneself. The novel has an impressive list of awards already, but there’s no doubt that it’s fated to be a timeless classic.
'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett
The Help addresses racial relations during the 1960s through three women, two black and one white, who all must deal with the difficulties of the Civil Rights Era. Stockett imitates Southern diction and accent to paint a narrative rich in voice and emotion. This novel addresses racial issues, self-discovery, and what makes us all human.
'The Corrections' by Jonathan Franzen
Franzen’s novel tells the story of a midwestern American family experiencing the ailing health of a father, personal mistakes of children, and a mother’s desire to finally live her life. Throughout the narrative, Franzen depicts the decline of the technological boom of the late '90s and the anxiety families feel as a result of illness. The author’s ability to detail those feelings and issues is what gives this novel staying power.
'A Song of Ice and Fire' by George R.R. Martin
Martin’s hefty, multi-layered story is rich in detail, strong characterization, and plot that captivates readers from the start. From the beginning, A Song of Ice and Fire addresses issues of family, loyalty, identity, and consequences—all while painting a complicated world of magic. The sheer entertainment value gives it staying power, but Martin's artistic talent is why it will be a classic.