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15 Books You Need to Read (If You Haven’t)

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1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s first novel is a story about lawyer Atticus Finch, his family, and the events in their neighborhood that ultimately test what they know about the nature of kindness and humanity. If only everyone who has ever read “To Kill a Mockingbird” would take its central message to heart, the world would be a better place.

2. Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s most well-known novel is a story about the headstrong heroine Elizabeth Bennet and the snobby Mr. Darcy. This romance may be set in the 18th Century, but it remains unforgettable because it reflects truths about human nature and society that still echo in many forms even until the present.

3. Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger

“Catcher in the Rye” is about the teenage, angst-filled Holden Caulfield. This book is one that could speak to every teenager who has ever gone through a phase of feeling lonely, different, and trying to figure out what it actually means to be real.

4. Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan

“Atonement” is a heartbreaking story of a naïve mistake made by Briony Tallis when she was 11 years old. This mistake leads to consequences that would haunt Briony with regret, guilt, and compulsion to atone for what she has done through the only way she knows how.

5. Hector and the Search for Happiness (2010) by Francois Lelord

Francois Lelord is a French psychiatrist who wrote his humorous novel, perhaps, to consolidate all his thoughts on the ever- elusive happiness. This book does not have new insights about happiness, but is certainly a charming little reminder of the ones that always escape us.

6. The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2003) by Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon’s novel is a touching story about Christopher John Francis Boone, a young boy gifted with extremely amazing logical capabilities, who decides to investigate the murder of a neighborhood dog using the tactics of Sherlock Holmes.

7. A Wrinkle in Time (1963) by Madeline L’Engle

Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic story for children about the lives of Meg Murray, her siblings, and their magical adventures in time and other dimensions.

8. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004) by Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke’s novel will take you to a magical and elegant world where magicians are gentlemen in 19th Century English society. This story is about the rivalry and relationship between the mentor Mr. Norrell and his student Jonathan Strange.

9. Me Before You (2012) by Jojo Moyes

“Me Before You” starts out as a formulaic romance story— there’s the quirky but good-hearted female lead and then there’s the cold and brooding male who needs her help. The story progresses, however, with questions about dignity, humanity, and choice. It is about Lou Clark, an unsure twenty-something who finds meaning in life while taking care of the paraplegic Will Traynor.

10. The History of Love (2005) by Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss’s “The History of Love” is about an old man named Leo Gursky, a fourteen-year- old named Alma, and the book that connects their respective narratives.

11. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2012) by Maria Semple

The narrative of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” is told through letters, e-mails, and other pieces of evidence from the life of an agoraphobic former architect named Bernadette Branch who disappears after a series of stressful quarrels with her neighbor.

12. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (2012) by Jennifer E. Smith

After missing her flight to London by mere minutes, Jennifer E. Smith’s heroine, Hadley Sullivan, fatefully meets a British boy named Oliver. They spend majority of the flight together, only to be separated as they reach their destination. As they face their respective places to go to,- a wedding for Hadley and a funeral for Oliver, they find themselves unable to stop thinking about meeting each other again.

13. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (2012) by Robin Sloan

“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” is a quirky and fascinating story for bookworms and geeks alike. It is about web designer Clay Jannon who finds employment under the eccentric Mr. Penumbra.

14. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) by Seth Grahame-Smith

One would think that Jane Austen would be rolling in her grave at the sound of Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody of her novel, but if you give it a chance, you just might find the book unexpectedly funny. Grahame-Smith did not change any of Austen’s sentiments. He simply added the element of flesh-eating zombies in the elegant world of the Bennet sisters, who, in this version, are zombie-slaying, martial arts–-trained warriors.

15. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (2012) by Austin Kleon

“Steal Like an Artist” is the only non-fiction book in this list. It is an insightful book that should be read by anyone trying to find ways of creatively expressing thoughts and ideas.

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