Best Books: Literary Fiction

So, turns out lists of literary fiction are not that easy to find, unless you are looking for results from a particular year. That, however, is a list that I am not yet making. So I did my best. (Honestly, it’s not the easy to categorize literary fiction, anyhow. I’m pretty sure some of these are in the wrong category.) I knew what I was looking for, but in the end I felt that I had overlooked most of the classics in the genre. What I’m hoping is that those titles have already seeped onto the other lists. Hoping.

Please feel free to send me some of your own suggestions.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret AtwoodKITE RUNNER
  • The Kite Runner, Khaled Housseni
  • The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt
  • The Unbearble Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
  • Perfume, Patrick Suskind
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Housseni
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  • Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  • The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
  • Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
  • The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolverpoisonwood-bible
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murukami
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
  • The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
  • Beloved, Tony Morrison
  • Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan
  • The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
  • The World According to Garp, John Irving
  • Rabbit Run, John Updike
  • Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow
  • The World According to Garp, John Irving
  • The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
  • Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Color Purple, Alice Walkerthe-color-purple
  • Ironweed, William Kennedy
  • White Noise, Don DeLillo
  • Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
  • World’s End, T.C. Boyle
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace
  • In the Lake of the Foods, Tim O’Brien
  • Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
  • American Pastoral, Philip Roth
  • The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
  • Empire Falls, Richard Russo
  • Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
  • What is the What, Dave Eggers
  • Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon
  • Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
  • Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  • Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • High Fidelity, Nick Hornbymemoirs-of-a-geisha
  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • The Hours, Michael Cunningham
  • White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  • Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamamnda Ngozi Adichi
  • Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain
  • A Visit from the Good Squad, Jennifer Egan
  • The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
  • The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
  • Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
  • Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
  • The Known World, Edward P. Jones
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
  • Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Austerlitz, W.G. Sebaldnw
  • My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
  • The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • NW, Zadie Smith
  • 2666, Roberto Bolaño
  • The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
  • Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
  • Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
  • Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
  • Watership Down, Richard Adamsdandelion-wine
  • Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury
  • I Served the King of England, Bohumil Hrabal
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
  • On Beauty, Zadie Smith
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

 

 

I don’t know. I was looking for some elusive book list: one that would show the best of what real people are reading, and reading in droves. I didn’t quite accomplish it, but here is what I found: (Perhaps what people read in droves is not enduring or especially well-written? At any rate, at some point I started leaving off many books that I already knew were all over the best books list.)

BONUS: POPULAR FICTION

  • Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Little Prince, Antione de Saint-Exupery
  • Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  • And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein
  • Dream of the Red Chamber, Cao Xeuquin
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carol
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
  • She: A History of Adventure, H. Rider Haggard
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio, Carlo Calludi
  • Vardi Wala Gunda, Ved Prakash Sharma
  • The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  • The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
  • The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 2000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nobokov
  • Heidi’s Years of Living and Travel, Johanna Spyri
  • Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
  • Emily Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman
  • Three Junes, Julia Glass
  • Commonwealth, Anne Prachett
  • Bear Town, Fredrik Backman
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne
  • Room, Emma Donogue
  • A Little Life, Tanya Yanagihara
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Hoer
  • Less, Andrew Sean Greer
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
  • Gilead, Marilynne RObinson
  • Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler
  • American Pastoral, Philip Roth
  • Little Bee, Chris Cleave
  • The Hate U Give, Anglie Thmas
  • The Mare, Mary Gaitskill
  • Sing, Unburied Sing, Jesmyn Ward
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
  • A Town Like No Other, Neville Shute
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • The Vegetarian, Han Kang
  • All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Frankenstein, Mary SHelley
  • All the Light We Can Not See, Anthony Doerr
  • The Beetle, Richard Marsh
  • Barney’s Version, Mordecai Richler
  • The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill
  • Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonegut
  • The Chrysalids, John Whyndam
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Disgrace, J.M. CoetzeeCity of Thieves, David Benioff
  • Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
  • Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • Gone with the Wind, Margarett Mitchell
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larson
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  • Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski
  • If Tomorrow Comes, Sidney Sheldon
  • Kindred, Octavia E. Butler
  • The Hunger Games (trilogy), Suzanne Collins
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Native Son, Richard Wright
  • North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Desinovich, Aleksandr Solzenitsn
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Luo Guanszhong
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  • The Shining, Stephen King
  • Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden
  • Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  • The Trial, Franz Kafka
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

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