Novels I re-read and thus, recommend

I posted a list like this once before, some years ago, and find that it is out of date. So here’s a more recent take on the type of fiction that is most likely to draw me in. 

Note: I’m not claiming these are the best novels ever written. I know for a fact that some of them will raise eyebrows; the point is, I felt enough resonance with that piece of storytelling that I go back for more now and then. There are also novels I truly admire, but could not bring myself to read again.  So you won’t find them here.

This list is not divided up by genre, so let me warn you: you’ll find pretty much everything here, from espionage and romance to very dark crime and sci-fi. And then there’s Austen and Dickens.

  • Richard Adams The Girl in a Swing 
  • Jane Austen Persuasion; Pride and Prejudice
  • Toni Cade Bambara  Gorilla, My Love
  • Amy Bloom Come to Me
  • James Lee Burke  In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead; White Doves at Morning; A Morning for Flamingos
  • A.S. Byatt  Angels & Insects; Possession
  • Chelsea Cain Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell series)
  • Jetta Carleton The Moonflower Vine  
  • Michael Chabon The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  • Loretta Chase  Lord Perfect; Lord of Scoundrels
  • Wilkie Collins The Woman in  White
  • Laurie Colwin A Big Storm Knocked It Over 
  • Jennifer Crusie Crazy for You; Faking It; Welcome to Temptation
  • Judy Cuevas  Dance; Bliss
  • Junot Díaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • Stephen Dobyns The Burn Palace 
  • Dorothy Dunnett Niccolo Rising  (House of Niccolo; 8 volumes)
  • Daphne Du Maurier  Rebecca
  • George Eliot  Adam Bede 
  • Ken Follett Eye of the Needle
  • Ariana Franklin City of Shadows; Mistress of the Art of Death
  • Charles Frazier Cold Mountain
  • Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd; The Mayor of  Casterbridge
  • Mo Hayder Poppet  (the Jack Caffery series)
  • John Fowles The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • Mark Helprin  A Soldier of the Great War 
  • Judith Ivory  Beast 
  • Baine Kerr  Wrongful Death 
  • Stephen King  The Stand; Black House; Dolan’s Cadillac
  • Barbara Kingsolver Animal Dreams; The Poisonwood Bible
  • Lisa Kleypas  Smooth Talking Stranger; Blue-Eyed Devil
  • Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and the next two)
  • Margaret Lawrence  Hearts and Bones (Hannah Trevor series; 4 volumes)
  • Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird 
  • Dennis Lehane Gone, Baby Gone; Darkness Take My Hand
  • Elmore Leonard Pagan Babies, Cuba Libre, Get Shorty
  • Gabriel Garcia Márquez A Hundred Years of Solitude
  • McCarry, Charles: The Bride of The Wilderness
  • Larry McMurtry  Lonesome Dove
  • Jacquelyn Mitchard  Second Nature; The Breakdown Lane
  • Toni Morrison Beloved, The Bluest Eye 
  • Jojo Moyes  The Girl You Left Behind 
  • Alice Munro  Friend of my Youth
  • Audrey Niffenegger  The Time Traveler’s Wife 
  • Tim O’Brian  The Things They Carried
  • Michael Ondaatje  The English Patient
  • Joseph O’Neill Netherland
  • Ann Patchett The Magician’s Assistant 
  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips Ain’t She Sweet 
  • Annie Proulx The Shipping News; Wyoming Stories
  • Mario Puzo The Fortunate Pilgrim
  • Mary Doria Russell A Thread of Grace 
  • Richard Russo   Straight Man; Empire Falls 
  • Karin Slaughter Will Trent series (8 volumes) 
  • Jane Smiley A Thousand Acres 
  • Scott Spencer Waking the Dead; Endless Love
  • Jessica Davis Stein Coyote Dream 
  • Kathryn Stockett  The Help 
  • William Styron  Sophie’s Choice 
  • Barry Unsworth Sacred Hunger
  • Gore Vidal  Burr; Lincoln
  • Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Edith Wharton  Ethan Frome
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder The Long Winter

 

 

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