1. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
This is an unforgettable book, set in a small town community in the Deep South. McCullers gives a voice to those who have been rejected and forgotten; her novel will have you rethink the concepts of love, death, and friendship. Also, you'll be relieved to have a reading buddy by your side when you're being blown away by the author's beautiful, philosophical writing. Keep in mind she was only 23 years old when this book was published. 0_0
2. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
A young American Jewish author arrives in Ukraine, hoping to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis 50 years ago. He is joined by Alex, a translator who is particularly fond of American pop culture, an old man, and a dog. What this band of misfits ends up finding turns all their worlds upside down.
3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
While everyone is super excited about Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel, make sure you and your fellow book nerds read this masterpiece first. Friendships in Never Let Me Go are complicated, but incredibly realistic. Kathy looks back on her strange and sheltered youth, uncovering stories about her close friendship group, reminding us just how enduring friendships can be.
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Rereading Harry Potter should absolutely be on your to-do list this year. Start from the very beginning, read chapters out loud with your friends, drink butter beer, and relive the whole adventure all over again.
5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about finding your voice and fighting to keep it. Hurston's novel is just as impressive and relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1937, and her writing is so rich, you'll want to read it over and over again.
6. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This book is about the relationships between Chinese mothers and their daughters, and the ways in which families lose and find each other across cultural boundaries. It's one of those books you completely lose yourself in, due to its mystery and the way everyone's secrets are slowly unraveled.
7. It by Stephen King
Reading a scary novel together is a lot of fun, and you'll have someone you can phone in the middle of the night when you suspect you're "seeing things". It is arguably one of the scariest novels out there. It's about an evil force that takes the shape of a clown (yikes!) to terrorise the children of a small town. It's gruesome and gory and absolutely bone-chilling.
8. Friendship by Emily Gould
Friendship, Emily Gould’s debut novel, is extremely relatable. The novel traces the evolution of friendship through two female characters who grapple with various crossroads like career ambitions, petty concerns, and their own selfish impulses.
9. You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
This novel tells the story of two friends who travel the globe, hoping to give away a large sum of money. This book is perfect for people who enjoy traveling to obscure countries and going on ridiculous adventures.
10. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
There are a lot of characters in this novel, and they're all somehow involved in the music industry, from an aging producer and his assistant to the assistant's best friend, a mentor, a publicist, etc. None of the people in this narrative are bit parts, in fact the strength of this story is that everyone's lives matter, and everyone is connected.
11. Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
Once you've read the last few pages of Mysterious Skin you're going to need to lie down and cry, so it's best you have someone there to share the experience. Scott Heim's novel is about survival, memory, and friendship, told through Brian Lackey and Neil McCormick, who share a traumatic childhood experience.
12. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
This incredibly honest nonfiction account of love and grieving will speak to anyone who has ever loved and lost someone. It's both a universal and personal story of Didion's husband, who died very suddenly of a heart attack, and how she dealt with her loss.
13. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This book is so strange, so unlike anything else, that I remember longing for someone to discuss it with. The less you know about this book, the better. It's pretty complex and it's not an easy ride, but totally worth it.
14. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
This novel follow its characters, their families, their friends and the choices they make across the globe, from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos. The story shows that love can endure, despite distance and years of separation.
15. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a brilliant coming-of-age story that will bring you right back to the roller-coaster ride of being a teenager, having to deal with growing up, forming friendships, and falling in love.
16. Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is falsely accused of stealing, and for his punishment he has to choose between jail or Camp Green Lake. Stanley goes for the latter but soon finds out that it's no ordinary camp he's been sent to.
17. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
This novel is short but incredibly powerful. It's about the untrustworthiness of memory and how it's so easy to misinterpret events. At first it seems to be quite a simple story, but once you've gotten to the end you'll want to read the whole thing all over again, in search of missing clues.
18. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is a must-read for book lovers. It's set in Nazi Germany, following a young girl called Liesel who begins to steal books from Nazi book burnings. Through her eyes we encounter the mesmerizing power of words.
19. Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum
You can rewatch this magnificent film over and over again or read the book, which is based on an earlier version of the script. You'll reexperience Welton Academy on the page, including the much-loved flamboyant teacher John Keating.