Barbara Kingsolver is known as a brilliant writer of fiction and essays, but in this nonfiction masterpiece she chronicles a year in the life of her family where “they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.”
“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.”
For some eclectic food memoirs, check these out:
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
One of Cather’s earliest novels, written in 1918, My Antonia is the story of Ántonia Shimerda, who arrives on the Nebraska frontier as part of a family of Bohemian emigrants. Her story is told through the eyes of Jim Burden, a neighbor who will befriend Ántonia, teach her English, and follow the remarkable story of her life.
For more novels that focus on the immigrant experience, check these out:
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Peter Brown is a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with a past, a secret, and a gun–and has 24 hours to save himself and beat the reaper. A wickedly funny and highly suspenseful debut novel.
For more darkly comic novels, check these out:
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Bite Me by Christopher Moore
Damned by Chuck Palahniuk
Josey Cirrini is “plain and just this side of plump” she lives with her domineering mother in an effort to make up for her tempestuous childhood. Josey finds joy in her closet, stacked with travel magazines, romance novels, and lots of delicious candy. Then one day she opens her closet door to find Della Lee Baker a waitress at the local greasy spoon. Josey doesn’t know who or what Della is hiding from but the young woman begins sending her on a series of missions that get Josey to step outside of the confines of her small life. A charming and lovely offering for the inimitable Sarah Addison Allen.
For more sweetly supernatural romances, check these out:
The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel
If you know who Felicia Day is you may just be geeky enough to read this book. Seriously though, even if you’ve never heard of writer/producer/actress/queen of the geeks Day, you should still read this hilarious memoir. An interesting and endlessly entertaining look at a home-schooled violin prodigy and gamer who took the internet by storm.
For more memoirs written by bright, funny, fascinating women, check these out:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
Helen Scales is a marine biologist and diver who has written a fascinating natural history of the sea horse. These amazing creatures have intrigued humans since we first learned of their existence. Learn the history surrounding this singularly unique animal.
For more books that explore the myths and realities surrounding extraordinary sea creatures, check these out:
The Whale by Philip Hoare
Narwhals by Todd McLeish
Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
“Hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs.” —from the publisher
Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler a young, talented, beautiful couple who appear to be on the cusp of greatness until they bring about their own downfall with deep-rooted discontent and their betrayal of each other.
For more titles on the moral trappings of marriage and “success” in the suburbs, check these out:
Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos
Little Children by Tom Perrotta
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Epic and beautifully told, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is the riveting story of Edgar, a mute boy who bears witness to a traumatic event that shatters his life on the idyllic farm where his family raises dogs. Leaving the farm with three yearlings in tow, the novel chronicles Edward’s journey across the American heartland. An immersive reading experience this exquisite retelling of Hamlet will not disappoint.
For more American epics, check these out:
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Rafael Trujillo, aka The Goat, was the hated Dominican dictator whose reign of terror came to a close with his assassination in 1961. The Feast of the Goat imagines the last days of the regime from the point of view of Urania Cabral (the daughter of one of Trujillo’s closest associates), Trujillo’s assassins, and Trujillo himself. A riveting fictionalized account of this fascinating and horrifying period in Dominican history.
For more historical fiction set in Latin America, check these out:
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Peron Novel by Tomas Eloy Martinez
I, the Supreme by Augusto Antonio Roa Bastos
After a massive chemical spill at the local pharmaceutical plant, the residents of Clarence, Minnesota fall under the spell of a powerful drug that unlocks their memories. This tender and witty first novel accompanies the people of Clarence on their journey into the past. What if you could suddenly remember every joy and sorrow you had ever endured? Would it be a blessing or a curse?
For more brilliantly realized debut novels, check these out:
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh