Harper Lee and the One-Book Wonder Phenomenon

April 9 2015
Share Harper Lee and the One-Book Wonder Phenomenon

The whole reading public is about to be gifted with something we never thought we’d see: a new Harper Lee novel. And so we got to thinking: What other one-book wonders left us desperately wishing for another book?

The following writers either started their careers late or their lives were tragically cut short. In some cases, the reasons their output was so low remain a mystery to this day. However, each was a unique and brilliant voice and we can only hope that someone will discover another dusty, long-forgotten manuscript.

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath

A haunting classic that chronicles the breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under. This deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and makes us mourn Sylvia Plath’s tragic suicide at age thirty all the more.

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The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath

A haunting classic that chronicles the breakdown of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under. This deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and makes us mourn Sylvia Plath’s tragic suicide at age thirty all the more.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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Memoirs of a Geisha
by Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells the story of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha with exquisite lyricism. Published in 1999, with an acclaimed film adaptation released in 2005, Memoirs of a Geisha remains Arthur Golden’s only novel.

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Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells the story of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha with exquisite lyricism. Published in 1999, with an acclaimed film adaptation released in 2005, Memoirs of a Geisha remains Arthur Golden’s only novel.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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Close
The Opposite of Loneliness
by Marina Keegan

“A collection of short fiction and personal essays, THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS reads like your early twenties in real time, touching on friendship, love, jealousy, self-discovery, family, and the one thing you’ll always love, no matter what: your first car.”

Read Julianna Haubner’s review here.

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The Opposite of Loneliness
Marina Keegan

“A collection of short fiction and personal essays, THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS reads like your early twenties in real time, touching on friendship, love, jealousy, self-discovery, family, and the one thing you’ll always love, no matter what: your first car.”

Read Julianna Haubner’s review here.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë

Charged with brooding, intense personalities and a gloomy atmosphere, the tragic love story of Heathcliff and Cathy has remained one of English literature’s most popular—and divisive—novels. Published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell; Emily Brontë died the following year, at age thirty.

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Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë

“Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
The turbulent and tempestuous love story of Cathy and Heathcliff spans two generations—from the time Heathcliff, a strange, coarse young boy, is brought to live on the Earnshaws’ windswept estate, through Cathy’s marriage to Edgar Linton and Heathcliff’s plans for revenge, to Cathy’s death years later and the eventual union of the surviving Earnshaw and Linton heirs. A masterpiece of imaginative fiction, Wuthering Heights (the author’s only novel) remains as poignant and compelling today as it was when first published in 1847.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

A milestone in American literature, this novel has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. Ralph Ellison was awarded in 1969.

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Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

A milestone in American literature, this novel has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. Ralph Ellison was awarded in 1969.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

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Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

This novel is a deeply moving account of a horse’s experiences at the hands of many owners―some sensitive; others cruel. Scenes from the lives of both the landed gentry and the impoverished working class reveal as much about the social ills of the nineteenth century as they do about the treatment of animals. Composed during the last years of her life, Anna Sewell died just five months after its publication.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Black Beauty
Anna Sewell

This novel is a deeply moving account of a horse’s experiences at the hands of many owners―some sensitive; others cruel. Scenes from the lives of both the landed gentry and the impoverished working class reveal as much about the social ills of the nineteenth century as they do about the treatment of animals. Composed during the last years of her life, Anna Sewell died just five months after its publication.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

My 8 Favorite Audiobook Listens of 2021 (So Far)

By Kelly Dasta | September 17, 2021

My Book Haul: 9 Shiny New Additions to My Shelf

By Sharon Van Meter | September 16, 2021

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By Off the Shelf Staff | September 15, 2021

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By Karen Bellovich | September 14, 2021

New in Paperback: 9 September Releases We Need ASAP

By Alice Martin | September 13, 2021

Book Club Favorites: 6 True Stories Primed for Meaningful Discussions

By Holly Claytor | September 10, 2021

Close
A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

An American comic masterpiece, its hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is “a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (The Chicago Sun-Times). After struggling to find a publisher, Toole committed suicide in 1969. More than a decade later, his mother succeeded in having his manuscript published by the Louisiana State University Press, and he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
A Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

An American comic masterpiece, its hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is “a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (The Chicago Sun-Times). After struggling to find a publisher, Toole committed suicide in 1969. More than a decade later, his mother succeeded in having his manuscript published by the Louisiana State University Press, and he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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Harper Lee and the One-Book Wonder Phenomenon

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 9, 2015

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