It’s a bad habit, but I frequently find myself staring off into space, lost in the memory of books I’ve read. Books whose plots, characters, scenes, or settings inhabit my mind long after I’ve closed the pages. Some of the books I read are for momentary pleasure or information, and some books just stick with me a little longer. Here are 9 books that I can’t stop thinking about.
We like big books and we cannot lie—we buy them, we shelve them, and we stare at them, promising that someday, when we have the time, we’ll read them. Winter is the perfect season for crossing some of those wonderful doorstops off your list.
I am absolutely haunted by Hanya Yanagihara’s emotional, heart-wrenching novel of four college classmates who move to New York seeking fame and success. As the years pass and the men all grow up and change, they remain tied together through their devotion to Jude, a brilliant, enigmatic man scarred by severe childhood trauma. I have never loved or championed a character more than I have Jude, and I will never stop thinking about his story.
I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I cried for 700 pages of this 832-page masterpiece. I have never loved a character more deeply than I love Jude, the main character in this ode to male friendship, who is scarred and broken from an unspeakable trauma. Reading about Jude’s ever-changing relationships with his three best friends from college was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a reader—and certainly as a crier.
An exquisite family saga about two different brothers bound by tragedy, THE LOWLAND is vivid storytelling at its finest. Moving from the 1960s to the present and from India to America, my mind often drifts through the various and beautifully described settings as I’m falling asleep at night. I can picture Subhash in his Rhode Island home just as clearly as I can picture his brother walking to secret political meetings back home in India.
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of "The Namesake "comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
Little Wing is a place like hundreds of others but seldom has the American heartland been so richly and accurately portrayed. For four boyhood friends brought together for a wedding, this small Wisconsin town will foster heartbreak, hope, healing, and heroism in a novel that, once read, will never be forgotten.
Moving between the Armenian Genocide during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, ORHAN’S INHERITANCE is a lyrical and passionate novel about a young man who sets out to understand why his grandfather left his inheritance to a stranger thousands of miles away.
A beautiful and profound novel about the interconnected lives of four women, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic Las Vegas casino nightclub, the characters in ’ROUND MIDNIGHT get into your head and stay there. These women feel more like people I know than characters on a page, and I often find myself thinking about their lives the way I think about my friends’ lives.
If your favorite character is Nancy Wheeler
If you’re a Nancy supporter at the end, you loathe a “traditional female character.” You appreciate Nancy for being a natural gunslinger, choosing the thick-haired hottie over the greasy paparazzo, and not letting her grandma-closet-raiding friend slut-shame her. THE NIX follows a whole gaggle of odd characters but centers on the mystery of a woman who is an intellectual, mother, student, daughter, protestor, lover, and—most of all—recluse.
Sarah Waters earned a reputation as one of Britain’s great writers of historical fiction, and here she delivers again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of 1920s London, this is her finest achievement yet.