9 Beautiful Novels That Will Inspire You to Be a Better Person

October 7 2019

No matter how old you are, or where you may be in life, there are always possibilities, second chances, new paths, and old loves to be rediscovered. Below are nine of our favorite books that we think will inspire you to dust off that unfinished manuscript, paint your next masterpiece, reconnect with that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, but more importantly, to live in the moment.

Clock Dance
by Anne Tyler

Every life consists of defining moments, and Willa Drake can count on one hand how many she has experienced—four. Then one day she receives a call about a woman she doesn’t know who needs her help. Willa takes the next flight to Baltimore to care for her son’s ex-girlfriend, Denise, her nine-year-old precocious daughter, Cheryl, and their dog, Airplane. Her spontaneous decision will lead Willa to the biggest epiphany of her life, one that she chooses for herself. The CLOCK DANCE is an endearing novel about the transformative power of life’s second chances.

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Clock Dance
Anne Tyler

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James
by Emma Hooper

Emma Hooper knows how to tug at the heartstrings. She’s written a magical tale of self-discovery in ETTA AND OTTO AND RUSSELL AND JAMES that jumps from the past to the present, coming together to form an unforgettable love story. If you like great adventures, acts of defiance, and magical realism, this is the perfect read for you.

Read the full review of ETTA AND OTTO ANDN RUSSELL AND JAMES.

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Emma Hooper

This quiet novel moves from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion; from trying to remember to trying to forget. It is an astounding literary debut of unlikely heroes, lifelong promises, and last great adventures.

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Less
by Andrew Sean Greer

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Andrew Sean Greer delivers a delightful novel about the fear of aging alone and unloved. Meet Arthur Less, a self-deprecating author just shy of 50 and desperately trying to avoid attending the wedding of his boyfriend of nine years. So he takes off around the world on a series of literary engagements to avoid the heartbreak. LESS will have you laughing out loud and rooting for Arthur to find his happily ever after.

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Less
Andrew Sean Greer

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The Italian Teacher
by Tom Rachman

Pinch is the son of a great painter, forever cast in Bear Bavinsky’s larger-than-life shadow, struggling to claim something of his own, and obsessed with proving himself worthy to his uninterested father. THE ITALIAN TEACHER is the latest novel from the bestselling author of THE IMPERFECTIONISTS.

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The Italian Teacher
Tom Rachman

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MENTIONED IN:

9 Beautiful Novels That Will Inspire You to Be a Better Person

By Keturah Jenkins | October 7, 2019

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The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini

The bestselling novel that introduced Khaled Hosseini to readers around the world about an unlikely friendship that grows between two young boys separated by status but connected by the ongoing turmoil and upheaval in Afghanistan. Told over the course of 30 years, THE KITE RUNNER is a coming-of-age modern classic of betrayal, guilt, secrets of fathers and sons, and the importance of friendship in the hardest of times.

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The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini

Set against the backdrop of tumultuous, war-torn Afghanistan, THE KITE RUNNER is an unforgettable and heartbreaking story of friendship, family, and redemption.

 

Listen to clip of the audiobook:

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The Boston Girl
by Anita Diamant

New York Times bestselling author Anita Diamant returns with her keen eye for historical details and a smart heroine with a wicked sense of humor. When 85-year-old Addie Baum’s granddaughter asks her, “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” she begins her story in 1915 Boston, where young Addie is on the verge of discovering her voice. Like most girls her age, Addie dreams of going to college, starting a career, and finding true love. All those things and more happen, just not in the way she might have expected. Life rarely does. THE BOSTON GIRL is a lovingly told story of a young Jewish girl navigating her way in a changing twentieth-century America.

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The Boston Girl
Anita Diamant

Girl Crazy: 15 Literary Ladies You’ll Want to Know

Here’s a party game for you: Can you name a “girl” book? Of course you got GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but there are lots of other girl books that you’ll want to add to your reading list. Whether you like thrillers, literary fiction, or history, these “girls” all have one thing in common—they are compulsively readable.

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MENTIONED IN:

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America for Beginners
by Leah Franqui

Leah Franqui’s AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS is a bittersweet tale that touches on hope, forgiveness, what it means to be family, and the immigrant experience in America. A timely read that you won’t soon forget.

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America for Beginners
Leah Franqui

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MENTIONED IN:

9 Beautiful Novels That Will Inspire You to Be a Better Person

By Keturah Jenkins | October 7, 2019

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Lawn Boy
by Jonathan Evison

This vibrant and deeply inspiring novel provides a view into the working-class life of Mike Muñoz, a 22-year-old who mows lawns for a living and has a talent for creating topiary structures. He lives in an overcrowded, dilapidated home with his hardworking mother and handicapped brother, Nate, and longs for his chance at achieving the American dream but the deck seems to be stacked against him. Jonathan Evison has given readers a relatable everyman who is struggling to make ends meet but knows his self-worth and is determined to overcome the obstacles in his life to succeed.

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Lawn Boy
Jonathan Evison

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Carol Ann Tack | February 18, 2020

9 Beautiful Novels That Will Inspire You to Be a Better Person

By Keturah Jenkins | October 7, 2019

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This Tender Land
by William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger’s bestselling novel follows four orphans during the Great Depression. Spanning one unforgettable summer in 1932 Minnesota, the four young friends are resolved to make their way to the Mississippi River and find someplace to call home. For fans of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING and coming-of-age sagas set against the backdrop of the American landscape.

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This Tender Land
William Kent Krueger

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