Share Influential Fiction: 9 Popular Books Our Readers Can’t Get Enough Of

Influential Fiction: 9 Popular Books Our Readers Can’t Get Enough Of

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

It’s no surprise: we love reading. Even more than reading, we love recommending great books so more avid readers can chat about some of our favorite titles. Although our TBR lists are all long and only getting longer, we have a few titles we recommend you move straight to the top. Below are the amazing reads that consistently remain popular among our readers. If you’re feeling left out of those bookish conversations, here are the titles you should definitely pick up . . . just in case you haven’t already heard.  


Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger

Thirteen-year-old Frank lives the life of an ordinary teen in New Bremen, Minnesota, until a slew of tragedies befall him and his family. An accident, suicide, and murder follow him through the summer of 1961, forcing him into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal. Forty-one years later, he begins the long journey of coming to terms with his jaded past as he attempts to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. A brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, ORDINARY GRACE explores the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

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Ordinary Grace
William Kent Krueger

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, thirteen-year-old Frank Drum finds himself thrust into a world of secrets, adultery, and betrayal. Set in 1961, Ordinary Grace is the story of what a shocking murder does to a boy standing at the door of adulthood and the fabric of a small Minnesota town.

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All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laurie is a blind French girl whose father works in the Museum of Natural History. But when Nazis invade Paris, she and her father are forced to flee, bringing with them the museums most valuable jewel. Back in Germany, Werner Pfennig and his younger sister are left as orphans. As he grows, Werner becomes infatuated with a radio and soon learns how to fix and manipulate the hardware. Becoming an expert in radios, Werner is enlisted to track down the resistance. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE beautifully intertwines these two complex characters lives. If you are a fan of historical fiction and looking for a great book to hunker down with, look no further than this story. 

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All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

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Influential Fiction: 9 Popular Books Our Readers Can’t Get Enough Of

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Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan

MANHATTAN BEACHs standout main character, Anna, is a young, independent woman who works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. Through her cunning and will, Anna becomes the first and only female civilian diver and manages to convince a gangster to reveal her missing father’s fate. Anna values her independence and is confident enough to know that she has the same right to occupy a space as anyone else. In the end, her willpower and wit enable her to hold on to her independence and live the life she chooses instead of a life of unhappy domesticity. 

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Manhattan Beach
Jennifer Egan

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A New York Times Notable Book

Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, Esquire, Vogue, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA TODAY, and Time

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

“A magnificent achievement, at once a suspenseful noir intrigue and a transporting work of lyrical beauty and emotional heft” (The Boston Globe), “Egan’s first foray into historical fiction makes you forget you’re reading historical fiction at all” (Elle). Manhattan Beach takes us into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men in a dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.

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MENTIONED IN:

Influential Fiction: 9 Popular Books Our Readers Can’t Get Enough Of

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Lonesome Dove
by Larry McMurtry

LONESOME DOVE is an adventure tale, love story, and frontier epic all packed into one novel. Set in the Texas town of Lonesome Dove, in the nineteenth century, this storys cast of characters includes cowboys, settlers, Native Americans, outlaws, brothel workers, and beautiful ladies. This popular and award-winning novel is a deeply atmospheric and exciting tale, and possibly one of the best stories about the wild American West. 

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Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, this Pulitzer Prize— winning classic is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic this is a book to that will make you laugh, weep, and dream.

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The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

Lo Blacklock is a writer for a travel magazine. When she is assigned to travel for a week on a luxury cruise, things take a turn for the unexpected. One night, as gray skies loom overhead and frigid winds whip around her cabin, Lo witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. However, the next morning the ship carries on as if nothing happened, and all passengers remain accounted for. Desperately trying to convey the tragedy she witnessed, Lo has a restless, uneasy journey packed with surprise twists.  

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The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware

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Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell

Ellie Mack is the perfect daughter, with her whole life ahead of her. Until one day, she mysteriously vanishes. Ten years later, her mother, Laurel, is still desperately trying to put together the pieces about what happened to her daughter. When she meets an unexpectedly flirtatious man in a café and strikes up a relationship, things begin to unravel. When Laurel meets his daughters, the youngest takes her breath away. Looking at her is like looking at Ellie.  

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Then She Was Gone
Lisa Jewell

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“A riveting thriller.” —PopSugar

“Sharply written with twists and turns.” —Library Journal

“An acutely observed family drama with bone-chilling suspense.” —People

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. Beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers, and half of a teenaged golden couple. Ellie was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

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The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

THE GLASS CASTLE is a classic memoir about resilience and redemption. Between their alcoholic father and free-spirited mother, the Walls children needed to learn to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected each other until they eventually found an escape to New York. Their parents followed, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. This destructive and dysfunctional family memoir portrays the intense love permeating a peculiar but loyal family. 

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The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir—the basis of the forthcoming film starring Brie Larson—Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.

Read a review of THE GLASS CASTLE here.

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The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

This warm, emotional, and humorous novel follows Don Tillman, a brilliant professor of physics who decides its about time he finds a wife. Of course, he approaches this endeavor logically and develops “The Wife Project.” Rosie Jarman is the exact opposite of the qualities Dan has outlined in his sixteen-page scientific survey, but he can’t seem to get his mind off her. He is deeply intrigued by Rosies quest to find her biological father. An unlikely relationship develops between them, and they decide to plan out “The Father Project.” During their spontaneous endeavors, Don realizes that you can’t plan loveit must find you.  

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The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

The protagonist of Graeme Simsion’s romantic comedy THE ROSIE PROJECT is the most refreshingly unique, honest, and hilarious character I have read in a long time. I don’t generally read romantic comedies, but this one stole my heart right from the first paragraph.

Read Sarah Jane Abbott’s review here.

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It
by Stephen King

After twenty-eight years, the victims of the horrifying child-haunting clown, It, are back in Derry, Maine. Children are being murdered again, and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer resurface as they once again prepare to battle the demon lurking in their hometown sewers.  

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It
Stephen King

It: Chapter Two—soon to be a major motion picture in 2019!

Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.

“Stephen King’s most mature work” (St. Petersburg Times), “It will overwhelm you…to be read in a well-lit room only” (Los Angeles Times).

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