I love to read. It has been and still is my main medium for learning and would probably be a bigger form of entertainment in my life if I didn’t love long-form TV dramas so much. This list consists of several of my favourite authors, and to keep from listing all of their work, I tried to keep it to single novels. But everyone I mention has more than one good book and maybe one day I’ll do one of those Buzzfeed lists that’s “Every Stephen King Book Ranked.” But that’s not the purpose of this post.
Harry Potter won’t be on this list, even though I’ve read my copies enough to rip the spines in half and wrote an editorial about the series about nine years ago. This doesn’t mean I’m above bestsellers, however. If you haven’t read Gone Girl, you have to read what I consider to be the perfect balance of crowd-pleasing and quality.
These are in no particular order.
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is one of those authors where I always buy her next book. Even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of her previous one! Nineteen Minutes was the first that I ever read (and I’ve read literally all of them) and Salem Falls is definitely my favourite. The plot in short – a man is trying to escape his past and gets tangled in a 21st Century witch hunt.
It’s not only a very engaging court case, but Picoult showcases her greatest talent – the ability to persuade you to side with the defense and hold trust for everyone simultaneously.
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
Do you prefer science fiction, mystery, or historical drama? It’s all covered in this series where historians go back in time to act as observers, specifically World War II-era England. Willis is one of the best science fiction writers of our time for a reason, hitting that perfect balance of character vulnerability and bigger world ideas.
I also recommend picking up a collection of her short stories if you’re new to science fiction and are just dipping a toe into the Sci-Fi world. Come on, everyone’s watching Westworld so you’re halfway there.
Next by Michael Crichton
Sometimes one book sends you down a whole path. This novel is full of characters in a world dominated by genetic research and probably is what got me through grade eleven and twelve biology. The corporate world has never had so much control over research and innovation, and the legal world has never had so many problems. He’s better known for Jurassic Park, but this is the book everyone should read if you’re still dabbling about how you feel about genetic legislation and ownership of organic materials.
Macdonald Hall series by Gordon Korman
Katie, this is a series for young adults, about two boarding schools. But when I was twelve years old, I was so jealous of Gordon Korman because he was that age when wrote his first book and then the subsequent six other books in the series.
Only twelve years old and I was already behind in life.
The Macdonald Hall books are chock full of mischief, silliness, and school loyalty – what isn’t to love? Pick this up for the niece or nephew in your life and then give them a chance. I still wish Bruno and Boots could be my friends.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
All of my friends are begging me to stop talking about this and I do. not. care. In a world where everyone undergoes an operation at age 16 to become “pretty,” Tally Youngblood became not only my teen idol but one of the original YA antiheroes. I love this trilogy, with Pretties and Specials rounding out the story arc, and I think all teenage girls should read this.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Bestseller alert! HBO adaptation alert! After Gone Girl was released, I picked up more books by Flynn and quickly became obsessed with this Southern thriller. A journalist returns to her hometown to report on a string of young girls murdered. Motherhood has never been depicted in a more horrifying way, and the graphic imagery of meat and sugar definitely made this one of the grossest writing styles? But in a good way. Patricia Clarkson and Amy Adams signed on, so you should too.