The best books challenge us to think critically and look at the world in a new way. But I admit it; as much as I love a well-written story, my attention drifts when the plot fails to develop along with the characters. I want a little action, a little intrigue or just a hint of the fantastical. So, there’s nothing I love more than the rare book that combines complex characters and beautiful prose with captivating storylines.


Here are five of my favorite titles uniting the best elements of popular genre fiction with the power of great literature for a variety of audiences. Share your picks in the comments!


The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

This is the book I give as a gift to friends and family.  I love this book. The story and characters are fascinating, but I’m absolutely in awe of Markus Zusak’s writing style.


Skellig” by David Almond

I read somewhere that Skellig was one of J.K. Rowling’s favorite books for children — high praise in my mind — but I was still caught off-guard by the brilliant magic realism.


The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain

Before The Paris Wife was published, I had the chance to attend a workshop with Paula McLain, who taught at my college, in a creative writing class. Needless to say, it was awesome and I’ve been following her career ever since.


When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead strikes the perfect balance between science fiction and the real world. Plus, one of my all-time favorite books, Madaleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” served as inspiration and is referenced throughout the story.


The People of Forever Are Not Afraid” by Shani Boianjiu

A quick glance at the reviews for this title will motivate anyone to pick it up. I’m a fan of coming-of-age novels, and this is among the best in contemporary fiction.


Honorable Mention to “The Burgess Boys” by Elizabeth Strout

While I haven’t read Elizabeth Strout’s new novel yet, the critical acclaim it’s receiving has catapulted it to the top of my to-read list.


You’ll find all of the titles listed above on discount as One Book, One Community Reads in Content Reserve through June 30, 2013.


One Response to “Top Five Literary Fiction eBooks for the Mainstream Reader”

  1. Eric Molinsky

    Junot Diaz’ book “This is How You Lose Her” might belong here, though it can be a bit difficult even at it’s short length. Deals with (sometimes regrettable) male attitudes toward women, and contains the amazing line “the half life of love is forever”. Dude can write.