1. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
No one throws a better party than Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age novel offers a page-turning blend of sex, intrigue, and opulence. Not only is The Great Gatsby a heartbreaking thriller, it’s also a classic story in American literature. Catch the new Gatsby movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, premiering this Christmas.
2. The Hunger Games Trilogy
by Suzanne Collins
Although The Hunger Games draws a younger fan-base, this trilogy is not just for children. Set in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the novels profile an annual event when teenagers battle to the death on live television. Love, violence, and suspense dominate the narrative, leaving the reader hungry for more. So read on, And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.
3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
First published in 1884, Huckleberry Finn is a quintessentially American tale. Originally criticized for its course language (and recently for its use of racial slurs), Twain’s novel offers a colorful, albeit stereotypical, examination of the people and places along the Mississippi River. Read this for a literary and cultural critique of the American South.
4. The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Even before the 2011 blockbuster movie, The Help dominated household bookshelves across America. The story of a young, white reporter in the 1960s who details the point of view of African-American maids, the novel cleverly delivers a poignant message about racial divides during the Civil Rights Movement.
5. Heaven is for Real
by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
Do you wonder what Heaven is like? The true story of a four-year-old boy who slips from consciousness in an emergency room and briefly enters Heaven, this book offers a heavy dose of spirituality and wisdom – all from a child who says God is “reaaally big.”
6. Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
Who is John Galt? Rand’s 1957 objectivist fiction tome illustrates a dystopian United States that chronicles society’s productive titans refusing to be exploited by an increasingly regulated governmental system. In the current wake of increased taxation and restrictions on liberty, Atlas Shrugged provides an eerily accurate portrayal of how a productive nation can turn disastrously corrupt.
7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
The required summer reading for universities across North Carolina, Skloot’s controversial book documents how scientists removed cells without consent from an African American woman and turned them into an indefinitely survivable human cell line that enabled copious scientific discoveries.
8. The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
Love. Betrayal. Hemmingway. Published in 2011, The Paris Wife captures an unforgettable relationship between two remarkable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley as they carouse in the fast-paced and boozed-up world of Jazz Age Paris.
9. Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Are you driven to succeed? Maybe you have what it takes. Gladwell examines the world of “outliers” – the best, brightest, and most successful people in the world. From software tycoons to the Beatles, the author analyzes what makes high-achievers different.
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Steig Larson
Didn’t catch the movie last December? The book is better. Follow a journalist and a computer hacker searching for a woman who has been missing for forty years. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first in Larson’s trilogy, is a worldwide cultural phenomenon.