52 Award-Winning Titles Every Book Lover Should Read

This is one of the 313 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

    "The Poet X" is a coming-of-age novel that follows the journey of a young girl named Xiomara, who uses poetry as an outlet to navigate her complex life. Set in Harlem, Xiomara grapples with her strict Dominican parents, her evolving understanding of her own identity, and her burgeoning relationship with a boy named Aman. Through her powerful and honest poetry, Xiomara finds her voice, confronts societal expectations, and discovers the strength to define herself on her own terms.

    The 5062nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Lost Memory Of Skin by Russell Banks

    The novel explores the life of a young sex offender known only as "The Kid," who, after being released from prison, struggles to adapt to a marginal existence on the fringes of society. Living under a causeway in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders, The Kid's life takes a turn when he meets "The Professor," a brilliant but obese sociologist who has his own mysterious past. The Professor takes an interest in studying The Kid and his fellow outcasts, leading to a complex relationship that forces The Kid to confront his past actions and his uncertain future. The story delves deeply into themes of redemption, the dehumanizing effects of technology, and the thin lines between society's outcasts and its guardians.

    The 7293rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

    In "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," a young girl named Luna is accidentally enmagicked as a baby when she is fed moonlight by Xan, a kind witch who rescues abandoned infants from a sacrificial ritual of a nearby oppressive city. Xan decides to raise Luna as her own, alongside a wise swamp monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. As Luna grows, her magic becomes increasingly difficult to control. Meanwhile, the original community continues to unravel under the weight of its own dark secrets, leading to a collision of worlds as Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, when her powers will reach their peak. The story intertwines themes of love, growth, and facing one's fears in a beautifully crafted fantasy world.

    The 8307th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Line Becomes A River by Francisco Cantú

    "The Line Becomes a River" is a memoir that delves into the complex and often harsh realities of the U.S.-Mexico border, as experienced by a former Border Patrol agent. The author recounts his personal journey, from his initial idealistic desire to understand border issues to the moral conflicts he faces witnessing the suffering of migrants. Through vivid narratives that blend his own experiences with those of the people he encounters—migrants striving for a better life, and fellow agents caught in the system—the book offers a poignant exploration of the physical and psychological borders that define both the landscape and the human lives involved.

    The 8789th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon

    The novel unfolds as a faux memoir, structured around a grandson's conversations with his dying grandfather, revealing a tapestry of secret histories and hidden truths. The narrative spans the grandfather's adventurous life, from his involvement in hunting Nazis during World War II to his personal and emotional battles on the home front. The story delves into themes of love, loss, and the impact of secrets through the lens of a family's complex dynamics, set against the backdrop of mid-20th-century America, blending historical events with the fantastical elements of space exploration and model rocketry.

    The 8307th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    This novel follows the life of a young slave, Hiram Walker, who possesses a mysterious power related to memory and water, which he discovers after almost drowning. His journey from the plantations of Virginia to the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in the North is filled with loss, love, and a desperate desire for freedom. The narrative explores themes of slavery, racial injustice, and the power of memory and storytelling, all underpinned by the protagonist's supernatural abilities.

    The 7223rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft

    "New Kid" is a graphic novel that follows the story of Jordan Banks, a seventh grader who loves drawing cartoons about his life experiences. As one of the few African American students attending a prestigious private school, he confronts challenges and microaggressions from both peers and faculty who often struggle to see beyond stereotypes. Throughout the story, Jordan navigates the complexities of fitting in and finding his identity in a predominantly white environment, while also maintaining connections with his friends from his old neighborhood. The novel explores themes of race, class, and belonging through the lens of a young artist finding his unique voice.

    The 9020th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Claire Of The Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

    In the evocative novel set in a small seaside town in Haiti, the story revolves around a young girl named Claire, who disappears on her seventh birthday just as her father makes the heart-wrenching decision to give her a better life by entrusting her to a local shopkeeper. The narrative weaves through the perspectives of various townspeople, each connected to Claire and her father in intricate ways, revealing secrets, desires, and the intertwined fates within the community. The novel beautifully captures the complex tapestry of human relationships and the haunting pull of one's origins.

    The 7617th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

    This book provides an in-depth look at the housing crisis in America, focusing on eight families in Milwaukee who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. The author explores the role of eviction in perpetuating poverty, illuminating the business of landlords and the harsh reality of tenants in impoverished neighborhoods. The book offers a close examination of the intersection between profit and poverty, revealing how both are intricately linked in the American housing market.

    The 1892nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

    This book is a compelling collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of love, infidelity, and the struggles of the human heart through the lens of the immigrant experience. Centered around the life of Yunior, a young Dominican-American man, the narrative weaves through his various romantic relationships, capturing the raw emotions and consequences of his actions. Through vivid prose and poignant storytelling, the collection explores themes of masculinity, cultural identity, and the quest for belonging, offering a nuanced portrayal of the challenges and triumphs of love in its many forms.

    The 6982nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    Set during the turmoil of World War II, the novel follows the intersecting lives of a blind French girl and a German boy. The girl, living in occupied France, seeks solace in the world of books and the imagination, while the boy, a member of Hitler Youth, is a radio operator for the German forces. Their paths cross in the walled city of Saint-Malo, with the narrative exploring themes of survival, morality, and the human spirit.

    The 1964th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

    Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II, the novel follows the life of a young woman who becomes the first female diver to repair ships at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where her father once worked before his mysterious disappearance. As she grows into her new role, she is drawn into a complex web of underworld figures, sailors, and her father's past, all of which converge to reveal profound truths about her family and the larger world around her. The story is a rich tapestry of a bygone New York, exploring themes of resilience, the impact of war, and the quest for self-discovery amidst the tides of history.

    The 6991st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life And Immortal Photographs Of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan

    The book chronicles the remarkable journey of an intrepid photographer who dedicated his life to documenting the lives and cultures of Native American tribes at the turn of the 20th century. With a passion that bordered on obsession, he traversed the American West, capturing thousands of images and recordings that aimed to preserve the fading heritage of indigenous peoples. His monumental project was both a groundbreaking anthropological achievement and a testament to the power of photography as a means of cultural preservation. Despite facing personal and financial hardships, his work culminated in an invaluable historical record that continues to influence our understanding of Native American history and culture.

    The 6024th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg

    "The Doomsday Machine" provides a chilling exploration of the precarious systems of nuclear command-and-control, which have consistently been more prone to human and technical error than officially recognized. Drawing from the author's experience as a defense analyst and whistleblower, the book reveals how the strategies and policies governing the use of nuclear weapons have endangered humanity by bringing us closer to accidental or intentional global annihilation. Through declassified documents and insider knowledge, it exposes the true extent of the existential risk posed by the nuclear arsenals of superpowers, questioning the rationality and morality of policies that continue to jeopardize human survival.

    The 8569th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

    The novel is a poignant exploration of an adulterous affair set against the backdrop of the economic downturn in Ireland. It follows the story of Gina Moynihan as she reflects on her passionate, yet complicated relationship with Sean Vallely, a man she meets at a party and with whom she embarks on an affair, despite both being married to other people. The narrative delves into themes of love, desire, and the consequences of their illicit relationship, particularly in the context of Sean's ailing daughter, Evie, who becomes a symbol of the affair's impact on the families involved. The story is a candid and lyrical examination of the intricacies of marriage, memory, and the choices that shape our lives.

    The 5940th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich

    A teenage boy navigates the complexities of life after his mother is brutally attacked on their reservation in North Dakota. As the legal system fails to bring justice due to jurisdictional issues, the boy takes matters into his own hands. The novel explores themes of tribal law, justice, and the transition into adulthood, all set against the backdrop of Native American culture and history.

    The 2003rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Canada by Richard Ford

    The novel follows the story of fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons, whose life is irrevocably changed after his parents commit a bank robbery in 1960s Montana. After the heist goes awry, Dell is left to fend for himself, and he crosses the border into Saskatchewan, Canada. There, he encounters a new world of isolation and hardship, and a series of characters who will shape his understanding of life. As Dell navigates his new reality, he reflects on the events that led to his family's downfall and his own coming of age in a foreign land. The narrative is a profound exploration of destiny, self-reliance, and the indelible impact of one's family and past.

    The 6024th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Fathoms: The World In The Whale by Rebecca Giggs

    "Fathoms: The World In The Whale" is a profound exploration of the relationship between humans and whales, delving into the history, mythology, and biology of these majestic creatures. The book weaves together environmental and cultural narratives, examining the impact of human activity on whales and their habitats, while also reflecting on what whales signify in our collective imagination. Through lyrical prose, the author invites readers to consider the ethical dimensions of wildlife conservation, the consequences of climate change, and the intricate connections between the natural world and human society, all through the lens of the awe-inspiring presence of whales in our oceans.

    The 7434th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg

    "Feast Your Eyes" is a novel structured as a catalog accompanying a photography exhibition, exploring the life and career of Lillian Preston, a pioneering female photographer in the mid-20th century. Through the eyes of her daughter, who curates the exhibition, and through various other voices captured in the catalog notes, the book delves into Lillian's struggles with balancing her artistic ambitions with the demands of single motherhood. The narrative poignantly addresses themes of artistic integrity, societal norms, and the complexities of maternal relationships, as it unfolds the story of a woman whose controversial photograph sets off a dramatic chain of events that impacts her personal and professional life profoundly.

    The 9020th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, And The Golden Age Of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    This historical work delves into the vibrant era of early 20th-century America, exploring the close friendship and eventual political rivalry between two presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. It also highlights the crucial role of muckraking journalists who, with the support of Roosevelt's bully pulpit, exposed corruption and galvanized public opinion. The narrative weaves together the personal and political dynamics that shaped the Progressive Era, showcasing how these leaders and the press collectively brought about significant reforms and forever transformed the American political landscape.

    The 4524th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann

    The book investigates a series of murders in the 1920s targeting the Osage Nation, whose members became immensely wealthy after oil was discovered beneath their land in Oklahoma. As the death toll climbed, the newly formed FBI took up the case and uncovered a chilling conspiracy. The narrative reveals the depths of corruption and the racial injustices that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity, shedding light on a largely forgotten chapter in American history where greed and prejudice led to the systemic exploitation and killing of Osage people.

    The 6777th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

    "Midnight In Chernobyl" is a non-fiction book that tells the story of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The book provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the explosion, the immediate aftermath, and the long-term effects of the disaster. It also explores the political and social context of Soviet Ukraine at the time, and the impact that the disaster had on the country and the world. The book draws on interviews with survivors, officials, and experts, as well as archival documents and scientific research, to provide a comprehensive and compelling narrative of one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

    The 5556th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

    In "Hello, Universe," the lives of four diverse children intertwine in unexpected ways after a shy boy named Virgil is trapped in a well by a bully. As Virgil's fate hangs in the balance, Valencia, a deaf girl struggling with loneliness; Kaori, a self-proclaimed psychic; and Gen, her younger sister, come together to form an unlikely team of heroes. Through their adventurous quest to rescue Virgil, each child confronts their personal fears and challenges, ultimately discovering the value of friendship and the courage within themselves. This middle-grade novel weaves themes of destiny, connections, and the power of inner strength.

    The 8569th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dig by A. S. King

    "Dig" is a compelling young adult novel that delves into the complex dynamics of a dysfunctional family grappling with secrets, inheritance, and racism. The story unfolds through the perspectives of five teenagers related as grandchildren to a pair of wealthy, prejudiced grandparents. As each grandchild confronts personal challenges and family expectations, they gradually uncover the toxic roots of their family's wealth and the insidious nature of racism passed down through generations. The narrative weaves these individual struggles into a poignant critique of societal issues, urging a break from destructive familial cycles.

    The 9020th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    "The Crossover" is a heartfelt and poetic novel that follows the journey of a talented young basketball player named Josh Bell. Set in a world of sports and sibling rivalry, Josh faces challenges both on and off the court as he navigates the complexities of family, friendship, and first love. Through Alexander's lyrical writing style, readers are taken on an emotional rollercoaster that explores themes of identity, loss, and the power of perseverance.

    The 4121st Greatest Book of All Time
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

    This poignant young adult novel delves into the depths of grief, solitude, and the healing power of human connection. It follows a college freshman who, after experiencing a family tragedy, isolates herself from her previous life and struggles with the weight of her loss. During a winter break spent alone in her dorm, she confronts her painful past when her estranged best friend visits, forcing her to open up about her secrets and the profound loneliness she has been carrying. Through their reunion, the protagonist begins to navigate the complex process of recovery and the importance of allowing love and friendship to help heal her emotional wounds.

    The 5700th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

    This memoir is a profound exploration of the author's life as a Black man in America, grappling with the complex intersections of weight, identity, and societal expectations. Through a narrative that is both deeply personal and universally resonant, the author confronts the burdens of his own body, the fraught relationship with his mother, and the struggles with gambling, violence, and education. The book is a raw examination of the ways in which both personal and cultural history shape our bodies and our lives, and how the weight of carrying these stories can be both a source of immense strength and a heavy, often unbearable, load.

    The 4672nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • On Such A Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee

    In a dystopian future America, society is stratified into strictly segregated classes where the labor class, primarily of Chinese descent, lives in labor colonies to produce goods for the elite, charter villages. The story follows a young woman named Fan, who leaves her home in the labor settlement of B-Mor (once Baltimore) after the disappearance of her boyfriend. Her journey through the anarchic open counties and into the privileged charter villages becomes a tale of self-discovery and rebellion, challenging the oppressive societal norms and sparking a legend that reverberates through the classes, inspiring others to dream of change.

    The 7959th Greatest Book of All Time
  • March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin

    "March: Book Three" concludes a powerful graphic novel trilogy that depicts the harrowing, inspiring, and true story of a key figure in the American civil rights movement. This volume covers significant events such as the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the Freedom Summer, and the Selma to Montgomery marches. It highlights the courage, struggles, and sacrifices of those fighting for voting rights and equality, culminating in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The narrative combines stark visuals with firsthand accounts, providing an immersive experience of the relentless fight against racial injustice and the personal and collective journey of activists who sought to change the fabric of American society.

    The 8307th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

    "Lost Children Archive" by Valeria Luiselli is a novel that follows a family on a road trip from New York to Arizona. The parents are documentarians and are working on separate projects, while the children are preoccupied with their own interests. As they travel, the family becomes increasingly aware of the migrant crisis and the children's obsession with finding lost things takes on a new meaning. The novel explores themes of family, identity, and the power of storytelling.

    The 3758th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Dopesick by Beth Macy

    "Dopesick" explores the devastating impact of the opioid crisis in America, particularly focusing on the communities of Virginia's Appalachian region. The book delves into the aggressive marketing strategies of pharmaceutical companies, especially the promotion of OxyContin, and how it led to widespread addiction. Through poignant narratives, it portrays the struggles of affected individuals and families, and the efforts of healthcare professionals and activists trying to combat the epidemic. The narrative also criticizes systemic failures, including the lack of effective government response and the challenges within the healthcare system that exacerbate the crisis.

    The 8789th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

    "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai is a powerful novel that tells the story of two interconnected groups of people: a group of gay men in 1980s Chicago during the height of the AIDS epidemic, and a woman in 2015 who is searching for her estranged daughter in Paris. The novel explores themes of love, loss, friendship, and the devastating impact of the AIDS crisis. Makkai's writing is both heartbreaking and hopeful, and she skillfully weaves together the two timelines to create a poignant and unforgettable story.

    The 2724th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs by Sally Mann

    In "Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs," the author delves into the rich tapestry of her life, intertwining personal narrative with evocative photography to explore themes of family, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South. Through a collection of intimate snapshots, candid anecdotes, and unearthed family history, the memoir offers a profound reflection on the power of memory and artistry. It reveals the complexities of the author's relationships and her experiences as an artist, while confronting the controversies that have often surrounded her work. The book stands as a poignant testament to the enduring impact of heritage and the transformative nature of photography.

    The 6727th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Catherine The Great: Portrait Of A Woman by Robert K. Massie

    This biography provides an in-depth look at the life of the longest-reigning female leader of Russia, tracing her journey from a minor German princess to the powerful Empress of Russia. It delves into her political achievements, her efforts to modernize Russia, and her numerous romantic liaisons, all set against the backdrop of the opulence and intrigue of the 18th-century Russian court. The book paints a vivid portrait of a complex woman who wielded her intelligence and charisma to navigate the treacherous waters of court politics, expand her empire, and become one of the most influential figures in European history.

    The 4111th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Peña

    "Last Stop On Market Street" is a heartwarming children's book that tells the story of a young boy named CJ and his grandmother as they embark on their weekly bus ride across town. Along the way, CJ learns valuable life lessons about gratitude, empathy, and the beauty in the world around him, ultimately realizing that the journey itself is just as important as the destination. With its vibrant illustrations and poignant narrative, this book celebrates the power of perspective and the joy of finding beauty in unexpected places.

    The 6105th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

    In "Merci Suárez Changes Gears," readers follow the life of Merci Suárez, a sixth grader navigating the complexities of both adolescence and her scholarship at an elite private school. As she deals with typical issues like difficult friendships and school pressures, Merci also faces unique family challenges, particularly her grandfather’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease. The novel explores themes of identity, socio-economic differences, and the bonds of family, all through the lens of a relatable and resilient young protagonist.

    The 8789th Greatest Book of All Time
  • I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

    The novel is a poignant exploration of love, art, and reconciliation, told through the alternating perspectives of twins Noah and Jude. In their early teens, the siblings are inseparable, both talented artists in their own right. However, as they navigate the trials of adolescence, a series of tragic events and misunderstandings drive a wedge between them. The narrative weaves back and forth in time, revealing the deep secrets and personal struggles that have shaped their lives. As they grapple with loss, betrayal, and the complexities of family dynamics, the twins must learn to understand each other and themselves, ultimately finding a way to heal and rebuild their fractured relationship.

    The 5088th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

    "The Sympathizer" is a gripping spy novel set during the Vietnam War. The protagonist is a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who is a communist double agent. After the Fall of Saigon, he moves to America with other South Vietnamese refugees and struggles to reconcile his dual loyalties as he continues to spy on his fellow countrymen in exile. The novel explores themes of identity, war, and politics, while providing a unique perspective on the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

    The 1136th Greatest Book of All Time
  • There There by Tommy Orange

    "There There" by Tommy Orange is a powerful and poignant novel that follows the lives of twelve Native American characters living in Oakland, California. As their stories intertwine and converge, the novel explores themes of identity, community, and the effects of historical trauma on Native American people. Through vivid and lyrical prose, Orange gives voice to a group of individuals who have long been marginalized and overlooked in American society, creating a compelling and unforgettable portrait of contemporary Native American life.

    The 3134th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Blood At The Root by Patrick Phillips

    "Blood at the Root" is a compelling historical analysis that uncovers the racial cleansing that took place in Forsyth County, Georgia, in 1912. The book details how white residents violently expelled the entire Black population of the county, using intimidation, terror, and murder. This event led to a racial purity that persisted in the county for nearly 80 years. Through meticulous research and personal narratives, the book examines the broader implications of racial violence and the shadows it casts over generations, challenging the reader to confront the deep roots of racism and injustice in America.

    The 8307th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Figuring by Maria Popova

    "Figuring" explores the complex interconnections between the lives of several historical figures across four centuries, primarily focusing on women who have made significant contributions to science, art, and culture. The narrative weaves together the personal and professional endeavors of these individuals, highlighting their struggles, relationships, and the societal challenges they faced. The book delves into themes of love, discovery, and the pursuit of knowledge, illustrating how these elements are intertwined in the human experience and how the contributions of these figures have shaped our understanding of the world.

    The 9020th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Spillover by David Quammen

    The book explores the science behind zoonotic diseases—those that jump from animals to humans—and their increasing threat to global health. It delves into the origins and mechanisms of diseases such as Ebola, SARS, and HIV, tracing how these pathogens have crossed species barriers and spread through human populations. Through a combination of field research, interviews with scientists, and a detailed narrative, the book highlights the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, and stresses the importance of understanding these links to prevent future pandemics.

    The 7444th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

    "Bone Gap" is a captivating novel that blends elements of mystery and magical realism. The story is set in the small, quirky town of Bone Gap, where everyone knows each other's business, yet sees only what they want to see. The narrative follows Finn, a young man who is the only witness to the abduction of Roza, a beautiful stranger who had become an integral part of the community. Finn's struggle to have his account believed by the townspeople, due to his own peculiar way of perceiving the world, forms the crux of the tale. As Finn delves deeper into the mystery of Roza's disappearance, the novel explores themes of love, beauty, and the invisible forces that bind human lives together.

    The 8159th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    "Swamplandia!" is a darkly humorous and poignant story about a family of alligator wrestlers living in the Florida Everglades. The family's way of life is threatened when their mother dies, their tourist attraction business starts to fail, and a rival theme park opens nearby. The novel follows the three children as they struggle to keep their family together and their world intact, embarking on perilous journeys through the swamp and into the underworld.

    The 3206th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    The novel is set in a graveyard over the course of a single night and is narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices. The story is centered around the death of President Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie, who resides in the Bardo, a transitional state between life and rebirth in Tibetan tradition. As Willie interacts with the other spirits stuck in this realm, his father visits the crypt to mourn, causing a struggle among the ghosts over the boy's soul. The narrative explores themes of grief, the impermanence of life, and the unresolved issues that keep us from moving on.

    The 1299th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Book Of Aron by Jim Shepard

    "The Book of Aron" is a poignant and harrowing novel set during the Holocaust, focusing on the life of a young Jewish boy named Aron in the Warsaw Ghetto. As Aron grapples with the escalating horrors of war, loss, and survival, he becomes involved with a group of child smugglers. His struggle for survival intensifies when he encounters Janusz Korczak, a real-life historical figure who was a pediatrician and orphanage director. The narrative delves deeply into themes of moral ambiguity, the loss of innocence, and the desperate choices faced by individuals under the most dire circumstances, ultimately providing a deeply moving exploration of human resilience and the impacts of war on the vulnerable.

    The 8159th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of two biracial girls who dream of becoming professional dancers. Although they both have talent, only one of them has the ambition to pursue it. As their lives diverge, one girl becomes a personal assistant to a pop star while the other lives a life of relative obscurity. The narrative explores themes of race, class, friendship, and identity, weaving a story that spans decades and continents.

    The 4710th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

    This book is a profound work of non-fiction that focuses on the author's experiences as a young lawyer fighting for the rights of those wrongfully convicted or excessively punished. The narrative primarily revolves around the case of a black man sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. The author not only exposes the inherent racial bias and systemic flaws in the American criminal justice system, but also provides a compelling argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.

    The 4411th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    The book follows the life of a young boy who survives a terrorist bombing at an art museum, which kills his mother. In the confusion following the explosion, he steals a priceless Dutch painting, The Goldfinch, which becomes his secret treasure and eventually draws him into the criminal underworld. The narrative explores themes of loss, survival, and the power of art to shape human destiny.

    The 1206th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín

    Set in a small town in Ireland in the late 1960s, the novel follows Nora Webster, a recently widowed mother of four struggling to forge a new life after the death of her beloved husband. As she navigates her grief and the complexities of raising her children alone, Nora gradually begins to rediscover her own identity beyond her roles as a wife and mother. Through her journey, she confronts societal expectations and personal setbacks, ultimately finding a renewed sense of self and independence. The narrative captures the subtle transformations of Nora's character and the intimate details of her everyday life with profound emotional depth and insight.

    The 7959th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

    The novel explores the journey of a 13-year-old boy, his drug-addicted mother, and his baby sister as they travel through Mississippi to pick up their white father from the state penitentiary. The story is steeped in the harsh realities of poverty, racism, and struggle, and is further complicated by the presence of a ghost from the family's past. It's a haunting tale about the legacy of trauma and the power of family ties.

    The 1429th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

    This novel follows the journey of Cora, a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, who escapes and embarks on a journey towards freedom via the Underground Railroad. The book presents a literal version of the historical Underground Railroad, portraying it as a physical network of tunnels and tracks beneath the Southern soil. As Cora travels from state to state, she encounters different worlds and harsh realities, each one illuminating the various forms of oppression Black people faced in America. The narrative is a brutal exploration of America's history of slavery and racism, and a testament to the unyielding spirit of those who fought against it.

    The 956th Greatest Book of All Time
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Book, 52 Books

This is a list from a book that the ALA, the American Library Association published. The ALA is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members.

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