The Greatest "Baltimore" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 268 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

    A former FBI profiler, who is renowned for capturing a notorious serial killer, is lured out of retirement to track down a new killer who has a taste for families. The new killer, dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", is a complex character with a troubled past that leads him to commit his heinous crimes. As the profiler delves deeper into the investigation, he is forced to confront his own demons and the manipulative games of the serial killer he previously captured, who is now behind bars.

  2. 2. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

    "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" is a novel about the life of the Tull family, which is marked by abandonment and discord, but also love and resilience. The story is told from the perspective of each family member, providing a unique viewpoint on the family's dynamics and history. The matriarch, Pearl, struggles to raise her three children, Cody, Ezra, and Jenny, after their father abandons them. Each child deals with the abandonment and their dysfunctional family in different ways, shaping their adult lives. The novel explores themes of family, love, abandonment, and the idea of home.

  3. 3. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein

    "Three Lives" is a series of novellas that explore the lives of three working-class women living in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Each story provides a detailed psychological portrait of a different woman: a black housekeeper, a worldly-wise servant, and a lower-middle-class German woman. The narrative delves into their personal struggles, their relationships, and their attempts to navigate the societal constraints of their time.

  4. 4. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

    This novel revolves around a middle-aged couple, Ira and Maggie Moran, and their journey to a funeral. The story delves into their relationship dynamics, their regrets, and their hopes for the future. The narrative explores the complexities of marriage, the disappointments of parenthood, and the general trials and tribulations of life. The couple's interactions with other characters they meet along the way further illuminate their struggles and their enduring love for each other.

  5. 5. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

    The novel follows the life of a travel writer, who, after the death of his son and subsequent separation from his wife, embarks on a journey of self-discovery. He meets an eccentric dog trainer who is the complete opposite of his introverted and orderly self. Through their relationship, he learns to embrace the unpredictability of life and move beyond his grief. The story is a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the unexpected turns life can take.

  6. 6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

    The book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African American tobacco farmer whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. The book explores the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

  7. 7. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    The book is a profound work that explores the concept of race in America through the lens of the author's personal experiences. It is written as a letter to the author's teenage son, offering him a stark portrayal of his place in a society that is marked by racial injustice. The narrative provides a deeply personal analysis of American history and its lasting impact on the African American community, with the author sharing his experiences of fear, violence, and struggle. It is an exploration of the physical and psychological impacts of being black in the United States, and a call for a deeper understanding of the nation's racial history.

  8. 8. What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer

    This book provides an in-depth look at the 1988 United States presidential election, focusing on the personal and political lives of the candidates. It delves into the grueling process of running for president, exploring the intense scrutiny, relentless schedule, and the physical and emotional toll it takes on the candidates and their families. The book also explores the complexities of American politics, the role of media, and the power dynamics within the political landscape.

  9. 9. What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman

    In "What The Dead Know" by Laura Lippman, a woman claiming to be one of the two missing Bethany sisters suddenly appears after thirty years, setting off a chain of events that forces the police, the media, and the families involved to revisit the unsolved case. As the truth slowly unravels, secrets from the past are exposed, revealing the devastating impact the disappearance had on the family and the lingering effects it has had on those left behind.

  10. 10. Miss Susie Slagle's by Augusta Tucker

    Set in early 20th century Baltimore, the novel follows the life of Miss Susie Slagle, a boarding house owner who rents out rooms to medical students. The narrative is full of colorful characters, including the students themselves, who bring their own unique stories and perspectives. The book provides a vivid depiction of the time period, exploring topics such as gender roles, class distinctions, and the challenges and triumphs of pursuing a medical career.

  11. 11. Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler

    In "Searching for Caleb," a quirky, upper-class family is brought to life, with a focus on the Peck family's black sheep, Duncan. Duncan, who rejects the family's traditions and expectations, embarks on a quest to find his missing uncle Caleb, who disappeared decades ago without a trace. Alongside him is his cousin, Justine, who also feels out of place within their family. The novel explores themes of identity, family bonds, and the need for personal freedom.

  12. 12. If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler

    The novel explores the complexities of family dynamics and personal growth through the eyes of a young man who returns to his coastal hometown in North Carolina from college in New York upon hearing of his sister's sudden marriage. As he reacquaints himself with his family's quirks and the rhythms of small-town life, he grapples with his own uncertainties about the future, his place in the family, and his understanding of home. The narrative delves into themes of nostalgia, the passage of time, and the bittersweet nature of coming-of-age, as the protagonist confronts the universal challenge of figuring out where he belongs in the world.

  13. 13. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

    The novel centers around Barnaby Gaitlin, a 30-year-old man who is still trying to shake off the bad reputation he earned in his youth. He works for Rent-a-Back, a service that helps elderly people with odd jobs, and he finds fulfillment in helping them. However, his family and the society still see him as a failure. He meets Sophia, a wealthy woman who doesn't fit into his world, and their relationship causes him to reevaluate his life and the choices he's made.

  14. 14. Growing Up by Russell Baker

    "Growing Up" is a memoir that recounts the author's experiences growing up in America during the Great Depression and World War II. The author shares his journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in Virginia to becoming a successful journalist in New York. The narrative is filled with engaging anecdotes about his family, particularly his strong-willed mother, and the struggles they faced during these challenging times. The memoir is an exploration of the author's family history, personal growth, and the socio-political landscape of mid-20th century America.

  15. 15. A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

    The novel delves into the complex dynamics of the Whitshank family, spanning across four generations, living in Baltimore, Maryland. The narrative weaves through time, unraveling the family's secrets, rivalries, and bonds as it focuses on Abby and Red, the aging parents, and their children who grapple with their own identities and relationships. The story explores themes of legacy, memory, and the nuanced fabric of familial love, all symbolized by the titular spool of blue thread, which holds sentimental value and represents the threads of stories that connect the family members to each other and to their shared past.

  16. 16. Benjamin Henry Latrobe by Talbot Faulkner Hamlin

    This biography provides a detailed look into the life and works of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a significant figure in early American architecture. The book discusses Latrobe's contributions to the design of the United States Capitol, the Baltimore Basilica, and other notable buildings, as well as his role in improving U.S. infrastructure through his work on waterworks systems. It also delves into his personal life, including his relationships, struggles, and the impact of his work on his contemporaries and future generations of architects.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.