The Greatest "Ohio" 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 305 '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. Beloved by Toni Morrison

    This novel tells the story of a former African-American slave woman who, after escaping to Ohio, is haunted by the ghost of her deceased daughter. The protagonist is forced to confront her repressed memories and the horrific realities of her past, including the desperate act she committed to protect her children from a life of slavery. The narrative is a poignant exploration of the physical, emotional, and psychological scars inflicted by the institution of slavery, and the struggle for identity and self-acceptance in its aftermath.

    The 26th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    This renowned novel provides a harsh critique of American slavery through the story of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave. The narrative follows Tom as he is sold and transported to the harsh South, encountering a variety of characters, both kind and cruel. The novel powerfully explores themes of faith, the immorality of slavery, and the concept of humanity, ultimately contributing to the abolitionist cause and leaving a significant impact on the American perception of slavery.

    The 173rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

    "Winesburg, Ohio" is a collection of interconnected short stories that paints a picture of life in a small town in the early 20th century. The book captures the hopes, dreams, and despair of the inhabitants of Winesburg, focusing on a young reporter as he interacts with the townspeople. Each character's story reveals their inner struggles, loneliness, and search for understanding and connection, providing a profound exploration of human nature and the complexities of life in a small community.

    The 284th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

    The novel is a poignant tale of an African American girl named Pecola Breedlove who grows up during the years following the Great Depression. Living in a society that values beauty in terms of light skin and blue eyes, Pecola develops an inferiority complex and wishes for blue eyes, believing that it would make her beautiful and loved. The story explores themes of racial self-loathing, the standards of beauty, and the dynamics of power and oppression.

    The 457th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Sula by Toni Morrison

    The novel is a poignant tale of two African American girls, Nel and Sula, growing up in the racially segregated town of Medallion, Ohio. The narrative explores their friendship, personal struggles, and the societal expectations imposed on them. Sula, the more rebellious of the two, leaves town to live a life of freedom and independence, while Nel chooses to conform to societal norms, marrying and raising a family. When Sula returns, their friendship is tested due to a betrayal, and the town labels Sula as evil. The book delves into themes of friendship, betrayal, individuality, and the societal roles of women.

    The 603rd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida Tarbell

    This book provides an in-depth investigation into the rise of the Standard Oil Company, revealing its unethical and monopolistic business practices. It chronicles the company's growth from a small oil refinery into a dominant force in the American economy, led by a cunning and ruthless businessman. The narrative exposes the company's tactics of crushing competition, exploiting workers, and manipulating prices, which eventually led to public outcry and legal action. This groundbreaking work contributed significantly to the breakup of Standard Oil and the establishment of anti-trust laws in the United States.

    The 1662nd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. A Simple Plan by Scott Smith

    "A Simple Plan" by Scott Smith is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the lives of three ordinary men who stumble upon a crashed plane containing a large sum of money. As they decide to keep the money for themselves, their lives quickly spiral out of control, leading to a series of devastating consequences. Filled with suspense and moral dilemmas, the book explores the dark depths of human nature and the lengths people are willing to go to protect their secrets.

    The 2709th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce

    In this eerie tale set in the dense forests of the American frontier, a man lives a solitary existence in a cabin with a peculiar boarded window. The narrative delves into the man's past, revealing a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and the supernatural. As the story unfolds, the reason behind the boarded window is disclosed, intertwining the man's fate with a chilling encounter that blurs the line between the living and the dead. This short story masterfully combines elements of horror and tragedy, showcasing the author's skill in creating a haunting atmosphere that lingers with the reader.

    The 3262nd Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by U. S. Grant

    This book is a first-person account of the life and military career of a notable American Civil War general who later became the 18th President of the United States. It covers his childhood, his time at West Point, his experiences in the Mexican-American War, and his crucial role in the Civil War. The memoir also delves into his presidential years, offering a unique perspective on historical events from a key player's point of view. It is widely praised for its honesty, insight, and clear, straightforward style.

    The 3791st Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    The book revolves around the Richardson family and the mysterious mother-daughter duo who move into their rental home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The lives of the seemingly perfect suburban Richardson family become intertwined with the lives of Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist, and her daughter Pearl. As the children of both families form relationships, secrets are uncovered, leading to a dramatic climax. The novel explores themes of motherhood, identity, and the moral complexities of following rules versus following one's instincts.

    The 4372nd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Real Farm by Patricia Tichenor Westfall

    "Real Farm" is a poignant memoir that delves into the author's personal journey growing up on a mid-20th-century American farm. The narrative captures the essence of rural life, with its close-knit family dynamics, the hard work and challenges of farm living, and the deep connection to the land. Through vivid storytelling, the book reflects on the transformation of agricultural practices, the impact of modernization, and the loss of traditional farming ways, all while celebrating the resilience and spirit of the farming community. The memoir serves as a tribute to a bygone era and a reflection on the universal themes of change, nostalgia, and the enduring value of heritage.

    The 5034th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. 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 5299th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Thomas And Beulah by Rita Dove

    The book is a collection of interrelated poems that tell the semi-fictionalized story of an African American couple's life together in the early to mid-20th century. Through a series of lyrical narratives, the reader experiences the couple's journey from their courtship and marriage, through the trials and tribulations of the Great Migration, to their old age. The poems are divided into two parts, with the first half focusing on the husband's perspective and the second half on the wife's. The work explores themes of love, resilience, and the African American experience, capturing the nuances of their individual and shared lives against the backdrop of a changing America.

    The 5838th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber

    This book is a humorous, semi-autobiographical work detailing the author's experiences growing up in Columbus, Ohio. The narrative is filled with eccentric family members, absurd situations, and unusual encounters. The author's vivid imagination, wit, and unique perspective on life transform mundane events into memorable, comedic episodes. From his grandmother's belief that the Civil War is still ongoing to his own fear of electricity, the author's life and hard times are presented as a series of amusing anecdotes that offer a refreshing and entertaining perspective on American life in the early 20th century.

    The 6169th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. During The Reign Of The Queen Of Persia by Joan Chase

    "During the Reign of the Queen of Persia" is a novel that explores the lives and experiences of a group of young cousins growing up in rural Ohio during the 1950s. Narrated from the collective perspective of the girls, the story delves into their complex family dynamics, particularly focusing on the influence of their grandmother, a formidable and charismatic woman. The narrative captures the nuances of childhood and adolescence, weaving themes of identity, femininity, and the transition from innocence to awareness against the backdrop of a changing America. The novel poignantly portrays the bonds of family and the pains of growing up, offering a rich and textured glimpse into the intricacies of rural life and the enduring impact of matriarchal figures.

    The 7082nd Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Short Fiction by Charles W. Chesnutt

    "The Short Fiction" is a collection of narratives that delve into the complexities of racial identity, social structure, and moral dilemmas in the post-Civil War American South. Through a series of stories, the author explores the lives of characters who navigate the blurred lines between black and white communities, often confronting the entrenched prejudices and injustices of their time. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the human condition, the stories offer a poignant and critical examination of the social fabric of an era marked by profound change and the struggle for equality.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

    This novel follows the emotional journey of a young girl named Salamanca Tree Hiddle, who travels across the United States with her eccentric grandparents to visit her mother's final resting place in Idaho. Along the way, Sal tells the story of her friend Phoebe Winterbottom, whose mother also disappeared. Through these intertwined tales of mystery, loss, and love, the protagonist grapples with her own grief and learns the importance of understanding and forgiveness. The narrative beautifully weaves themes of family, identity, and the complexities of human relationships, ultimately delivering a poignant message about the journey of healing and the power of storytelling.

    The 7767th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

    "Everything I Never Told You" is a gripping and emotionally charged novel that delves into the complexities of a Chinese-American family living in 1970s Ohio. When their daughter Lydia goes missing and is later found dead, the Lee family is shattered by grief and forced to confront their own secrets and insecurities. As they navigate through their individual struggles, the novel explores themes of identity, race, and the pressures of societal expectations, painting a poignant portrait of a family on the brink of collapse.

    The 7954th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

    "Hillbilly Elegy" is a memoir that explores the author's personal journey from a troubled upbringing in a working-class Appalachian family to achieving success as a Yale Law School graduate. Through his own experiences, J. D. Vance delves into the challenges and complexities faced by the white working class in America, addressing issues such as poverty, addiction, and the cultural dynamics that shape their lives. This poignant and thought-provoking account offers a compassionate and insightful examination of social and economic struggles, while also reflecting on the importance of family, resilience, and the pursuit of the American Dream.

    The 8152nd Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Above The River by James Wright

    "Above the River" is a comprehensive collection of poetry that spans the career of a significant American poet, whose work is known for its deep connection to the landscapes and people of the Midwest. The anthology includes both early and late works, showcasing the poet's evolution in style and thought. The poems are characterized by their clear, resonant imagery and profound contemplation of nature, human experiences, and existential themes. The collection is celebrated for its lyrical beauty and its ability to capture the essence of rural life and the complexities of the human condition with both grace and melancholy.

    The 8655th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The Dead Of The House by Hannah Green

    "The Dead of the House" is a coming-of-age novel that explores the deep connections between past and present through the eyes of its young protagonist, Vanessa, as she grows up in Ohio. The narrative weaves through Vanessa's experiences and memories, focusing particularly on her relationship with her grandfather, exploring family histories, and the stories that bind them across generations. Rich in detail and evocative prose, the novel captures the intricate dynamics of family life and the ways in which personal identity is deeply entwined with ancestral heritage.

    The 8726th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber

    "The Thurber Carnival" is a delightful anthology that showcases the wit, humor, and imagination of its author, featuring a collection of essays, short stories, and cartoons. This compilation includes some of his most beloved works, offering a satirical look at everyday life and the human condition. The author's unique blend of humor and insight, often focusing on the quirks and absurdities of both people and animals, makes this book a timeless classic, appealing to readers who appreciate a sharp, whimsical critique of social norms and personal foibles.

    The 8726th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Grant by Ron Chernow

    "Grant" is a comprehensive biography of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, the book explores Grant's early life, military career, presidency, and post-presidential years. Chernow portrays Grant as a complex and often misunderstood figure, highlighting his military genius and leadership during the Civil War, as well as his struggles with alcoholism and financial ruin later in life. The book also delves into Grant's relationships with his wife, Julia, and political figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman. Overall, "Grant" offers a detailed and nuanced portrait of one of America's most significant historical figures.

    The 9165th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock

    "The Devil All The Time" is a dark and gritty novel that weaves together the lives of several deeply flawed characters in a small town in Ohio. Set in the aftermath of World War II, the story follows a troubled young man named Arvin Russell, whose path intersects with a corrupt preacher, a serial killer couple, and a corrupt sheriff. As their lives intertwine, the novel explores themes of violence, religion, and the consequences of one's actions, ultimately painting a disturbing portrait of the human condition.

    The 9769th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. And Their Children After Them by Dale Maharidge, Michael Williamson

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning book explores the lives of the American working class during the 1980s. It provides a detailed and poignant account of the struggles and hardships faced by the families in the Rust Belt region, as they grapple with job loss, poverty, and a rapidly changing economic landscape. The narrative follows the authors as they travel across the country, interviewing and photographing the individuals and communities affected by these changes, offering an intimate portrait of the American working class during a time of significant transition and turmoil.

    The 10473rd Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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

Download

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.

Download