Books & Art

The Most Popular Book Published the Year You Were Born

How many of these 70 best-sellers have you read?
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From prestigious Pulitzer Prize winners to books that have been praised by Oprah herself, we scoured several best-seller lists and award archives to find the most popular book published every year since 1945. What did we find? The past six decades have brought us some truly riveting tales.

Whether you prefer to take a story slowly, or can't finish it quickly enough, you'll be sure to add some of these all-time favorites to the top of your reading wish list.

1945 - ‘Forever Amber’ by Kathleen Winson

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Genre: 
Fiction

Banned by 14 states as “pornography,” this steamy tale would be classified today as a bodice-ripper in the romance genre.

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An orphaned young woman works her way through the ranks of the 17th-century English society by using her feminine wiles to enchant rich and important men.

More: 19 Books You've Gotta Read Before You See the Movie

1946 - ‘The King’s General’ by Daphne du Maurier

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Best known for the sweeping saga Rebecca (which was turned into a film by Alfred Hitchcock), this other novel by author Daphne du Maurier is set in the 1600s, with the English Civil War as a backdrop.

This tragic love story follows Honor Harris and Sir Richard Grenville, young lovers who are separated by war. Their paths cross again, but these star-crossed lovers don't have an easy romance.

1947- ‘The Miracle of the Bells’ by Russell Janney

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Genre:
 Fiction

Russell Janney's first, and most popular novel, was turned into a motion picture starring Fred MacMurray (from My Three Sons) and Frank Sinatra.

This fiction novel tells the story of a press agent, Bill Dunnigan, who brings the body of deceased actress Olga Treskovna to a coal mining town for burying. Much of the story is told in flashback to the relationship between Olga and Bill.

1948 - ‘The Big Fisherman’ by Lloyd C. Douglas

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Genre: Fiction

This sequel was Douglas' follow-up to the massively popular bestseller, The Robe. And this was a hit, too, taking the second-most popular book spot in 1949 as well.

The Robe focused on the life of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion, while this book instead centered on Simon Peter, one of Jesus' apostles and the one who denied him. There were movies made of both Biblical sagas.

1949 - ‘The Egyptian’ by Mika Waltari

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Genre: Historical Fiction

This novel was written by a Finnish author and turned into a movie. It follows the story of a physician as he travels around ancient Egypt, and in exile in what is now Syria. Waltari weaves in historical details and famous Egyptian heroes into his then very popular tale.

1950 — 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis

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Genre: Children's

With a prequel emerging several years later, today The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second of seven books in C.S. Lewis' suspenseful series, The Chronicles of Narnia, although it was published first. It relays the story of four siblings who step through a wardrobe door and find themselves in the fantasmic land of Narnia.

1951 — ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger

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Genre: Fiction

One of the most iconic books of the 1950s, The Catcher in the Rye shares the teenage struggles of 16-year-old protagonist Holden Caulfield as he navigates the crossroads between childhood and adulthood.

The novel reveals several edgy themes like underage drinking, dropping out of school, and sexual experiences, which have made it one of the most banned books from school reading lists of all time.

1952 — 'Charlotte's Web' by E.B. White

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Genre: Children's

For generations, Charlotte's Web has enlightened young audiences on important life lessons surrounding friendship, love, and even death in an age-appropriate story and reading style that serves as a great transition piece between picture books and wordier novels.

More: Timeless Children's Books That'll Turn Them Into a Bookworm

1953 — 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller

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Genre: 
Drama

Separated into four fast-moving acts, this historical play depicts the harsh realities of the Salem witch trials, while exploring the complexities associated with acknowledging and experiencing personal guilt and engaging in socially constructed notions of mass hysteria.

1954 — 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Not to be confused with The Lord of the Rings, which was also first published in 1954, this classic novel by William Golding is worthy of acknowledgment in its own right.

When a plane crash-lands a group of schoolboys on an uncharted island, they initially relish in their newfound freedom. But as order quickly disintegrates, their reality becomes terrifying in this epic tale of adventure and suspense.

1955 — ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov

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Genre: Fiction

This controversial novel-turned-cultural-icon reveals the manipulative, pedophilic relationship between an obsessive middle-aged man and a 12-year-old girl, his ideal nymphet. The story is a meditation on love that combines both humor and horror into a tale that'll make you cringe and laugh at the same time.

1956 — 'The Fall' by Albert Camus

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Genre:
 Fiction

Set in Amsterdam, this short story follows a well-respected French judge who is haunted and changed by the follies of his past.

1957 — 'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr. Seuss

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Genre: Children's

Along with several Dr. Seuss classics like Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You'll Go!, The Cat in the Hat is an iconic picture book that has helped children learn and become excited about reading for decades.

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1958 — ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote

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Genre: Fiction

Breakfast at Tiffany's is perhaps best known for Audrey Hepburn's iconic performance as Manhattan socialite Holly Golightly in the film adaptation, but the book itself is well worth a read.

1959 — 'A Separate Peace' by John Knowles

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Genre: Fiction

Set just before World War II in New England, the story follows two prep-school boys and the series of unfortunate events that changes them and their close relationship into one that's complicated and competitive. Their loss of innocence is synonymous with the changes in America during that period as it neared closer to war.

1960 — 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

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Genre: Fiction

Winner of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, To Kill a Mockingbird is a gripping coming-of-age tale about a young girl in the South who witnesses her father, a lawyer, risk it all to defend a black man who has been unjustly accused of raping a white woman. She learns of the social inequalities and prejudice that plague the South, and that standing up for what's right isn't always easy.

1961 — 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller

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Genre: Fiction

In this dark, yet humorous novel, World War II soldier Yossarian is stuck in a predicament that may cause him to violate a Catch-22, a bureaucratic rule in which he would be considered insane if he willingly embarks on combat missions. But if he requests to be removed from serving, he will be proven sane, but would then deemed ineligible for release.

1962 — 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey

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Genre: Fiction

Mental hospital patient Randle Patrick McMurphy causes constant havoc in the ward by promoting gambling, smuggling in alcohol and women, and defying the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched at every turn. Their continuous battle ends up affecting all of the other patients as they get more involved.

1963 — ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak

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Genre: Children's

A favorite children's picture book that has been around for ages, Max's imaginative journey was first introduced to young readers in 1963. It goes beyond most bedtime stories with life lessons that stress the importance of respecting your parents, and that even when you don't show them respect, they'll still love you.

1964 — 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl

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Genre: Children's

1964 was a notable year for children's literature, with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Giving Tree, Harriet the Spy, and Flat Stanley also published, but anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this special kiddie classic about Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory and all of the wonders inside.

1965 — 'Dune' by Frank Herbert

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Genre: Science Fiction

Taking place on the fictional desert planet Arrakis, protagonist Paul is made to rule an inhospitable region where the only thing of value is a drug that extends life and enhances consciousness.

After his family's empire is destroyed, he finds a greater destiny and evolves into a mysterious figure who makes humankind’s most unattainable dream a reality.

1966 — ‘Valley of the Dolls’ by Jacqueline Susann

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Genre: Fiction

Three struggling young women in New York City are on a mission to get noticed in the entertainment industry, but when they finally make it to thew top, their celebrity status leads them to unthinkable issues like body dysmorphia, pills, cheating, and rehab.

More: Our Editors Recommend These Fiction Books

1967 — 'The Outsiders' by S.E. Hinton

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Ponyboy tries to stay out of trouble, trusting only his brothers and a few friends, while avoiding the Socs, a gang of local rich kids who beat up greasers like him for fun. But everything changes after one eventful night when they take things way too far.

1968 — 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' by Philip K. Dick

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Genre: Dystopian Fiction

The inspiration behind famed films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, the novel depicts a post-apocalyptic future where life is now reeling from a nuclear world war. Bounty hunter Rick Deckard is tasked with retiring fugitive androids that have gone violently rogue after being created as part of recovery efforts, but when cornered, they refuse to go down without a brutal fight.

1969 — 'Slaughterhouse-Five' by Kurt Vonnegut

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Genre: Historical Fiction

An anti-war novel told in the voice of an unreliable narrator, the story is centered around the experiences of American soldier Billy Pilgrim, who survives the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, Germany while being held as a prisoner of war. Suffering from PTSD, his experiences infiltrate his post-war life with flashbacks, or what he believes to be time travel.

1970 — 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.' by Judy Blume

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction

This iconic Judy Blume novel will take you back to tweendom through the story of 11-year-old Margaret Simon, whose special, open relationship with God helps her go beyond matters of self-exploration and spirituality. The book confronts many classic coming-of-age issues, like boys, body image, friends, and periods, that are all just as relatable today.

More: All the Books on Our Reading List Right Now

1971 — ‘Angle of Repose’ by Wallace Stegner

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972, this story of discovery follows wheelchair user and ex-historian Lyman Ward in his quest to write his grandparents' biography. While researching the remarkable tales of how they pioneered civilization into the western frontier, he reveals more about his own life, piecing together a clearer portrait of his American family.

1972 — 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' by Judith Viorst

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Genre: Children's

For decades, this picture book has been a favorite among kids and parents for its humorous approach to teaching life lessons. It tells the tale of Alexander, who has a day full of disappointments and mishaps. From his best friend deserting him, to having lima beans for dinner, it touches on events all kids can relate to, and sparks conversations about how to handle situations that don't go your way.

1973 — 'Breakfast of Champions' by Kurt Vonnegut

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Genre: Fiction

In this much-anticipated sequel to Slaughterhouse-Five, science fiction writer Kilgore Trout learns that a Midwestern car dealer has been taking his stories as truth. The book centers around the events that lead up to their meeting, the meeting itself, and what happens afterward, in a satire that closely examines war, sex, racism, and politics in America.

1974 — 'Carrie' by Stephen King

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Genre: Thriller

Stephen King's first published novel, Carrie is a chilling tale about an unpopular teenage misfit who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to get tortuous revenge on school bullies. She quickly unleashes chaos in her Maine hometown, causing much of the story to be told uniquely through police reports and court documents.

1975 — ‘Humboldt’s Gift’ by Saul Bellow

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Genre: Fiction

Worthy of the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Humboldt's Gift contributed to Saul Bellow's Nobel Prize win that same year. It captures the friendship between literary Charlie Citrine and his mentor, Von Humboldt Fleisher. When Fleisher dies, Charlie's life hits rock bottom — until a gift from beyond the grave helps change his course.

1976 — 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins

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Genre: Non-Fiction

Author Richard Dawkins reformulates the theory of natural selection, giving readers and the scientific community fodder to rethink their beliefs. He argues that while our world does revolve around competition, exploitation, and deceit, acts of selflessness are still very much apparent in nature.

1977 — 'Song of Solomon' by Toni Morrison

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Genre: African-American Literature

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1978, and later dubbed the 1996 Oprah Book Club pick, Song of Solomon captures the African-American experience over four generations. The coming-of-age story follows the life of Macon Dead III (aka Milkman), who after alienating himself from his family and his Michigan hometown, is on a journey to discover his real purpose in life.

1978 — ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King

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Genre: Dystopian Fiction

After an engineered strain of influenza meant for use in biological warfare is accidentally released, the virus spreads and kills off most of the world's human population. The remaining survivors are left to deal with the rapid dismantle of society, increased military violence, and the heavy emotional strain of the situation.

1979 — 'Sophie's Choice' by William Styron

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Genre: Fiction

This National Book Award winner is the basis behind the 1982 film of the same name. It surrounds the lives of Jewish scientist Nathan and Polish Holocaust survivor Sophie, an unlikely couple whose relationship is turbulent and intense. When novelist Stingo moves into their shared boarding house in Brooklyn, dynamics take a turn for the worse.

1980 — 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole

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Genre: Fiction

Posthumously published after author John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969, A Confederacy of Dunces quickly became a cult classic, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.

The comedy centers around the life of Ignatius J. Reilly, a 30-year-old living at home with his mother in New Orleans, who finds adventure while in search of employment.

1981 — 'Rabbit is Rich' by John Updike

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Genre: Fiction

Winner of both the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award of the same year, Rabbit is Rich is a the third novel in a four-part book series that follows the life of Harry "Rabbit" Anstrom. After inheriting his father's Toyota dealership, Harry finds wealth, but persisting family problems inhibit him from fully enjoying it.

1982 — 'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker

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Genre: Epistolary novel

The Color Purple centers around the unbreakable bond between two sisters, a missionary in Africa and child wife in rural Georgia. Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, the story was later adapted into a film and musical — both of the same name.

More: Travel Books That'll Have You Dreaming About Your Next Vacation

1983 — 'The Color of Magic' by Terry Pratchett

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Genre: Fantasy

Selling over 80 million copies worldwide, this mystical series shares the adventures of tourist Twoflower and wizard guide Rincewind as they navigate the surface of the Discworld, a planet-sized disc carried through space on the backs of elephants.

1984 — 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' by Milan Kundera

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Genre: Fiction

Set in 1968 during the Prague spring, the story focuses on the whirlwind relationships between four people and the challenging dynamics within their love circle. It was originally published in France in 1984, and later in the U.S. in 1988.

1985 — 'White Noise' by Don DeLillo

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Genre: Postmodern

Winner of the 1985 National Book Award, White Noise is about the life of Jack Gladney, a professor of Hitler studies at a small liberal arts college in the rural Midwest. The story is told in three continuing parts that touch on tropes of death and fear of dying.

1986 — 'Love You Forever' by Robert Munsch

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Genre: Children's

Written in memoriam to the author's two stillborn children, this childhood classic captures the evolving relationship between parent and child. It follows a mother and son through the years, and depicts her unconditional love for him despite the challenges that come with youth, adolescence, and adulthood.

1987 — 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison

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Genre: Fiction

Winner of both the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the American Book Award, Beloved tells the story of Sethe, an African American former slave who has successfully escaped and fled north to Ohio. Eighteen years later, she is still haunted by the ghost of her deceased, nameless baby who rests under a tombstone marked, "Beloved."

1988 — ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho

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Genre: Fantasy

First published in Brazil in 1988, and later in the U.S. in 1993, The Alchemist follows the mystical journey of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who embarks on a quest to find treasure. Instead, he finds something more valuable—lessons on the importance of listening to his heart, following his dreams, and acknowledging life's omens.

1989 — 'The Joy Luck Club' by Amy Tan

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Genre: Fiction

Set in San Francisco in 1949, the story is about four Chinese American immigrant families who start a mahjong club. The structure of the book replicates a mahjong game, comprised of four parts, divided into four sections for a total of 16 chapters.

1990 — ‘The Things They Carried’ by Tim O’Brien

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Genre: Historical Fiction

A 1991 Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Things They Carried is divided into a collection of short stories about a platoon of American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Narrated by soldier Tim O'Brien, the story touches on themes like memory, imagination, and the value of storytelling.

1991 — 'A Thousand Acres' by Jane Smiley

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Genre: Fiction

Worthy of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the story recaptures the plot of Shakespeare's King Lear to mirror life in the 20th century. It centers around a wealthy farmer in Iowa, who divides his farm between three daughters in his will. After objecting to the size of her share, his youngest is cut out of the will, sparking a chain of events that resurface bottled-up emotions.

1992 — 'The Pelican Brief' by John Grisham

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Genre: Mystery

After a chain of Supreme Court justices is suddenly assassinated, one law student takes it upon herself to help make progress in the case. But as she prepares to share her findings with the FBI, someone is ready to go to vicious lengths to stop her and destroy the evidence.

1993 — 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Twelve-year-old Jonas is blissfully unaware that there was ever a time before Sameness, a plan that eradicated emotional depth from society. After being selected to become the Receiver of Memory, he inherits all of the memories before Sameness and struggles to embrace the new emotions he's experiencing.

1994 — 'One for the Money' by Janet Evanovich

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Genre: Mystery

After getting laid off from her job as a lingerie buyer, Stephanie Plum blackmails her bail-bondsman cousin for a job as a bounty hunter. Her first assignment is to locate Joe Morelli, a vice cop on the run for murder—also one of Stephanie's former lovers. Through discovering that there's still chemistry between them, she learns that this won't be an easy takedown.

1995 — ‘Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire

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Genre: Fantasy

Author Gregory Maguire reinvents the classic tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with a darker story intended for grown-ups with plenty of adult language, violence, and steamy sexual imagery.

It's the book behind the Tony Award-winning musical, Wicked, which continues to break records as one of Broadway's longest-running shows.

1996 — 'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer

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Genre: Biography

After deciding to reinvent himself in the wilderness of Alaska's Mt. McKinley, Christopher McCandless abandoned his car, gave away all of his savings, and burned the remaining cash in his wallet. Four months after his departure, Christopher's decomposing body was discovered by a moose hunter. Into the Wild is the true story of what happened in the days between.

1997 — 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' by J.K. Rowling

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Genre: Fantasy

The legendary story that first launched the Harry Potter phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England under a different name, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The British version was published in 1997, and following its great success, was later released in the U.S. in 1998.

1998 — 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver

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Genre: Historical Fiction

A 1999 Pulitzer Prize nominee, The Poisonwood Bible depicts the story of evangelical Baptist Nathan Price, who moves his family from Georgia to the Belgian Congo in hopes of carrying out his missionary work. It follows the family over the course of three decades as they adapt to African village life and beyond.

1999 — 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

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Genre: ‎Young Adult‎

Now a major motion picture, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows high school introvert Charlie as he navigates through the many firsts and challenges of his teenage years. From first dates to family drama and drugs, Charlie is stuck between embracing adulthood and escaping it all.

2000 — 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers

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Genre: Memoir

A 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius chronicles the story of a college senior who loses both of his parents to cancer in a five-week span. Now left to care for his 8-year-old brother, he learns how love can help unite a family.

2001 — 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel

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Genre: Fiction

Sixteen-year-old Pi Patel and his zookeeping family are making the long journey from India to North America on a cargo ship. Aboard are their many zoo animals, including a 450-pound Bengal tiger, which Pi finds himself alone with in a lifeboat after the ship sinks. Filled with fear, Pi has no choice but to try to coexist with the tiger while lost at sea.

2002 — ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides

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Genre: Fiction

Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and later, a 2007 Oprah's Book Club pick, this coming-of-age story centers around teenager Calliope Stephanides and her search to understand why she's not like other girls. After discovering a dark secret about her family's genetic history, she learns that she's actually not a girl at all, and transitions from Callie to Cal.

2003 — 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown

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Genre: Mystery

This number-one worldwide best-seller follows a murder at Paris' Louvre Museum, where Harvard professor Robert Langdon and police cryptologist Sophie Neveu are tasked to decode the cryptic message the victim left in the moments before his death.

2004 — 'Gilead' by Marilynne Robinson

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Genre: Fiction

In a moving letter to his young son, Reverend John Ames shares many of the most memorable stories, experiences, and lessons of his life. In acknowledging the tension between his pacifist father and army-chaplain grandfather, he speaks on the sacred and often tested bond between father and son.

2005 — 'The Year of Magical Thinking' by Joan Didion

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Genre: Non-Fiction

Winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Non-Fiction, The Year of Magical Thinking is an account of the events and feelings author Joan Didion experienced in the year following her husband's death. Also caring for their gravely ill daughter during this period of grief, Didion speaks on her feelings of reportorial detachment, which she refers to as magical thinking.

2006 — 'The Emperor's Children' by Claire Messud

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Genre: Fiction

Set in Manhattan during the months leading up to September 11, 2001, friends Marina, Danielle, and Julius are struggling to fulfill the great expectations they had for their lives. When Marina's 19-year-old cousin Bootie moves into town after dropping out of college, his shockingly bold decisions permanently change each of their lives.

2007 — 'Thirteen Reasons Why' by Jay Asher

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Genre: Young Adult

Today a Netflix original series, Thirteen Reasons Why centers around teenager Clay Jensen, who receives a series of cassette tapes recorded by his dead classmate Hanna Baker. In the recordings, she reveals that there were 13 reasons why she killed herself, and Clay was one of them. Her words guide him through her pain and lead him on an unforgettable journey.

2008 — ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

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Genre: Young Adult

In the first book of the fan-favorited Hunger Games series, the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem forces each of its 12 districts to participate in the annual Hunger Games—a fight to the death challenge that's aired on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to represent her district in place of her younger sister, and finds love and strength while becoming a promising contender.

2009 — 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, three unlikely friends—an educated white women and two African-American maids—come together to write a candid tell-all book that changes their fates and the small-town lives they once knew.

2010 — 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot

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Genre: Biography

In a true tale that touches on matters of ethics, race, and medicine, this New York Times best-seller captures the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American tobacco farmer whose cells were taken for medical use without her permission. Bought and sold by the billions, they have been pivotal in developing the polio vaccine, mastering cloning, gene-mapping, and more.

2011 — 'Fifty Shades of Grey' by E.L. James

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Genre: Romance

After college student Anastasia Steele interviews wealthy entrepreneur Christian Grey for her school paper, the two are quick to move past their professional relations. Anastasia learns that Christian is unlike other men—his erotic sexual desires and need to control her collide with her innocent and independent spirit. But as their relationship grows more physical and passionate, Anastasia learns that she has a dark side, too.

2012 — 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green

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Genre: Young Adult

Teenage cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster has dealt with a terminal illness her whole life, but a recent tumor-shrinking miracle has granted her a few more years. Forced by her parents to join a support group, she meets amputee Augustus Waters, and finds what it means to be alive and in love.

2013 — 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt

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Genre: Fiction

After surviving an accident that kills his mother, 13-year-old Theo Decker goes to live with the family of a wealthy friend. Challenged by change while grieving for his mother, he holds onto a painting that reminds him of her and sparks a love for art. Worthy of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Goldfinch dives into tropes of love, identity, and art.

2014 — 'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr

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Genre: Fiction

Another Pulitzer Prize-winner, All the Light We Cannot See follows the story of a blind French girl who is forced to flee her home when the Nazis occupy Paris, and a German boy who is enlisted to help track down the resistance. While trying to survive World War II, their paths cross.

2015 — 'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins

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Genre: Thriller

One morning, daily train commuter Rachel sees something shocking in the home of a couple along the train path. The next day she hears that the woman living in the home is missing, and as a witness in the investigation, goes to the police with the information she has. Rachel quickly becomes too invested in the case and the lives of those involved.

2016 — 'The Underground Railroad' by Colson Whitehead

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Not only was The Underground Railroad the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2016 National Book Award, but it was also dubbed Oprah's 2016 Book Club pick. It centers around the life of Cora, a slave working on a cotton plantation in Georgia. She hears about the Underground Railroad through a new slave named Ceasar, and the two decide to escape together. Their journey to freedom is difficult and filled with unplanned twists.

2017 — 'Little Fires Everywhere 'by Celeste Ng

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Genre: Fiction

In a picture-perfect suburb of Cleveland, the Richardson family always plays by the rules. But when artist and single mother Mia Warren moves into their rental property with her teenage daughter, her elusive past and disregard for the community's status quo might just upend all of Shaker Heights.

2018 — 'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

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Genre: Fiction

With a glowing stamp of approval from Oprah's Book Club, An American Marriage tells the story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy who are separated when Roy gets arrested for a crime his wife believes he was wrongly accused of. Celestial turns to childhood friend Andre in her solace, and as time passes, her feelings about her marriage change.

2019 — 'The Silent Patient' by Alex Michaelides

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Genre: Thriller

After famous painter Alicia Berenson mysteriously shoots her husband in the face, she refuses to speak or come forward with any kind of motive. Her therapist is determined to reveal the truth, and his motive to reveal the mystery ends up consuming him.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Zarah A. Kavarana
Zarah Kavarana is the contributing editor at BestProducts.com, where she spends her days hunting for shareworthy home, tech, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle finds, and resisting the urge to add them all to her cart. A Boston University journalism grad with a penchant for red wine, her hidden talents include poaching an egg and applying winged eyeliner on the subway.
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Angel Madison
Angel Madison is a writer, editor, and crafter living in New Jersey with her teenage daughter and two cats.
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