Inspired by @ListPrompts. This is actually the hardest prompt ever. (Also look, I can write in complete sentences!)
  1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    The most amazing prose I have ever read. If you think this book is glorifying a pedophile, you have either never read the book or you have read it very incorrectly. The fact that you find yourself sympathizing with Humbert during some parts of this novel is a testament to Nabokov's writing abilities.
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    Let's jump right into YA! I don't think young adult literature is the best genre ever, but there is a lot more substance here than is often given credit. This book is set during the Holocaust and narrated by Death. Beautiful, haunting, daring.
  3. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
    Every Palahniuk book is basically the same (so if you've seen Fight Club, you pretty much get it), but this book is superior in my mind. It's gritty and unpredictable per usual, but there's an intelligence and emotional subtext that I can't stop rereading. However, it may just be that the first Palahniuk you read is your favorite 😎
  4. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
    This was my first Hemingway and I've read five others since but none of them affect me the way this one does. Similar to Palahniuk, all of Hemingway's books feel relatively alike, but the setting and youth of this one keep it my favorite.
  5. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
    Yay, a book by a woman! Honestly one of the most poignant and beautiful books I've ever read. I consumed this in a number of hours and haven't ever really stopped thinking about it.
  6. The Liars' Club by Mary Karr
    Fun fact: I love memoir!! And Karr is an excellent, gritty narrator of her own life. I've read all of her novels, which focus on the alcoholism of both of her parents and then herself, but this one about her father is especially painful and lovely. (Honorable mention: Cherry, which is about growing up.)
  7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
    I read this in a class in college and I am so very grateful to have been introduced to Díaz's work. This book is a diaspora, a love story, a eulogy, and a prayer. Magic realism meets Spanish slang.
  8. Safekeeping by Abigail Thomas
    More creative nonfiction by a woman!! This book is a compilation of very short thoughts/stories/quotes that make up an entire life (or what Thomas wants to share about it). After three husbands, two divorces, and one death, she has a lot to say and I've read it three times in the past year.
  9. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
    I just read this book in 2015 for the first time. I don't like war stories. This is innovative and interesting and not at all a combat story.
  10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    I LOVE Alexie so it was hard to choose which book of his to put on this list, but I chose another YA book because I think it's the most important. I don't know any Native Americans who grew up on a reservation and it's hard for me to understand the struggles that can come from such a situation. Alexie mixes teen angst with tradition, as well as beautiful prose, as always.