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  1. The Underground Railroad

    by Colson Whitehead
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Fairly popular

    The story is told in the third person, focusing mainly on Cora. Scattered single chapters also focus on Cora's mother Mabel, the slavecatcher Ridgeway, a reluctant slave sympathizer named Ethel, and Cora's fellow slave Caesar. Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia and an outcast after her mother Mabel ran off without her. She resents Mabel for escaping, although it is later revealed that her mother, in an attempt to return to Cora, died from a snake bite and never reached her. Caesar approaches Cora about a plan to flee. Reluctant at first, she eventually agrees as her … (Wikipedia)

  2. Lincoln in the Bardo

    by George Saunders
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Somewhat known

    In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely … (Goodreads)

  3. Commonwealth

    by Ann Patchett
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Somewhat known

    It started at Franny Keating’s christening party. Bert Cousins wasn’t even invited, but looking for an excuse to get out of the house, away from his three noisy children and pregnant wife for a few hours one weekend, he followed up on another fellow’s invitation. He brought a bottle of gin and he took a kiss from Franny’s very beautiful mother that day. Thus began an affair that ended two marriages and led Bert to begin thinking up excuses to get out of the house away from his four children from southern California and his two stepchildren every day of … (Wikipedia)

  4. A Little Life

    by Hanya Yanagihara
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    The novel follows the lives of four friends in New York City from college through to middle-age. It focuses particularly on Jude, a lawyer with a mysterious past, ambiguous ethnicity, and unexplained health issues. Jude walks with a limp and suffers from severe nerve damage in his spine that causes him great pain, which he blames on a car injury he sustained as a child. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, he also habitually self-harms . The rest of the group includes Malcolm, a struggling architect from a wealthy biracial family who still lives at home; JB, a painter … (Wikipedia)

  5. Fates and Furies

    by Lauren Groff
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Readership: Somewhat known

    Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. … (Goodreads)

  6. Purity

    by Jonathan Franzen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Eclectic

    The novel tells the intersecting stories of several different people of widely diverging ages and backgrounds. Purity Tyler, who goes by the name "Pip" is 23 and has $130,000 in student loan debt. She was raised by her reclusive mother Penelope in Felton, California , south of the Bay Area . The two have a unique and co-dependent relationship with her mother refusing to tell Pip anything about her father or even her previous life including Penelope's real name and age. Pip works as a telemarketer for a company selling dubious green energy schemes and lives in a communal squat … (Wikipedia)

  7. Freedom

    by Jonathan Franzen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    The novel opens with a brief look at the Berglund family during their time living in St. Paul, Minnesota , from the perspective of their nosy neighbors. The Berglunds are portrayed as an ideal liberal and middle-class family, and they are among the first families to move into urban St. Paul after years of white flight to the suburbs. Patty Berglund is a charming and youthful homemaker with a self-deprecating sense of humor; her husband Walter is a mild-mannered but principled lawyer with environmentalist advocacies. They have one daughter, Jessica, and one son, Joey, the latter exhibiting a precocious independence … (Wikipedia)

  8. Moonglow

    by Michael Chabon
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Very niche

    The novel is about the story of the author's (Chabon) grandfather. Throughout the book, the grandfather's name is not referred to. The story is sort of a memoir, jumping around in time. It starts with the narrator stating how his grandfather got arrested. Sam Sacks writing for ,The Wall Street Journal, appreciated the non-fiction elements of the novel in contrast to Chabon's other works. Sacks said, " Moonglow is a movingly bittersweet novel that balances wonder with lamentation." ,, For ,The New York Times, , Michiko Kakutani found that, "Mr. Chabon weaves these knotted-together tales together into a tapestry that’s … (Wikipedia)

  9. The Secret History

    by Donna Tartt
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Popular

    Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last—inexorably—into evil. … (Goodreads)

  10. The Girls

    by Emma Cline
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to … (Goodreads)

  11. Crossroads

    by Jonathan Franzen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Very niche

    Jonathan Franzen's gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in ,Crossroads,. It's December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless--unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem's sister, Becky, long the social … (Goodreads)

  12. The Corrections

    by Jonathan Franzen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    The novel shifts back and forth through the late 20th century, intermittently following spouses Alfred and Enid Lambert as they raise their children Gary, Chip, and Denise in the traditional Midwestern suburb of St. Jude, and the lives of each family member as the three children grow up, distancing themselves and living on the East Coast. Alfred, a rigid and strict patriarch who worked as a railroad engineer, has developed Parkinson's and shows increasingly unmanageable symptoms of dementia . Enid takes out her frustrations with him by attempting to impose her traditional judgments on her adult children's lives, to their … (Wikipedia)

  13. Exit West

    by Mohsin Hamid
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    Nadia and Saeed meet when they are working students in an unnamed city. Saeed is more conservative and still lives at home, as custom generally requires, but the more independent Nadia has chosen to live alone and has been disowned by her parents for doing so. As war breaks out and militants begin attacking the city, the two fall in love. After Saeed's mother is killed by a stray bullet while searching for a lost earring in her car, Nadia moves in with Saeed and his father, despite not wanting to marry Saeed as propriety requires. As the militants successfully … (Wikipedia)

  14. The Lincoln Highway

    by Amor Towles
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett … (Goodreads)

  15. Beautiful Ruins

    by Jess Walter
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    "The best novel of the year." — Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air A #1 New York Times bestseller, this “absolute masterpiece” (Richard Russo) is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 and resurfaces fifty years later in Hollywood. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, this is a dazzling, yet deeply human roller coaster of a novel. The acclaimed author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most … (Goodreads)

  16. Stoner

    by John Williams
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    William Stoner is born on a small farm in 1891. After high school, the county agent advises he go to agriculture school. Stoner enrolls in the University of Missouri , where all agriculture students must take a survey course in English literature during their sophomore year. The literature he encounters in this introductory course, such as Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 , opens a gateway to a new world for him, and he quickly falls in love with literary studies. Without telling his parents, Stoner quits the agriculture program and studies only the humanities. Archer Sloane, a professor, suggests to Stoner that … (Wikipedia)

  17. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

    by Bryn Greenwood
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    - A ,New York Times, and ,USA Today ,bestseller - Book of the Month Club 2016 Book of the Year - Second Place Goodreads Best Fiction of 2016 A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives. As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed … (Barnes & Noble)

  18. Americanah

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Affinity: 🟢🟡⚪️⚪️
    Readership: Fairly popular

    Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. … (Goodreads)

  19. To Paradise

    by Hanya Yanagihara
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟢🟢
    Readership: Very niche

    From the author of the classic ,A Little Life,, a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia. In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with … (Goodreads)

  20. The Sympathizer

    by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Eclectic

    It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French … (Goodreads)