Booklists: Hidden Gems of Fiction
Here’s a list of 10 so-called literary novels. These are great reads that will move you, make you think, and maybe make you sad when they end. Here are ten novels that could be called hidden gems.
Title: White Teeth
Author: Zadie Smith
A big mix of characters of many generations, ages, and backgrounds, all living in northwest London. Friendship, love, war, and just about everything else. One of the most talked-about debut novels ever, written when Smith was only 25.
Title: Sag Harbor
Author: Colson Whitehead
Before Whitehead became super famous from The Underground Railroad, he wrote many wonderful novels. This coming-of-age story is funny, sweet, sad, and tender.
Title: News of the World
Author: Paulette Jiles
In the wake of the U.S. Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, reading newspapers to paying audiences, and enjoying a rootless, solitary existence. When he is offered a substantial sum to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. The two lonely survivors travel 400 miles together, facing dangers and great uncertainty. A poignant story of makes a family.
Author: Roddy Doyle
Two men, talking in a pub, unspooling their lives. You could call this a book where “nothing happens” but the men’s memories reveal that life’s most important moments may also be the smallest ones. Funny, sad, sweet, beautiful.
Author: Colm Toibin
Young Irish immigrants in Brooklyn in the early 1950s, finding love, leaving family behind. A mesmerizing, quiet, powerful historical novel about the power of love.
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Two teenage misfits, both with burdens of their own, slowly find their way to each other. When the chips are down, community comes to their defense. A novel about first love that perfectly captures what it feels like to be a teenager.
Title: Circling the Sun
Author: Paula McLain
This historical novel brings to life Beryl Markham, an English-Kenyan aviator, adventurer, and author, the first first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. McLain’s powerful novel reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time.
Title: City on Fire
Author: Garth Risk Hallberg
Set in 1976 New York City, this book is chock full of characters, whose lives intersect, sometimes in ways they will never know. A shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve reverberates through families, friendships, and the loneliest corners of the city. During the blackout of July 13, 1977, each life will be changed forever.
Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Author: Zora Neale Hurston
This book follows a woman’s journey from a vibrant but passive girl into an independent and free woman, someone who has liberated herself from the many ways society wants to define and limit her. It’s also a lush love story, told in dazzling language. Rejected when it was first published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God is now considered a classic of the 20th Century.
Title: The Three Body Problem
Author: Liu Cixin
During China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. On Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome them as superior beings or to fight against the invasion. This is considered a masterpiece of science fiction – and just plain masterpiece.