1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I've been meaning to reread it, maybe we should have a book club! Centered around the different tiers of society in London and France, during the French Revolution, this one is long and full of characters, but it's definitely worth it. Plus, Sydney Carton is one of the greatest fictional characters in all of history. And the most romantic.
2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt. A bookish "thriller" of sorts, this story is centered around six young college students in an exclusive and secretive ancient Greek society in New England and the elusive murder that unfolds from underneath them. You won't be able to put it down.
3. Room, by Emma Donoghue is a nail-biter of a novel. Told from the perspective of five year old Jack, who has lived in a small, windowless room with his mother for his entire life, which they cannot leave. The reader gathers the story through childlike observations, and must attempt to conceive of why they cannot or will not leave the room, and what horrors have put them there.
4. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Ah, Lolita. My favorite book of all time. It has sparked many lively conversations: does Humbert Humbert truly love 12-year old Lolita, or is it pedophilia? The story is brilliantly rich and marvelously told. I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons as well.
5. The Flame Alphabet, by Ben Marcus. This novel tells the story of Sam and Claire, two adults who are on the verge of death due to an epidemic where the sound of children's voices is suddenly lethal. They must find the strength to abandon their daughter whose voice has caused a dreaded "language toxicity" which is killing them both.
6. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. One of the great dystopian, futuristic novels of our time, this book tells the story of Offred, who is a "handmaid," or in other words: a birthing mechanism for the elite. The book explores caste, class and is a timely read during what some call "the war against women."
Do you have any recommendations? I've read all of these, so I'd love to hear of more!