1. The Paris Wife by Paula McClain
We've all heard about the Jazz Age, which is when some of America's most beloved authors and artists moved to Paris in the 20s to live in a more Romantic world. McClain tells the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife - "The Paris Wife" - Hadley Richardson and her marriage to this great American author. The novel is about their marriage and family and financial struggles. It's about the bull fights in Pamplona that would one day become the inspiration to The Sun Also Rises, their ski days in Switzerland, their divorce, and his ultimate death by suicide. It's about how McClain believes that Richardson, although mostly forgotten, was Hemingway's favorite wife, his most beloved wife.
2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This memoir hit the stands only a few months ago, but already has become a household favorite. As 30-something-year-old Kalanithi goes into his last year of residency for neurosurgery, this gifted surgeon is diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He fights and fights, and along the way, decides to write down the major moments of his life - beautifully and philosophically - and he finally grasps aloud what it means to deal with death, whether he's the doctor or patient, and how he can finally relate and have the utmost amount of empathy for the dying.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The last of the "Harry Potter" series, The Deathly Hallows ties together every question, every doubt any readers ever had throughout the first six books. It's by far a fan favorite, up there with The Prisoner of Azkaban, and while it's close to 800 pages, this book is a great page turner.
4. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
The true story of a wealthy and incredibly smart boy that left his life behind to find himself in the wild, and Krakauer's (and America's) obsession with him. Krakauer explores McCandless' journey throughout the United States, the people he ran into, and the bare life he lived in order to figure out how Chris McCandless ended up dying alone in a bus in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Was it suicide? Was it the ultimate neglect of Mother Nature? Was it a simple mistake, that if weren't taken, McCandless could still be out in the world now?
5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
"The horror! The horror!"
Joseph Conrad writes a story about the British colonization of the heart of Africa, aka the "Heart of Darkness." But what his title character, Marlow, discovers is that it isn't the black Africans that are dark, but really the white men. For when he returns to London, he still cannot shake the horrors he has witnessed while on sailing through Africa on the Congo River - there are dark clouds brewing over the city and the sight makes him sick.
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
While the world recently learned that this love story has shattered, this novel is still a great read. It'll make you want to eat your heart out in Italy, pray in Hindu temples in India, and find the love of your life in Bali. After a sad and bitter divorce, Elizabeth Gilbert decides to travel the world to find herself - spending four months in three different countries.
Have you read any books that you've been unable to put down?
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