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Great Books To Read From A To Z

June 28, 2018

There’s no shortage of great books out there, but nothing beats a good recommendation for what to read next. It doesn’t even have to be a new discovery, it could be an old favourite that you haven’t revisited in a while. Maybe even one you didn’t warm to on your first read and decide to give a second chance. So if you’re looking to fill your summer reading list, let’s take a look at some must-reads from A to Z.


By Ian McEwan

A tragic and compelling tale of innocence and guilt. Starting in 1935 England, a young girl makes an impulsive decision based partially on childhood ignorance and partially on anger. The consequences reverberate through her life, affecting the ones she loves in dramatic, life-changing ways.


By Tina Fey

A good, worthwhile read doesn’t always have to be the serious and thought-provoking classics. Sometimes it’s just good to read the hilarious thoughts of a very funny person. Tina Fey’s comedic memoir is a laugh-out-loud look at her life from early and awkward childhood, to her struggle to being accepted as a woman in comedy, to becoming the boss of her own television show. Full of self-deprecating humour and relatable truths.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon

One of the most effective and powerful uses of the unreliable narrator technique. The story follows a young boy with autism who sets out to solve the mystery of a neighbourhood dog who was killed. The book gave many people insight into a condition that can be very difficult to understand.

The Dark Knight Returns

By Frank Miller

Don’t be fooled by those who say comic books can’t be for adults. Even the biggest naysayers can be won over by this very adult take on one of the most beloved comic book characters of all-time – Batman. This tale finds Bruce Wayne in his old age, watching helplessly as his city falls apart. Finally, pushed too far, he once again dons his famous cowl and cape to rejoin the fight against crime where he’ll make new allies, battle friends and come fact-to-face with old enemies from the past.


By Jane Austen

Like many of Austen’s novels, this is an ahead-of-its-time look at romance and the struggles of women that still holds surprising relevance today. Following a headstrong and confident young woman who can’t help but meddle in her friends’ love lives.

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

By Mary Shelley

For all horror fans out there, this is a classic that will do the trick. While many of us have the idea in our head of the green-skinned, bolts-in-neck monster of Frankenstein, the source material provides a much different and more complex look. The classic tale of man playing God and the deadly consequences.

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

The page-turner of 21st century should not be dismissed as mindless pop culture. It is indeed highly entertaining, but also clever, shocking, unpredictably, and will no doubt spark some fascinating conversations. Looking at the celebrity culture of suburban crimes and the unhealthiest marriage of all-time.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Though there are many Sherlock Holmes mysteries to choose from, this tends to be regarded as one of the best. The mystery revolves around the relatives of a recently deceased statesman who are being haunted by a diabolical hound of apparent supernatural origins. Part of what makes this mystery so engaging is the fun of watching Holmes struggle with finding the answers to something seemingly not based in reality.

Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer

A compelling true story of the journey and tragic end of Christopher McCandless. After graduating from high school as an honours student, McCandless gave away his college savings, cut off ties with his family and headed out into the unknown searching for enlightenment. A sad tale of finding one’s self and our place in society.


By Toni Morrison

A follow-up and spiritual sequel to Morrison’s Beloved. This is an expansive and unique historical novel detailing the African American experience starting in 1920s Harlem and stretching back to the American South of the 19th century. A collection of voices coming together to tell a single story.

The Kite Runner

By Khaled Hosseini

A glimpse into a world we rarely get any insight into. Set in Afghanistan, the story follows two young boys growing up during tumultuous times in their country, the different paths their lives take and the ways they converge again.

Lord of the Flies

By William Golding

A compelling tale about a group of young boys who become stranded on a deserted island after a plan crash and their failure to govern themselves civilly. It’s an intense and affecting tale of the battle between rationale and emotion.


By Art Spiegelman

Another comic (or graphic novel) that offers effective storytelling for adults. Based on the author’s conversations with his own father about his experiences as a Jew in Germany during World War II, the comic depicts the atrocities with mice playing the part of Jewish citizens and cats as the Nazis. What might seem like a cheap stunt turns out to be heartbreaking, engaging and brilliant.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

By George Orwell

One of the most influential dystopian novels ever written. Set in a futuristic Great Britain where the government controls and monitors everything from the news to your own thoughts. The sign any great and thoughtful science fiction novel, many of the themes resonate to this day.

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

The tragic tale of two friends attempt to make a better life for themselves. George and his mentally-challenged friend Lennie work as migrant workers in Depression era South, moving from job to jobs and trying to improve their position.

The Pillars of the Earth

By Ken Follett

A rousing adventure novel set in 12th century England. The story follows several main characters including a dedicated mason, a benevolent priest, a sadistic lord, and a determined young woman. Filled with action, history and thrills, it’s a perfect page-turner.

The Quiet American

By Graham Greene

One of the most seminal novel written about the American involvement in Vietnam. Set during the American uprooting of the French colonisation of Vietnam in the 1950s, it follows a U.S official whose ambition blinds him to the disaster ahead.

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

A bleak tale of father and son. Set in a dystopian wasteland, a nameless father treks across the land with his young son in search of safety as the broken world around threatens to consume them both.


By Gregory David Roberts

The adventure tale of a bank robber who makes a daring escape from his Australian prison, only to find himself exiled in Bombay, India where he is faced with the hard life of the locals. Said to be based on a true story, though that is contested, it is nonetheless an intriguing journey.

Tishomingo Blues

By Elmore Leonard

A funny, clever and tight crime story from one of the greatest pulp writers of all-time. After witnessing a murder, a high dive artist is dragged into a crime world involving a charismatic gangster, the Dixie Mafia and Civil War re-enactments.


By James Joyce

To be completely honest, after several attempts at reading this one, I still can’t say I have a grasp on it. However, understanding the material isn’t always necessary for a good read. This stream-of-consciousness, experimental parallel to Homer’s Odyssey is a fun challenge.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle

Going to something much more accessible now, a staple of any childhood and just a good book. The title says it all but it’s still more fun than you remember.

Watership Down

By Richard Adams

While a novel about a group of rabbits on an adventure might sound like something akin to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this material is a little heavier than that. After their home is destroyed, these rabbits seek out a new place to live, encountering plenty of dangers along the way.

10 Little Indians

By Agatha Christie

X is 10 in Roman numerals… get it? Okay, it’s a stretch, but it’s hard to find books that start with the letter X. Besides, this classic mystery is a whole lot of fun no matter how you spell it, despite the politically incorrect title (it is also known as And Then There Were None).

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

By Michael Chabon

Unique, weird and hilarious – you haven’t read anything like this before. Set in an alternate world in which Jewish citizens were given their own land to inhabit in Alaska, the novel follows the investigation of a high-profile murder in the Yiddish-speaking metropolis.

World War Z

By Max Brooks

Yes, I cheated again, but you’ll forgive once you read this thrilling horror novel. The book chronicles the various accounts of people around the world as a zombie epidemic begins and the world falls apart.


What would you add to the list?


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