From Here to Eternity by James Jones
In this 900-page book, the author talks about army life in Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. It was published in 1951, just a few years after the author left the US Army. In fact, the story of Private Robert “Prew” Prewitt and his fellow recruits shows no signs of the haste with which it was put together.
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
In The Tin Drum, a parade of violence and sex takes place in the Free City of Danzig, where the Nazi party is on the rise. It’s set against the backdrop of impending doom in the form of the rising Nazi party. The main character is Oskar, a boy who has a scream like a weapon and a tin drum that he always takes with him.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Since it came out in 1982, Alice Walker’s book has been praised by readers who have been moved by the voice of its main character, Celie. It has also been attacked by censors who don’t like how it shows domestic violence in the South. In the book, Walker won the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first African-American woman to do so.
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Is it true that the 80s were a time to celebrate everything that went well? Is it true that the 80s were also a time to be confused when things went wrong? It is about a family that has a lot of baggage to unpack, and a therapist who gets caught up in their mess. Pat Conroy wrote the book in 1986.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck had a view of the world that no other American writer of her time had. She grew up in rural China. The Good Earth is the story of Wang Lung, a poor farmer who doesn’t work very hard but ends up rich by chance. As a wealthy father, he has a hard time teaching his kids about morals. Buck won the Nobel Prize for Literature soon after he finished the trilogy in which The Good Earth is the first book.
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
In the past, the title has been used to describe an agonizing choice, but we won’t tell you what it is here. The book’s title isn’t the only thing that caused a stir. It focused on the suffering of Christian Slavs in Auschwitz and emphasized anti-Semitism as a cause of the Holocaust.
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
There are a lot of books about WWII on this list, and we know there are a lot. This one might be the most scary of them all. It’s about a boy who goes around the countryside and tries to get away from the Nazis. He sees and is subjected to depravity and violence that the reader will have a hard time picturing.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Among American writers of the 20th century, Roth was one of the most ambitious and prolific. Some say that American Pastoral is his best work. Seymour “The Swede” Levov was born in 1927, and the book looks back at his birth from the 90s. It focuses on how the social upheaval of the 60s and 70s breaks his perfect family apart in ways that he tries to ignore through the last decades of his life.
Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion
You can find Joan Didion’s books, as well as cool and ice cold. Maria has a mental health crisis because of the end of her career, constant anxiety about her young daughter’s mysterious illness, and the deaths of her parents and a close friend. She is institutionalized in a mental hospital in Los Angeles. Didion is known for writing non-fiction about Southern California that made her famous. This novel shows Hollywood glamour and empty pleasures in a way that connects it to her work.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
A classic of Southern American literature that demands to be read on hot summer days. As a book, it’s not really a single story but a series of short stories about a small, memorable group of people, with two friends, John and Spiros, at its heart. Somehow, even though this book was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club in 2004, it still feels like a secret for serious readers to tell each other.
Baise-Moi by Virginie Despentes
If Virginie Despentes, a former sex worker and punk, hadn’t written Baise-Moi, we won’t know if Stieg Larsson could have written The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo if she hadn’t written the book. It’s a revenge fantasy about two young women acting out their rage in a spree of sexual violence. A new type of French literature was born because it was written by women who were angry. It also spawned a very controversial movie.
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby
In six parts, Last Exit to Brooklyn is written in a casual style that paints a picture of life in a small part of Brooklyn that is now called Sunset Park. It shows how people live there now. As they try to make a living, they fight with each other and raise kids. They also try to get by. British people thought it was bad, and the book was banned for a long time.
If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
Calvino’s masterpiece is a joke for some people, but it’s the kind of joke that makes you laugh even if you can’t stop. Is this a story about you trying to read a book called “If On A Winter Night A Traveler”? No, this story is about you trying to read the book. Is it a spoiler if we tell you how it ends because you’re already in the movie?
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
In the 14th century, during a meeting to settle a religious dispute, a number of people are killed. Book thefts, too. What does a medieval murder investigation need? Every way to find out about something for these monks leads right into the library. Eco is Calvino’s yang to Eco’s yin. Eco is smart and bookish, and Calvino is fun and silly.
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago
José Saramago, a Portuguese writer, took the idea that Jesus Christ was a real person all the way to the modern day in this realistic novel. If Jesus was born and raised to be a carpenter, what did his family think about him preaching about God? He also had a lot of people who were poor. Was he always sure how his life would go, or did he have to make decisions and have doubts? It was no surprise that the book caused a stir. Some people were moved by the book’s humanity, while others were offended by its down-to-earth depiction of a sacred story.