Jackie’s Favorite Adult Fiction

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So, it’s no secret that I’m a YA junkie, but I still have adult novels that I adore (like, head-over-heels-feeling-giddy-and-lightheaded adore):

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
This is the story of Reuben Land, who– along with his father and sister– set out on a journey to find Reuben’s outlaw brother Davy.  Filled with his sister Swede’s hilarious epic poetry and his father’s deep faith, this story is some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read.
Recommended for: anyone who loves literary fiction, parents, folks from the Midwest, readers looking for a masterful roadtrip book

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
If you click here, you can read my desperate plea for people to read this incredible grown-up fairytale.
Recommended for: people who want the meat of fantasy, not the candybar version (i.e. vampire lit), people who love incredible writing, people who just plain-and-simple love story

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book is richer than chocolate.  It has magic and competition and romance– and it avoids all cliches.  It is a sensory extravaganza.
Recommended for: people who love Harry Potter and are ready for magic from a grown-up perspective, anyone who values great imagery

C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hiddeous Strength
In general, I’m not a big sci fi fan.  But then there’s C.S. Lewis sci fi, a whole different breed.  It’s like mixing deep thoughts, deep theology, and deep space into a hearty stew.  Each book is better than the one that came before it, so don’t stop reading!
Recommended for: fans of C.S. Lewis, deep thinkers, people who love theology, readers who love rich writing

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Forget Grapes of Wrath– this is Steinbeck’s magnum opus.  This is the story of Adam Trask, his brother Charles, and Adam’s sons Aron and Cal.  It’s a re-telling of the story of Cain and Abel, mixed with Steinbeck’s own history, and it is brilliant.
Recommended for: people who enjoy generational stories, theologians, connoisseurs of fine writing 

Rosie by Anne Lamott
I wanted to add another contemporary writer to this list, and Anne Lamott is one of the best out there.  While I think her truest forte is in memoir writing, she still writes incredible fiction.  Rosie is the first book of a trilogy, but it can also stand alone.  It’s the story of Elizabeth Ferguson and her daughter Rosie while Elizabeth is sinking into alcoholism.  It is great.
Recommended for: people who want to laugh and have their heart broken by the same book, readers who want incredible characters and great writing, fans of Anne Lamott’s memoir

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
A work of “theological fantasy” from the best of the best.  A fascinating look at heaven and hell, which uses Dante, Augstine, Milton, and Bunyan as sources.  Brilliant.
Recommended for: Christian thinkers, non-Christian thinkers

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I have to admit here that I’ve only read the 500-page abridged version, but it was fantastic.  What an incredibly well-written story of grace.  I gobbled this one up!
Recommended for: anyone who loves the classics, anyone who loves grace

I also recommend the following:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Exodus by Leon Uris
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

7 thoughts on “Jackie’s Favorite Adult Fiction

  1. I’ve been looking to expand my horizons lately (I’m another YA junkie). This list comes at just the right time! So far I’ve put The Night Circus and The Last Unicorn on my list. Time to hit the library!

      • I just reserved The Night Circus from the library 😉 None of the libraries I go to seem to have The Last Unicorn (one of them tried to offer me Scrubs season 4 instead). I’ll continue hunting for it, or maybe reward myself after Camp NaNo 😀

        I’d love to be part of Opus! I need a break from my WIP every now and then, which is why I occasionally write flash fiction using one of 100 themes. Your project sounds fun and I’m always keen to see what other writers come up with. Come me in! 🙂

        Quick question: can we post the piece at any time of the theme’s month, up till the next month starts? Or is it a one day thing, on the 1st? 🙂

  2. I’m so excited to see some love for Les Mis! So many write it off as one that everyone has read and there’s nothing else to say about it. Sure, there’s probably not much that hasn’t been said about it, but there is still so much to love. Great list.

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