1. Burroughs, Augusten. Running With Scissors.
This memoir brilliantly succeeds in maintaining a humorous tone while narrating a truly heartbreaking coming-of-age story.
2. Connolly, John. The Book of Lost Things.
Chronicles a young boy grieving over the death of his mother while embarking on a journey through a fantasyland of morbidly revamped fairy tales.
3. Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking.
A master of prose, Didion employs in short and blunt sentences an astonishing memoir about dealing with the death of her husband.
4. Easton Ellis, Bret. American Psycho.
This novel’s bold critique of materialism and pop culture interspersed with a captivating narrative detailing an obsessive-compulsive murderer provides for a killer read.
5. Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Eggers’ memoir about discovering a sense of autonomy in a world of chaos he is suddenly thrust into is both daring and stylistically unconventional.
6. July, Miranda. No One Belongs Here More Than You.
The gorgeous and fluid imagery interlaced with the demoralized characters within this short story collection makes it a true masterpiece of contemporary American fiction.
7. Nelson, Maggie. Jane: A Murder.
The varied poetry-meets-prose dual narrative of this quest for answers and identity makes for a work of postmodern nonfiction genius.
8. Palahniuk, Chuck. Survivor.
A suspenseful, adrenaline filled, and brilliant satire about the sole survivor of a suicide cult’s rise and fall from fame while plotting his own death.
9. Safron Foer, Jonathan. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Capturing 9/11 through the eyes of a child, this illustrious novel uses the tragedy as a gateway for self-discovery and uncovering lost family history.
10. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Warning against the consequences of narcissism, this classic novel intricately blends horror and romance in an unbeatable fashion.