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1. A LITTLE LIFE, HANYA YANAGIHARA
Four male college friends navigate adulthood in this gripping novel, which explores both the long reach of childhood trauma and the balm to be found in everyday pleasures, in particular the many varieties of love. Sometimes shockingly dark yet somehow never depressing, it's extraordinary.
2 of 10
2. THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, ELENA FERRANTE
The only flaw in this fourth installment of Ferrante's Neapolitan novels is that it brings the series to a close. Like its predecessors, Child focuses on the lifelong, rivalrous friendship between two girls born poor in Naples who alter their stations in very different ways. It's not necessary to have read the first three to love it – but don't miss that treat.
3 of 10
3. BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME, TA-NEHISI COATES
What does it mean to be a black man in America today? Coates set out to explain his heritage, lay bare the ever-present dangers and share his hopes for change with his son. His searing, transformative book is a must-read for us all.
4 of 10
4. A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD, ANNE TYLER
In her 20th novel, our master chronicler of the quotidian turns her sharp eye and forgiving wit on the Whitshanks of Baltimore, "who, like most families … imagined they were special." In Tyler's hands, of course, they are.
5 of 10
5. BECOMING NICOLE, AMY ELLIS NUTT
Wayne and Kelly Maines named their twin boys Wyatt and Jonas – and then Wyatt told them he was meant to be a girl. A profoundly moving true story about one remarkable family's evolution.
6 of 10
6. ROSEMARY, KATE CLIFFORD LARSON
JFK's mentally disabled sister, who underwent a disastrous lobotomy arranged by her father, has long been a dark Kennedy secret. Larson brings her into the light.
7 of 10
7. THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE, ANN PACKER
A riveting novel about how family molds us – for good and ill – and the grace that comes with forgiveness.
8 of 10
8. BOYS IN THE TREES, CARLY SIMON
The men, the music, the pain that came with fame – Simon's smart, frank memoir is impossible to resist.
9 of 10
9. SINGLE, CAREFREE, MELLOW, KATHERINE HEINY
Stories about modern love that will make you wince and laugh out loud. Perfection.
10 of 10
10. BLACK FLAGS, JOBY WARRICK
Here's a timely, essential read that's also edge-of-your-seat dramatic: Pulitzer winner Warrick's brilliant exploration of the rise of militant Islam.