1. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987): One of my favorite bloggers, Ben from Dead End Follies, recommended this one and assured me I would love it. Well, he was right and it still remains my favorite book read so far this year. Norwegian Wood is a book about memory and the memory of love, and how it stays with us even when the one we love is gone. High-five, Ben. Fantastic read.
2. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003): Simply put, I adored this book. The Namesake examines the immigration experience of a Bengali family with a focus on the second generation. It speaks to the psychological disjucture and cultural displacement that is associated with belonging to two very different cultures.
3. Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides (2002): This is a truly amazing book. Middlesex is a novel that is preoccupied with splits and divides; within our identity, our desires, our family, our culture and our place in the world. Beth from Bookworm Meets Bookworm recommended this one - I'm really thankful that all of my favorite book bloggers have great taste in books. (No doubt part of the reason they are my favorite.)
4. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988): Margaret Atwood is one of my top three favorite authors. In Cat's Eye, I read a whole new side of Atwood's and enjoyed every minute of it. Cat's Eye is about growing up and going back home. Per usual, Atwood includes elements of social and feminist comment in her work, exploring the idea of adulthood and questioning whether one can ever truly grow up.
5. How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely (2009): I don't think I have ever laughed so much reading a book than I have while reading this one. A satire of the publishing industry, Hely's novel exposes its hypocrisies, lampooning the majority of today's best-selling authors.
6. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010): Since it won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this book has been talked about quite a bit. Egan connected a multitude of characters over a span on 50 years and explores themes of time and memory, the self-destruction and the disappointments that inevitably ensue as we age, and the redemption and second chances we get to take, if we're lucky. A beautify complicated novel that is not confusing in the least.