There’s nothing quite as thrilling as picking up a new book, reading furiously, and then glancing up at the clock realizing it’s 1pm and you really need to stop turning pages right now. Although I’m a voracious reader and often stumble across books that I truly enjoy, that’s something really magical about a book that makes you totally unable to put it down or think about anything else.
Recently my friends and I revived our book club. We tried starting one a year ago, but after several books that no one really enjoyed, we slacked off and eventually stopped. Now that we’re trying again, I’ve been thinking hard about recommending books that I know are totally addictive, even if that means that I read them a second time. These are really great reads for people who struggle to finish a novel, because trust me… you’ll finish it.
1. The Martian by Andy Weir
This one is my most recent addictive read. I started it last Saturday at about 11pm and finished it by Sunday at 11pm. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and had to stop myself from flipping impatiently over the science-jargon to find out what happens, although in all fairness, one of the best parts of this book is how fascinating the science stuff is (says this non-science-y person). The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars and must solve seemingly impossible barriers in order to survive. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it was just turned into a movie by Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon… and it sounds amazing.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I don’t think it will surprise those who read this one (and even those who haven’t) to see it on the list. Like many mysteries, Gone Girl keeps you turning the pages, but what really makes this one unique is your questions about how much you can actually trust the main character, Nick, about the disappearance of his wife. Full of intense relationship drama and pretty psychotic people, its plot twists and overall suspense are a huge part of the reason it skyrocketed into fame. The movie ain’t half bad either.
3. Lexicon by Max Barry
Regular readers know that I’m a huge sci-fi fantasy fan, so it’s pretty surprising this is the only true one of that genre on this list. Lexicon is what I’d call “light sci-fi” in that it takes place in our world with a very small, but very sci-fi twist… words have power over people. And not just the metaphorical kind of power, but the ability to actually hack into people’s brains and control them. Like with Gone Girl, you are constantly wondering who is the real hero and the real villain of the story, and with a plot that hops back and forth in time some, you are constantly puzzling to put together the pieces of what’s actually going on. Plus, I’m a sucker for a fallible female character that you can still really root for.
4. Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel isn’t as much of a true “page turner” as some of the other ones in this list, but regardless I sped through this 500 page book at a very fast clip and became extremely invested in the fate of the main character, Cal. With allusions to Greek mythology, the story follows three generations of a Greek family and depicts the grandparent’s migration from Smyrna to the U.S. and assimilation into American society, as well as their grandchild’s experiences coming to terms with his modified gender identity.
5. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Like pretty much every dog book out there, be prepared to ball your eyes out to this one. What is it about seeing thing from an innocent dog’s perspective that just cuts us to the quick? Enzo is a retriever-terrier is whose owner is a mechanic training to race cars. As his owner goes through the ups and downs of relationships with other humans, Enzo watches with a balance of human-like thoughts and base animal instincts. I’m pretty much already crying as I write this.
What’s page-turner novel that you couldn’t put down?