50 fiction recommendations from the last 5 years

Today, I start working part-time my favorite bookstore – Changing Hands in Phoenix. I am incredibly stoked because I love bookstores. I often spend any free time that I need to kill at a local indie or at Barnes & Noble. I even worked at BN in Augusta, Maine and Tempe, Arizona (where I dated someone at each one… so there’s that).

For nearly three years, now I have interviewed authors for various sites including Electric Literature and the Millions. I’ve provided some reviews and criticism as well; mostly at Writer’s Bone. If you didn’t already know, I love books. Now that I am going to be on the front lines of the book world a few days a week, I went through my favorite works of fiction – mostly novels, but some short story collections as well – so I could be ready to suggest some works people may have missed.

In collecting ten books each from 2013-2017, I realized a lot of the books I love were the heavy hitters from the year. My taste does tend to favor those modern canon literary writers. Still, I truly believe the general reader would love these books. The bolded books are my absolute favorite from that year and I sincerely believe anyone will enjoy them regardless of taste or preference. Then at the very end stay tuned for a bonus section of my favorite two non-fiction picks from each year.

2017

American War by Omar El Akkad
Exit West by Moshin Hamid
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (interview)
The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead by Chanelle Benz (interview)
One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel (interview)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (interview)
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

2016

Another Brooklyn by Jaqueline Woodson
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan (interview)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (interview)
Moonglow by Michael Chabon (interview)
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan
The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (interview)

2015

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (interview)
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
In the Country by Mia Alvar
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradel (interview)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Mislaid by Nell Zink (interview)
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (interview)

2014

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

2013

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Life After Life by Kate Atkins
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Tenth of December by George Saunders
We Need New Names by NoViolent Bulawayo

Bonus: a non-fiction pick (or two) from each year

2017: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
2016: Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance, Evicted by Matthew Desmond
2015: Negroland by Margo Jefferson, Between the World and Me by Ta-Neshi Coates
2014: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
2013: Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

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