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- 1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- 2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- 3. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- 4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- 5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- 6. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
- 7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- 8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- 9. The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
- 10. The Complete Novels of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Looking for popular fiction books to beat boredom? Here are some intriguing and critically acclaimed titles to pick.
If you’re inclined towards thrilling plotlines, lovey-dovey romances, extraordinary adventures, and find it challenging to choose a book for yourself, behold! Here are some exciting paperbacks that will intrigue you as the story progresses. Indulge in a world of drama or pure romance, or unfold a series of events of a gruesome mystery. These books will hold you from the beginning and keep you gripped till the end.
Leave the mundane behind and take your senses for a thrilling ride with these bestsellers in fiction.
Top 10 Fiction Books You Must Read
1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
This psychological thriller by Alex Michaelides narrates the story of Alicia Berenson, who loves her photographer husband. While she cannot even think of hurting him in any way, one late evening, she shoots him five times, never to speak a word after that. Rendering it as a case of diminished responsibility, she is shifted to a forensic unit – the Grove, where she meets Theo Faber. A forensic psychotherapist by profession, Theo takes up her case and begins counselling her but fails to make her speak. After many sessions, Alicia gives her diary to Theo, where she has narrated the whole incident in complete detail. Theo runs through it and finds about Alicia’s past to make her speak about the incident. What started as therapy soon takes her life, but she makes sure to get the culprit caught through a web of words.
The idea to set this novel in a psychiatric unit stuck Alex because he had worked in a psychiatric facility while he was a student.
**Book Fact: The Silent Patient’s plot is inspired by Euripides’ Athenian tragedy – Alcestis. Michaelides rewrote its draft nearly 50 times before getting it published.
2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is one of the most cherished works of the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It revolves around the story of a young shepherd who embarks on a journey to Egypt’s pyramids. The boy – Santiago, believes that his recurring dream of finding hidden treasure is prophetic. He seeks help from a gipsy fortune teller who informs him that he is close to succeeding in his mission. On his way, he meets a king, a robber, an Englishman, and an Arabian girl whom he proposes for marriage. Soon after she tells him to complete his journey first, Santiago meets a wise alchemist who makes him realise his true self.
The Alchemist is an allegorical novel and has several hidden meanings depicted through character development, dialogues, etc.
**Book Fact: Coelho, in an interview, confessed that he wrote this book in only two weeks.
3. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr revolves around Marie Laurie – a girl who went blind at a young age. Her father builds a model of their neighbourhood in Paris for her to memorise and navigate through the streets. Soon the Germans take over the beautiful city, and Marie is forced to flee to Saint-Malo with her father. There she begins broadcasting information to the allies using a radio. On the other side, a German boy named Werner Pfennig is forced into serving the military. Their paths cross at Saint-Malo, where unknowingly, Marie’s broadcasts save Werner’s life, while Werner saves her from a German officer sent to kill her.
This book has a vintage touch in its narrative that enhances the essence of the plot.
**Book Fact: This book won two awards, namely Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, within a year after its publication.
4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This book narrates the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who has been sentenced to house arrest for 32 years. The Russian nobleman is charged as a social parasite before a tribunal, but he refuses to confess. As a result, he is sent back to Hotel Metropol, where he lived in a lavish suite. However, with changes in circumstances, the aristocrat has to shift to an old attic room, only to see his country changing from outside the window.
This book has numerous elements ranging from romance, politics, poetry, parenthood, espionage, and thrill.
**Book Fact: The background of this book is inspired by the author’s own experience at luxury hotels that housed some guests permanently.
5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
With a cranky plotline, A Man Called Ove is sure to leave you chuckling. Ove is a grumpy man who lives in a house alone and thinks idiots surround him in disguise. He gets jitters watching people do things the wrong way and calls them out for it. A man of unwavering conviction, Ove believes in doing everything the right way using old-fashioned methods and is wholly dedicated to doing so. However, a November morning changes everything in his life after a chatty family moves in next door.
This novel is full of many humorous elements that enhance its comical plot.
**Book Fact: The book was originally a Swedish novel titled ‘En man som heter Ove’ published in 2012. The English translation came later in 2013 and made it to New York Times bestsellers 18 months after publication.
6. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Anna Fox lives in isolation. Lost in memories, she has been roaming around her house for the past 10 months. Her window is her only connection to the real world, and she prefers to sit by its side throughout the day. Soon, Russells move into the neighbourhood and things in her life turn around. A perfect and happy family of three, the Russells remind Anna of her own joyful and content life. But an evening makes all the difference, as a scream echoes and rips across the silence. Anna witnesses something truly horrifying. She calls the police only to be told that what she saw was nothing but hallucinations induced by her medication. But she knows that it was all true. Thereafter, she realises that she is being stalked by none other than the youngest Russell.
The Woman in the Window holds numerous thrilling angles and several twists that add to the suspense and mystery of the story.
**Book Fact: The Woman in the Window is a debut novel by Dan Mallory, who writes under the pen name of A.J.Finn. The book is a New York Times bestseller adapted into a feature film that will be the last movie to release under the banner of Fox 2000 label, post its closure.
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells the story of a young Pashtun boy named Amir. He is a native of Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan district and spends his days flying kites with his best friend Hassan – his father’s servant’s son. The novel charts the two boys’ journey. Hop on to know about their tumultuous childhood, their separation after a severe mishap with Hassan, their lives during the Soviet Union military intervention in Afghanistan, and the phase after that. The novel takes numerous twists and turns, revealing Hassan’s brutal murder and honesty till the very end. Events lead Amir to rescue Hassan’s son, and the novel ends with Amir repeating Hassan’s words ‘For You, A Thousand Times Over’. The thrilling plotline is sure to give you shivers down the spine.
The Kite Runner is Khaled Hosseini’s first best-selling book. Based in the latter half of the 1970s, it traces the rise of the Soviet-Afghan war.
**Book Fact: Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner held the title of number-one New York Times bestseller for over two years due to its intriguing plotline. However, the plot also sparked controversies in Afghanistan.
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is a must-read fiction book if you love to read classical literature. The narrative kicks off in a Yorkshire moorland, a setting that lends a gothic touch to this international bestseller. It is a tale of love, religion, duality, and more. The story begins when Mr Lockwood is forced to stay at a farmhouse called Wuthering Heights for a night. Narrated through his diary, Lockwood pens down his supernatural encounter and experiences with strange and unpleasant characters. As his curiosity is piqued, he begs Nelly – a servant who grew up in Wuthering Heights, to unveil the story to him.
This famous novel by Emily Bronte was published in 1847. It has immaculate imagery of gothic elements, moorland farmhouses, ghost apparitions, and more.
**Book Fact: Emily Brontë wrote the book under her pseudonym, Mr Ellis Bell. At that time, women writers had to write under a male pen name to fight society’s inherent sexism and prejudices. This way, they could easily slip through the door unnoticed and get their writing published.
9. The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
One of the most popular books in the Children’s fantasy section, The Blue Umbrella narrates a story about a little girl Binya who lives in a village in Garhwal. She possesses a beautiful blue umbrella that was gifted to her in exchange for her tiger claw pendant. Soon this umbrella catches the attention of a local shopkeeper – Ram Bharosa, who tries to persuade Binya to sell it to him. When she refuses to accept his offer, he tries to steal it but fails miserably. The villagers came to know about it and stop visiting his shop or purchasing from him. Watching the shopkeeper suffer, Binya gives her umbrella to the shopkeeper, mending the relations between her village people and the shopkeeper. Ram Bharosa, in exchange for that umbrella, offers her a pendant with a bear’s claw, and everything turns back to normal.
Ruskin Bond is known for his contribution to children’s fiction. The book was published in the year 1980 and is one of his most famous books.
**Book Fact: After 25 years of its publication, The Blue Umbrella was adapted into a Hindi feature film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The film won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film. Later on, the novel was adapted as a comic book by a famous Indian publisher – Amar Chitra Katha.
10. The Complete Novels of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Remember 221B, Baker Street? Well, this is where it all started. Dive into the world of adventure and mystery with one of the best-known crime investigators across the globe. Put your investigating hat on and find clues to solve numerous mysteries of the literary world with Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Dr Watson.
Hop on to solve twisted tales and master plots with the widely acclaimed detective – Sherlock Holmes.
**Book Fact: When Sherlock Holmes’ stories were being published, Baker Street housed only a few 100 flats. At that time, 221 B, Baker Street was a fictional address. Soon after the street got renumbered came a flood of letters addressed to him. The bank that occupied the premises of 219 – 229 Baker Street had to deploy a full-time secretary to answer all the mails addressed to Mr Holmes.