Loving a story is an amazing thing. There are so many great tales in the world and sometimes it is hard to narrow down what the very best reads are to spend time on. Compounding this concern is the plethora of great long running series of books which have taken over the shelves of local bookstores. While many people have been spending their time on long running tales like A Song of Ice and Fire or Harry Potter, an occasional break from the thousands and thousands of pages is nice. It is time to consider throwing in some one and done novels to give a bit of rapid closure and catharsis. For Singles Day, we're providing a list of some of the best standalone novels for a quick recharge before diving back into that epic series.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
A finalist for the national book award, this novel about a family of carnival performers is one of the most unsettling and heartwarming novels to ever be published. Dunn’s work always pushes the edges of the horrific and beautiful in a sublime perfection. It is unfortunate Dunn passed away in 2012 due to complications of lung cancer, but this novel stands as a monument to a singular talent.
Flatland by Edwin Abbot
More than just a quick cultural reference as one of Sheldon Cooper’s favorite novels from Big Bang Theory, Flatland is a tiny masterpiece. Really more of a novella, this book follows Square, who exists in a world of two dimensions. A treatise on social interactions during the Victorian era, this piece is just as relevant today as it was at the point of its first publication.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
What would it be like to be a modern person sent back to the antebellum South? That is the question Octavia Butler askes in her novel, but with the twist of the lead being a black woman. Where most classic time travel stories follow white, male protaginists, Butler’s work shows the true power of privilege via a captivating science fiction/fantasy framework.
The Stand by Stephen King
An epic battle between good and evil is the crux of King’s massive novel. Post a massive viral outbreak, the world has fallen into disarray, in the new post apocalypse world, the soul of society is teetering on the edge between two groups of people, one of vicious action and the other of kindness and love. War is waged and only one side will survive.
True Grit by Charles Portis
A classic novel of overcoming adversity and finding friends in strange places, True Grit follows a young girl as she joins with a Texas Ranger and a U.S. Marshall to track down the man who murdered her father. This adventure novel, is perfect for anybody, but a perfect match for young independent women seeking a story where they can find themselves represented.
Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore
Alan Moore’s novel is perfect for anybody who loves both history and short stories. Focused on a small town in England, this story takes place over literally centuries unfolding less as a story about people but as a story about place. The heavy focus on setting helps to flesh out the stories of the people who have lived and died in a small British town.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
While vampires see their ebb and flow in the popular culture realm, there are a few vampire stories which are ever present. One of the most powerful vampire tales ever written, I Am Legend follows the last human on Earth as he attempts to survive in a world where every other person on the planet is out seeking his blood. While it was twice adapted to film, this novel is one of the most unsettling reads on the shelves.
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
This novel by one of the most powerful modern writers follows lead character Sidney Poitier as he attempts to navigate his life with the same name as one of the most famous American actors ever. Poitier finds himself stuck reliving moments from some of his namesakes most acclaimed films like In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who is Coming to Dinner. Everett is a singular voice, and one of the greatest satirists writing in modern times.