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The 30 Best Fiction Books on Blinkist – Literature You Can’t Miss

Join us at Blinkist for an inspiring literary journey through the world's best fiction books. Experience the beauty of literature in short 15-min reads.
by Chris Allmer | Dec 29 2023
The 30 Best Fiction Books on Blinkist - Literature You Can't Miss

At Blinkist, where the passion for reading meets a deep appreciation for the impact of great literature, we’re excited to share a handpicked selection of the 30 best fiction books. These aren’t just any books; they’re transformative journeys that entertain and deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

This list of classical literature summaries represents a blend of timeless classics and contemporary gems, each shining a light on different facets of life, society, and what it means to be human. Join us as we offer a snapshot of these literary masterpieces that promise to enrich, challenge, and inspire.

1. Where the Crawdads Sing

This touching novel blends a coming-of-age story with a murder mystery, set against the backdrop of the natural world. The story of Kya, an abandoned girl who grows up in the marshes of North Carolina, challenges our perceptions of loneliness and the instinct to survive.

Discover the heart of Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing through Blinkist’s book summary. This quick read provides a comprehensive overview of the novel’s poignant themes of isolation, the beauty of nature, and the resilience of the human spirit.

2. The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel takes readers on a journey of self-discovery and destiny.

Following the story of a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago, who dreams of finding treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, The Alchemist is a metaphor for life’s quests and the treasures found not in material possessions but in the experience itself. It’s a story about following your dreams and listening to your heart.

3. The Secret History

A gripping tale of a group of classical students at an elite New England college whose intellectualism leads them to moral decay, unraveling, and ultimately, tragedy. Tartt’s novel is an exploration of beauty and brutality, a study in contrasts.

4. Thunderstruck

In this fiction book, Erik Larson intertwines the lives of two men—a celebrated inventor and a notorious murderer—set against the backdrop of Edwardian London.

Thunderstruck masterfully combines history and suspense, illustrating how their lives collide in one of history’s most intriguing criminal cases. Larson’s work is a testament to the strange ways in which technology and human lives intersect.

5. Dune

Herbert’s science fiction epic is set in a distant future amidst a huge interstellar empire, where politics, religion, and ecology play significant roles. Dune is known for its complex world-building and deep philosophical underpinnings.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”


6. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s masterpiece is more than just a novel; it’s a powerful commentary on race, class, and the loss of innocence in a small Southern town. Set in 1930s Alabama, it follows Scout Finch, her brother Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, as they navigate a complex world of injustice and moral growth.

Explore the depths of this contemporary fiction insights, its powerful themes, and complex characters in just a short read.

7. Don Quixote

Regarded as the first modern novel, Don Quixote is not just a book, but an exploration of life itself. Cervantes’ tale of a delusional knight-errant and his pragmatic squire, Sancho Panza, blends fantasy and reality, offering deep insights into the human condition.

It’s a humorous yet profound journey through the dreams and realities of life.

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?”


8. The Iliad

Homer’s epic poem The Iliad is a cornerstone of Western literature. Set during the Trojan War, it’s a tale of heroism, wrath, love, and the quest for glory.

With its complex characters and vivid imagery, The Iliad not only entertains, but also provides insights into the ancient Greek world and its enduring influence on our culture.

9. The Nightingale

Set in World War II France, The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. This novel is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the harrowing realities of war.

10. Nineteen Eighty-Four

Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, set in a totalitarian future, explores the dangers of oppressive government control and the erosion of individual freedoms. It’s a powerful warning of the devastating consequences of totalitarianism and thought control.

And You might have heard the terms “big brother” or “room 101,” but did you know they come from George Orwell’s novel 1984? If you want to read more about this, check out this Blinkist article here.

11. Lessons in Chemistry

Set in the 1950s, this novel follows Elizabeth Zott, a female scientist in a male-dominated field, who becomes an unlikely TV star. It’s a witty and poignant story about breaking gender norms and finding unexpected paths to happiness.

And if you want to explore this bestseller quickly, take a look at our Blinkist book summary.

12. Beowulf

An epic poem of bravery, heroism, and the fight against terrifying monsters, Beowulf is a cornerstone of Old English literature, offering insight into a world of warriors, dragons, and ancient rites.

13. The Song of Achilles

A retelling of the Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus, this novel reimagines the story of Achilles with a deeply personal and human touch, exploring themes of love, war, and destiny in ancient Greece.

If you’re captivated by this reimagined epic and want to explore its depths further, consider checking out a detailed summary of this fiction book at Blinkist. Our Blinks provide additional insights into its themes and narrative style, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of this classic tale.

14. The Catcher in the Rye

Salinger’s novel is a defining work of the 20th-century American literature, capturing the adolescent angst and alienation of its protagonist, Holden Caulfield, with wit, irony, and sincerity.

Notably, The Catcher in the Rye has also been a subject of controversy, often finding itself on lists of banned books for its bold challenge to societal norms.

If you’re intrigued by such provocative and thought-provoking literature, explore more of these once-forbidden literary treasures in our Blinkist article We read banned books – so you don’t have to.

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”


15. The Kite Runner

A powerful story of friendship, betrayal, and redemption set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Afghanistan. Hosseini’s novel is both a gripping drama and a tender reflection on the ties that bind us.

16. Brave New World

In this dystopian novel, Huxley imagines a future society that is seemingly perfect, but beneath its surface lies a disturbing truth about human freedom and happiness. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of the cost of a utopian ideal.

17. Jane Eyre

Brontë’s novel, featuring one of literature’s most enduring heroines, is a gothic romance that tackles themes of morality, religion, and womanhood in Victorian society with passion and depth.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”


18. Of Mice and Men

A tale of friendship and dreams amidst the harsh realities of the Great Depression, Steinbeck’s novel is both a poignant parable about the human condition and a timeless story of hope and despair.

19. Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is a cherished novel that has captured the hearts of readers for generations. The story, set during the American Civil War, follows the lives of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – as they transition from childhood into womanhood.

With their father away at war, the sisters, under their mother’s guidance, navigate through challenges and joys, shaping their identities and forging their paths in life. Alcott’s portrayal of family, sisterhood, and resilience continues to resonate with readers, making Little Women a timeless tale of personal growth, ambition, and the enduring power of familial bonds.

20. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

This novel delves into the world of video games and the intricacies of friendship, creativity, and the blurred lines between virtual and real in the lives of its protagonists.

21. A Court of Thorns and Roses

A fantasy novel blending romance and adventure, Maas’s story is a modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a world where humans and faeries precariously coexist.

22. Normal People

Rooney’s novel is a deep dive into the complexities of modern love, class dynamics, and coming of age. It’s a nuanced portrayal of two people navigating the intricacies of intimacy and personal growth.

“Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything.”


23. The Great Gatsby

A quintessential novel of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald’s work captures the glamour and disillusionment of the Roaring Twenties, offering a critical look at the American Dream.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


24. The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is a timeless classic that invites readers into a richly imagined world filled with adventure, peril, and discovery. This enchanting tale follows Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving hobbit, who is thrust into an epic quest to recover a lost treasure guarded by the fearsome dragon, Smaug. 

Along his journey, Bilbo encounters various fantastical creatures, including trolls, elves, and goblins. Tolkien masterfully crafts a story that is not only a prelude to his later work, The Lord of the Rings, but also a stand-alone masterpiece of fantasy literature, celebrating courage, friendship, and the unexpected heroism of an ordinary individual.

25. Verity by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover’s Verity presents a gripping and suspenseful narrative that entangles readers in a web of lies, secrets, and ethical dilemmas. The novel centers around a struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, who is offered a job to complete the remaining books of a successful series by the injured author, Verity Crawford.

As Lowen sifts through Verity’s notes and unfinished manuscripts, she uncovers an unfinished autobiography, revealing disturbing truths about Verity’s family.

And if your curiosity is piqued, and you’re eager to delve deeper into this fascinating fiction, explore our detailed article on Verity at Blinkist Magazine. Here, you can indulge in a more extensive exploration of the book, with insights that might even tiptoe around spoilers.

26. The Midnight Library

Follow Nora Seed as she discovers various lives she could have led in the mystical Midnight Library. This fiction book is a profound journey into mindfulness, happiness, and the complexities of decision-making.

For a quick dive into this thought-provoking story, check out the summary on Blinkist. In just 23 minutes, grasp the essence of Haig’s novel and its key ideas.

27. The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters offers a unique and provocative perspective on human nature and spirituality. Written as a series of letters from Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew Wormwood, a novice tempter, the book provides insight into the subtle ways in which individuals can be led astray. 

Through Screwtape’s cunning advice on how to manipulate and corrupt a human soul, Lewis explores themes of temptation, morality, and the constant battle between good and evil. This satirical take on spiritual warfare and the human condition remains a compelling read for anyone interested in philosophical and theological discussions.

28. Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a powerful and intense novel that delves into the depths of human emotions and the complexities of relationships. Set against the bleak and wild landscape of the Yorkshire moors, the story revolves around the passionate and turbulent relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, an orphan taken in by Catherine’s father. 

Brontë weaves a tale of love, revenge, and the destructive power of obsession, exploring the psychological intensity of her characters. Wuthering Heights is renowned for its gothic elements, its exploration of social class, and its innovative narrative structure, making it a standout work in English literature.

29. Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a gripping tragedy that explores the corrosive effects of ambition and power. The play tells the story of Macbeth, a Scottish general whose life takes a dark turn after a prophecy from three witches and the manipulations of his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth. 

As Macbeth ascends to the throne through treachery and murder, he becomes increasingly isolated and paranoid, leading to his tragic downfall. For a succinct understanding of this Shakespearean classic, check out the Blinkist summary of Macbeth.

In a short read, you can grasp the essence of the play’s exploration of power, ambition, and the human condition.

30. American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho is a controversial and provocative novel that satirizes the excesses and superficiality of 1980s American culture. The narrative follows Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and seemingly successful Wall Street investment banker who hides a darker side as a psychopathic killer. 

Through Bateman’s perspective, Ellis delves into themes of consumerism, materialism, and the loss of identity in a society obsessed with appearances. The novel’s graphic depictions of violence and its critique of capitalist values have sparked significant debate and cemented its status as a cult classic in contemporary literature.

As we draw to a close on our exploration of the 30 best fiction books available on Blinkist, it’s clear that this is merely the start of an extraordinary literary journey. Each title, from Where the Crawdads Sing to 1984 and beyond, opens a door to a new world brimming with intriguing characters, captivating stories, and life-changing insights.

With over 6,500 titles spanning both fiction and non-fiction in the Blinkist library, don’t let this be the end of your literary exploration. It’s time to read, to discover, and to be inspired.

Sign up for your free 7-day trial and unlock the doors to the worlds hidden within the best fiction books.

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