Back in July Amazon opened up its Kindle Unlimited subscription service to the U.S., throwing their hat in the ring to be the “Netflix of books.” For just $9.99 a month, users can access over 700,000 e-books on their Kindle e-readers, through the Kindle app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry, or on their desktop.
Having access to this library is a boon for bookworms—that is, if they can figure out what to read. With so many titles to choose from and, frankly, quite a few duds, the choices can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve dug through their fiction selection to find the best books on Kindle Unlimited for you to download.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
Often named one of the best novels of the 20th century, McCullers’ modern classic debuted when she was just 23. The story follows a deaf man named John Singer and the friends he makes in a small Georgia town in the 1930s. Singer’s life changes when he is separated from his mute companion and meets heroine Mick Kelly, a tomboy who loves music.
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman (1965)
This novel is the original “young idealistic teacher fights bureaucracy and small budgets in an inner-city school” tale, but it’s told through inter-office memos, students’ notes, suggestion box ideas, and lesson plans. After spending 64 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list when it debuted, it was adapted into a film in 1967, becoming an instant classic.
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman (1973)
Yes, your favorite 80s adventure-romance-comedy-fairy tale flick was once a book. The novel was beloved so much (by all ages) that the movie rights changed hands so many times it took 15 years to complete. Want to read Goldman’s “abridgement” of the fictional Morgenstern tome for yourself? Amazon says, “As you wish.”
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (1995)
This bizarre novel follows a professor and writer, Grady Tripp, struggling to finish the follow-up to his award-winning novel. When his life starts falling apart, he becomes involved in a strange crime committed by one of his students involving a Marilyn Monroe collectible. Kindle Unlimited holds plenty of Chabon, including his debut, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
Exploring some of the themes that made her story collection Interpreter of Maladies a Pulitzer Prize-winning hit (also available on Kindle Unlimited), Lahiri’s first novel visits Calcutta, Boston, and New York City. The story follows a Bengali couple who move to the U.S. and all the cultural conflicts they experience in their new life.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2006)
Nine-year-old Oskar is feverishly hunting the matching lock to a key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11th. His mission brings him on winding, funny and touching journey. Safran Foer’s popular debut novel, Everything is Illuminated, is also available.
Pocket Kings by Ted Heller (2012)
If you’re always laughing at people with their heads in their phones or those day-dreaming in cyberspace, then you’ll probably love this satire of online addictions. A cautionary tale, this novel shows what happens when a broke, failing writer becomes obsessed with online poker after he hits a winning streak.
The Art Forger: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro (2012)
This story follows Claire Roth, a young artist who has agreed to forge a long-lost, heisted Degas painting which suddenly re-appeared in exchange for a solo gallery show. Things get twisted, however, when she suspects that the famous Degas itself is actually a forgery.
The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni (2013)
Take every teenage love story and turn it on its head, and you’ve got this tale about 17-year-old Sheila and a man who calls himself Peter Parker. The would-be Spider-Man convinces the lost soul to stage a robbery and skip town with him to begin a new life together—and she agrees. It only gets weirder from there.
Want Not by Jonathan Miles (2014)
This interweaving story of three different lives explores our world’s feelings of want and desire. A freegan couple living in New York City, a once-successful linguist fallen from grace and losing his marriage, and a self-made man who makes his money by squeezing it from others all collide for an ending you won’t forget.