13 Authors You'll Definitely Want To Binge-Read Over Your Next Long Weekend

There are few things I love more in this world than the expanse of four or five days of schedule-free bliss, and a stack of books on the coffee table. Sure, I’m not going to say no to some chocolate, if it happens to be sitting in a bowl next to my TBR pile — but that’s pretty much the only thing that could possibly make this scenario any better. This is definitely not the book-cramming study sessions of second semester, senior year finals: No, what I’m talking about is a long weekend of luxurious binge-reading.

Some books are just made to be read in one sitting (or, if you’re tackling some of the lists here, over an extra-long weekend.) Plus, as we approach the final strides of this year’s gloriously lazy days of summer, there’s never been a better time to step away from the DVR and take your entertainment binging outside and into the sunshine, in the form of a good old fashioned book or two. Or seven.

Move over Netflix, because I hear binge-reading is the new binge-watching, and these 37 titles make up a great list of binge-worthy books, just perfect to get you started on your own marathon reading session. Don’t forget the snacks! And maybe some Band-Aids for those paper cuts.

Image: Susana Fernandez/flickr

Alexandra Fuller

You’ll want to start with Alexandra Fuller’s gotta-read-it-to-believe-it memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, about growing up in war-torn Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1970s, and traveling the African continent with her family, before diving into Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, and Leaving Before the Rains Come — which focus on Fuller’s mother, the formidable “Nicola Fuller of Central Africa,” and Fuller’s own marriage, respectively. These three personal stories describe a strange and wonderful family, and bring alive the landscape of Africa in a totally binge-read-worthy way.

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Jonathan Safran Foer

Although the plots of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close aren’t connected to one another, Foer’s addictive storytelling is what makes these two novels binge-worthy reads. Everything is Illuminated will take you to Ukraine, alongside protagonist Jonathan Safran Foer (no relation,) as the unlikeliest cast of characters help him solve a decades-old mystery. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close introduces you to 9-year-old Oskar Schell, who goes on the journey of a lifetime across New York City, in the wake of his father’s 9/11 death. These are characters you’ll definitely miss once your weekend binge-read is over.

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Gillian Flynn

If you thought you had a hard time putting down Gone Girl , just wait until you dive into the equally thrilling Sharp Objects , and Dark Places — a literary trifecta of suspense that will keep you turning the pages of these three novels all weekend long (yeah, you should probably read Gone Girl again, in true binge-read style.) Sharp Objects tells the story of journalist Camille Preaker, whose life story is told through the tattoos inked across her body; while Dark Places will take you into the past and present of Libby Day, a woman who may have falsely accused her brother of murdering the rest of her family, when she was only 7.

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Joan Didion

Take a literary journey to the California of yesteryear, in a way you only can with writer Joan Didion as your tour guide. Slouching Towards Bethlehem tells of the bizarre, tumultuous end of the 1960s, as experienced in California, journeying from Hollywood to Haight-Ashbury. The White Album will bombard you with the social and political ironies of 1970s America, acquainting you with the Manson family, and The Doors, the Black Panther Party, and the mysterious figure of oil tycoon and art collector J. Paul Getty. Complete your Didion-binge with Where I Was From, one of her more recent titles, in which the writer explores her personal history, with that of California’s.

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David Rhodes

Filled with rough characters and beautiful writing, the novels of David Rhodes will take you to the sleepy communities of northern Midwest America, where life isn’t always as placid as it seems. Driftless and Jewelweed take place in a rural, off-the-map town where an offbeat cast of characters grapple with everything from corrupt dairy farm co-ops to serving prison time. Rhodes’ characters struggle to live and love and sometimes just get by — and will have you rooting for them on every page.

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Jeannette Walls

Author Jeannette Walls writes strong women in a way that will definitely inspire a binge-read-worthy addiction to her stories. Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle , tells of her gypsy childhood, ruled by a father and mother as erratic and irresponsible as any two parents could be. Follow that page-turner with her other works: Half-Broke Horses , Walls’ imagined tale of her grandmother’s life; and The Silver Star , a novel about two young girls learning to make their way in an unfamiliar landscape, after being abandoned by their mother. This is your ultimate girl-power binge-read list.

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Barbara Kingsolver

The list of binge-worthy books by writer Barbara Kingsolver is pretty long, but I definitely recommend starting with The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven, two novels that follow Kentucky-born and bred Taylor Greer, whose spirit for temporary wanderlust takes her on a permanent journey she never would have expected. As Taylor travels from rural Kentucky to urban Arizona, she finds herself a mother twice over, and grapples with the fact that responsibilities and reliability were never part of her plan.

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Erik Larson

Few writers today make history come alive as vividly as does Erik Larson, the author of the truly unparalleled Devil in the White City , In the Garden of Beasts , and his most recent title, Dead Wake , among others. The first, Devil in the White City, will take you to 1893 World’s Fair Chicago, where an un-captured serial killer reigns. The second, In the Garden of Beasts, to 1933 Berlin, during the rise of the Nazi party. Finally, Dead Wake tells the disastrous story of luxury ocean liner Lusitania’s journey through the war-torn waters surrounding Great Britain. No matter what in order you binge-read these three titles, you won’t want to put a single one down.

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Chelsea Handler

Get ready to laugh your way through a binge-read weekend with literally anything written by comedienne and tell-it-like-it-is gal pal Chelsea Handler. My Horizontal Life will take you back to those hilariously cringe-worthy last years of college (and, you know, maybe a couple years after college, too) in a way that will leave you both laughing, and wanting to cry ever so slightly. Follow this one up with literally any other title of Handler’s. I recommend Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea , and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang ; because seriously, we’ve all been there.

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Madeleine L’Engle

This five-book series by Madeleine L’Engle, beginning with A Wrinkle in Time and ending with An Acceptable Time , is just as interesting now as it was when you read it as a tween. Fantasy, time-travel, whimsical creatures, outerspace, and adventure abound. What’s not to love? Plus, reading five books in one weekend will make you feel all kinds of accomplished.

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David Foster Wallace

You’re going to want to set aside your whole weekend for this single title — at a whopping 1,079 pages, you can binge-read and workout your triceps at the same time with David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest . Fittingly, this novel is all about addictive entertainment. Let’s hope your own weekend book binge doesn’t go as awry as these characters’ love of entertainment does.

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Zadie Smith

Author Zadie Smith writes beautifully about clashing cultures and intersecting histories. White Teeth tells the story of Londoner Archie Jones, whose own suicide was decided at the flip of a coin, and Samad Iqbal, a Muslim Bengali who has the somewhat thankless task of being Archie’s best friend. If you can squeeze it into the weekend, follow up this title with Smith’s On Beauty , about the failing marriage of Englishman Howard Belsey and his African American wife, Kiki, and their three children who seem to be entering relationships as complicated as that of their parents.

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John Steinbeck

Although perhaps best known for the tome The Grapes of Wrath , John Steinbeck’s writing also includes a great list of shorter titles, perfect for a binge-reading weekend. Tortilla Flat is Steinbeck’s retelling of the classic tale of Camelot, circa early 1900s Monterey, California. Once you’re done with that, you’re going to want more, so move on to Of Mice and Men , which, at a humble 103 pages, tells the story of friends and migrant workers George and Lennie as they try to survive the Great Depression in a dry California landscape. The Red Pony will take you to a rancher’s life, in northern California, where Joey builds a heartbreaking relationship with a strong-headed pony named Gabilan. Cannery Row features a rag-tag group of unemployed young men, living in Monterey, California. And finally, all 87 pages of The Pearl tells the story of Kino, a pearl diver with all the qualities of a great folk hero. See how many you can get through in one weekend.

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