EW Staff
July 02, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Justin Cronin (author of The Passage)
Birdsong Sebastian Faulks ”It’s one of the most harrowing war novels I’ve ever read, and also a deeply romantic story of thwarted love.”
Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry ”I first read McMurtry’s great epic of the West on a trip to Italy many years ago. For three full days I lay in bed in my hotel, lost in the story, while outside my windows, the glories of Rome went on without me.”
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood ”The greatest dystopian novel since George Orwell’s 1984, hands down.”

Terry McMillan (Getting to Happy, her sequel to Waiting to Exhale, comes out Sept. 7.)
Glorious Bernice L. McFadden ”I’m a big fan of hers and love how she blends reality with fiction.”
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez ”I read it in college, and the impact and power of magic realism is unsurpassed. I try to read this at least every five years.”
The Prince of Frogtown Rick Bragg ”I don’t like a lot of memoirs, but Bragg writes them like a novelist. I love his Southern voice and relate to the folks in his life. They could’ve been my family.”

Kathryn Stockett (author of The Help)
Ellen Foster Kaye Gibbons ”Old Ellen is the wittiest and most courageous character in contemporary Southern fiction — and she’s only 11 years old.”
City of Thieves David Benioff ”To me, it’s the perfect novel. A killer adventure set in World War II Leningrad.”
Backseat Saints Joshilyn Jackson ”I love reading about smart, flawed, and ultimately wise women, like Rose Mae [the main character].”

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