50 Novels Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

It’s a new year, and resolutions are flying left and right — although, it has been two weeks, so certain pledges have probably already crashed and burned. Here’s one that’s always on everyone’s mind, beginning of the year or no: how to be a better person. Well, since science keeps proving that reading literary fiction accomplishes that very fact, why not attack a novel in order to spruce up your heart and mind? After the jump, 50 novels (with a couple cheats) to make you kinder, cleverer, more productive, and a whole lot more open to the experience of others. Check them out and let us know which novels have made you a better person in 2014 or any other year in the comments.


Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee

In Coetzee’s harrowing novel, a disgraced professor retreats to his daughter’s farm in post-apartheid South Africa. He finds no reprieve there, and his journey of redemption is violent and often crushing. Read it to open your eyes to the gray-scale, shifting nature of evil, gain perspective on your life, and to, somewhere in there, find your grace.