Our Favorite Fiction for Real Life

Updated on
April 14, 2024

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time.

There are things to be learned and inspired by everywhere—and that applies to the world's library, too. Textbooks and memoirs of great leaders aren't the only written works that can teach us a lesson or two. Sometimes there's more to learn in a work of fiction than you could ever image. That's what we think, at least. Here's a list of fictional titles we love and learn from:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The story of Victor Frankenstein, “a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.” I chose this book because the older I get and the more life I live, the louder the deep themes in this book become. Plus, the way this book even came into existence (if you don’t know, look it up) makes me want to throw my digital devices and distractions out the window and get on that level.

Lindsay Alexander, Senior Copywriter

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lour: but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before.

Artemis by Andy Weir

Like many others, I LOVED The Martian and all the nerdy details Andy incorporates. They immerse you in the physical realities of what it would be like to actually be on Mars, or the Moon in the case of Artemis. I tell people that this book is Ocean’s 11 meets The Martian. If you take a look at the photo of my books you’ll notice that this one is actually an audiobook! I spend a good deal of time in my car, and because of that audiobooks tend to be my format of preference.

Matt Reed, Creative Technologist

Himmelen er ikke grensen. It means ‘The sky is not the limit.’

The City and the City by China Miéville

This is the book that introduced me to the wild worlds of China Miéville. A detective story set in two different cities that occupy the same geography, it’s a story of balkanization taken to an extreme, the rules we choose to follow and the power of deliberately not seeing what is around us. It’s a power we need to live in cities, but that can make them unlivable as well. Interesting concepts, gorgeous language and ideas that stay with you— Miéville is an amazing writer.

Karla Jackson, Associate Creative Director

She or he might … come back to exactly (corporeally) where they had just been, but in another country, a tourist, a marveling visitor, to a street that shared the latitude-longitude of their own address, a street they had never visited before.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is a big giant metaphor for following your heart. It’s an easy and inspiring read. It’s a classic. Read it at least once.

Ryan Dunlap, Associate Creative Director

‘Everyone believes the world’s greatest lie…’ says the mysterious old man. ‘What is the world’s greatest lie?’ the little boy asks. The old man replies, ‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.’

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