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11 Books You Can't Put Down No Matter How Hard You Try

When I’m really into a book, silly things such as sleep or food sometimes fall by the wayside. I mean, who cares about getting a solid eight hours when your favorite characters are struggling in life-or-death situations? You can’t just leave them hanging! If you have similar sentiments about fictional people on the page, then there are plenty of books you won't be able to put down.

Whether you are into love stories, mysteries, or dystopian future thrillers, there’s a riveting read out there for you. These books will hold your attention late into the night, but I promise the next day’s book hangover will be well worth your time. After all, few things are more fun than getting lost in another world for a few hours.

So if you choose to go for one of these reads, don’t blame me if you’re compelled to read it during lunch, your commute, and even while waiting in line at the grocery store. Some stories just call out for your attention until you see them out to their end. If you’re ready to walk in someone else’s shoes for a few hundred pages, consider one of these addictive and compelling stories.

1. 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander features a time-traveling protagonist, compelling love story, and  fantastic historical settings. This adventure spans centuries, but you might knock out the whole novel in a couple sittings.

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2. 'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One takes place in a future where many people retreat into a virtual world to escape reality. The protagonist Wade Watts decides to take on a game — and loads of 1980s pop culture references — to break out of his everyday life.

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3. 'Luckiest Girl Alive' by Jessica Knoll

Billed as a great read for fans of Gone Girl, Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive is filled with secrets, intrigue, and a few mean girls. Will you figure out the twist ahead of time?

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4. 'A Dirty Job' by Christopher Moore

With wry humor and a fast-paced plot, Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job follows protagonist Charlie Asher, an unlikely new recruit as a Death Merchant. This wildly imaginative tale will hold your attention as Charlie learns the trade of souls.

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5. 'The Mare' by Mary Gaitskill

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill is a coming-of-age story that pairs a girl from the inner city with a host family in upstate New York and a horse. This  story takes on the perspectives of many different characters in a masterful and compelling way.

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6. 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a literary take on the dystopian future theme, and it is also a poignant portrait of a father's love for his son. Because the characters are in mortal danger for basically the entire book, you will be hard-pressed to take a break from this one.

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7. 'The Life We Bury' by Allen Eskens

In The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens, the protagonist is a college student tasked with completing an interview for a school assignment. His subject — a Vietnam veteran and convicted murderer — teaches lessons far beyond the scope of the intended lesson.

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8. 'The Little Paris Bookshop' by Nina George

Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop is a vacation in book form. Enjoy this charming love story set aboard Monsieur Perdu's bookshop in a boat on the Seine.

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9. 'The Secret Chord' by Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks is an enthralling look at the story of King David. If you like rich historical fiction, this is a beautiful choice.

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10. 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion

Charming and funny, Graeme Simison's The Rosie Project details one socially inept man's journey toward love. If you like the idea of a man who crafts a 16-page survey to winnow out potential wives, this read is for you.

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11. 'Mycroft Holmes' by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse

Mysteries are the most difficult to put down genre. And get this: Mycroft Holmes is a mystery set in the Sherlock Holmes universe written by an NBA All-Star. Intrigued?  

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Images: Jim Maloney / Flickr