Some of The Best Realistic Fiction Books I’ve Ever Read

Realistic fiction books are books completely immersed in reality. They hardly use magical things or discover alternative universes. Their central plot, theme, or conflict is around real-life issues. When you read the characters, you can’t help but imagine that they could be you living your life.

10 of the Best Realistic Fiction Books You Should Read

This list is still growing. I will come back to edit it.

1. East of Eden

East of Eden is my favorite among the list of books here. This book makes me think of writing fiction as planning heavily. The plot should be so thought out that you can live through all the lives of the people, cities, and events in the book.

The story is about a family that moves across two generations. We have Mr Trask, who gave birth to two sons, Adam and Charles. We explore their lives. Then, we explore the lives of their two children, Aaron and Cal. These two generations of men have interesting lives and complexities that make the author look like a magician — a genius. In short, this one is an amazing realistic fiction book.

You can read my review of the East of Eden.

2. Americanah

Americanah is a book about the lives of a lady, Ifemelu, and her former lover, Obinze. They moved out of Niageria to America and the United Kingdom, respectively. The story details what they do and how they manage lifestyles and realities outside their place of birth. The book explores culture and how a person can have multiple identities due to living in various places. The book shows that a person can become a third personality if they live in two locations for a long time. Ifemelu, for instance, isn’t a Nigerian anymore. She isn’t an American, either. She is an ‘Americanah.’

Read my review of Americanah.

3. Signature of All Things

Signature of All Things was written by Elizabeth Gilbert, the famous author of Eat, Pray, Love (which is one of the most famous memoirs of the 21st century.)

Maybe it’s because she is good at memoir writing. Signature of All Things came like a documentary of a lady’s life. Her name is Ama Whittaker. She falls in love with plants like her father and goes about the world to find out more about her fascination. Her curiosity leads to heartbreaks, loneliness, love, surprises, adventure, and everything to keep readers on the page.

Elizabeth’s sense of humor and wit render the book a great read. So, this is the one if you want a realistic fiction book with many pages that can keep you going for a week or two.

Laugh, hmm, and explore.

4. Norwegian Woods

When I was younger, I wanted to read books to help me understand people struggling with mental health. Some of the books I got were not impressive, but this one was.

Norwegian Wood is Haruki Murakami’s most popular book. He wrote about three main characters, two boys and a girl. The narrator is attracted to his friend’s girlfriend. When the friend took his own life, the narrator decided to stick by the girl as she was struggling mentally, too.

The best part of the book is how it touches everything or most things young adults go through. Especially mental health. It explores Japanese culture, going to college, and, yes, music.

5. Half of A Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow is a realistic fiction book about the Brianfan War. It’s set in Nigeria some years after its independence.

Chimamanda called it her best work, and we all know why. If you have read it, you have a book with depths about culture, ethnic groups, and history. This book was nominated for many literary awards and won some, including the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The book is about five main characters: a white male who lived in Nigeria at the start of the war, two sisters, a male lecturer who became a key player during the war, and a young boy, Ugwu, who had no choice but to become a soldier later.

6. Verity

Verity made it to the list of realistic fiction books I recommend. Is it a great story? Yes, it is. Is it one of the first writings? Well, that’s up to you.

But if you enjoy stories that move quickly, if you love funny narrators, if you love being engaged by one suspense and another, then this book is worth reading.

An upcoming female author took a job as a ghostwriter for a woman named Verity Crawford. Verity is paralyzed, and her work is incomplete. While the younger author gets work, she has to read Verity’s past work. There, she found her secret first and decided to read it to us. There are lots of secrets to uncover. This narrator is attracted to Verity’s husband. Reading the paralyzed woman’s first gave her more reasons to want the man. Even worse, it gave her more reasons to suspect the man for Verity’s situation.

7. White Teeth

White Teeth is a realistic fiction book about the life of two immigrant friends in America. One is a Muslim. His wife was born as a Jehovah’s Witness. The story moves slowly, diving into each character’s background, especially the exciting love story of how one got married.

The book became exceptionally interesting after the main characters started having kids. The younger generations became ‘rebellious’ of their parent’s ideas or teachings.

8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

A girl has been missing for so many years. Her father detailed all he knew about the sudden disappearance of his daughter since then. He hasn’t given up despite all the years, so one day, he hired a journalist to figure out everything. The father wanted to know if his daughter was still alive. The journalist has some cases in court. His news agency has lost all its clients and is on the verge of closing shop. So, this is not a task for him. It’s a chance to save his source of income.

In another town, there is a mysterious girl. She is exceptionally great at investigation. She is weird. No one knows a lot about her.

9. A Moveable Feast

One of Ernest Hemingway’s most popular books. It is more like a memoir and moving.

Want to read about his life in Paris? He penned everything down with much clarity as seeing the brightest morning sun.

You get to understand the author’s mind when you find out later that he took his own life.

10. A Spell of Good Things

How does our society define us? What does our society demand from us?

A Spell Of Good Things was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2023. It has the spell of keeping you engaged. It spells out the intricacies of what it’s like to be born as a young girl or a young man or to develop into a rich older woman who needs a husband to feel ‘complete.’

Maybe these characters are a lot more typical rather than individual or rare. However, the author is good at marking spells out of words and details. But this is a great a good. The best realistic fiction books do not invent new things. They tell stories about real issues.

For Lovers of Realistic Fiction Books

Of course, this is a small list of realistic fiction books, but a good start if you are new to these types of literature. You will find other types of book recommendations when you check the entire blog.

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