Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

5 of 5
Almost Paradise
688 pages; HarperTorch
"I reread Almost Paradise at least once a summer," says Weiner of the novel about a half-Jewish Midwestern woman who marries a blue-blooded New Yorker. "I love Jane, who is sort of the ugly duckling girl who gets to marry Prince Charming, and then manages this incredibly successful career. To me it brought together all the things I'd read about outsider girls, and about a world that tells you you're not lovable, and about finding love and success in spite of all that. It's about working to get your own happy ending instead of having it handed to you." 
— As told to Sara Nelson