The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

The Things They Carried
256 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I resisted reading this incredibly evocative novel because I was afraid it was some male, gruff kind of story in which soldiers in Vietnam describe the kinds of weaponry they use, like lists of different types of grenades. But my oldest friend babbled about it constantly, so I dug in. In one of the more wrenching scenes, Tim, the narrator, befriends the ghost of a little girl. He asks her what it's like to be dead, and she says it's like being a book on a shelf that no one wants to read. It's a terrifying thought—being forgotten—and O'Brien encapsulates it so brilliantly.
— Amanda Peet