East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Rating: [3 - literary fiction] (see explanation of ratings here)

I have not read a lot of literary fiction, but that said, East of Eden will stick with me and is one of the best books I've ever read, in that genre or otherwise. Steinbeck strikes a balance between the concise style of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy (which I love) and the more typically wordy language you find in most literary fiction (which I like much less) and overall it was very enjoyable to read. I pushed through the first 20% (which in hindsight did a great job setting up everything else) and the rest was easy. I think most people will find this book deep and thought-provoking, which appears to have been his intention. I would recommend to anyone (probably most relevant to people that grew up in America vs. elsewhere), though I think people would appreciate it the most after their twenties, when they've gotten over any teen angst and early twenties naivete, and become more attuned to the reality of the world. Towards the end, provides as perfect a description of Americans as you could find.