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The Best Joyce Carol Oates Books

Updated September 15, 2021 521 votes 173 voters 10.4k views62 items

List RulesVote for the Joyce Carol Oates novels you just couldn't put down. If you haven't read a book, don't downvote it.

List of the best Joyce Carol Oates books, ranked by voracious readers in the Ranker community. With commercial success and critical acclaim, there's no doubt that Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most popular authors of the last 100 years. Oates is a prolific author who has published over forty novels and has received many prestigious awards for her fiction. If you're a huge fan of her work, then vote on your favorite novels below and make your opinion count. This poll is also a great resource for new fans of Joyce Carol Oates who want to know which novels they should start reading first. With memorable characters and excellent storytelling, there's no reason why you shouldn't check out her work if you're a big reader.

The list you're viewing has a variety of books, like Black Water and Blonde, in it. What are Joyce Carol Oates's best novels? Vote on this list and help us definitively answer that question.
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    Blonde is a bestselling 2000 historical novel by Joyce Carol Oates that chronicles the inner life of Marilyn Monroe, though Oates insists that the novel is a work of fiction that should not be regarded as a biography. It was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Rocky Mountain News and Entertainment Weekly have listed Blonde as one of Joyce Carol Oates's best books, and Oates herself has said that Blonde is one of the two books for which she thinks she will be remembered....  more
    • Author: Joyce Carol Oates
    • First Published: 2000
    • Subjects: Literary, Marilyn Monroe, Entertainment, United States of America, Performing arts
    • Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
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  • We Were the Mulvaneys is a 2002 American TV movie written by Joyce Eliason, starring Beau Bridges, Blythe Danner and Tammy Blanchard, and directed by Peter Werner. It is based on the book of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. It was nominated for three Emmys. The movie was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada....  more
    • Author: Joyce Carol Oates
    • First Published: 1996
    • Subjects: Literary, Literature, Classics, Literary criticism
    • Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
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  • A Garden of Earthly Delights is a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, published by Vanguard in 1967. It was her second book published and it inaugurated the so-called Wonderland Quartet. It was a finalist for the annual U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. A Garden sets out to explore social class in America and the inner lives of its youngsters. It follows heroine Clara Walpole, a very beautiful daughter of a Kentucky-born farmer. The novel brings to life Clara's ill-fated life and the four men who shaped it: Clara’s father, an utterly bitter hard-working migrant farm worker; Lowry, who whisks the teenage Clara away and tempts her with love; Revere, a wealthy married business man who gives Clara...  more
    • Author: Joyce Carol Oates
    • First Published: 1967
    • Genres (Book): Naturalism, Speculative fiction, Fiction, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
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  • The Gravedigger's Daughter is a 2007 novel by Joyce Carol Oates. It is her 36th published novel. The novel was based on the life of Oates's grandmother, whose father, a gravedigger settled in rural America, injured his wife, threatened his daughter, and then committed suicide. Oates explained that she decided to write about her family only after her parents died, adding that her "family history was filled with pockets of silence. I had to do a lot of imagining." The novel was completed in the early 2000s but its publication was repeatedly bumped in favor of releasing new Oates novels "her American publisher believed were more 'controversial', such as Missing Mom." The novel's epistolary...  more
    • Author: Joyce Carol Oates
    • First Published: 2007-06-01
    • Genres (Book): Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
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