20. The Bell Jar (1963)
Author: Sylvia Plath
Plath had already been writing for a decade when she enrolled in Smith College. She had been writing poems from the age of 8 and completed dozens of short stories by time she turned 18. Like the protagonist of the novel, Plath suffered from depression. Plath attempted suicide on several occasions before putting her head in an oven while her children were in the next room. The Bell Jar is still widely read today, but her collection of poems, Ariel, has garnered her far more critical praise.