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Top 10 Contemporary Classics

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Ten books that have withstood the test of time, yet are recent enough to be called Contemporary Literature, these Contemporary Classics are a bare-bones reading list, essentials or must-reads. Any such list is purely subjective, of course, and one must soon choose for him or herself what makes the top ten, but this list would start you on your way to a solid background in Contemporary Literature. The list is alphabetical, not preferential.

1. A Passage to India, E. M. Forster

A Passage To India
Just below the surface of everyday life crouches the menace of misunderstanding. A common one springs up, then explodes into a destructive affair as cultures clash in turn-of-the-century British India.
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2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Brave New World
A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece.
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3. Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged.
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4. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

The hilarious and tragic story of Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged Russian man who feels passion only for young the "nymphet" Dolores Haze, whom he renames Lolita.
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5. Lord of the Flies, William Golding

A group of boys are stranded on an island in the allegorical novel.
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6. On the Road, Jack Kerouac

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
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7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,, Ken Kesey

A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the novel chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Big Nurse.
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8. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, alive with unforgettable men and women, and with a truth and understanding that strike the soul.
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9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

The Color Purple is one of the most successful and controversial books ever written by a black woman. It was an international bestseller, won both the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1985 was made into a much-discussed movie directed by Steven Spielberg.
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10. The Rainbow, D. H. Lawrence

Pronounced obscene when it was first published in 1915, considered to be one of Lawrence’s finest novels, it explores the complex sexual and psychological relationships between men and women in an increasingly industrialized world.
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