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Contemporary Literature: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Poetry - a riddle wrapped in an enigma swathed...
Poetry is many things to many people. Homer, John Milton, Christopher Marlowe, and of course Shakespeare have each given us enough to fill textbooks. Poems from the Romantic period include Goethe's
Wondering What 'Dramatic Irony' Is? Here's the...
Dramatic irony is when the words and actions of the characters of a work of literature have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters. This is the result of the reader having a greater knowledge than the characters themselves.
10 Top Contemporary Authors to Put on Your...
While it is impossible to rank the most important authors in contemporary literature, here is a list of ten important (English language) authors with some biographical notes and links to more information about them and their work.
Resolution
Resolution is the part of the story's plot line in which the problem of the story is resolved or worked out. This occurs after the falling action and is typically where the story ends.
What's the Definition of Poetry?
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define.
Meet Sherman Alexie: His Biography and Literary...
Sherman Alexie, the son a Spokane Indian mother and a Coeur d’Alene Indian father, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA. Alexie is known not only for his novels and short stories, which debunk the notion of the nobly suffering Indian, he is also a songwriter and film-maker, and the recipient of numerous literary awards and honors.
Unbroken is the powerful story of Olympian and...
When Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner and an American pilot in World War II, crashes his bomber in the Pacific Ocean, he had know idea that he was about to embark on one of the most extraordinary oddyseys ever recounted.
Narrative Arc - What is Narrative Arc in...
Learn more about narrative arcs, also called story arcs, and the four components that make up the chronological construction of the plot.
A widower indie bookseller is at the heart of...
A widower indie bookseller is at the heart of Gabrielle Zevin's uplifting paean to the power of reading.
Falling Action
The falling action in a work of literature is the sequence of events that follow the climax and end in the resolution. This is in contrast to the rising action which leads up to the plot's climax.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
In 'Blink,' Malcolm Gladwell revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. 'Blink' is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant - in the blink of an eye - that actually aren't as simple as they seem.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry...
In 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7) Voldemort's followers have been released from Azkaban as have the Dementors, who now serve the Dark Lord's purposes as well. The Ministry of Magic, now controlled by Death Eaters, has instituted a campaign against muggle-borns that smacks of Nazi Germany, and Harry Potter is dubbed
Swamplandia!
Hilola Bigtree, matriarch of the Bigtree Clan and star of the alligator wrestling show at the family-operated
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance...
In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. If there are only pedants left who care, then so be it. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, Mark Haddon's dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debut novels in years: a comedy, a tearjerker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
In Linchpin, Seth Godin traces the evolution of the workplace, discusses how your own brain sometimes conspires against you, and enlightens us as to the nature of art and gifts.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and the evolution of...
Tsukuru Tazaki must reconcile his differences with four former friends in order to grow out of an emotionally stunted malaise.
The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, 'The Tipping Point,' has exhibited such enormous staying power on the bestseller lists that one supposes that Gladwell harnessed the very principles of social epidemics that he outlines therein. 'The Tipping Point' purports to answer two questions,
Anne Lamott
Ann Lamott, the daughter of the writer Kenneth Lamott, wrote her first novel, Hard Laughter, when her father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Lamott's novels tend to be about love and loss and real life struggles that touch us all, and in her nonfiction, she has explored parenthood, faith, and the craft of writing.
The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' is a short and inspirational parable about the importance of pursuing one's dreams. Originally published in 1988 in the Brazillian author's native Portugese, it has since been translated in close to 70 languages and has become one of the best-selling books in history.
The Leftovers
In Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, it is distinctly Rapture-like when millions of people suddenly disappear from the Earth all at once, and those left behind must account for and deal with their disappearance.
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Mark Helprins Winter's Tale is the story of love, larceny and flying horses during New York’s Belle Epoque,a tale of criminal gangs, indigenous marsh-dwelling tribes and immortal architects delivered inimitably by one of the best storytellers of our time.
Tony and Me
Act One , perhaps the premiere theatre biography, and one of the very best biographies period. Nor is
How to Write a Book Review
The book review falls somewhere between a critical analysis of literature, which tends toward the dry and academic, and the book report, which we associate with the simple book summaries we may have turned in in our younger years. The book review has elements of both of these but is neither. Here are some simple guidelines to crafting a book review.
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the...
A few years ago Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Tony Horwitz found himself at Plymouth Rock
Aleph
In books like The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho speaks of following one's own Personal Legend. In Aleph, Coelho - as the protagonist of this novel - takes his own advice, setting out for a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. But the journey is much larger than even Coelho at first perceives.
"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell
In <i>Blink</i>, Malcolm Gladwell revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. <i>Blink</i> is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant - in the blink of an eye - that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work? Page 2.
Man Booker Prize Winners
The Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. It is not only one of literature's highest honors but quite lucrative as the winner takes home £50,000. Here are the past ten years' Booker Prize Winners.
The Book Thief
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
Need a Laugh? See 10 of the Funniest Books on...
These ten funny books will have you laughing out loud, laughing the milk right through your nose.
The Ghost Map
A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The history of Afghanistan is marked by death, loss and unimaginable grief. And, yet, people find a way to survive, to go on. Ultimately, this is more than a story of survival in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds. It is a story of the unconquerable spirit of a people seen through the eyes of two indomitable women. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 - 2003) of Afghanistan.
Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life
In 'Born to Be Good,' Dacher Keltner marries Eastern notions of kindness and reverence with evolutionary science in order to get at the answer to three salient questions: How can we be happy? What are the origins of kindness? How can we be good? Read more.
Little Bee
'Little Bee' is the story of a tenuous friendship that emerges between a Nigerian refuge girl and a white British magazine editor.
The Game
In cities around the world, men meet in underground
Night
Night is Elie Wiesel’s candid, horrific, and poignant account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.
Margaret Atwood
Known for sharp social commentary delivered via science fiction or speculative fiction, Margaret Atwood's books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays.
The Choice
A review of Nicholas Spark's novel of a life-long bachelor who fears falling in love with a woman who moves in next door.
'The Last Lecture'
Hyperion, April 2008 Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less time than you
A History of the World in 6 Glasses
The last several years have seen an explosion of books that take a limited subject and demonstrate how
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
In The Good Lord Bird, James McBride follows abolitionist John Brown through the last half of the 1850s, culminating in Brown’s raid of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
Rising Action
Rising action is tha series of events that lead to the climax of the story, usually the conflicts or struggles of the protagonist.
Things That Are
Things That Are is a slim collection of nonfiction essays in which Amy Leach turns a playful and poetic lens on the natural world. Leach's writing and Nate Christopherson's accompanying pen and ink drawings are delightful.
Top 10 Contemporary Classics
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 Round House
The Round House, Louise Erdich's fourteenth novel and the winner of the 2012 National Book Award for fiction, is the story of a Native American teenager's investigation of his mother's attack on a North Dakota reservation.
Serena
Set in Waynesville, North Carolina during the depression, Ron Rash's novel 'Serena' traces the story of a wealthy lumber baron and his ruthlessly ambitious wife. Think Lady Macbeth in Appalachia.
Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd is the author of three spiritual memoirs and the modern classic bestseller, 'The Secret Life of Bees,' the coming-of-age spiritual story of a fourteen-year-old girl in the South in 1964 and her black housekeeper.
Outliers
In 'The Tipping Point,' Malcolm Gladwell dissected the phenomena of social epidemics; and in 'Blink,' he discussed the nature of split-second decision-making. In 'Outliers,' Gladwell, the founding father of pop-sociology, examines high-achieving individuals and questions what makes them different from everyone else.
The Historian
A woman finds an ancient book that take her down a path of inquiry trod by her father years before. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler of Wallachia, present day Romania, whose gruesome reign Bram Stoker based his legend of Dracula upon. What lies at the heart of the connection between the historical Vlad and the mythical vampire?
At First Sight
At First Sight needs two grades. The first, 2.5 stars, is for its literary merit. The second, 4.0 for it's appeal to Sparks' legion of fans.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
After Toru Okada loses his cat, his job, and his wife, things go from bad to weird. Surreal visitations from beautiful women, gruesome stories from wartime Japan, and an entryway into a different world deep at the bottom of a well combine with the usual lost cats, jazz music and enigmatic characters in Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
The Corrections
For a laugh, Franzen doesn't hesitate to conjure the most puerile images, such as the walking, taunting
Divine Justice
'Divine Justice' is the fourth in David Baldacci's Camel Club series of novels that have enjoyed immense popularity. Each novel has asked what secrets the federal government is keeping from citizens? It is not paranoia if there really are secrets, and any one of us who has served in certain governmental agencies is very well aware that secrets do exist, some benign, some malignant.
Inkheart
One night Meggie's father, Mo, reads aloud from a book called 'Inkheart,' and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.
Excerpt: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Excerpt
Point of View
: Point of view is the vantage point from which a story is told. In the first-person point of view, the
Conflict
Conflict is the struggle between the opposing forces on which the action in a work of literature depends. There are five basic forms of conflict: person versus person, person versus self, person versus nature, person versus society, and person versus God.
True Notebooks
When Mark Salzman is invited to visit a writing class at Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for Los Angeles’s most violent teenage offenders, he scrambles for a polite reason to decline. He goes—expecting the worst—and is so astonished by what he finds that he becomes a teacher there himself. True Notebooks is an account of Salzman’s first years teaching at Central. Through it, we come to know his students as he did: in their own words.
Climax
Climax is the point of greatest tension in a work of literature and the turning point in the action. In a plot line, the climax occurs after the rising action and before the falling action.
Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell's phenomenal bestseller 'The Tipping Point' (2000) captured the world's attention with its theory that a curiously small change can have unforeseen effect; 'Blink' (2005) is about how we think without thinking; and 'Outliers' (2008) considers the role of environment and cultural heritage in the success of high achievers.
Giller Prize Winners
The Giller Prize is Canada's largest literary prize for fiction, awarding excellence in Candian fiction - long format or short stories - with a purse of $70,000 to the winner and $5,000 to each of the four finalists.
Top 10 Contemporary Lit Must Reads (first 10)
Twenty contemporary literature must-reads, essentials! If you've read all of these, you are well on your way to an honorary contemporary literature degree. This contemporary literature reading list is comprised largely of titles published since 1970. Please visit my Contemporary Classics Reading List for older and more classic contemporary titles.
Roberto Bolano
Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano, widely known for novels such as 2666 and The Savage Detectives, is one of the most highly regarded Spanish language writers of the twentieth century.
Isabel Allende
Chilean Author, Isabelle Allende was born on August 2, 1942 in Peru. In the 1960s and 1970s, Allende
Brick Lane
Monica Ali is like a magician revealing all her secrets. In a time when every Western country is facing off with its Muslim populations, Brick Lane provides its readers a look at a community that, frankly, frightens them. It is, in short, an education.
Deus Ex Machina
: Literally "god in the machine" (or "ghost in the machine" as The Police put it), deus ex machina is
In Cloud Atlas David Mitchell has woven an epic...
From the Chatham Isles in 1850 to 1931 Belgium, from the West Coast in the 1970s to present-day England, and from a Korean superstate of the near future to a post-apocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas ricochets it's way through time, space, and literary genres.
The Secret Life of Bees
In 'The Secret Life of Bees,' Sue Monk Kidd wraps a coming-of-age tale around a search for one's mother, plunks it down into the racially-charged South Carolina of the 1960s and sets it all alight with a dose of feminine spirituality. . It is an inspirational feminist tale with strong female characters.
Kafka on the Shore
In Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami delivers a tour de force of metaphysical reality, powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom.
Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no Mori) stands out among Haruki Murakami’s novels not only because it was the novel that launched Murakami into the literary stratosphere, but because it is a straightforward love-story / bildungsroman devoid of the elements of magical realism typical of a Haruki Murakami novel.
Townie
Townie is Andre Dubus III's no-holds barred memoir of poverty, drugs and violence in the mill towns of Massachusetts. Here, the author lets the reader into the story of his dysfunctional youth and the solace he found in fighting and later, writing.
Rain Gods
Rain Gods is the most clearly literary novel of James Lee Burke's distinguished career as a novelist. After 17 Dave Robicheaux, four Billy Bob Holland, six miscellaneous golden novels and two collections of short stories, Burke has struck platinum. The protagonist is Sheriff Hackberry Holland. He is 74-years-old and suffers from chronic back pain and night terrors due to his Korean War POW experiences. Plus, he has quit drinking and is fending off the attentions of his young deputy.
A New Earth
Plume, 2005 In A New Earth , spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle ( The Power of Now ) advocates
Edward St. Aubyn's acerbic novel takes down the...
Edward St. Aubyn's Lost For Words is an acerbic, baggy novel meant to take down all of the nonsense that surrounds literary prizes.
Top 10 Young Adult Books
Young adult literature is usually characterized by having a young protagonist, a limited number of characters, few subplots, a compressed timespan, and a positive resolution. The YA audience is typically thought to be between the ages of 12 to 19 years, but much YA literature written today, including the Harry Potter books, and Philip Pullman's and Cornelia Funke's work has had crossover appeal to an adult audience.
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
Stephen King's On Writing is half memoir, half instruction to writers, and all love for the craft of writing. As good now in its 10th Anniversary edition as it was when King penned it in 2000, On Writing recounts King's childhood writing efforts and his initial successes, and within its pages, King lays open a toolbox full of advice for writers.
The Year of the Flood
Margaret Atwood is famous for dystopic novels, including the Booker Prize-Winning 'The Handmaid's Tale.' Fans of Atwood's won't be disappointed by 'The Year of the Flood,' which explores environmental and Biblical themes. The plot follows a religious group called the Gardeners who are waiting for what their scripture calls the Waterless Flood.
National Book Award Winners in Fiction
The National Book Awards are presented each year to American authors for work published the previous year in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. These are the past ten years' winners in the fiction category.
David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace is the author of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, Girl With Curious Hair, and Oblivion, a collection of short stories. His essays and stories have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, Playboy, Paris Review, Conjunctions, Premiere, Tennis, The Missouri Review, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction, and he has received numerous awards for his work.
The Secret Life of Bees - excerpt
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Viking Press October
Jennifer Government
Jennifer Government by Max Barry is electrifying with its fast-paced narrative of our consumer culture gone terribly wrong.. Once you pick it up, you won't put it down, and I guarantee you'll never look at your Nikes the same again.
Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith, well known for her internationally-acclaimed debut, White Teeth, is the author of three novels and numerous essays and short stories. She lives part-time in New York and part-time in London with her husband, writer Nick Laird, and their daughter, Katherine.
Naked Economics
'Naked Economics' delivers what it promises to: a basic understanding of core economic principles. And more than that, it’s a good read. If you’re like me and just want to wrap your head around what’s going on in today’s economy, there’s no better place to start than 'Naked Economics.'
He's Just Not That Into You
'He's Just Not That Into You' is not a guide to dating. Aimed at women of a certain class and lifestyle and filling a slim 165 pages, the book serves merely as a calling card for its authors, five-years-out-of-the-dating-pool Sex and the City consultant Greg Behrendt and 41-years-old-and-single SatC] executive story editor Liz Tuccillo.
The Angel Esmeralda
In The Angel Esmeralda, Don DeLillo collects nine stories that he wrote between 1979 and 2011. Individually taken, these nine narratives are tightly-woven masterpieces, but ordered chronologically, they tell a global tale that is simultaneously about how far we've come and how bad it's gotten.
Joshua Ferris spins a wholly original story in...
Paul O'Rourke is a loner unable to properly connect with anyone, mostly as a result of his atheism. But a bizarre series of events opens Paul's eyes to others who think like he does.
Fall of Giants
Ken Follett has created another blockbuster in the vein of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, both of which anchored the bestsellers lists in their time. Fall of Giants is the first book in what Follett has described as
Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon's simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. So begins Book 1 of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy.
David Mitchell
British novelist David Mitchell is known for his non-linear, structurally experimental novels such as Cloud Atlas and number9dream , both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His 2010 novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is an historical novel set at a Dutch East Indies Company trading post in early nineteenth century Japan.
1Q84
A sexy assassin steps out of a traffic jam and into an alternative world which is seemingly being crafted by a young ghost writer in love with this shadowy heroine. Dual moons fille the sky, little people emerge from the mouth of a goat, and time and space bend altogether in Haruki Murakami's opus 1Q84.
Mary, Mary
People make enemies easily in Hollywood. To track down a merciless killer, Alex must navigate a world where the stars and players sip San Pellegrino at the Ivy as hopefuls hover around studio gates armed with 8 x 10 glossies. Everyone is desperate for a close-up, but this is one fan Hollywood could do without. Members of the A-list fear they're next on Mary's list, and the case catapults into blockbuster proportions as Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern.
Summer House With Swimming Pool falls short of...
Summer House with Swimming Pool is a tumescent, amateurish attempt at a beach thriller that painfully tries to articulate the crass male gaze at its worst.
Foil
A foil is a character who serves as a contrast to another perhaps more primary character, so as to point out specific traits of the primary character.
The Winner Stands Alone
Internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho's latest novel, The Winner Stands Alone, is like his bestselling The Alchemist, but with a murderer on the loose. In this psychological thriller, the action takes place during twenty-four hours at the Cannes Film Festival, where supermodels, film producers, and fashionistas are all vying for their fifteen minutes of fame. And one man is there to thwart that moment in the spotlight. Read more.
Plot
The sequence of events told in a story, plot is also known as narrative structure. There are usually considered to be five elements in a plot line: exposition or background information, rising action (that which complicates the story), climax or crisis, falling action, and resolution.
Theme
Theme is the dominant idea that a writer is trying to convey to his readers in a work of literature.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013
Spearheaded by Dave Eggers, the selections within The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013 are as always an eclectic assortment chosen for inclusion in the book by the annual crop of San Francisco area high schoolers from Eggers' 826 Valencia writing and tutoring center.
The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind seems born of a different time. An ode to its own genre, a love song to itself, the story of a boy who is shown the power of a book, one so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything and everyone he loves.
Haruki Murakami's life and work
Haruki Murakami is known for his blending of the fantastic realism in his novels, and it's this magical realism, in combination with his flowing use of language, that gives Murakami's novels an ethereal, dreamlike quality.
Bringing Down the House
Backed by anonymous investors and armed only with their audacity and their intellect, a team of MIT math students cleaned Vegas out of more than $3 million in a couple of years. They used published card-counting techniques and worked in teams like secret agents. They ate statistics for breakfast, and they raked in millions of dollars before getting caught. They were a dream team. So why did they get caught?
In "Others of My Kind" James Sallis employs...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Bloomsbury, 2014
Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing is the presentation in a work of literature of hints and clues that tip the reader off as to what is to come later in the work.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Birth: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born September 15, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria.
Zadie Smith's On Beauty takes a smart look at...
Zadie Smith made a literary splash as a twenty-five-year-old with her debut novel White Teeth. Five years and two novels later, Smith has all but solidified herself a spot among the modern literary canon as one of a handful of truly important young novelists at work today. Smith's latest is On Beauty, a modern twist on E. M. Forster's Howard's End, updated to the still-stiff-collared world of twenty-first-century ivy-league academia.
Infinite Jest is a labyrinthine masterpiece...
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel of addiction and recovery, popular entertainment, and tennis has been hailed as a work of genius, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It is a long and complex work bearing the labyrinthine threads of plot and stylistic intricacies for which Wallace was famous, and certainly one of the most engrossing novel I have ever read.
Quest
A quest is an adventurous journey undergone by the main character or protagonist of a story. The protagonist usually meets with and overcomes a series of obstacles, returning in the end with the benefits of knowledge and experience.
Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix...
'Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix' (Harry Potter 5) may be the most anticipated after the last cliffhanger ending. The fourth book marked a turning point, as Lord Voldemort (think Darth Vader meets Hitler) returned to human form to rebuild his army and start a second uprise to power, determined to let only pure blood wizards remain. Compared to the first three books, the fourth was much darker, more compelling, and only led to the greatness of book five.
In Americanah, a young Nigerian woman finds...
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's fourth novel, a young Nigerian woman finds reinvention in America, where she learns what it means to be a Nigerian immigrant.
Out of Sheer Rage
Geoff Dyer is, arguably, one of the whiniest people on the planet. He begins this memoir by describing the endless vacillation he experienced in setting out to write a sober, academic study of D.H. Lawrence - the writer who had inspired Dyer to write - and then proceeds to hedge about where he should live in order to write the study.
The Year of Magical Thinking
In The Year of Magical Thinking , Joan Didion's eighth book to make it to The New York Times best-seller
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - Quotations
Mark Helprin's epic story of time, love and justice is chock full of quote-worthy passages. Here are a few that I pulled out during my second reading of this masterpiece.
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
In Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller delivers her memory of an African childhood fraught with hardship, loss, and danger. She became accustomed to armed guerrillas and landmine-littered roads; hunger, drought, and malaria were never far off; and her family was both guilty of and victim to the racism that consumed colonial Africa in the late 20th century.
House Rules
House Rules may be the most painful, yet rewarding and educational novel you will read this year. Jodi Picoult places us squarely in the life of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome so that we can see the painful effects this condition has on him, his family, and those around them.
Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys is tremendously entertaining. Set in the same universe as his last novel, 2001's
The Almost Moon
In The Almost Moon , Alice Sebold has created a memorable but wholly unlikable character. Helen Knightly
John Updike
John Updike wrote and published over 60 books, including novels and collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. Throughout his career, he won nearly every literary award available. The Early Stories 1953-1975, a large anthology of the author's short stories published in 2003, won him the 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and in 2006 he was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story. John Updike died of lung cancer in January 2009. He was 76
Audrey Niffenegger Interview
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" >, the inventive and unconventionally rendered
The Postmistress
Sarah Blake's debut novel is composed of intertwined stories of three woman during World War II - a Cape Cod postmistress, a radio gal in London, and a young bride who awaits her husband's return from the war.
Annie Proulx
Annie Proulx is the author of the short-story collection Heart Songs and Other Stories, and the novels Postcards, The Shipping News, Accordion Crimes, and That Old Ace in the Hole. Her books have been translated into twenty languages. She lives and writes in Wyoming.
The Opposite of Fate
Amy Tan has touched millions of readers with haunting and sympathetic novels ofcultural complexity and profound empathy. With the same spirit and humor that characterize her acclaimed novels, she now shares her insight into her own life and how she escaped the curses of her past to make a future of her own. She takes us on a journey from her childhood of tragedy and comedy to the present day and her arrival as one of the world's best-loved novelists.
The Time Traveler's Wife - Prologue
Audrey Niffenegger's debut novel, 'The Time Traveler's Wife,' is one part science fiction and one part love story. It is the compelling tale of Henry DeTamble, a man afflicted with a genetic disorder which causes him to slip sporadically through time, without warning and naked. It is also the story of Clare Abshire, the woman who loves him. Read the prologue.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
Nick Flynn met his father when he was twenty-seven years old, working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. Nick, his own life unsettled, was living alternatively in a ramshackle boat and in a warehouse that was once a strip joint. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City tells the story of two lives, the story of Nick's boyhood in Scituate, Massachusetts, with his brother and young mother who struggled to keep the family together and that of his father who refused to play by the rules.
Anthony Doerr's second novel is a compelling,...
Anthony Doerr's language and characters are gripping and pull you quickly into their world as the build-up to World War II looms on the horizon.
Habibi
Craig Thompson (Blankets) weaves both a narrative and graphical tapestry in Habibi, a 700 page epic story of two slave children that incorporates mysticism, numerology, sexuality, and the narrative union of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu
As the most celebrated European to explore Asia, Marco Polo was the original global traveler and the earliest bridge between East and West. A universal icon of adventure and discovery, he has inspired six centuries of popular fascination and spurious mythology. Here is the first fully authoritative biography of one of the most enchanting figures in world history.
Unaccustomed Earth
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Alfred A Knopf,
Diction
Diction is the author's choice of words, taking into account correctness, clearness, and effectiveness. There are typically recognized to be four levels of diction: formal, informal, colloquial, and slang.
Excerpt: "The Virgin Suicides"
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Time Warner Books
Ian McEwan
British author, Ian McEwan, was born in Aldershot, England in 1948. The son of a military man, McEwan spent his childhood abraod in various locales in Africa, Asian, and Europe. In 1998, McEwan was awarded the Booker Prize for Amsterdam, and his 2001 novel, Atonement, was nominated for the Booker. His 2005 novel is entitled Saturday and recounts a single day in the life of a successful English neurosurgeon.
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is a captivating...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Little, Brown
Farce
Farce is literature that combines exaggeration with an improbable plot and stereotyped characters to achieve humor.
The Unknown University
The Unknown University, an 800-page omnibus of Roberto Bolano's poetry, is the latest in a string of posthumously translated works from the Chilean author.
Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison made her debut as a novelist in 1970, soon gaining the attention of both critics and a wider audience for her epic power, unerring ear for dialogue, and her poetically-charged and richly-expressive depictions of Black America. A member since 1981 of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has been awarded a number of literary distinctions, among them the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri is the author most recently of 'Unaccustomed Earth,' a collection of short stories addressing the universal themes of love, loss, and family, as well as the specifics of the Indian-American immigrant experience. Her first collection of short stories, 'Interpreter of Maladies,' won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The Snow Queen not only fails individually but...
Michael Cunningham delivers a new novel so bland that The Snow Queen not only fails individually but tarnishes the author's past successes.
The Big Read
In April the BBC's Big Read began the search for the nation's best-loved novel, and asked their audience to nominate their favourite books. The votes poured in from all around the UK and below are the results.
Setting
Setting is the time and location in which the action of a narrative takes place.
Wild Child and Other Stories
The struggle of intellectual man with his primal, animal nature is a recurrent theme in T. C. Boyle's stories. Over and again we see humans doing just what their animal instincts tell them to do, even in the face of clear and logical evidence that they would be better served by doing something else.
Momo by Michael Ende
Momo is a young-adult novel about an orphaned girl who must save her town from The Grey Men, an organization of time-stealing businessmen who adamantly sap away any extra hours that could be spent enjoying a daydream, small talk or a story.
The Golden Compass
In Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, readers meet for the first time 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own - nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined.
Step On a Crack
In his bestselling novel, Step on a Crack, James Patterson introduces Detective Michael Bennett, an NYPD homicide detective thrust into the middle of a mass kidnapping. Patterson is the well-known author of 39 books(The Fifth Horseman and Mary, Mary are both reviewed on this site). Step on a Crack is James Patterson's first book with mystery-suspense author, Michael Ledwidge (The Narrowback, Bad Connection, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead).
In Persuasion Nation
It is a unique sort of humor that will find as much appeal with me as it does with my mother-in-law,
Narrator
: The person telling the story, who determines the story's point of view. In a first-person narrative,
West of Jesus
"If you want to know God, learn to surf." This is sage advice coming from Rabbi Nachum Shifren, aka "the
Lexicon by Max Barry
The Penguin Press, 2013 Max Barry's ( Jennifer Government ) novels tend to be fast, cinematic, edge-of-your-seat
Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the...
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life, and his conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Ken Follett
Ken Follett burst into the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. His latest is Hornet Flight, about two young people who escape from German-occupied Denmark in a Hornet Moth biplane. It is loosely based on a true story. It was published in December 2002. He has sold approximately fifty million books worldwide.
Changing My Mind
The essays in novelist Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind come together like a patchwork quilt: a pattern of beauty runs throughout this collection, but the individual pieces are cut in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim
David Sedaris' Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim, another collection of essays (Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, The Santaland Diaries) based on the diary he has kept every day for some thirty-odd years. While most of these stories have seen print already in Esquire, GQ and the New Yorker, Sedaris' work is so contained and addictive, you can't eat just one.
Books for Dad
Looking for a good gift for dad? You know what he wants - a sea kayak, a gas grill, or one of those Segway personal transport devices. But you're too cheap to get him any of those gifts. How about a nice book? Even if he doesn't read it, you can!
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