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Contemporary Literature: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Don't Miss These Ten Great Literary Reads for...
A little r and r in the UP is just what the doctor ordered, but it's not to be for Detective Sunderson in Jim Harrison's sequel to The Great Leader.
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
Dramatic irony is an often-used literary device...
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.
Exposition, rising action, climax, falling...
Learn more about narrative arcs, also called story arcs, and the four components that make up the chronological construction of the plot.
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.
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.
Meet Sherman Alexie: His Biography and His...
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.
Resolution is the final stage in a story's...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Alchemist is an inspirational parable about...
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Fault in Our Stars: Quote Machine (Wordless...
Random illustrated quotes and their page numbers. From The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons From A...
The Carolina Way is an excellent, easily read examination of leadership based on the lessons Smith learned and taught in 36 years of coaching basketball at the University of Kansas (under the legendary Phog Allen), the Air Force Academy and the University of North Carolina. The format is deceptively simple. Coach Smith writes (with the able assistance of John Kilgo) about a particular aspect of leadership as it relates to his coaching philosophy.
Short Story
A short story is a brief work of fiction. It usually contains one major conflict and often only one major character. Its brevity usually suggests concise narration and limited setting.
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.
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,
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.
Little Bee
'Little Bee' is the story of a tenuous friendship that emerges between a Nigerian refuge girl and a white British magazine editor.
Bio of author Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr is an award-winning American writer whose short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. His second story collection, Memory Wall, was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Story Prize.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky tells the story of a single year in the life of Charlie, a 15-year-old boy, through the poignant letters that he writes to an anonymous friend.
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.
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.
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.
Excerpt: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Excerpt
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone these words could not be truer. Harry was only an infant when a
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.
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.
Biography of David Mitchell, author of Cloud...
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.
The Game
In cities around the world, men meet in underground
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.
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?
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.
In Thomas's novel, the small things that make...
The story of the American 20th century, with its striving, materialism, sentimentality, culture clashes and suburban promise, are written in the day-to-day struggles of Thomas's protagonist.
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 Almost Moon
In The Almost Moon , Alice Sebold has created a memorable but wholly unlikable character. Helen Knightly
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.
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.
Malcolm Gladwell and the theory of thin slices.
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 3.
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.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Birth: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born September 15, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria.
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.
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.
Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's...
April 15, 1947. It was an ordinary day for an ordinary baseball player. It was an extraordinary day for an extraordinary man. Jack Roosevelt Robinson went 0-4 that day, scoring the winning run, but he changed the face of baseball. Some said he changed the face of America...
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.
Pigeon English
Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English tells the coming-of-age story of a boy from Ghana who has recently emigrated to London's housing projects.
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.
When the Killing's Done
T.C. Boyle is a dynamic writer with an expansive vocabulary. He chooses controversial topics and then weaves chatty novels around them; his characters are modern and the language in his writing feels instantly familiar. When the Killing's Done is no exception: the topic is how humans interact with the environment, and while the scenarios feel a bit stale, they do represent both sides of this divisive issue.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Vintage, 2009 The Collected Works of Billy the Kid was Michael Ondaatje's first novel, originally published
Safe Haven is darker and more complex than...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Grand Central
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.
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.
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.
Point of View
: Point of view is the vantage point from which a story is told. In the first-person point of view, the
A New Earth
Plume, 2005 In A New Earth , spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle ( The Power of Now ) advocates
The Messenger
Simon & Schuster, December 2008 I have a confession to make. Jan Burke is one of my favorite mystery
Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and What is the What. He is the founder of McSweeney's independent publishing house and the 826 Valencia writing lab, which has since expanded to 826 National, writing workshops for teens around the U.S.
'The Last Lecture'
Hyperion, April 2008 Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less time than you
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.
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.
Horowitz follows The House of Silk with another...
Anthony Horowitz has outdone himself in his second Sherlock Holmes novel commissioned by the heirs of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate,
An entertaining blend fact and fiction, all...
James Morrow spins an hilarious narrative that creates an astonishing sense of place in a world inhabited by the ridiculous and the sublime.
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.
Unaccustomed Earth
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Alfred A Knopf,
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.
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.
Beautiful eyes is a transformative memoir of...
Paul Austin's compelling and transformative memoir about parenting a child with Down syndrome is also a provocative book about parenting any child.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews' darkly funny novel, A Complicated Kindness, is the world according to Nomi Nickel, a bewildered and wry sixteen-year-old trapped in a town governed by fundamentalist religion. In Nomi's droll, refreshing voice, we're told the story of her eccentric family as it falls apart, each member on a collision course with the only community they have ever known. It is a work of fierce humor and tragedy by a Canadian writer poised to take the American market by storm.
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.
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.
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.
The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is Afghanistani-American novelist, Khaled Hosseini's best-selling debut novel, a tale of betrayal and redemption that rises above time and place while simultaneously remaining firmly anchored against the tumultuous backdrop of modern Afghanistan.
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.
The Dog is an intentionally complicated novel...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Pantheon, 2014
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.
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?
Bharati Mukherjee
Wikipedia on Bharati Mukherjee: Born in Calcutta, India into a wealthy family, Mukherjee was given the
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.
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World
Mexican playwright, journalist and poet Sabina Berman's debut novel delivers a brilliant portrait of an autistic savant and her relationship with the world around her.
The End of the Story by Lydia Davis
Mislabeled boxes, problems with visiting nurses, and confusing notes - such are the obstacles of an unnamed narrator as she tries to organize her memories of a love affair into a novel.
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.
O'Nan delivers a portrait of F. Scott...
It's the late 1930s, and F. Scott Fitzgerald is ill with tuberculosis and alcohol. He has no novel ready and the magazines no longer call for stories.
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.
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.
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.
Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson is the author of three highly acclaimed novels, 'Housekeeping,' 'Gilead,' and 'Home,' all of which are written in clear, spare prose about the struggles of life in the Midwest.
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,
Ten Little Indians
“Nine is a much funnier number than eleven,” explained Sherman Alexie in a recent book signing for Ten Little Indians, a collection of nine contemporary Native American tales. This much-anticipated work dances the line between banality and classic Alexie brilliance at its best, leaving the reader exuberate at its finish, but almost wishing they hadn’t read those first few.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry...
The second novel in J.K. Rowling's series of seven, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets continues
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.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a story of loss and love in war-torn Chechnya.
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.
T.C. Boyle
T.C. Boyle is known for his humor and his biting satire. Over the course of his career as a novelist, he has shown a propensity for writing about famous and fascinating American eccentrics such as sexual-behavior scientist Alfred Kinsey in 'The Inner Circle' (2004), cereal inventor John Harvey Kellogg in 'The Road to Wellville,' and most recently, Frank Lloyd Wright in 'The Women.'
Excerpt: "The Virgin Suicides"
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Time Warner Books
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the...
Critically acclaimed author Mark Haddon, a two-time BAFTA winner, crafts a stunning masterpiece that is funny and incredibly moving. Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a condition similar to autism. He doesn’t like to be touched, meet new people, or make small talk. But when his neighbor’s dog is killed, Christopher begins a quest that shakes the very foundation of his perfectly ordered life.
Poetic Justice
Poetic justice is a literary outcome in which bad characters are punished and good characters are rewarded. In its purest form, poetic justice is when one character plots to undermine another and then ends up caught in his own trap.
The Accidental
Ali Smith's Booker-nominated novel, The Accidental, is in fact about a girl. The seemingly harmless stranger named Amber turns up at the door of an English country house and turns out, to crib a line from a Hollywood film, to be the rock that they broke themselves against. The book, about how people break down and the terrifying possibilities of who they might become, is inevitably fractured by the astonishing, dizzying talent of its writing.
Ken Follett's Century Trilogy is epic in scope.
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
A Long Way Down
Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper's House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives. In A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby mines the hearts and psyches of four lost souls who connect just when they've reached the end of the line.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry...
For Twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school.
Haunted
Haunted is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter—sometimes all at once. Appallingly entertaining, Haunted is Chuck Palahniuk at his finest—which means his most extreme and his most provocative.
Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen's recent novels have been hailed as literary masterpieces. Both The Corrections and Freedom are sprawling, realist novels about the deterioration of the family in suburban, middle class America, as was his 1988 debut novel, The Twenty-Seventh City.
Philip Roth
Philip Roth is a prolific and award-winning American author of novels and novellas centered thematically around the modern Jewish-American experience. From his National Book Award winning debut 'Goodbye Columbus' in 1959 to his alternate American history, 'The Plot Against America' (2004), Roth's oftentimes self-referential work has made him one of the most important contemporary American authors today.
Cornelia Funke
Sometimes regarded as the German J.K. Rowling, Cornelia Funke is the author of numerous works of fiction. She is most widely known for her fantasy novels Drangonrider, The Thief Lord, and Inkheart, all of which have become international bestsellers.
Testimony
'Testimony' opens with a shocking description of child pornography that may leave Anita Shreve's regular audience gasping for air, and perhaps even reaching for one of her previous novels to make sure she is the same author that they remember. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that this was in fact the author's intention, and not merely an unfortunate miscalculation by a normally perceptive writer.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Excerpt
A young Pakistani's rise to success in America is violently interrupted on September 11. Mohsin Hamid delivers this young man's story as a sustained monologue describing how everything in his life turns upside down from 9/11 forward. Read the excerpt.
The Plot Against America
What if America had adopted an isolationist stance during World War II? Or, worse, what if the American
Yang Fei wanders between China and the quiet...
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Tirado paints a vivid picture of what it means...
Confrontational, angry, smart and funny, Hand to Mouth is an important book that conveys a personal and accurate description of the plight of America's working poor.
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 story of a boy for whom an 11 square foot...
Seven years ago, Jack's mother was kidnapped and held captive in a man's soundproof garden shed. Equipped with little more than an analog television, the room, measuring eleven feet square, is her prison - but to Jack, her son (now five years old), it is the whole world. Told from the perspective of precocious Jack, Emma Donoghue's Room tells the story of him and his mother as they try to cope and grow in a room that seems to shrink further as they continue to age.
To Live
Anchor Books August 2003 ISBN: 1400031869 Fugui, the prodigal son of a wealthy country Chinese landowner,
Jennifer Traig Interview
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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.
Everyman
Philip Roth turns his attention to one man's confrontation with mortality. Roth's Everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness commences its attack in middle age. A successful commercial advertising artist, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him. He is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women. Inevitably, he discovers that he has become what he does not want to be.
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.
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.
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.
Farce
Farce is literature that combines exaggeration with an improbable plot and stereotyped characters to achieve humor.
The Camel Club
David Baldacci is the author of ten previous consecutive New York Times bestsellers and #1 international bestsellers: Absolute Power, Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, Wish You Well, Last Man Standing, The Christmas Train, Split Second, and Hour Game, as well as his Freddy and the French Fries children's series. In The Camel Club, David Baldacci paints a frightening portrait of a world that could be our own soon.
The People of Paper
Amidst disillusioned saints hiding in wrestling rings, mothers burnt by glowing halos, and a Baby Nostradamus who sees only blackness, a gang of flower pickers heads off to war, led by a lonely man who cannot help but wet his bed in sadness. Part memoir, part lies, The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia is a book about the wounds inflicted by first love and sharp objects.
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.
The Scarecrow
In 'The Scarecrow' Michael Connelly has woven a thriller that grabs the reader and does not let go until the end. Jack McEvoy, ace newspaper reporter, and Rachel Walling, FBI Special Agent and some time consort of Harry Bosch, are the driving forces on the side of good in this sterling read.
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.
The Gate House
'The Gate House,' a sequel to Nelson DeMille's successful 'The Gold Coast,' has all the elements of a 2009 beach read. There is a lot of sex; he does wait until the second page for the first episode. There are mafia dons, murder, divorce, reconciliation, alcohol, in-law troubles, and rich families down on their luck, or not.
Mohsin Hamid's collection of essays is a...
Mohsin Hamid's collection of short essays on life, art and politics is a collection to be savored, to be thought about, to be discussed with others.
World without End
Ken Follett is a master of the engaging tale, and in 'World Without End' there is plenty going on. If you liked 'The Pillars of the Earth,' you'll love this sequel. Follett is terrific at drawing characters who are compelling, funny, sexy, dramatic, and very human. Although the book is set in the fourteenth century, modern readers will immediately identify with the emotions and goals of its characters.
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).
Smart and playful, "How to be both" pushes...
Ali Smith's How to be both is more of a diptych than a novel, connecting a girl, her mother, and their love of Italian frescos with the woman who painted them centuries earlier.
Antagonist
The antagonist is the main opponent of the main character in a work of literature. The main character is called the protagonist.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Having completed 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest,' I was struck by conflicting emotions. There was joy because I had been able to read the best of the trilogy of Stieg Larsson's Millennium novels. There was sadness because it was the last and I would be able to learn no more about his striking characters.
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.
Wicked Bugs
Algonquin Books, May 2011 You bug me. Put a bug in his ear. Put a bug in the telephone. Bug out. Bug
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
These short pieces incorporate the stylistic pyrotechnics for which David Foster Wallace is famous - a usage lexicon from 100 years in the future that sheds light on the deterioration of male-female sexual relations, a series of pop quizzes that degrades into a meta-fiction in which the author debates the utility of such a form, and the brief interviews of the title in which a variety of self-absorbed male figures speak candidly with a female interviewer.

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