1. Entertainment

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
She Plays with the Darkness
In a remote mountain village, the beautiful Dikosha lives for dancing and for song. Her twin brother, Radisene, works in the lowland capital of Maseru, struggling amid political upheaval to find a life for himself away from the hills. As the years pass, Radisene's fortunes rise and fall in the city, while Dikosha remains in the village, never leaving and never aging. And through it all, the community watches, comments, and passes judgment.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Mars astronaut Mark Watney awakens to find that he has been left for dead by his crew. Now he must find a way to survive on Mars until the arrival of Ares 4 in four years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Malcolm Gladwell's approach to rapid cognition...
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.
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.
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 best books of 2015 so far, and it's only...
A young girl waits each day for her mother to pick her up at Seattle's aquarium, where she befriends an old man whose appearance will have devastating consequences.
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.
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.
Ann Lamott is well known and loved for her...
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Gordon Bowker delivers a comprehensive and...
Gordon Bowker delivers a comprehensive and readable biography of James Joyce.
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.
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.
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 2.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Game
In cities around the world, men meet in underground
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 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.
Little Bee
'Little Bee' is the story of a tenuous friendship that emerges between a Nigerian refuge girl and a white British magazine editor.
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.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Vintage, 2009 The Collected Works of Billy the Kid was Michael Ondaatje's first novel, originally published
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.
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.
Birth of the Chess Queen
Everyone knows that the queen is the most powerful piece in chess, but few people know that the game existed for five hundred years without her. Born in the 6th century in India, chess first employed a vizier or counsel where the queen now stands. Marilyn Yalom, in Birth of the Chess Queen, takes the reader on an interesting historical journey through the evolution of the game of chess and its queen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safe Haven is darker and more complex than...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Grand Central
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.
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,
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.
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.
Farce is literature that combines exaggeration with an improbable plot and stereotyped characters to achieve humor.
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.
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.
Deus Ex Machina
: Literally "god in the machine" (or "ghost in the machine" as The Police put it), deus ex machina is
Excerpt: "The Virgin Suicides"
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Time Warner Books
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.
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.
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 Secret Life of Bees - excerpt
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Viking Press October
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.
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,
The Almost Moon
In The Almost Moon , Alice Sebold has created a memorable but wholly unlikable character. Helen Knightly
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.
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.
Kitchen Confidential
It is one of the central ironies of my career that as soon as I got off heroin things started getting
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.
Excerpt: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Excerpt
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.'
Helprin plumbs the depths of language as he...
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.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's...
Lamb is Christopher Moore's irreverent, iconoclastic, and hilarious tale of the early life of Jesus Christ as witnessed by his boyhood pal Levi bar Alphaeus (a.k.a. Biff).
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.
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.
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.
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 Best Novels of The Century (so far)
Certainly "Best" is Subjective, but here they are - the best novels published in This Century! 1. The
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
J.R.R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892 in South Africa. Tolkien was educated and taught Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. Tolkien's works include The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Simarillion, which are both available on audio from Random House.
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.
Isabel Allende
Chilean Author, Isabelle Allende was born on August 2, 1942 in Peru. In the 1960s and 1970s, Allende
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.
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.
No One Belongs Here More Than You
As an artist, Miranda July defines eclectic. In 2005 she won the Camera d'Or prize at Cannes for her
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
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.
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again,' a collection of essays that David Foster Wallace wrote for various publications during the early 1990's. It's a mixed bag of compositions, two of which are absolute must-reads.
The Bride Stripped Bare
Publisher's Site HarperCollins, March 2004 ISBN: 000716226X There must be something in remaining faceless
The Christmas Train
Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, is banned from flying when a particularly thorough airport security search causes him to lose his cool. Now, he must take the train if he has any chance of arriving in Los Angeles in time for Christmas. To finance the trip, he sells a story about a train ride taken during the Christmas season. Along the way, Tom encounters a ridiculous cast of characters, unexpected romance, and an avalanche that changes everyone's Christmas plans.
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.
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 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.
A Million Little Pieces
It's embarrassing really -- not as embarrassing probably as it is for Oprah Winfrey, who more fervently
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.
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.
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.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry...
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter 4) - Trivia Quiz. Do you remember Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? The Triwizard Tournament? Professors Moody and Bartemius Crouch? Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour?
Alexandra Fuller again carries readers along...
Alexandra Fuller again draws on her unsettling African childhood as she wrestles with the challenges of marriage, motherhood and meaning.
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).
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.
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.
Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Algonquin, 2014
Oracle Night
Paul Auster is one author who likes to write novels about novelists, and continues to be consistently entertaining and provocative in doing so. Auster's latest novel, Oracle Night, is another exploration on why we write, and what kind of power that writing actually holds.
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.
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.
Lamentation is an excellent re-imagining of a...
C.J. Sansom weaves a multitude of plots into a coherent, fast-moving novel depicting England in 1546, a breeding ground of religious turmoil, entangled with politics at their most vicious.
Mo Yan's Frog casts an amphibious eye toward...
Frog, by 2012 Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, is a multi-generational novel about childbirth in China in the 20th Century.
The Great Railway Bazaar
Houghton Mifflin, 2006 (reprint) Paul Theroux is a vocal proponent of rail travel over air travel, which
The Plot Against America
What if America had adopted an isolationist stance during World War II? Or, worse, what if the American
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.
Hold Tight
If there was ever a novel that called for a sociological flow chart, 'Hold Tight,' a community murder mystery, is it. Harlan Coben has constructed a yarn with multiple points of view - a patchwork of tragically affected people connected to an incident of callousness and bad taste that festers into murder and suicide. And no one participant has any way of knowing how it all connects.
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.
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.
Check out our recommended books coming out in...
At the Seattle aquarium, an old man reveals a secret that alters 12-year-old Caitlin's life.and relationship with her mother forever.
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.
Haunting and dark, Station Eleven is also the...
On the night of the apocalypse, Arthur Leander suffers a fatal heart attack while performing King Lear. The narrative that emerges is woven from Leander's story and the stories of others he touched.
Jeet Thayil's debut novel Narcopolis recalls the two decades of his life he spent in the opium dens of Bombay.
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith
Lee Smith's Guests on Earth revisits the infamous 1948 fire at Asheville's Highland Hospital which took the lives of seven female patients, including Zelda Fitzgerald.
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.
Winter's Tale is a story of time, love and...
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.
The Last Song
It seems that it took only a moment for 'The Last Song' to reach number one on both the USA Today and New York Times lists of best-selling books. Such is the norm when Nicholas Sparks publishes a new novel. His previous novels, and the films made from them, have created a built-in and extraordinarily loyal audience. And, he is loyal to his audience, always trying to give them what they want.
The 5th Horseman
A young mother is recuperating in a San Francisco hospital when she is suddenly gasping for breath. The call button fails to bring help in time. The hospital's doctors, some of the best in the nation, are completely mystified by her death. How did this happen? This is not the first such case at the hospital. Just as patients are about to be released with a clean bill of health, their conditions take a devastating turn for the worse.
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.
A New Earth
Plume, 2005 In A New Earth , spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle ( The Power of Now ) advocates
The Sacrifice exposes racial and sexual...
When a 14-year-old black girl is found ravaged, beaten and left for dead, she points the finger at the white cops who surround her.
The March
In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. The army pillaged the Southern plantations, taking cattle and crops for their own, and demolished cities. E.L. Doctorow powerfully and compassionately renders the lives of those who marched in The March. Page 2.
The Woman at the Washington Zoo - Excerpt
Marjorie Williams wrote political profiles for The Washington Post and Vanity Fair that came to be considered the final word on the capital's most powerful figures. This splendid collection digs into the psyche of the nation's capital, revealing not only the hidden selves of the people who run it, but the messy lives that the rest of us lead.
In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.
'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.
Hegemony or Survival
Metropolitan Books 2003 Noam Chomsky's latest book, "Hegemony or Survival," presents a view of American
Unaccustomed Earth
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Alfred A Knopf,
To Live
Anchor Books August 2003 ISBN: 1400031869 Fugui, the prodigal son of a wealthy country Chinese landowner,
Bonita Avenue follows the unraveling of a Dutch...
Peter Buwalda's English-language debut tracks a Dutch family in a series of errant flashbacks.
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.
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.
Jeffrey Kluger introduces us to the new scientific discipline of 'Simplexity' - the notion that seemingly complex things can be more simple than they appear and that, alternately, seemingly simple things can be more complex than they appear. Kluger draws on research in fields including economics, biology, cosmology, chemistry, psychology, politics, and the arts to see patterns that make our world both full of complexity and reducible — with the right point of view — to simplicity.
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 Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland is the story of two brothers born into a divided India. With prose that is evocative, emotional and powerful, she builds a world that is so real we feel that we can reach out and touch it.
Howard Jacobson's J is a dystopian novel of a...
Howard Jacobson's outstanding dystopian novel J (shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize) spirals around the suppression of an unspoken cultural atrocity.

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.