40 Contemporary Fiction Books Everyone Should ReadYou can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. But once again he gets drawn into a sinister investigation and old secrets come to the fore. Superbly written and utterly readable, this novel is a delight from start to finish. Buy now. This coming of age novel tells the story of year-old Charlie Lewis and his love affair with a girl he meets when he reluctantly gets involved in a production of Romeo and Juliet.
A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon
Want to print your favorite book lists? Subscribe now! This post may include affiliate links. That means if you click and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Looking for the best contemporary fiction books to add to your list of books to read in a lifetime? This list of contemporary novels will help you narrow down your own list of must-read modern books.
Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize—winning short story collection will make you feel it all. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination. Haruki Murakami is an expert storyteller, and this is a great one to start with if you haven't read any of his work yet especially if you're an avid sci-fi fan. It'll no doubt make you fall in love with his style, and lucky for us, he's written a ton of novels. Each tale is thematically unique, but they each fit within the same direct tone and overall feel, and each character is charmingly awkward, offbeat, and quirky while also managing to be totally relatable. Described as both infinitely wise and hilarious by critics, Zadie Smith's novel On Beauty is a must-read. It's about an interracial family living in Wellington, Massachusetts, a college town, whose dynamics and experiences serve as a microcosm into the ways in which the personal and political inevitably overlap.
About this list
There is nothing better than a good contemporary read. I connect with them on a personal level because the stories feel like they could happen to someone I know. Check out some of my favorites below! This book tells the story of Kiera Johnson, who builds a secret online role-playing game, SLAY, as a refuge for Black gamers everywhere. Pablo Rind is a college dropout working the graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli and drowning in credit card debt.
Actually, constructing a canon of any kind is a little weird at the moment, when so much of how we measure cultural value is in flux. Its supposed permanence became the subject of more recent battles, back in the 20th century, between those who defended it as the foundation of Western civilization and those who attacked it as exclusive or even racist. But what if you could start a canon from scratch? We thought it might be fun to speculate very prematurely on what a canon of the 21st century might look like right now. We asked each of them to name several books that belong among the most important works of fiction, memoir, poetry, and essays since and tallied the results. The purpose was not to build a fixed library but to take a blurry selfie of a cultural moment.