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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. Rather than follow a prescriptive set of classics defined by someone else, I think readers should choose the books that pique their interest—often in ways beyond the entertainment value. This, for me, is what makes a bucket list book.

I try to add books to my list that spark some intellectual and cultural curiosity. Whatever your reasons for adding a book to your bucket list, use these lists as a jumping-off point.

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And be sure to share your own bucket list books in the comments! My point here is to get you thinking about the books you truly want to add to your lifetime must-read list. I tried to build out my own bucket list with books from across genres. The list of fiction books in this include popular, well-reviewed books set in modern times; if these are not the type of books that speak to you, build out your own lifetime reading list with books from genres you enjoy.

Will these stand the test of time and be books that we discuss years from now?


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Even the awards are getting in on this, if the recent Pulitzer winner Less is any indication. Would we add these to our bucket lists in 10 or 20 years? Time will tell. This National Book Award-winning novel brings us into the lives of Paul, Fenno, and Fern over the course of three different summers. A slow-mover, for me, but a nonetheless fascinating look at families, love, and how death and the things learned in the aftermath can define the lives of those left behind.

In Commonwealth, Ann Patchett brilliantly weaves together flawed families who fail one another over the decades but keep trying and trusting in spite of the failures. Where you would expect villains, she instead presents complicated characters struggling with their own hopes, inadequacies, and feelings about the past and how to move forward.

Where you would expect broken, bitter relationships, she shows the enduring power of loyalty, love, and forgiveness. This is not an action-packed novel, but one where the subtle emotional tensions will resonate. Highly recommended, along with all of her other books.

But it was worth the wait and was the perfect wintery read. In the declining Swedish town of Beartown, hockey is the one bright spot. The talented junior team—and one player in particular—have the potential to win it all and revitalize the town. But a brutal event at an after-game party could be the downfall of the team, the players, and the future of the town itself. As the residents grapple with their loyalties and their own morality, each one is forced to answer for themselves how much they are willing to sacrifice for the love of a town and game.

Backman veers away from the quirkiness that readers loved about A Man Called Ove, and instead brings sharp observations about small town relationships, family, and the saving grace of team and sport. Cyril Avery was born to an unwed mother in Ireland in the s—an unthinkable and shameful thing, at that time.

Cyril is adopted by Charles and Maude Avery, who are indifferent and self-centered, but not neglectful. In fact, Cyril harbors a deep love for his womanizing friend and eventual school roommate, Julian Woodbead. The book follows Cyril through his life, from his youth and twenties spent in hiding and public denial in a repressive Dublin to a more open life in middle age in Amsterdam and New York. Some of the characters feel a bit like caricatures, but they serve to highlight some of the extreme attitudes Cyril, his mother, and so many others faced in those decades in Ireland.

I loved this book, and though Cyril could be frustrating, I wanted to see him find happiness and contentment with himself. Five-year-old Jack has never known the world beyond Room. He lives there with Ma, who has made it into a world for him.


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But the terrifying escape plot is only the first part of the challenge. If they can make it out of Room, they then need to find their way to a new life, to feelings of security, to new identities, and ultimately back to each other. Eleanor has her routine down to a science: work, weekly phone calls with her mother, and weekends with vodka and nothing or no one else. Never mind that she has no social life, no friends, and she tends to say brutally honest, awkward, and somewhat inappropriate things.

Meanwhile, she finds herself in an unexpected friendship with her coworker, Raymond, when they help an elderly gentleman after a fall. Slowly, the friendship helps draw Eleanor out of her isolation, but also pushes her toward difficult truths about herself, her past, and her future. Eleanor is endearing for her mix of self-awareness and oblivious social awkwardness, and Raymond is an unexpected hero.

This book manages to be funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once. Four friends move to New York after graduating from college with big dreams of successful careers. JB is an artist, Willem an aspiring actor, Malcolm an architect, and Jude a lawyer. The story brings the reader into the lives of each of the men, finally landing on Jude. Jude is insular and mysterious, and as the story progresses, the degree of his damage and suffering emerges.

Many readers count it among their favorites—just as many say they loved it but could never read it again. Suzanne Collins. Michael Morpurgo. Please Mrs Butler. Allan Ahlberg. Low Kay Hwa. Lilith A Contemporary Novel. Journey A Contemporary Novel. I A Contemporary Novel. Today or Tomorrow A Contemporary Novel.

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Sepetinizi inceleyiniz. I was hoping for a better ending. But overall the story line was good and brought me to tears serveral times. As compared to the other book A Singapore Love Story by the same author, this book is well written such that the flow is coherent and the plot is creative. As I flip the pages, it makes me curious and eager to read more. I recommend this book.

Suitable for most ages also due to the simple English used. Don't mind the expletives though. That could be a contemporary story if set in the right country.

I have a plot outlined for a scientific thriller with the male protagonist being a renowned scientist, a strong Christian, and the romantic target of two of the main females. It may be a challenge to select the best back-cover category for marketing that one. I also enjoy learning how they deal with these problems in the face of their culture and times.

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Sometimes I read to escape. I love my life. Speaking of which, that load of jeans beckons…. I love historical. I will read some contemporary but I love my genre. I am an incurable romantic and I love the same era as Karen because it is not stuck in the outhouse and they wear big hats.

15 Obsession-Worthy YA Contemporary Novels Hitting Shelves In 2017

Well— not exactly but if I had to live in the past, that is where I would be. I love a good mystery but it has to have romance. Love regency stuff, too. Everywhere I go, I see people affirming and propagating live simple—less is best, tra la. I am not there but I do believe our world is complicated and out of control. I would rather be in a rose garden sipping tea then in a Starbucks downing a mocha latte. What a thought-provoking and encouraging thread!

Reading all the previous posts has raised my hope level considerably for a historical novel now under consideration by a Steve Laube agent.

40 Contemporary Fiction Books Everyone Should Read

It was meticulously researched for a historical context that is fascinating and still influential but little-known—doing that provided the facts for the learners. In contrast, preview readers have commented about the strong character development written into the story—doing that provided the emotional bond for the escapers. Writing this book, my intention was that learners and escapers would be equally intrigued, and the comments of so many thoughtful writers here certainly support the notion that the goal was a difficult-to-achieve but reasonable one. Writers certainly do encourage other writers!

I read and write both. I write for the same reasons, but I also like to explore topics and issues with my characters that I face. It helps me think about them from different perspectives. I used to do that. And the internet. Nice post! For some reason, I have never liked historical fiction, but over these last few years, I have been drawn to writing it. I guess I like both historical and contemporary. Too much research? Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting. Notice: It seems you have Javascript disabled in your Browser.

In order to submit a comment to this post, please write this code along with your comment: c5b6fce14ccec77bc. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. Share Tweet Pegg Thomas July 16, at am. Lisa Taylor July 16, at pm. Vive la difference. Tamela Hancock Murray July 16, at am.

Building the Book Lists for the Bucket Lists

Makes the world an interesting place to be! Elizabeth Byler Younts July 16, at am. Janet July 16, at am. Camille Eide July 16, at am. Terri Wangard July 16, at am. Tammy Fish July 16, at am.