The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Looking For Recommendations > Great Books from the Past 20 Years

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message 1: by Bonnie (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:46AM) (new)

Bonnie | 271 comments I am looking for some good modern books. I spent the last twenty years reading mostly young adult and fantasy, with a few classics thrown in. I still want to read ya and fantasy, but I also want to start cracking the "modern classics." The kind of books that my mom reads with her book club.

I've read The Time Traveler's Wife, The History of Love, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (the first one I liked a lot, the other two I wasn't as keen on). I'm looking for things like Bel Canto, The Book Thief, The Thirteenth Tale, The Secret Life of Bees, Water for Elephants etc. I'm woefully ignorant in this genre and I want to rectify that.


message 2: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) One of my personal favorites is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I didn't much care for "She's Come Undone" by Lamb, but "I Know This Much Is True" is excellent.

I haven't read Middlesex, but everything I have heard about it seems to indicate that it is really, really good.

Similarly, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Haven't read them yet, but they seem to gather nothing but rave reviews.


message 3: by Bonnie (last edited Jan 29, 2009 04:37AM) (new)

Bonnie | 271 comments Thanks Becky! I added the Wally Lamb book and I already have Middlesex on my TBR list.

I know I should read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I just can't bring myself to read that much tragedy. I feel like it would just be too painful to subject myself to. Not that I can't read any tragedy; Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare and one of my favorite plays in general. I have a similar view of movies. I can do some dark, tragic stories (The Departed) but others just make me hate the world and all humanity and leave me depressed and bitter (like Osama, a movie on the same subject as Khaled Hosseini's books). If forced, I might try to read The Kite Runner (and I might even end up loving it) but I can't even begin to contemplate it. War and Peace seems like it would be easier.


message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 9634 comments Mod
I would have to suggest The Road and Blindness for starters!


message 5: by Debbie (new)

Debbie The Kite Runner was a good book but I didn't really like it because I found it depressing.

Don't know if it fits in the genre you are looking at but My Sister's Keepr by Jodi Picoult is great and The Eight by Katherine Neville was excellent (we had to read this in high school and I still love it).


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 1736 comments How about Possession A Romance, by A.S. Byatt?


message 7: by Kandice (new)

Kandice My suggestions, without looking at YOUR books first, The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood, and Life of Pi Yann Martel. They are both excellent and I would recommend them to any reader.


message 8: by Liz M (new)

Liz M These may all qualify as depressing, but I think of them as depressing in a good way, if that makes sense.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (an astonishing book that is hard to describe -- it's like a collection of stories, all of which are about the author's experiences in Vietnam, but some of them are fantastic meditations on storytelling & the nature of reality as well as different ways of telling stories.)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (don't be dissuaded by it's size, it is a large book, but a funny and wacky story about cousins that create comic books during the golden age of comic books, has some sad moments too).

The Hours by Michael Cunningham (exquisitely written novel interweaving three stories -- a modern woman's day based on the plot of Mrs. Dalloway, a 50's housewife reading Mrs. Dalloway, & Virginia Woolf. Ultimately sad, but beautifully so.)

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (a retelling of King Lear, set in the Midwest).

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (also beautifully written, very sad book -- it is the voice of a man, a preacher, writing a letter to his young son about his life & faith and making peace with yourself).



message 9: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Hi Bonnie, I would recommend The Air We Breathe A Novel by Andrea Barrett, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and anything by Geraldine Brooks


message 10: by Laurel (new)

Laurel I've enjoyed some of the books mentioned, most notably The Time Traveller's Wife and Life of Pi. I think you may enjoy the following:

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

and although it may not be grand literature, there is something special about The Number one ladies Detective Agency.

Happy Reading!


message 11: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie | 271 comments Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I've added all the books that weren't already on my TBR list! There were quite a few I'd never heard of before and I can't wait to get started!


message 12: by Christi (new)

Christi | 35 comments The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a wonderful story. After I read it I wanted to run out and pitch my own.


message 14: by Megan (new)

Megan Lyons | 36 comments Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald is one of my favourites.


message 15: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi Heck (Ladybugsplendor) Becky wrote: "One of my personal favorites is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I didn't much..."

I read I Know This Much Is True in 1999. It is a wonderful book. For some reason I really liked She's Come Undone too. But I haven't found anyone else who enjoyed it.


message 16: by Christi (new)

Christi | 35 comments Bobbi wrote: "Becky wrote: "One of my personal favorites is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb...."

I loved She's Come Undone. I felt such empathy for her.


message 17: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) I wasn't really a huge fan of "She's Come Undone" It was OK, and it was a quick read, but I just didn't love it the way that I loved "I Know This Much Is True". And I absolutely LOVED "I Know This Much Is True".

I'm not sure whether I want to read Lamb's new book, The Hour I First Believed: A Novel. It's on my TBR list, but when I realized that it has to do with the Columbine school shootings, it almost turned me off about the book, although it's hard for me to define exactly why that is. I normally don't shy away from difficult material, but it just seems wrong for that tragedy to be used like that. Anyway, despite my misgivings, I've heard good things about the book, so maybe I am judging prematurely. I'll wait for the paperback in any case. :)


message 18: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi Heck (Ladybugsplendor) Becky wrote: "I wasn't really a huge fan of "She's Come Undone" It was OK, and it was a quick read, but I just didn't love it the way that I loved "I Know This Much Is True". And I absolutely LOVED "I Know This ..."

Christi, I'm going to read The Hour I First Believed I have the book now, but I wanted to tell you I had the same reaction as you when I realized what it was about. I am going to give it a try though.


message 19: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly | 218 comments Bobbi wrote: "Becky wrote: "I wasn't really a huge fan of "She's Come Undone" It was OK, and it was a quick read, but I just didn't love it the way that I loved "I Know This Much Is True". And I absolutely LOVED..."

I loved both of Wally Lamb;s books - She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True". I am still on the waiting list for his newest - The Hour I First Believed.


message 20: by Meghanly (new)


message 21: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture | 121 comments The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
North River by Pete Hamill
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
March by Geraldine Brooks
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Any novel by Barbara Kingsolver



message 22: by Nicole (new)

Nicole  | 155 comments Q&A by Vikus Swarup (the book Slumdog Millionaire is based on)
P.S. I love you by Ceceli Ahern
Wicked by Gregory Macguire
Sheer Abandon by Penny Vincenzi

Someone mentioned Middlesex, it is really an interesting book, but goes on really long deviations and sub plots, so be prepared!


message 23: by Joann (new)

Joann | 9 comments I loved One Hundred Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus


message 24: by Jasmina (new)

Jasmina | 1 comments Angela's Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt. The beautiful memoir consists of various anecdotes and stories of Frank's impoverished childhood in Ireland, and his struggles with poverty, his father's drinking issues, and his mother's attempts to keep the family alive. Make sure you have a box of tissues near by.


message 25: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Barlow | 101 comments Fingersmith is an excellent book and The House At Riverton is something you may enjoy if you liked The Thirteenth Tale.


message 26: by Jane (new)

Jane | 221 comments Middlesex and The Book Thief come to mind immediately -


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