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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Much as I admire the writers mentioned in the 19th Century reading list who can live without James both William and Henry, Flaubert and Dostoyevsky.

My principal focus in my early early 20's was the early 20th Century Mann Orwell, Sartre Kafka, I guess what one would call The Western Cannon. And I have for the past few years collecting those green spine Penguin Modern Classics which I read in my youth in the hope that my son will appreciate them at a later date.

But life moves on and this year I have read Pavel & I by Dan Vyleta, Life Calss by Pat Baker , Day be AL Kennedy The Shadow Catcher Marianne Wiggins The Burnt Out Town of Miriacles by Roy Jacobsen, We Are Now Begging Our Descent by James Meek all highly recommended.

But the holiday season is upon us and in Australia the country goes on holiday form the 25/12 to the 31/1 Life slows in the summer heat your thoughts turn to the beach and stories you can get lost in so basically what would you Gentlemen out there recommend? It could be fiction it could be biography just about finished Remake Remodel a History of Roxy Music.

So what are people reading of a contemporary fashion be it fiction or non fiction I would like some recommendations.:icon_smile_big:
 

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Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is one of my top favorite books of all time.
...and yet not a 21st century work.

David Lodge is a very funny contemporary British author who writes comedies of manners. My favorites of his are Thinks... and Therapy. Extraordinarily intelligent yet very easy to read; strong and compelling narrative voice.

Richard Ford has created one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. I'd recommend any of the Frank Bascombe novels: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, or The Lay of the Land.

Over the last year I've become enamored of Richard Russo. Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs, and Nobody's Fool all take place in the same milieu (fading, working-class northeast American towns) but they are very, very different books.

tjs
 

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While I am not sure it meets the time parameters defined in the OP, I am presently rereading Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy. Indeed, it is very possible to looses oneself in the mysteries and marvels of middle earth...and a great way to endure the heat and stresses of an Australian summer season!
 

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It's obviously too soon to tell when 21st Century literature begins, but probably September 11, 2001, is a reasonable contender for that cutoff. There is a growing body of novels dealing with the terrorist attacks that I would recommend, including Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, Terrorist by John Updike, Falling Man by Don DeLillo, and Saturday by Ian MacEwan.

I would recommend anything by William Gibson (starting with Neuromancer, his 1984 novel in which he invented cyberspace) or Neal Stephenson, whether before or after 2001, and I agree with the previous post about Richard Russo.

I also strongly recommend Snow by Orhan Pamuk and The Known World by Edward P. Jones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's obviously too soon to tell when 21st Century literature begins, but probably September 11, 2001, is a reasonable contender for that cutoff. There is a growing body of novels dealing with the terrorist attacks that I would recommend, including Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, Terrorist by John Updike, Falling Man by Don DeLillo, and Saturday by Ian MacEwan.

I would recommend anything by William Gibson (starting with Neuromancer, his 1984 novel in which he invented cyberspace) or Neal Stephenson, whether before or after 2001, and I agree with the previous post about Richard Russo.

I also strongly recommend Snow by Orhan Pamuk and The Known World by Edward P. Jones.
Jack
I agree with you about Gibson read years ago and have been ever since on the topic of dystopian cyber punk what about Snow Crash?

Snow I read some years ago and would recommend The Black Book by Pamuk if you haven't read it as for MacEwan personally I think he should have gotten the Booker for Saturday.

Having grown up on a steady diet of European writers who articulated specifics of the human condition what interests me about fiction is not just the lives of the characters but the milieu they are cast against, mind you a dose of magical realism doesn't go astray.
 

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Jack
I agree with you about Gibson read years ago and have been ever since on the topic of dystopian cyber punk what about Snow Crash?

Snow I read some years ago and would recommend The Black Book by Pamuk if you haven't read it as for MacEwan personally I think he should have gotten the Booker for Saturday.

Having grown up on a steady diet of European writers who articulated specifics of the human condition what interests me about fiction is not just the lives of the characters but the milieu they are cast against, mind you a dose of magical realism doesn't go astray.
Interesting. I thought Saturday was very good. I think it may have been up against The Gathering, which I just read, and didn't think it was that great. I thought that Amsterdam, for which he won the Booker, was not nearly as good as Enduring Love, which didn't win. Has he only won it once so far? I would expect he'll win it again.

Snow Crash--yeah, I think it's great. I haven't read The Black Book, but I'll probably pick it up.

As for magical realism, I'm afraid I part company with you there. For the most part (see any number of subcontinent writers, Arundhati Roy, for instance) I stay as far away from it as I can.
 

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Recently read By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano, which may squeeze in to 21st century depending on how orthodox you are in your dating methods; it was published in Spanish in 2000 (technically not 21st century), while the English translation was published in 2003. I'm looking forward to reading other works by this author.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In spite of all the fuss about Atonement, I think Saturday is his best book.
I agree with you about Atonement good story but it just made me angry the whole time I was reading it.

I read it after an incident at school I was teaching at involved a male staff member being accused of wrong doing by one of the dominant Queen bee's and I saw how the current dominant ideological state apparatus is geared towards the favour of the a child accusing an elder of misconduct.

This is not to say that children should not be protected but having seen first hand how a girl of similar age made unfounded accusations against a male college out of a desire to save her own skin after making sexist remarks to him and then certain female staff abandon him and he was left to hang out to dry well I suppose that explains why I was angry the whole time I read the book and soon after gave up any intent to teach in the public high school system.

But Saturday, well to me that is a classic its perfectly balanced between the interiority of the characters subjective experience and the objectiveness of the world and when the crunch does come in typical McEwan manner its blunt short sharp and economical. I for the life of can't figure out why it didn't win the Booker. But then is artistic appreciation a purely subjective perception or can we seriously judge a work on its object construction?
 

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This is not to say that children should not be protected but having seen first hand how a girl of similar age made unfounded accusations against a male college out of a desire to save her own skin after making sexist remarks to him and then certain female staff abandon him and he was left to hang out to dry well I suppose that explains why I was angry the whole time I read the book and soon after gave up any intent to teach in the public high school system.
For that sort of thing, there's also Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
 

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I think Stephen Fry is one of the most interesting modern British novelists. Though, his novels are written in a fast pace film-like way (his experience in comedy writing and a career on screen can well be seen on the novel page), they aren't reduced to mere entertainment. Fry's love for the English language and his vivid and eloquent brain-teasing writing keeps the reader on his toes and near a dictionary.
 

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I just read a novel written in the 21st century . . .

. . . that read as if it had been written in the late 19th century.

"The Last of the Old Guard", by Louis Auchincloss. He's a very fine craftsman, though I think that all of his observations of the upper classes (and their peculiarities) are beginning to blur together in my mind.
 
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