There are some novels that can only be described as lightning in a bottle. Catapulted to the top of lists across the board and a prime feature on everyone’s TBR shelf (To Be Read). Over the years these transition from merely popular books to cult classics. These new classics are also a great lead into the other works by the author, so here we’d like to introduce some noteworthy titles that also belong on your shelf.
No list of modern classics can be complete without Stephen King, and not just because of the current tidal wave of interest mainstream media has in his work. The author is best known for works like The Shining, Misery, and of course the ever popular It. Here’s what we recommend you read next:
Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson were once college students looking to make some extra cash, volunteering as test subjects for an experiment orchestrated by the clandestine government organization known as The Shop. But the outcome unlocked exceptional latent psychic talents for the two of them—manifesting in even more terrifying ways when they fell in love and had a child. Their daughter, Charlie, has been gifted with the most extraordinary and uncontrollable power ever seen—pyrokinesis, the ability to create fire with her mind. Now the merciless agents of The Shop are in hot pursuit to apprehend this unexpected genetic anomaly for their own diabolical ends by any means necessary.
There are few who won’t be able to verbatim recite the rules of Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation’s most visionary satirist in this, his first book. What we suggest you read next by Chuck:
Invisible Monsters Remix
This edition fulfills Chuck Palahniuk’s original vision for his 1999 novel, turning a daring satire on beauty and the fashion industry into an even more wildly unique reading experience. She’s a catwalk model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden motor ‘accident’ leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful centre of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. A tale of intrigue, danger, and revenge ensues.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone not enamoured by Elif Shafak’s work – whether they’ve read The Forty Rules of Love or The Bastard of Istanbul. Here’s looking at her latest, already featured on the 2019 Booker Longlist
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her.
In the face of the Hulu adaptation and the growing parallels to the current political climate, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is on the forefront of everyone’s must-read list. If you’ve read Handmaid’s Tale, here’s what else you can look at
The Blind Assassin
It opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge.” They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The unmatched pioneer of magical realism, Marquez is most widely known for works like Love In The Time of Cholera or One Hundred Years of Solitude. For anyone looking to dive deeper into his world, his novellas make for a great albeit brief sensory experience.
As a blizzard of warehouses and amusement parlours and slums descends on the small town of Macondo, the inhabitants reel at the accompanying stench of rubbish that makes their home unrecognisable. When the banana company leaves town as fast as it arrived, all they are left with is a void of decay.
Living in this devastated and soulless wasteland is one last honourable man, the Colonel, who is determined to fulfil a long standing promise, no matter how unpalatable it may be. With the death of the detested Doctor, he must provide an honourable burial – and incur the wrath of the rest of Macondo, who would rather see the Doctor rot, forgotten and unattended.
If you’ve loved Call Me By Your Name and can’t get enough of Aciman’s writing, try this collection of short stories
This charts the life of Paul whose loves remain as consuming and covetous throughout adulthood as they were in adolescence. Whether in southern Italy, where as a boy he has a crush on his parents’ cabinet maker, or on a snowbound campus in New England, where his enduring passion for a girl he’ll meet again and again over the years is punctuated by anonymous encounters with men; on a tennis court in Central Park, or a sidewalk in early spring New York, his attachments are ungraspable, transient and forever underwritten by raw desire—not for just one person’s body but, inevitably, for someone else’s as well.
J. D. Salinger
Even though there is no sizeable collection of work to his name, J. D. Salinger is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century with The Catcher In The Rye being translated into over 30 languages, selling more than 65 million copies worldwide.
Franny and Zooey
The short story, Franny, takes place in an unnamed college town and tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.
The novella, Zooey, is named for Zooey Glass, the second-youngest member of the Glass family. As his younger sister, Franny, suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents’ Manhattan living room — leaving Bessie, her mother, deeply concerned — Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.