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The Reading List: Contemporary Fiction: A Critical Guide to the Complete…

by David Rubel

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1334155,142 (3.58)3
Perfect for reading groups and all book lovers Here, at last, is the book to which the more than a quarter-million reading groups and book clubs in this country can turn for the answer to that pressing question: What should we read next? The Reading List illuminates the work of current novelists who have captured the imagination of the modern reader. Each entry includes critical commentary on the author's published fiction by prominent reviewers, as well as thematic and plot synopses, and a short biography. The Reading List features a broad spectrum of writers from our shores and abroad whose works are available in English. Stylistically, the authors run the gamut from Cormac McCarthy to Cristina Garcia, from Naguib Mahfouz to Barbara Kingsolver, from Jane Smiley to Salman Rushdie. Now reading groups and independent bookworms alike have a comprehensive, discriminating resource to guide them through their next literary foray.… (more)
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This is a guide to 110 leading authors of literary fiction--ones that were still living in 1998. So if not, or no longer a guide to "contemporary fiction" it's a decent one to late 20th Century fiction. I've read 35 of the 110 authors here. A few, such as Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros, E. L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy I so loathed I'd never read something else from them again. In some cases, such as that of T. Corraghessan Boyle, I hated what I read (The Tortilla Curtain) by them, but saw enough in their writing I might take a chance on them again. But there are also authors here who wrote books I loved, and want to read more of: Margaret Atwood, A. S. Byatt, Pat Conroy, Louis de Bernieres, Umberto Eco, Alice Hoffman, Milan Kundera, Larry McMurtry, Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa.

So more hits than misses, enough I'd read more of the authors listed. And I think the above indicates that whatever your tastes, though no doubt you'll turn up your noses as some of the authors here (no doubt including some of my favorites) you'll find a lot to love if you like literary fiction. That's why I'm keeping it on my bookshelves. Although truth to tell, I probably wouldn't buy it now--there are just too many such lists on the internet you can access about as rich, and it doesn't give you much value added beyond that list. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 7, 2013 |
I took next to nothing from this book. In all its length and quantity of authors there's also an unfortunate lack of qualitative reviews. Book reviews might average a couple sentences plus one short snippet of a review from the Times or Christian Science Monitor. The selection of authors seems a bit arbitrary, as are the suggested reading lists. All in all I think my time would've been more effectively spent browsing this website. ( )
  palaverofbirds | Mar 29, 2013 |
I was glad to have stumbled upon this book in the library. It has helped me add many books to my to-read list that I wouldn't otherwise have known about. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Dec 31, 2012 |
Very useful, with synopses of the author's work, descriptions of style, author bio and other author's you might like. One thing is not so great: it was published in 1998, so there's a lot missing. ( )
1 vote citygirl | May 1, 2011 |
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Perfect for reading groups and all book lovers Here, at last, is the book to which the more than a quarter-million reading groups and book clubs in this country can turn for the answer to that pressing question: What should we read next? The Reading List illuminates the work of current novelists who have captured the imagination of the modern reader. Each entry includes critical commentary on the author's published fiction by prominent reviewers, as well as thematic and plot synopses, and a short biography. The Reading List features a broad spectrum of writers from our shores and abroad whose works are available in English. Stylistically, the authors run the gamut from Cormac McCarthy to Cristina Garcia, from Naguib Mahfouz to Barbara Kingsolver, from Jane Smiley to Salman Rushdie. Now reading groups and independent bookworms alike have a comprehensive, discriminating resource to guide them through their next literary foray.

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