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Best Contemporary Fiction

David Laird
The list author says: "Thirty-ish superlative books, in semi-particular order."
Infinite Jest
Infinite Jest
"Best book ever, man."
The Instructions
The Instructions
"Wallacian richness. Bancers, dentists, and schmendricks will have bricks popped and snat sprayed in their direction."
White Noise: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
White Noise: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
"The turning point for me between non-fiction and fiction. Which is to say, I used to read non-fiction almost exclusively, then read this, and changed teams (literarily)."
The Brothers K
The Brothers K
"An American Brothers Karamazov. Hilarious and poignant."
The People of Paper
The People of Paper
"Turbo post-modern experimentalism. Probably the coolest book I can think of."
The Children's Hospital
The Children's Hospital
"Magic realism at its most apocalyptic."
The Convalescent
The Convalescent
"More excellent magic realism from McSweeney's."
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
"Great main character. I never plan on seeing the movie."
The Road
The Road
"You've probably read this already. Apparently every house-wife in America has too."
Underworld: A Novel
Underworld: A Novel
"Big American novel. If you like baseball, waste, and the Cold War, you'll dig this."
The New York Trilogy (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
The New York Trilogy (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
"Three noir-esque detective novellas in one volume. "City of Glass" is amazing."
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
"Very Wallacian, but Dominican. Footnotes included."
Gob's Grief: A Novel
Gob's Grief: A Novel
"Civil War magic realism with Walt Whitman as a main character. I recommend reading this before The Children's Hospital by Adrian."
The History of Love
The History of Love
"Very similar to her (now ex-) husband's writing (Jonathan Safran Foer)."
The Pale King
The Pale King
"Unfinished, but no big deal; it feels just like most other postmodern novels."
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
"Comic book enthusiasts rejoice."
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
"Most girls I know don't like this book, probably because it gives away the secrets of the male psyche and leaves them (the girls) wanting."
Everything Matters!: A Novel
Everything Matters!: A Novel
"Apocalyptic, kind of like Donnie Darko; but actually good."
Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
"Clever title."
High Fidelity: A Novel
High Fidelity: A Novel
"One of few books with a great movie adaptation. Set in the UK here though."
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
"So it goes..."
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel
"Surrealism trapped in a well."
Everything is Illuminated
Everything is Illuminated
"Premium Foer."
The Virgin Suicides: A Novel
The Virgin Suicides: A Novel
"Adolescent crushing meets philosophy."
Libra
Libra
"Follow Lee Harvey Oswald through the pages of Marx and Engels and into the Texas Theatre."
The Great Perhaps: A Novel
The Great Perhaps: A Novel
"This dude has seizures whenever he sees clouds. Nuff said."
The Marriage Plot (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
The Marriage Plot (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
"A thinly veiled life of David Foster Wallace."
The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library)
The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library)
"Short but dense, and very influential."
Big Machine: A Novel
Big Machine: A Novel
"Janitorial magic realism."
The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (P.S.)
The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (P.S.)
"Charming detective novel. Great Jay Ryan cover."
Kapitoil: A Novel
Kapitoil: A Novel
"Imagine if Abed from Community wrote a first-person novel and was a computer programmer and Qatari immigrant. Meet Karim Issar."
God Is Dead
God Is Dead
"Interwoven short stories with theological density."
Like You'd Understand, Anyway: Stories
Like You'd Understand, Anyway: Stories
"Excellent short story collection."
Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir: Stories
Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir: Stories
"Ibid."