My Top 10 Contemporary Novels and Young Adult Fiction

When a friend asked me to make a list of my recommended contemporary British and American novels, I felt happy for the challenge.

Because for all my wanderlust, my first love was reading. And there’s something about staying cozily inside with a tasty snack and a thunderstorm, that is as satisfying for me, or more, than any trip around the world.

Well, I suppose reading is a form of travel, in a way.

So, here are my recommended novels from 1950 onwards…

Best historical fiction:

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden


Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Most subtly devastating:

Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro

Best insight into current events:

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

Sweetest tearjerker:

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes

Best science fiction:

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Best book and film adaptation:

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

Best insight into the dark side of human nature:

A Separate Peace, John Knowles

Most Haunting

Beloved, Toni Morrison


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon

Top 10 Young Adult Novels

These are the books I read until they fell into pieces.

Although they might not be thought of traditional classics, I think starting with young adult fiction would be a great idea for someone trying to get the hang of English.

These are the books I want to introduce Ryder to. So far, I’ve only brainwashed him with travel brochures.


1. Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

3. The Giver, Lois Lowry

4. Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

5. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

6. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

7. The Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson

8. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls

9. Wayside Stories by Louis Sachar

10. Anything by Roald Dahl (Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

My upcoming must-read list (the ones I see mentioned over and over again but that I haven’t gotten around to yet):

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Atonement, Ian McEwan

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

Book I intentionally left off

I just never did fall in love with To Kill a Mockingbird (why is this everyone’s favorite book?) or The Road (I can’t remember a single good thing happening in that book).

What’s your favorite contemporary literature? Do you agree with my list?

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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