Here is a list of my favorite contemporary novels.

GENERAL FICTION

Affliction, Russell Banks
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream, John Derbyshire
Enduring Love, Ian McEwan
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
The Last Crossing, Guy Vanderhaeghe
Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Morality Play, Barry Unsworth
A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin
Atonement, Ian McEwan
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Case of Curiosities, Allen Kurzweil
Postcards, Annie Proulx
Imperium, Robert Harris


SUSPENSE, ESPIONAGE, CRIME, BUT ALSO LITERATURE OF THE FIRST RANK

The Innocent, Ian McEwan
Restless, by William Boyd
A Perfect Spy, by John LeCarre
The Debt to Pleasure, John Lanchester
Reversible Errors, by Scott Turow
Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst (and all of Furst's other books; Spies of the Balkans is most recent, and very good)


NOT QUITE IN FIRST RANK, BUT WORTHY OF MENTION

Rose, by Martin Cruz Smith
The Draining Lake, by Arnaldur Indridason
The Big Picture, by Douglas Kennedy (a suspense tale with a photography theme)
The Last Kashmiri Rose, Barbara Cleverly (a very nice historical mystery about Bengal)


BEST SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY/HISTORY BOOKS I KNOW OF:

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Richard Wrangham (2009). An excellent, scholarly, and thought-provoking collection of ideas related to cooking and human evolution.

A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz (2008, excellent, except for his reference to the hoax of the Kensington Runestone (e.g., he mentions the falsehood that the discoverer was a stonemason); I believe the evidence is overwhelming that it is completely legitimate).

The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston; a superb description of the giant redwoods of northern California, an amazing collection of beautiful trees.

The Hard Road West, by Keith Meldahl (2007); his description of geology of American West is unsurpassed.

After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America, by Edith Pielou (1991; maybe out of print)

Operation Mincemeat, by Ben McIntyre; a modern account of the famed WWII story of The Man Who Never Was. Well written, superb story and characters.

In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson; a description of the service in Berlin of the US Ambassador, Dodd, focusing on him and the interesting life of his daughter. Well researched, full of interesting detail of those pre-war years.

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