Best contemporary novels here in the heading simply mean it is my personal recommendation. I base it on my reading and the reviews the books have got on Goodreads or Amazon. I have read these contemporary fiction novels over the years and they have affected me. I would want them on my bookshelf and so I am recommending it for your library as well. The opinions are personal.

What is a contemporary fiction novel?

A book that is set in current times and is offering real-life settings is considered a contemporary fiction genre. The stories have informal dialogues, and they delve into a current situation or something that the reader can relate to. When I searched for the timeline for a book to be classified as contemporary, the general expected rule seemed to be, books set in post World War era.

So if you are a reader who loves contemporary fiction novels, then these recommendations are for you.

My recommendation of the best contemporary novels

  1. The Fault in our Stars
  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird
  3. The Girl on the Train
  4. The Big Little Lies
  5. Da Vinci Code    
  6. Catch 22
  7. The Help

So the first in my list is –

The Fault in our Stars

A contemporary love story that is now turned into a big motion movie by the same name is about star-crossed lovers plagued with a terminal illness. It is a story where they find the silver lining in each other’s company in an otherwise dark life filled with hospital visits, therapy and an unpredictable future.

This is a book that deals with teens fighting cancer and trying to live a life that might just cease to exist in a few days. The unpredictability, their earnest love for the other and the fatality of the situation is a tearjerker and not recommended for sensitive souls.

To Kill a Mocking Bird

A classic that is true even today. It beautifully narrates the situations from a child’s perspective. A powerful story that is narrated in a straightforward narrative steered by Scout –a young girl in Alabama during the Great Depression. The novel discusses race, tolerance and human decency. When a rape trial accused pleads not guilty and the town believes otherwise, the small town in Alabama becomes the epicentre of hate. Atticus Finch shows us that all it takes is the quiet, decent courage to stand up against injustice and be unwavering in the face of popular polar opposite views.

The Girl on the Train

A modern-day thriller that is depressing and slow, to begin with. I was in two minds while adding it to the list. It bore me-the drunkard blabbering of a young woman who just doesn’t seem to get anything right or hold on to anything positive in her life. However, the book slowly grows on you and you know that something is terribly wrong somewhere.

Then as you go ahead, you realize almost every character is flawed and they seem to live a life of pretences. The book has more than its share of depressing lost souls and that can unnerve you, but it sheds light on psychological abuse, which is something that is important to talk about in today’s world.

The Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies is another contemporary thriller set in sunny Sydney. The seemingly bored homemakers band together as their children start school and they get busy catching up on lunches and throw together playdates, but their mundane life is disrupted by an unexpected mystery.

The novel starts with a trivia night at the school and a death that ensues. The author has crafted the characters that seem very real and normal and yet have some personal demons to fight. A death right in the middle of it all makes things interesting. This is definitely something that a modern mom would love reading and maybe associate to a certain level as you read the thoughts and fears of the central characters.

Da Vinci Code   

One of the first books that paved way for historical/mythological thrillers, this one is definitely a brilliant book to have. It is fast-paced, gripping, and has some amazing ideas connected with a deep mystery. This is not for those who cannot take history/mythology with a pinch of salt as it explores alternate narration and can even be seen as an atheist or a powerful critic of religion and faith. The book has received accolades and criticism world-wide so if you are someone who enjoys alternate narration and are looking for a quick read, then this is a book for you.

Catch 22

A novel that talks about the pressure young men in uniform might have faced when they enlisted during the World War. The disillusion of the war and the hard reality of tragedy unfolding all around him makes Yossarian desperate to leave or stop the war, but the Catch-22 won’t let him. This is a humorous take on a depressing situation, and it has pearls of wisdom for everyone who is ready to read it with an open mind. It is about a young man and his desperation to get out of a war and portrays the war fatigue in some stark words, but it is slow to pick up. There will be times where you will want to abandon the book, just will yourself to go on for a few more pages and you will see the magic.

The Help

This is a book that I am reading currently. I am not truly aware of the extent of racialism and the civil rights movement that took place in the USA around the 1960s but based on the current movement and the online reads around this topic; I think the book might shed some light on the lives of black women around that time. Friends have recommended it to me and so it is making to the list before I finish my read. It is a book that is in the middle of a civil rights movement, and so I think it might be an interesting addition.  

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7 best contemporary novels

11 Replies to “7 best contemporary novels recommended for your library”

  1. These are superb recommendations. Have read The Fault in Our Stars, The Da Vinci Code and The Girl on the Train. The Big Little Lies and The Help on my TBR. Hope to read them soon.

  2. These are some wonderful classic books that you have mentioned. I have read most of them from the list and intend to read the rest. Catch 22 is being procrastinated due to its sheer size.

  3. excellent recommendations. I do believe that books are a wonderful part to be a part of 🙂
    i personally loved reading Da Vinci Code and it really changed how i looked at the world around me!

  4. I love reading contemporary fiction since it raises issues that we feel and understand. Have read most of these books, DaVinci Code and TKAMB being amongst my all-time favourites.

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