David Rubel - Author, Historian, Speaker
The Reading List: Contemporary Fiction

Category: Adult
Publisher: Owl
Pages: 368
Publication Date: June 1998


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The Reading List
Contemporary Fiction: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works of 110 Authors
Edited by David Rubel


Publisher’s Description
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.





Book Page review
So much fiction has been published over the last few decades that any complete catalogue would be gargantuan. And given the tremendous amount of new writing, searching for the worthiest novels is a daunting task. Nevertheless, David Rubel has sifted through the annals of contemporary writing and produced The Reading List, a new reference book listing 110 of the most influential authors of contemporary literary fiction.


To be included, an author must be alive and still writing, have published more than one book, and have written in more than a single genre. No geographical limitations were set, so a wide array of countries are represented. In addition to a short biographical summary, the entry for each author includes a complete list of the author’s fiction in chronological order. Books that by consensus are an author’s best are starred, and excerpts from reviews are presented alongside those entries. At the end of each author’s section, Rubel recommends a group of authors of related substance or style.


What makes The Reading List stand out from other dry reference tools is Rubel’s unpretentious, informal tone. Be advised, however, that the present book makes no mention of Tom Clancy, Danielle Steele, or John Grisham. But many other popular writers, like Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and John Irving are listed.


Critics seldom agree about the value of new fiction, and by definition, contemporary writers have yet to stand the test of time. But as a welcome reminder of the wealth of great authors now writing, The Reading List successfully whets the appetite for contemporary literary fiction.