Please suggest recent fiction for me
June 25, 2018 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I read constantly, but am having trouble getting into anything right now. I'm in a reading funk. Please help me by suggesting recent (published since 2015) fiction for me. Preferences inside.

Here's a list of fiction I've read recently and liked. Please assume that I will read other books by these authors.
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
Walkaway, Cory Doctorow
Fellside, MR Carey
Artemis, Andy Weir
Skin Folk, Nalo Hopkinson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
The Fold, Peter Clines

And for contrast, here's a list of fiction books I have NOT liked:
Girl Waits With a Gun, Amy Stewart
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon
The Silver Music Box, Mina Baites
Where'd you go Bernadette, Maria Semple
posted by OrangeDisk to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sebastian Barry, Days Without End (2017). This follows an Irish emigre who moves to the US during the famine and fights in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. It started me on a Sebastian Barry binge.
posted by FencingGal at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty is interesting and easy to read recent sci fi; you'll probably like it if you liked Artemis.

Also: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant.
posted by something something at 1:42 PM on June 25, 2018


I've been into Ali Smith lately - I recently read How to Be Both (2014, just a little early, sorry) after reading Autumn (2017) and Winter (2018).

They are somewhat innovative in form without feeling (to me) unnecessarily experimental.
posted by vunder at 1:51 PM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


You are going to enjoy The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1 out of three, the second is published, the third is coming out soon) by Becky Chambers
posted by jessamyn at 2:04 PM on June 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


I recently read The Idiot, by Elif Batuman - I found it much frothier and sillier than a lot of people did, and an extraordinarily accurate portrayal of a certain kind of college experience. If you like extremely event-heavy novels, you won't like it.

Many people also like Her Body And Other Parties. If you like feminist fairytales with touches of body horror you'll like these. It's extremely zeitgeisty, for good and for bad.
posted by Frowner at 2:06 PM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I really really loved White Tears by Hari Kunzru. It’s a novel that really succeeds in thinking about music, privilege, authenticity, and what Magical Realism might look like in Brooklyn. That description would make me want to never ever read it, but it’s quite good. It’s about two young music bros who end up discovering/creating an unreleased 1920s blues song. It’s very good on 1950s record collecting, too.
posted by OmieWise at 2:13 PM on June 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


I'm currently 100% bonkers about Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Cycle. I also couldn't put down Whitehead's Underground Railroad and I think the books have a kind of common spiritual thread even if they're extremely different.

Give the first volume, My Brilliant Friend a try. It's not very long, and utterly compelling. They are among the greatest works of fiction in 50 years.
posted by dis_integration at 2:14 PM on June 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'm about halfway through A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Set in Australia during the 1950s, the novel focuses on an unconventional married couple and their odd schoolteacher neighbor. The book is a fast-paced echo of the era in which the automobile came into its own, leading — through a tangle of family relationships, race relations, romantic relationships, business deals, and unwise and rash decisions all around — to a bone-rattling round-the-country road race. The book is fast, the writing is colorful and adept, the characters believable and enthralling (even, or especially, when they're just the worst sort of people), and there's oblique Aussie humor throughout that seems natural and unaffected.

I'm short on time and hard to please — most books fail to keep me interested or don't meet my high writing standards — but this is one of the rare ones that I will finish with pleasure.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:17 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff was a superb page-turner. Groff in general is really good, and she has a new short story collection out this year.
posted by witchen at 2:21 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Seconding the Becky Chambers recommendation above; perfect light SF for a casual read. I'd also suggest anything by N.K. Jemisin, especially her Broken Earth books. I'm currently enjoying The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North (aka Kate Griffin aka Catherine Webb) and will definitely be picking up some of her other books; she's a really compelling writer.

In short, there seems to be a bit of a thing going on with women-authored SF at the moment, and it's pretty great.
posted by pipeski at 2:30 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have just started reading Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday and am enjoying it
posted by Morpeth at 2:31 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I recently finished The Overstory by Richard Powers, and really, really enjoyed it. I'll admit it drags a little bit in the middle while he is tying everything together, but the beginning and the end are fantastic. Plus, now I know a whole bunch of facts about trees!
posted by sacrifix at 2:35 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


You'll probably like Jenny Diski's recent book of stories, The Vanishing Princess. And if you like that (and/or if you like Lydia Davis at all) you will also like Knots by Gunnhild Oyehaug. Both of these are very short, so you don't have to really commit when you're in a reading funk.

I read a couple very gripping family sagas that I think scratch some of the same itches as A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Underground Railroad (although less experimental):
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy

Will also enthusiastically endorse the recommendations upthread for Elena Ferrante and Becky Chambers. Happy reading!
posted by torridly at 2:53 PM on June 25, 2018


Nthing Becky Chambers- just finished the first one today and really liked it. Also will second Claire North- my favorite of hers is The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (published 2014- so close to your deadline).
posted by charmedimsure at 3:15 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


You may like The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion and its sequel by Margaret Killjoy. I haven't read it yet but I've heard good things about Witchmark by CL Polk. And keep an eye out for Arkady Martine's debut A Memory Called Empire.
posted by azalea_chant at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2018


I recently started reading The Power by Naomi Alderman and it is very getintoable.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:11 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've recently read a small handful of books that were fun and kept my attention, but which really didn't demand a lot of work from me. Normally I like books that take more conscious attention, but this was a nice break for me.

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy. Reminded me of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, except that it's a family drama and murder mystery. But light.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. This seems to be SUPER popular. I didn't think it was a rave, but it was very sweet and it kept my attention and never pissed me off.

The Oracle Year. There are a lot of books that have some kind of mystery or missing link that go at a quick pace and then fall off in the resolution, slowing down and getting mired in detail. This is NOT one of those. It's fun and it goes quickly and doesn't really tax your brain that hard, possibly because it was written by a comic book writer.
posted by janey47 at 5:11 PM on June 25, 2018


These are both 2014, but well worth it. I've read and loved several of the books on your first list. I loved these as well--hopefully you will too.

My Real Children by Jo Walton. Literary scifi, is how I'd describe it. The scifi element is subtle. A beautiful book.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee. Elegant prose, ghastly dystopia.
posted by duffell at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


We seem to have similar tastes, so I'll recommend some of my favorite reads from this year:

Seconding Pachinko, which I devoured.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is another multi-perspective, multi-year family saga.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal does what it says on the tin, but not at all in the way I expected. It's intergenerational literary fiction and does a great job of tackling the concept of sexuality in a population that's usually seen as asexual/sexless. I adored it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was enjoyable and a quick read--very absorbing.

If you didn't like Where'd You Go Bernadette, I would tell you to ignore the inevitable recs people will make of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It got rave reviews, all my friends loved it, but it left me cold, and I think part of it was that it had strong Maria Semple vibes.
posted by assenav at 8:50 PM on June 25, 2018


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward — my favorite so far this year.

I'll second N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth series pipeski mentioned above, too. Just finished that and really enjoyed it.
posted by saramour at 9:42 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Colson Whitehead's first novel, The Intuitionist, blew me away.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:43 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I recently devoured Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. I avoided it for a while thinking it was overhyped but -- nope! She does a fantastic job with multiple narrators/multiple perspectives, which is often tough to pull off, and it has stylistic aspects of Greek tragedy/inevitability that work really well for making a small domestic plot into a Really Important Thing.

Speaking of Greek tragedy, I'm currently listening to an audiobook of Circe by Madeline Miller which is one of the first audiobooks I've really gotten into. I usually don't like "backstory of minor character in another work" type stories, but she's done a great job with this one. Highly recommend.
posted by basalganglia at 3:11 AM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


As mentioned, the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante are very good reads.

The Outline Trilogy by Rachel Cusk looks fantastic. I say looks, because I've only read the first one so far, when it was serialized in the Paris Review. It was very enjoyable and I've since ordered them all in hardback to read through all at once. The third should be arriving today, in fact!
posted by matthewfells at 8:58 AM on June 26, 2018


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
posted by ElisaOS at 1:26 PM on June 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Another vote for Little Fires Everywhere, Pachinko, and Sing, Unburied, Sing. I want to add Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

These books blew me away, and you'll be supporting authors that are women of color.
posted by Become A Silhouette at 4:24 PM on June 26, 2018


A few of the books you mention enjoying are ones I've enjoyed recently, too. Here are some sci-fi that you might like as well.

* Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
* Waypoint Kangaroo and Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen
* The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
* Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson
* All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
posted by synecdoche at 8:15 PM on June 26, 2018


Favorites this year:
*The People's House by David Pepper
*Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
*A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
*Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
*Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong
*The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
*Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Found many of these through The Morning News' Tournament of Books, aka The Roosters.
posted by tizzie at 7:46 AM on June 28, 2018


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