Top Ten Tuesday | Modern Adult Fiction 101


Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

Today’s topic is: ‘Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101.’ (examples: YA fantasy 101, feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101). I was debating between YA Contemporary 101 and Modern Adult Fiction 101, but I ended up going for the latter because I feel that there are a lot of fantastic adult books out there that don’t get enough love from people who mainly read young adult. So, this list would also work as list of books that are a great place to start off with adult fiction if you want to get into that more.

This list will be in order. Number 10 will be my least favorite, and number 1 will be my absolute favorite.

10. Lexicon by Max Barry


I have a full review for this, if you’re interested in checking it out. The story follows a young man who is abducted from an airport, and his kidnappers are insisting that he is someone he is not. The other perspective follows a teenage, homeless girl who is brought into an academy to hone a skill she never knew she had. Words are powerful, they are persuasive, and you need to protect yourself from them at all cost.

This was one of my first sci-fi reads, and I was very hesitant going into this, but I loved it. Very fast-paced, action-packed. There were switching perspectives, well-constructed characters and an addictive storyline. Would recommend if you’re interested in getting into adult fiction, since the science fiction aspect is fairly light.

9. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

shadow of the wind

This book follows a child named Daniel, who after his mother’s death, finds solace in a book titled the Shadow of the Wind. Completely in love with the book and the author’s writing, Daniel sets out to find other works by him. But he makes a shocking discovery- that someone has been systematically destroying every single thing by this author.

This book was unlike anything I had ever read. Zafón writes with grace; the atmosphere he sets up is beautiful. The scenes are vivid, almost tangible. The characters are heartbreakingly complex, the storyline is full of plot twists you don’t see coming. It’s a slower read, but it’s one that is beautiful.

8. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

aj fikry

A.J. Fikry is miserable. He’s the owner of a small bookstore in the middle of an island. He lives alone, his wife has died, and he dislikes most of the people he encounters. One day, a woman leaves him a package. It’s big in size, and it’s something he couldn’t have expected in his wildest dreams. And so, his life is changed forever.

This book was so heart-warming. I feel it’s one of those books that every book-lover anywhere can appreciate. The characters are lovable and realistic, the writing is beautiful, and not only is it a great book, you also get a ton of recommendations along with it! Win win situation! Click here for my full review!

7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

all the light

 I’m sure all of you have heard of this book, but for those of you who haven’t, this is a historical fiction novel following two characters during World War II. One of these is a blind girl who flees from her home in Paris when the Germans invade, and goes to live with a family friend on the coast of Brittany. The other storyline follows Werner, a skilled young boy who is recruited into the Hitler Youth. Eventually, their paths collide.

This is a very slow book, even though the chapters are short. If you don’t mind the pacing, this book is fantastic. The atmosphere is wonderful, the writing is great. The characters are well-developed, especially Werner, and this book offers some perspectives that I had never read or even thought of before. It packs an unexpected punch, and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Here’s my full review.

6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult


Nineteen Minutes follows a dark yet important subject. It tells the story of a community- multiple people in this community, adults and youngsters alike, who are rattled by an act of violence at the local high school: a school shooting resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries. As people around the community try to figure out how something like this could happen, relationships are tested, and moralities are questioned.

This isn’t an easy book to read for anyone. It is brutal in more ways than one. It will leave your heart bleeding on the floor, leave you crying for characters you never expected to cry for. Because of the multiple perspectives, you get to see things from the points of view of the local judge, her daughter, the perpetrator’s mother, other students. It’s moving and poignantly written.

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


You’ve heard of this, I know you have. Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne, a husband who on his fifth anniversary, finds his wife missing. But the crime scene seems staged, and Nick’s odd behavior is making the police and the community suspicious. When his wife’s diary is discovered, Nick’s image is further damaged. Yeah, he seems bitter, but is he really a killer? Everybody seems to think so.

I think this book was important in a number of ways. It explores issues like fidelity, corrosive marriages, unhealthy relationships, misandry and misogyny. I enjoy books with anti-heroes, and this one was a fantastic book in this category. Smart, sharp and edge-of-the-seat addictive. Here’s my full review.

4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon


Josef Kavalier has run away from a Nazi-infested Europe to America, where he teams up with his cousin Sam, to make comics. He’s hoping to make tons of money so he can get the rest of his family out from back home. Sam deals with the money and helps come up with the ideas while Josef draws. But Josef has other motives as well; through his comics, he hopes to deal a literal blow to Hitler. As his plans to save his family seem to fail, Josef finds himself fighting the war with his stories and illustrations.

This book is huge, yes. It takes you a while to get through it since the plot is incredibly dense and Michael Chabon has a certain flair for description. But the story is unique and wonderful, the characters will break your heart, and in the end, you’ll find yourself more attached to the book than you had ever imagined.

3. One Day by David Nichols

one day

It’s July 15th, 1988 and Emma and Dexter meet for the very first time. They have a great evening together, and so starts a beautiful friendship. Each chapter takes you forward a year. You read about where these characters are, what they are doing, who they are with on every July 15th from 1988 to 2008. Dex and Emma are sometimes together, other times, they are as far as they can possibly be. But they are never not the best of friends.

This is the ultimate best friends’ falling in love with each other book. It’s the ultimate one, in my opinion, which is why it’s important. Because it’s not just about the relationship of these two characters: it’s about so much more. It’s about how two people can change over time. It’s about being blind to what’s in front of you. It’s about loving life, growing up, taking care of each other. It’s about friendship and family and death and life, and it’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

kite runner

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, a wealthy boy and Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant. Set in Afghanistan –  a country that is in the process of being destroyed, politically, socially, completely. When the Taliban take over the Afghani government, Amir has the resources to flee from the country. A few years later, risking his life, he comes back, desperately looking for the best friend he left behind.

I don’t think I can say much about this book, except that it’s important. It’s set in a country you rarely read about, and it focuses on a set of people who are seen as subhuman in this age. Khaled Hosseini writes with a passion about a country that he is descended from, a country which fell apart in front of his eyes, a people who are oppressed to this day by extremism, savagery, and civil war. Read it. You will love it, and you will cry.

1, The Secret History by Donna Tartt


The Secret History tells the story of Richard, a boy from a low-class family, who seizes on the opportunity to go to college. On his first day, he lays eyes on a group of five people who seem so unlike the others at his college; they have a grace to them, they seem mysterious and elite, and he is immediately drawn to them. Richard works to get into the elite Greek language class where he can find these five people. Eventually, he is sucked into their world- a world of obsession, longing, and ultimately – evil.

This book is perfection. I don’t know what else to say about it, because whenever I think about it, it renders me speechless. This book is perfect. It is everything I could ever want in a novel.


  1. I didn’t like Lexicon all that much but I blame it on the fact that it was for a school project that pretty much destroyed any chance of me enjoying the book.
    I definitely am hoping to read some of these books eventually! I’m looking forward to reading some Donna Tartt and Jodi Picoult! I’m also of the opinion that The Kite Runner is probably going to end up being one of my favorite books ever. I just have this gut feeling. So I hope I don’t jinx it XD

    • Nineteen Minutes is the only Picoult book I’ve read, but it definitely got me interested in reading more of her work. I have My Sister’s Keeper on my shelf; hopefully, I’ll get to it soon!

      I can see what you mean about One Day. It took me a long time to read it; it’s a very slow read, so I get why some people got bored by it. 🙂

      • My Sister’s Keeper is amazing, it’s my favourite one of hers. Let me know what you think when you get around to it. Yeah, it took me forever and that genre of book isn’t really my favourite anyway.

  2. Lexicon sounds interesting. I haven’t read any of these, but I’m a bit picky with my adult fiction reading choices (as in they are almost all fantasy).

    • I’m actually super picky about adult fantasy. xD I’m pretty open to adult fiction! You should give Lexicon a go; I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did!

    • Thanks! 😀 The Shadow of the Wind is a good choice for people who enjoyed Fikry. It’s definitely not as light; it has a much, much darker tone but the writing is similar.

      Thanks for stopping by! x

  3. “One Day” made me cry, shiver, get angry and fall in love. It’s everything I would want in a modern love story–not to mention, the banter between the two was exactly what I was having with my “male companion” at the time. I’m so glad you put it on your list!

  4. I have not read a single one of these, so now I have a good list of recommendations lol! 🙂 Although I enjoyed the Gone Girl film, so perhaps Ill give the novel a try!

  5. I really want to get more into adult fiction, so this list was perfect! I’m really interested in The Secret History, All the Light We Cannot See and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, so hopefully I’ll get to buy them soon:)

    • Yay! I’m glad this may have been some help! I hope you get to them soon too. I’m actually desperate for someone to read the Secret History. Nobody I know has read it, and all my feels have been bottled up ever since I read it last year. xD

  6. I’ve read half of the books on this list, so I think I’d somehow get through your class alright 😉 good choices! I especially love Nineteen Minutes and Kite Runner – those stayed with me for so long!

  7. One Day is in my top 5. I will never forget one particular sentence in the book that just came out of no where!!!! Do you know the one I mean? If not no worries I don’t want to give anything away. Haha 🙂

    • Yay! I haven’t encountered a lot of people who’re into that book. I read it a long, LONG time ago, but I think you’re talking about the sentence near the end? D:

      • Haha its been a few years since I read it too but I think it was close to the end and what happened was so shocking because it was so unexpected. And it was just that one line and the story takes a completely different direction. Better stop there 😉 Thank you so much for the follow xx

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