Modern classics: 11 novels that belong in the classroom by Today.com

When we think of English lit classes, we usually think of Hawthorne, Melville, Austen, Tolstoy, Dickens. But the times, they are a-changin’ and so too are the books we read, both in and out of the classroom. Since the millennium, a lot of good—nay, great—books have been published by masterful authors, all of whom are deserving of a spot on a high school or college curriculum. And as evidenced by these 11 novels, whoever said there were no new ideas didn’t know what they were talking about.

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

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    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 2000 novel by American author Michael Chabon that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. The novel follows the lives of the title characters, a C...


  2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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    Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel written by Canadian author Yann Martel. In the story, the protagonist Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spiritua...


  3. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

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    The Corrections is a 2001 novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It revolves around the troubles of an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children, tracing their lives from the mid...


  4. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

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    Middlesex is a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was published in 2002 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003. The narrator and protagonist, Calliope Stephanides (later called "Cal"), an in...


  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan

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    Atonement is a 2001 novel by British author Ian McEwan. It tells the story of protagonist Briony Tallis's crime and how it changes her life, as well as those of her sister Cecilia and her lover Rob...


  6. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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    Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works -- and only a handful of collectio...

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  7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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    Jonathan Safran Foer follows his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, with an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting story about New York City in the period following September 11 Ext...

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  8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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    The Road is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blast...


  9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) is a best-selling novel written by Dominican-American author Junot Díaz. Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised...


  10. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

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    Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Benni...

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  11. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

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    At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the ...

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