Sheila’s List of Contemporary Must-Read Fiction


This is # 1 on the list, forever.


If anyone ever really wants to understand, on a cellular level, how I see the world, and humanity’s place in it … I wouldn’t be able to describe it myself probably. This book is the closest expression of it yet.


I do not know how to describe this book without making it sound boring. It’s NOT! Its theme is life itself – the search for DNA, mixed in with the Goldberg Variations … the connections found between these two … and the meeting-up of 3 very different people: a librarian, a crazy-boy nighttime computer programmer, and an ex-scientist – one of the guys who had been on the forefront of the search for the “code” of DNA in the 50s … their paths meet in the 1980s. And how the Goldberg Variations fit into all of this is anybody’s guess … this book is HUGE. All about math, and music, and humanity. A great achievement.


this woman is tremendous. One of my writing idols.


One of the greatest books ever.


This book haunts me. Here’s a wee story I told about it.

I’ll probably think of more – but these are the ones that came immediately to mind.

Here are a couple more:

Thanks, Fee. I don’t know how I could have forgotten that one. The only novel this woman wrote. The story of a Maori woman who is a hermit and lives in a stone tower. Isolated. And then into her life comes the battering-ram of a man Joe and his little beaten-down son. The book is a 3-way dance. It’s tragic – and Fee’s right: it was a painful read, although completely unforgettable.

I finished this book, sitting on my porch when I lived in Philadelphia (Germantown, to be exact) – My boyfriend was going for a run, and when he returned home I was curled up on the wicker couch bawling my eyes out for poor “Olympia”. Great book, people – about a family of circus freaks. Indescribable. Unforgettable.

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4 Responses to Sheila’s List of Contemporary Must-Read Fiction

  1. Fee says:

    Hey Red:

    What about “The Bone People” by Keri Hulme? Remember when we were working at the HUB and you me, Rebecca, and crazy Ashley has all read it?

  2. red says:

    Wow. Can’t believe I forgot that book. Wasn’t it fanTASTIC?? She never wrote anything else!

  3. Fee says:

    Not a thing written since, at least not novel length.

    It’s like that was what she was meant to do. Way too autobiographical in tone. It was such a painful book to read that I don’t think I could re-read it.

  4. DeAnna says:

    I was reading Birds of America until I received Memoirs of Cleopatra…
    Have you SEEN this book? It’s only about a thousand pages and it had to be back at the lending library within two weeks so I abandoned Birds and went to work on Cleopatra (amazing book btw). I look forward to getting back to Birds because I am LOVING these amazing stories!
    I wish they weren’t short because I feel like I get to know these characters so well and actually FEEL for them and then the story ends.
    A good writer leaves you begging for more.

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