How to Read…The New Millennium

Ah, the classics. Hemingway. Salinger. Steinbeck. All iconic authors of the 20th Century, all the creators of classics that are still studied and honored today. And many of these classics have received the highest honour any book can receive; inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club.

Ah, the classics. Hemingway. Salinger. Steinbeck. All iconic authors of the 20th Century, all the creators of classics that are still studied and honored today. And many of these classics have received the highest honour any book can receive; inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club.

But the 21st century has birthed more than its fair share of classics, as well. These authors have created stories that both reflect and define the cultural landscape of the new millennium. The five books listed below are but a small sampling of those books. Someday, they will be validated by an almost cult-like figure with a daytime talk show but, until that happens, just take my word for it.

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
4.5 Stars out of 5
Bourdain is the best-known celebrity chef who isn’t really known for being a chef. He is far better known for his travel show, No Reservations, and his unbelievable skill as an author. Kitchen Confidential, his first book, is a gritty and disturbing autobiographical tour through the realities of professional cooking.

Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
4.5 Stars out of 5
Few authors are as defined by their childhoods as Chuck Klosterman but North Dakota in the 80s is the running theme through all of his work. Permeated primarily by discussions of music, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs branches out to discuss a wider variety of pop culture topics in a series of insightful and funny essays. The best one? His discussion of The Empire Strikes Back as the quintessential Generation X movie.

Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus!
4.5 Stars out of 5
Coupland stands quite uniquely as one of the few Canadian fiction authors writing about modern Canada. Hey Nostradamus! discusses the ramifications of a fictional school shooting in Vancouver from the perspective of four individuals affected by the incident. Powerful beyond description, Coupland moves pop culture from mass consumption to an almost spiritual place in this book.

Chuck Palahniuk, Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey
4.5 Stars out of 5
He gave us Fight Club. What else do we need? But then Rant comes along and delivers so much more. An oral biography about a fictional serial killer pieced together from numerous interviews with people who never existed, Rant almost feels like it is about an actual person. Well, until it takes that trademarked Palahniuk twist which leaves us with nothing less than a big ol’ WTF sitting in the middle of your brain.

Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
4.5 Stars out of 5

The book delivers exactly what it promises; the life of Jesus told from the perspective of his best friend, who was tragically left out of the bible. The story focuses mostly on the period of time that Jesus traveled the known world and the events that shaped him for his destiny. Superbly written and funny as all heck, Lamb delivers one of the most engaging stories ever put to print.

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