The older I get, the more of an English major I become.
Novels fill my time, shape my thinking, and inspire my sermons.
And I feel privileged to be alive in these early years of the 21st Century, because this season is replete with fiction that is at the same time beautifully written and compellingly told.
So here are my five favorite 21st century novels … so far.
5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. The only novel I’ve read with a pseudo-hermaphrodite, born Calliope, as the central character. Eugenides, who teaches at Princeton, works his way into Calliope’s mind with both wisdom and sensitivity.
4. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Sprawling, time-travelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately mesmerizing. No doubt the fastest I have ever read an 849 page novel.
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. I read this in 2004. At the time we were members of the Long Cove Swim Club here in Steele Creek. My kids still remember me reading and weeping while they were swimming.
2. State Of Wonder by Ann Patchett. It had me at the first sentence and never let me go. The real state of wonder is what you experience in reading the beautiful simplicity of Patchett’s prose.
1. The Nix by Nathan Hill. Some of you knew this would top the list. John Irving, Tom Wolfe, hilarity, pathology, and brain chemistry all wrapped into one brilliant package. Hill’s brief conversation involving memory scars was one of the inspirations for, Excuses & Explanations, the first sermon in the Love Handles series.