Four contemporary books that will surprise you • Art de Vivre

4 contemporary books that will surprise you

6 minutes to read
Jun 16, 2022

When we talk about literature, we always think of the all-time classics such as The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and Gone with the Wind. The stories that they tell are definitely a must in everyone’s reading list, if you turn out to be an avid reader and an admirer of the beauty of writing. Yet, there are many authors who are worth our attention but often stay in the shadow of the great old names such as Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Dickens. There is more to the world of writing 

In this article we are going to explore four contemporary books which will surprise you with their style, plot, and character development. 

Before the Coffee Gets Cold 

Year of Publication: 2015 

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a light, touching story about a very special café in Tokyo. This café offers its customers something incredible, the opportunity to travel back in time. The book is written with a unique idea in mind transformed simply into a novel, allowing the reader to keep going till the end. Despite the lack of an active plot, the story focuses on character development and allows to establish a connection with the different personalities depicted in the novel. The heart-warming feeling that this book gives will stay even after you finish it and even if you forget the plot line and what has happened in the novel, the warmth will stay. Before the Coffee Gets Cold would certainly make anyone smile especially those who are literature and time travel lovers.


Before the coffee gets cold © How I have been - Polya PENCHEVA
Before the coffee gets cold © How I have been

The Physics of Sorrow 


Year of Publication: 2011

Author: Georgi Gospodinov

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Georgi Gospodinov is a Bulgarian writer who is not very popular outside Bulgaria but his novel The Physics of Sorrow has reached a wide number of people outside his country of origin. The novel has won many national and international literary awards such as the Angelus Award (2019) and the National Literary Award Bulgarian Novel of the Year (2013). It is difficult to classify this book because it is simultaneously an essay, a description of “Bulgarian socialism”, and a novel about life. Gospodinov’s style is witty, modern, and wise-appealing to people of all ages. The Physics of Sorrow has been translated and published in English, Italian, French and many other languages. The labyrinthine structure allows the reader to connect with, if not all, the bigger part of the book and become the author of these thoughts on paper. Amongst the post-modern style, the author manages to entangle the motif of the minotaur amongst others and invoke empathy in the reader.


© Gülfer ERGİN on unsplash - Polya PENCHEVA
© Gülfer ERGİN on unsplash

The Testaments


Year of Publication: 2019

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, Science Fiction

The Testaments is the sequel of Margaret Atwood’s famous novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The story develops more than 15 after the original events have taken place. The story engages with its readers and brings the perspectives of three women, their actions and what they are willing to do in order to fight the system. Yes, the Republic of Gilead is back with its theocratical approaches. The novel is very relevant when it comes to discussing contemporary issues such as abortion rights gaining prominence nowadays. The Testaments transcends over traditional narratives and brings a different perspective on womanhood.

The suspense of the novel and the intelligent manner in which it is written turn it into a classic that any woman should read at least once in a lifetime.



The Testaments © Nana Win Tour - Polya PENCHEVA
The Testaments © Nana Win Tour

Eating Animals 


Year of Publication: 2009

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer

Genre: Non-fiction

Jonathan Safran Foer does an incredible job in this non-fictional novel, unveiling the secrets behind animal production and skilfully intertwining his literary style with a journalistic investigation into the food production industry. This book has the potential to turn people to vegetarianism or veganism, if this is not a far-fetched statement. In Eating Animals, Foer combines facts with philosophy, turning this novel into a memorable one. Moreover, this book provides an important overview of what is actually happening in the world and brings up important topics of discussion relating to ethics and the environment. This book is a must-read for any inquisitive mind willing to learn more about the world. The best thing that Foer does in this book is that he is not preaching veganism and denouncing people who enjoy meat but rather states the facts and offers solutions even for meat lovers.



Eating animals © The greek vegan chickCredits for the Main photo: © Radu Marcusu on Unsplash



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