What Should I Read?

My “to be read” pile is nearly exhausted and I’m not quite sure what to read next. For a good portion of my life, I was a book snob. I wouldn’t read anything unless it was at least fifty years old and/or from another country. What a silly little twit I was. I didn’t like beer or chocolate until I became an adult either. Before you rightfully get all uppity, I like beer, chocolate and some modern lit now. However, because of my poncy twittery, there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t read and my knowledge of modern fiction is sorely lacking.

There are so many books out there, I’m not quite sure where to begin. It’s the same with beer. I went about my life disliking beer for forever, and one day, I was at a party where they only had beer, so I tried some again. I thought, “hey, this stuff is pretty good,” and the whole wide world of beer was open to me, but it’s such a large world with so many varieties that I didn’t know what to drink.

I’ve been asking around. I’ve been looking at all of those 1001 books you must read before you die lists. I’ve been at a loss really. Some of the modern fiction I’ve read because everyone loves it and thinks it’s awesome is really just godawful. I’ve read Chuck Palahniuk. Even though a book that he wrote was turned into one of my favorite movies, Fight Club, I was less than impressed.  I attempted to read Cormac McCarthy and only made it 140 pages before I wanted to burn it. I’m trying not to let these experiences sour me on a whole world of fiction. I know there’s good stuff out there; I just don’t know what it is.

I’ve found some good stuff, too. I became a fan of Neal Stephenson. I really liked World War Z by Max Brooks and The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. Apathy And Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan was a fun little read. There is good stuff out there, but like every other form of entertainment, it’s awash in a sea of mediocre. You really have to dig to find it.

So, dear internetter, what do you think I should read? What’s your favorite modern fiction (or even non-fiction) book? Is there a book out there that you think everyone should read? What are your recommendations? Help?