Best of the Decade - Books

Falling Man - Don DeLillo (2007) The image of a man who jumped from the North Tower of the World Trade Center becomes the albatross around the neck of a man whose life is shattered by Sept. 11 despite his own survival. The grief, humanity and angst of that terrible day and the weeks and months that followed are stunningly captured by DeLillo in one of his finest novels.

The Powerbook
- Jeanette Winterson (2000) At the start of the decade, Winterson had already foreseen a future where we reinvent ourselves online. Beautiful, transcendent writing.

Specimen Days - Michael Cunningham (2005) Three stories all linked by reincarnated characters and the spirit of Walt Whitman. Just as good, if not better in some places, than The Hours.

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things - John McGregor (2002) A day of memory, reflection and unexpected accidents for the residents of a London street are made not only remarkable but extraordinary in this lyrical, poetic novel.

The Diagnosis - Alan Lightman (2000) A businessman loses his memory and sets of on a journey across Boston trying to re-find himself.

Black Swan Green - David Mitchell (2006) The British author just keeps getting better and better and his year-in-the-life tale of young Jason Taylor growing up in the early 80s is dazzling.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy (2006) In a hellish, post-apocalyptic future, the bond between a father and son traveling the wasteland is endlessly put to the test. Deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

White Teeth - Zadie Smith (2000) A tough call between this one and Smith's more recent On Beauty, but this impressive debut about two warring, London families is not only one of the best books of the past decade, but any decade.

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood (2000) Part historical romance, part sci-fi thriller, Atwood was firing on all thrusters when she penned this brilliant, Booker Prize-winning novel.

Atonement - Ian McEwan (2001) A young girl's deceit destroys the lives of two would-be lovers.


Ivy said…
Happy New Year, Collin! Read The Road last week, coincidentally. Scary, awful, atmospheric and so well-written. Wow.
Nice list! Though I have to whole-heartedly disagree with Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days. I'm a huge fan of his (have read nearly all of his books), but could not believe how terrible that book was. It was perhaps my biggest book disappointment of the decade. I guess, I'm glad someone liked it.
Acefspades said…
Love your inclusion of If Nobody Speaks of remarkable Things, definitely my book of the decade. Loved Jon McGregor's other book So Many Ways To Begin as well.
Karen J. Weyant said…
Great list -- I've only read five of these books. Guess I have some catching up to do...
Collin Kelley said…
Stephen, I thought Specimen Days was amazing. I read it in two days while in New York. Sure, that final sci-fi section was a little weird, but the detail and the way Whitman was worked into all three stories was brilliant. I hope they make a movie out of it, because it had a real cinematic scope.

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