As for that Millions list of the best books of the past decade… i don’t have much right to comment on that. It turns out that I haven’t read all that much that’s been published so recently, but might as well give it a go:
- Gilead. Intend to read it sooner or later, but it seems a little too quiet for my tastes.
- Stranger Things Happen. Like Magic for Beginners better, if only because it includes a story about zombies shopping at a convenience store.
- The Fortress of Solitude. It’s half of a pretty good book.
- Middlesex. It was on the TBR list, but there are too many people too enthusiastic about it who have read some spectacularly boring books. So i pass…
- Atonement. Bullshit. McEwan is bullshit.
- The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Oh, for fuck’s sake. I’ve made my feelings clear on this before.
- Never Let Me Go. If you work in a bookstore long enough, and put a certain book on a feature table because of a marketing directive so many times, you lose any desire to want to read that book. That said, it seems mildly interesting.
- The Road. Really? It was entertaining, but it hasn’t haunted me as the end all of post-apocalyptic literature like many people. Maybe i played too much Gamma World as a kid. More cannibalism than Thundarr the Barbarian though.
- Pastoralia. George Saunders used to seem awesome. He’s too much of a New Yorker staple now, and i preferred CivilWarLand in Bad Decline anyway. He ran that theme park schtick into the ground.
- 2666. It might wind up on top for me, if i had a proper list, even though i know it’s really a mess. It’s one of my most memorable reads this decade.
- The Corrections. Blah. Unlike McEwan, i haven’t actually read much Franzen, but he also seems to represent what i despise in contemporary literature.
Stuff that i was surprised isn’t on there:
- Snow. Orhan Pamuk. Heh. Still have held off reading it, but read everything else of his. Wasn’t Pamuk a lot more popular a few years ago?
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Michael Chabon. It came out in 2000. This list goes up to 2009. Doesn’t it fall into the time range of the list, and the taste of the some of the selectors?
- Remainder. Tom McCarthy. Isn’t this still a critical darling or is it just a weird art scene thing?
It’s not a list that I feel particularly strongly about now though. It’ll take awhile before the real classics shake out.