In anticipation of all the upcoming “best of 2013” lists, I wanted to share this list of 50 books that define the last five years in literature. It’s a long enough list that everyone will find something they like here. But what do you think of the list as a whole?
In case you’re wondering, the site doesn’t give any criteria for the list, or any rankings. It’s just defined as “50 books that show what is great about literature here and now.”
Here’s what I’ve read from this list: Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – definitely.
Hunger Games? Sure, I guess. The Magicians by Lev Grossman? Um, okay. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz? I didn’t care for it.
What I still mean to read: IQ84 by Murakami, Super Sad Love Story by Sheyngart and Skippy Dies by Murray.
Should I feel bad that I’ve read so very few of these books? I guess it depends how valid the list is. The truth is, I always feel bad that I don’t read more great works of literature. Still, reading is meant to be fun, and we get to what we can get to.
Looking at a few of my recent “best of” lists, I would say a few authors missing from this list are Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Barbara Kingsolver. Maybe Maggie O’Farrell or Kate Atkinson. I could also see Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand or Please Look After Mom or Eleanor & Park on this list.
What books do you think represent the last five years in literature?
Hm, I haven’t read many of the books on that list either, and I haven’t even heard of several of them. I didn’t much care for The Tiger’s Wife, and I got stuck reading 1Q84 (but I want to pick that up again). Like you, I can think of several books that I would include on a “Best Of” list for the last 5 years.
I always have mixed feelings about lists like these since they’re basically just lists of well-received, critically-lauded books. Meh.
I have read just one – Wolf Hall. It is a superb book but to say ‘it defines the last five years’ is ludicrous given that it deals with sixteenth century England not twenty first century. Its inclusion and the fact that the writers never explain their selection criteria, makes me seriously question the value of this list.
Wolf Hall is supposed to be amazing. I’m with you on the value of the list, given the total lack of selection criteria. Even the “theme” isn’t really explained. Still, I do love a “best of” list.
I’ve only read 3 on the list, though a number of them are on my TBR list. You’re right about a number of important authors that are missing from the list. And some of the books i thought to be rather random. Oh well, these lists will never satisfy everyone, but i love reading them.