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The 100 Best Books of the Decade So Far

There’s been a lot of buzz about The Oyster Review’s 100 Best Books of the Decade So Far list. I think it’s a good list, with a fair amount of variety and books that are more “accessible” than many best-of lists, with popular non-fiction inclusions like Wild and Bossypants.

I don’t know much about Oyster, and they tell me nothing about their criteria for ranking the books, which bugs me. But it’s still a pretty good list, and it gives me a lot more ideas of what to read, not that I need more on my list.

I counted 18 books on the list that I’ve read, and many were good if not great, in my opinion. My favorites, in no particular order:

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I also really liked The Round House, Skippy Dies, Wild, Gone Girl, All the Light You Cannot See, and The Fault in Our Stars. And I can’t disagree with including The Goldfinch even if I had issues with it.

If I have any that I disagree with, it would be This is How You Lose Her, which was so not as good as Diaz’ previous novel, and 11/22/63, which I found a bit long and somewhat predictable. Not my favorite Stephen King although I appreciated the historical detail. And I didn’t care for Every Day, but then I’m not exactly the target audience for that book.

These are really small complaints, which is why I have to say this is a good list. I guess the real question is, what’s missing? I would have included Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, or Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, or Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  I would also have to consider The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell.  And what about The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman?

But no book list makes every reader happy, and yet we love them anyway.  What did you think of the list?

11 thoughts on “The 100 Best Books of the Decade So Far

  1. It does seem like a lot of the books are very, very recent though. I mean The Girl on the Train, it’s a good book, but in a best of list? Have to think it’s included just because it’s very new and on people’s minds a lot.

    • Nish, that’s a great point, the list does seem like it’s leaning too much towards the bestsellers. But I haven’t read Girl on the Train so can’t really say.

  2. To be honest, I didn’t really love this list. I have only read about 15 on the list. Most I thought were okay and I did like quite a few of them but best of the decade? Of the ones you listed, Goon Squad was my favorite (perhaps would make the cut for my list). I enjoyed Station Eleven, Life After Life, and Thousand Autumns but they would by no means make my best of list.

    And, I LOVE Tina Fey (I used to work with her when she was on SNL and I was a lowly page at NBC). Her book was funny but not great literature and while it hurts me to say it, I don’t think it should come close to make the list.

    I do really want to read Americanah though since I have loved some of her other books. I agree with you about the Golem and the Jinni.

    • Thanks for the comment! Very cool that you worked with Tina Fey. I did think some of the picks seemed a little lightweight. I didn’t see any picks that really bothered me, which I guess isn’t a very high bar. But then every book list has its issues…

      • I think you’re right that it was a list of more accessible books which can be a good thing. I fully admit i’m very picky when it comes to books.

  3. I’ve read 22 books from the list, and although I loved some of them, others were solidly “okay” reads for me. I also would have liked to see An Untamed State, Dept. of Speculation, A Tale for the Time Being, and A Little Life make the list. I wonder what their parameters were for “best?”

  4. I’m taking a look at this list now (cos I am way behind on bookish news) and I am disappointed in their lack of Bernadette and Wolves on this list. Ridiculous. Tsk tsk.

  5. Eh might not agree with the whole list but theres quite a bit on there I haven’t gotten to read. Def gave me some ideas on books to pick up.

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