I learned a lot about my reading habits when I sat down and tried to compile a list of my ten favourite books of the last decade. In terms of fiction, I realized that characters are probably the most important aspect of a book to me: if you asked me about these books I would inevitably talk about their characters first. Additionally, I like fiction that leaves me thinking. Which makes it unsurprising that I also like a bit of nonfiction. I don’t need a pacey plot or a lot of action but I like a good exploration of the human condition. I’m a fan of quirky stylistic decisions and a story with a bit of dark humour in it doesn’t bother me in the least.
I haven’t put these books in a rank order because that would take me a really …. long …. time, so I took a short cut and put them in date order instead.
White Teeth (2000) by Zadie Smith: The decade started well with this ambitious yet comical look at life in modern Britain.
The Dark Room
(2001) by Rachel Seiffert
: three novellas of the impact of World War II on the lives of ordinary Germans
(2002) by Richard Wright
: A novel of two sisters living in depression era Canada and New York. Probably the first epistolary novel
I’ve really liked. The male author creates vivid and believable female characters.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
(2005) by Jonathan Safran Foer
: The NYC crossing adventure of an eccentric young boy grieving the loss of his father in the Sept 11th attacks that is the very definition of bittersweet.
Consider the lobster and other essays
(2005) by David Foster Wallace
: I will resist the urge to include a foot note in my description of this book of wonderful, intelligent, funny essays.
Half of A Yellow Sun
(2006) by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
: historical fiction of the 1960s Nigerian Civil War and its impact on two sisters and their families.
Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic
(2006) by Alison Bechdel
:. A graphic novel autobiography of family turmoil with simple, black and white line drawings.
(2006) by Cormac McCarthy
: A man and a boy walk through a destroyed America after an unnamed postapocalyptic event. Beautiful and unnerving.