6 Best Books Of The 2000s Update 05/2022

Best Books Of The 2000s

They read them for fun and then leave them on the bus seat for someone else to enjoy. Most people don’t read them again after they’re done with them because they don’t last long. People who stay around read and re-read their books, learn about them, and talk about them, too. It happens sometimes because they are very good at what they do and sometimes because they get lucky. They also sometimes manage to recognize and capture a piece of the culture of the time.

In the moment, it’s hard to tell which books are which.

If you read this book now, you might not think it was very popular at the time, but it was a good way to show how Americans thought about things back in the 1920s.

Of course, hindsight can also make senses go awry; the canon looms and hides.

There will be a new list every day for the next few weeks, each one trying to figure out which decade it comes from. We’ll start with the 1900s, which you’ve probably already guessed by now, and work our way down until we reach the (nearly finished) 2010s.

Even though the books on these lists don’t have to be from the United States, I’m looking for books that show a part of American life, both real and intellectual, in each decade. A global lens would require a longer list. Even though American life is so diverse and complex, there is no list that could truly show how American life has changed over ten years or any other number. You can read them together to get a fair picture of the landscape of literary culture in that decade, both as it was and as it is thought of now. Finally, here are two process notes: You may see some important works not included in this 12-part list because I only have room for one book by each author. For example, I didn’t include Dubliners in the 1910s so I could include Ulysses in the 1920s. In the case of a translated work, I’ll be using the English translation’s date, which is obvious.

Here are 10 books that helped shape the 2000s. This is our eleventh list. The 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s are all here.

Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000)

Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000)

Chabon’s first book, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, came out in 1988, so he had been around for a while when this book came out and everyone was shocked. A book can’t define a decade if no one reads it. Anecdotally, I’ve heard more people say this is their favorite book than any other (though “everything by Murakami” (see below) is also on the list). The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was our first introduction to Michael Chabon as a big-name author, and it’s still his best work. The book was a best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. The judges said it was “a stunning novel in which the tragicomic adventures of a couple of boy geniuses reveal much about what happened to America in the middle of the 20th century.” Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” is a great book that spans continents and ages, like Phillip Roth’s “American Pastoral” and Don DeLillo’s “Underworld.” It’s a masterpiece by one of America’s best writers.

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(2000)

In the 2000s, J. K. Rowling was in charge of everything. Almost half of the Harry Potter books were written in the 90s. The first one came out in 1997. In 2000, the fandom and the marketing teams really took off. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first huge book in the series, with more than 600 pages. It was also the first book in the series to be published at the same time in the US and the UK, with a “record-setting combined first printing of more than five million copies.” The book was released for the first time on a Saturday so that kids could start reading it right away. It may have been this that led to the first midnight release parties, which are now a big part of Pottermania. In 2007, when the last book in the series came out, it sold 11 million copies in just one day, making it the fastest-selling book in history. These books have had a big impact on people all over the world. When Time named Person of the Year in 2007, Rowling was a runner-up for the title. The books have now been translated into 65 languages, and they have become part of a canon that goes from Cinderella to Star Wars, giving people a way to talk about culture and commerce, politics, and values.

Princeton English professor William Gleason says that the series’ impact is similar to the excitement that surrounded Uncle Tom’s Cabin before the Civil War. “That book reached every level of society,” he says. A lot of people are surprised by how similar the two events are. And he doesn’t think this is a fad or a clever marketing move that will soon be over. “So many people have been moved by them that they will be read and reread for a long time,” he says. Feminist scholars write papers about Hermione’s journey to becoming her own person. Dobby’s story is used by law professors to teach about contract law and the rights of people. Benjamin Barton, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, wrote a piece in the Michigan Law Review called “Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy,” which looked at JK Rowling’s view of government. His conclusion was: Since John Stuart Mill, no one has done as much for libertarianism as Rowling has done. One of the plants in Ecuador’s rain forests was named after the word apparate because it looked like it came out of nowhere. There are a lot of debates in France about whether the stories indoctrinate kids into free-market capitalism or not. People in Turkey thought the books were part of a debate about the country’s cultural geography. Is Harry a symbol of Western colonialism, or of lost Eastern traditions of mysticism and alchemy? In November, a seventh-grade teacher in Pakistan asked her students to compare the country’s problems to the books that made them famous. Voldemort and Bellatrix were quickly named by the class. For people who want to talk about globalization in their own way, Daniel Nexon, a professor of government at Georgetown University, says that Potter is like a Rorschach test. It’s very important that Potter even takes part in these debates.

Even her critics agree that she made a generation of obsessive readers who were not afraid of fat books or complicated plots. Because of what I call the three Deathly Hallows for academics, it’s easy to undervalue them. James Thomas, an English professor at Pepperdine University, says this. They can’t be good because they’re too recent, they’re too popular, and they’re too young to be good. But he says that the books are more than just fun. They’ve made a lot of kids smarter, more sensitive, more literate, and maybe even more ethical and aware of hypocrisy and lust for power because of them. This is what they say. They’ve made kids into better people, I think. No other book has done that kind of magic on so many people in so little time in the history of books.

Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000)

When Lev Grossman wrote in TIME about this book, he said that it may be the first novel ever written that truly fits in with our borderless, globalized, intermarried and post-colonial age, where “children with first and last names on a direct collision course” live. “The lives of Smith’s characters seem to follow the new structures of 21st-century life and test their strength as a framework for peace and happiness. This is how it works: White Teeth is both Dickensian and post-modern at the same time, but it doesn’t flinch when it comes to the novelistic complexities of a multicultural world. It loves them. Smith’s first book, which came out when she was just 24, was very well-received and won a lot of awards, but one famous person didn’t like it. It sounds like this is “hysterical realism,” Mr. Wood. If it is, I think I like hysterical realism a lot.

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001)

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001)

Is he a good person? Is he a bad person? Is he a good person? Is he a bad person? J-Franz is a cultural icon from the 2000s, a writer who was able to capture our anxiety and make us laugh in the process. He also had a fight with Oprah. I mean, there’s a reason Time put him on its cover and called him a Great American Novelist at the end of the decade. It’s because he wrote good chick lit and convinced us all that it was high literature. In fact, he was the only author to be on the cover of the magazine during that time. As Emily Eakin said, “The Corrections is as clever as those of the brainy postmodernists he loves, but it is infinitely easier to read than their work. “

Like DeLillo and Gaddis, he amazes the reader with witty observations about modern life. He talks about everything from mood-enhancing drugs to bisexuality to cruise ship culture. Franzen, on the other hand, doesn’t use icy rhetorical pyrotechnics or plots that are mind-bogglingly complicated to show how he thinks about the world. Instead, he puts his thoughts into the lives of real people.

It sounds too easy to be true. Franzen’s big idea is that characters are what the modern social novel doesn’t have and what can save it from oblivion, so this is what he thinks. This makes sense. He has a case. They turned the social novel into an act of intellectual machismo by filling their books with formal gimmicks. The characters were already out of the door by then. No, I can’t. I can’t remember the name of anyone else from Underworld. As male novelists stopped writing about psychological realism and started writing about oracular pronouncements, the job of making characters memorable fell to women, like Anne Tyler and Annie Proulx.

They were right about what they said to the editor of Literary Hub. However, The Corrections won the 2001 National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. It was one of the most popular books of the decade.

Alice Munro, Runaway (2004)

If I were you, I would have put Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) here, or The View from Castle Rock (2006) or Too Much Happiness (2009) here. It doesn’t really make a difference. They’re all geniuses. All of them. In 1968, Munro published her first collection of short stories. It’s also a little ridiculous to claim her for one decade or another, but let’s settle her here in the 2000s, when creative writing programs exploded and so did the number of copies. The Swedish Academy rightly called her a “master of the modern short story.”

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004)

Everybody in the mid-2000s wanted to hold this book in their hands and whisper to each other, wide-eyed and wide-eyed.

Check this out. When I was being pushed, I wasn’t alone. A puzzlebox of a book, it was both high brow and low brow, intellectual and fun at the same time. The book, Ted Gioia says, is “almost a textbook example” of how what he calls “conceptual fiction” can be written.

is vital because it manages to be bold and experimental without destroying the important elements of narrative structure, character development, and linguistic comprehensibility that earlier progressive movements often ignored at their own risk. The power of a book like Cloud Atlas is increased because its higher level complexities don’t need the ground floor of the story to be burned, pillaged, and destroyed. The Pynchons and Gaddises only live in the penthouse. Mitchell lives in the whole building, even the boiler room and broom closet.

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