5 Best Books Of The Decade Update 05/2022

Books Of The Decade

Friends, the end of the decade is near. It’s been a hard, anxious, morally questionable decade, but at least there has been some great literature. Whenever we can, we’ll take our silver linings where we can.

It’s our job as a literary and culture website to look back at the best and most important books of the last decade, even though we know that the task could be fruitless and endlessly debated. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the best and most important books of the last decade. We will, of course, use a lot of lists to do this. There were a lot of good debut novels, a lot of good short stories, a lot of good poetry collections, a lot of memoirs, a lot of good essays, and a lot of good nonfiction books. This is the eighth and most difficult list in our series: the best books written and published in English between 2010 and 2019 are now at the top.

The fact that we couldn’t decide on 10 might surprise you. Being in charge of our own lives, we decided that we could pick 20 and almost as many dissenters. We didn’t allow reissues. If we had, this list would have included The Last Samurai, Speedboat, and Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, as well as a long list of other movies. If we had included novels in translation, we would have had to make the list twice as long. They already had their own list last week. The Sweet Days of Discipline, one of my favorite books of this decade, is twice ineligible because I write the introductions.

This is it: the following books were chosen by the Literary Hub staff after a lot of thought and a lot of voting. Tears were shed, feelings were hurt, and books were re-read because people were hurt by the news. You can always add any of your own favorite things that we haven’t talked about in the comments below.

JENNIFER EGAN, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD (2010)

JENNIFER EGAN, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD (2010)

This movie has some parts that I won’t forget. In one chapter, a former PR person named Dolly is given the job of reviving the public image of an African dictator known as “The General.” With the help of a B-list actress named Kitty Jackson, Dolly is able to do this. As a stand-in for The General, Kitty is supposed to stand next to him in a picture. She asks too many questions about a genocide and is sent to prison.

After a few months, it turns out that The General’s government is now run by the people, Kitty is freed, and Dolly opens a sandwich shop. These ideas come up again and again in Egan’s satire. In Goon Squad, a book with a lot of characters set in the late 1970s to the early 2020s, time changes are always shocking. They can destroy the body, corrupt memory, and blur the process of change. Goon Squad is a film about the American celebrity industry, but it also talks about media “spin,” fragmented perspectives, illusory identities, and materialism in a capitalist world. Though the book’s premise might suggest that nostalgia is a good thing, the book is very wary of it.

One of the characters in Egan’s book says that “time is a goon.” The promise of beauty, fame, family, and other things is what makes people disillusioned with the promise of the past. Goon Squad earned Egan a lot of well-deserved praise, including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It also made her one of the most insightful (and experimental) American writers of the 21st century. – In Aaron Robertson’s job as an assistant editor, he makes sure that everything is

DAVID MITCHELL, THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET (2010)

I think it’s easier to imagine the intellectual and literary atmosphere of a time when it was 30 years ago than when it was just a few years ago. It’s hard to see 2010 right now because we have to wait for time and the canon to correct the lens. But I have a very clear memory of how excited I was when I read David Mitchell’s epic-historical ghost story, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and wondered if the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson had briefly taken over Haruki Murakami. As a reminder, the world of a novel, like this one about an 18th-century Dutch trading post in the port city of Nagasaki, can be more full and vivid than our own. It can be a place for the reader’s moral imagination to grow.

It’s hard to say what The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet will be like in another 25 years, so we can’t say for sure. In the context of Mitchell’s more recent novels, and their space-operatic excesses, the plot of De Zoet looks a little out of place. It’s even a little showy, to be honest. But it is clear that this is the work of the same person who wrote Black Swan Green, a near-perfect coming-of-age story. The language is also very precise and surprising, all in the service of a story that seems to tell itself, a true history that never happened. Editorial Chief: –Jon Diamond

DENIS JOHNSON, TRAIN DREAMS (2011)

DENIS JOHNSON, TRAIN DREAMS (2011)

To show that literary awards are a cruel joke and that life is nothing but a meaningless and empty journey to the grave, I would use the Great Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Travesty of 2012. The Pulitzer board, not the jury, decided that no book written in the last 12 months was worthy of the most prestigious award in American literature. This, despite the fact that the three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize included Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished opus The Pale King. Michael Cunningham, a novelist and 2012 jury member, wrote a letter to the New Yorker after the jury didn’t make a decision.

Cunningham gave an explanation for this in the letter. A book called Train Dreams may be the best short story of the 21st century. He said that, of course, after having read them all. A turn-of-the-century logger and railroad worker named Robert Grainier loses his family in a wildfire and retreats into the woods of the Idaho panhandle. As the country around him changes, he can’t stay. Johnson’s short, strange, and elegiac prose creates a world that is both old and short-lived, full of beauty and danger and deep sorrow. He walks a tightrope between peace and disaster in his writing, says Anthony Doerr in his New York Times review. “Johnson runs twin strains of tenderness and the threat of violence through all the novella’s best parts.”

An American epic in miniature, Train Dreams is a visionary picture of a soul that isn’t tied down to society, a man who is able to keep going on his own terms in the face of unimaginable tragedy. A haunted and haunting dream. There is a person who works for Book Marks named Dan Sheehan, and this person is the editor of the book.

JULIE OTSUKA, THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC (2011)

On the boat, most of us were virgins. Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka, is a groundbreaking book that won a PEN/Faulkner Award. When we were little, we had long black hair. We also had wide, flat feet, and we were not tall. Our legs were bent a little when we were young, and some of us were still young girls when we were 14 years old. People who are telling the story are called “picture brides” in Japan. Then, we follow them as they move to California.

Our heart goes out to them as they try to adapt to life in the United States and raise their children across a cultural divide. “The collective first-person narration fits the subject matter very well.” It shows how immigrants, “others” are often seen as the same, and how we might feel safe when we share our stories with others. “…unable to remember our own names, not to mention those of our new husbands,” says Julie Otsuka, who slips out of the shared “we,” “most of us,” and “some of us.” This confusion of identity serves the story well. Mrs. Who?

Her sense of timing is perfect. “The youngest of us was twelve, and came from the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, and had not yet begun to bleed.” When she does this, it always surprises you, like a rule has been broken. The specifics are heartbreaking. In very few books, the style and the subject are so well-matched. During the end, there is a big change in the story, which is shocking. When Japanese Americans are sent to internment camps, “we” suddenly become white Americans who are the only ones who can talk about the story. In this story, their voices are literally taken away from them. It’s chilling, but it’s also very true.

A lot of times, I’ve read this book again and again to try to figure out how it can cover so many different things at once. Julie Otsuka has done both an artful, personal look at individual lives and a scathing critique of history in this book. The assistant editor of the book, Katie Yee, says that she has a job.

TÉA OBREHT, THE TIGER’S WIFE (2011)

This elegant book by Téa Obreht came out in 2011, but I only recently read it. It’s her first book. I thought it was beautiful and moving on so many levels. In Obreht’s book “Natalia Stefanovic,” the protagonist and narrator is a young doctor named Natalia who has her life turned upside down when her grandfather mysteriously dies. She is one of the most mellifluous, engrossing storytellers I’ve ever come across. The way she remembers and aches for her loved one is both poetic and relatable.

She mostly connects to him through a text, using his favorite copy of The Jungle Book to try to figure out how he spent his last days and what was going on inside of him. This is a great way to remember someone. I also found The Tiger’s Wife to be very personal because the author was born in the former Yugoslavia. The book takes place in the Balkans, right after the war, and the author was born in Yugoslavia. I, too, have a family from the former Yugoslavia, where I spent a lot of time growing up.

Even though my life in the U.S. and my age have kept me from experiencing the region’s turmoil firsthand, I found Obreht’s book to be both a collection and a remembrance of the region’s recent scarring and splintering. This region has been scarred and splintered so many times before. My own grandfather, a Yugoslavian storyteller, came to mind when I read this story. I spent a lot of time dreaming about animals with him when I was a child. “Collection and remembrance” aren’t just themes in the novel, though. They’re the book’s method. Natalia may have been inspired by the format of The Jungle Book, but also by a culture that has so many legends and beliefs (both Eastern and Western).

She starts weaving fables and stories and flashbacks into her story, connecting an older, superstitious, and magical world with a bleak, modern, and disillusioned age. She does this as a way to help the reader, but also because the magic of her grandfather’s story keeps unfolding in her own life. CrimeReads Editorial Fellow Olivia Rutigliano: –Olivia Rutigliano said that.

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