Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Noughties: A Decade In Books

Over the past 10 years, I have read a number of books. I now present the best and worst of them. Please note that this is not so much a list of books from the Noughties, as a list of books I have read in the Noughties.

The usual caveats apply: lists are not exhaustive, were dreamed up from the top of my head and may not be representative of my actual opionions. Also, they are not in any particular order.

So, here goes:

Books I Read This Decade And Liked A Lot

1. Possession (AS Byatt)
To be honest, I didn't think I'd understand this, because it was all literary and stuff. The kind of book where I would get a couple of hundred pages in and realise I didn't know who the main character was. But it was very good and I liked it and understood it.

2. The Name Of The Rose (Umberto Eco)
Not being a fan of crime, detective and middle-ages books, this did not seem promising either... I do like monks, though, so maybe that helped.

3. The Time-Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
After re-starting three times I finally figured out what was going on and enjoyed it a lot. Once you realise that he is moving about in time and she is not, it makes more sense.

4. Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry)
I bought this entirely because Jaybercrow had named his blog after it, and I figured that if he liked it, it must be quite good, and also it is about a barber, which you don't always get. By the end I had almost forgotten that there was a whole, real world out there.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis)
This should not need any explanation; the only question being why I didn't read it until I was in my mid-twenties. I blame my parents.

6. How To Be Good (Nick Hornby)
This is one of those books that wasn't really all that great, but that I liked a lot.

7. The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins)
You may be surprised at this entry, but it is in large part that I felt it was owed a place due to the immense contribution it has made to this blog. When I say I liked it a lot, I am not, of course, referring to its contents, which were mainly dull, anti-scientific drivel (oooh, what's that I hear? Oh, that'll be the comments section going nuts), but I liked when we talked about it. And I liked that it is the only book I have ever shredded (that was fun). And that it inspired what may be the most negative book review ever written, and which was almost on the list in itself.

8. Schindler's List (Thomas Keneally)
If you've never read this, you really should. And it's ok, because the book came before the film, so it's actually really good.

9. Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)
Probably the scariest book I have ever managed to read, which is nice.

10. The Remains Of The Day (Kazuo Ishiguro)
I like this mainly because not a whole lot happened, but it was still un-put-downable

Almost made-its: Life Of Pi (Yann Martel), Home (Marilynne Robinson), The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-time (Mark Haddon), The Secret Scripture (Sebastian Barry), A Prayer For Owen Meany (John Irving).

Books I Read This Decade And Did Not Like

1. True History Of The Kelly Gang (Peter Carey)
By the end, I was willing them all to die. Should probably get bonus points for drawing the characters so well that I hated them, I suppose, but I'm not that nice.

2. Miss Wyoming (Douglas Coupland)
I'd been promised a lot, and this did not deliver.

3. The Purpose-Driven Life (Rick Warren)
See number 2

4. Catch-22 (Joseph Keller)
We've discussed this before. We hated it.

5. To The Lighthouse (Virginia Wolff)
We have also discussed this. We got bored after the first sentence, which did not end till page 5.

6. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
I hated this not for the crappy plot, the over-hyped excitement, the non-existent characters, the symbolism nonsense, or the poor dialogue. I just hated it, just because.

7. Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Louis De Bernieres)
Much like To The Lighthouse, I tried, I really did. But I just couldn't.

and I can't think of any more books that I did not like this decade.

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