Tuesday 30 April 2019

100 21st Century Novels to Love

It's been a while between Listmanias here but I was very inspired after coming across this list thanks to Eric Karl Anderson and his wonderful booktube channel. 

The Times created this list of favourite novels of the 21st century so far. Sadly it is behind a paywall (at least for those of us outside the UK, not sure if it the same for everyone). But Eric discussed all the books, so I can here too. I'm not sure if there was any particular reason for the order, but I've chosen to alphabetise it. 

As always there's a few books I've read. Many I've meant to read. Some I've bought. And quite a few where I've not heard of either the author or sometimes that particular book. 

A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan (see my review)

All Families are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland

All my Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews

All That Man Is - David Szalay

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

Americanah - Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie

Any Human Heart - William Boyd

Arlington Park - Rachel Cusk

An Officer and a Spy - Robert Harris

Atonement - Ian McEwen

Breath - Tim Winton 

Brooklyn - Colm Toibin

Burial Rites - Hannah Kent (see my review)

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

Conversations with Friends - Sally Rooney

Darkmans - Nicola Barker

Daughters of Jerusalem - Charlotte Mendelson

Digging to America - Anne Tyler

Disobedience - Naomi Alderman

Dissolution - CJ Sansom

English Passengers - Matthew Kneale 

Fingersmith - Sarah Waters

Gilead - Marilynne Robinson

God's Own Country - Ross Raisin

Golden Hill - Francis Spufford

Grief is the Thing with Feathers - Max Porter

Harvest - Jim Crace

Home - Toni Morrison

Home Fire - Kamila Shamsie

Hope: A Tragedy - Shalom Auslander

How to be Good - Nick Hornby

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things - Jon McGregor

I'll Go to Bed at Noon - Gerard Woodward

Late in the Day - Tessa Hadley

Legend of a Suicide - David Vann

Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Midwinter Break - Bernard MacLaverty (see my review)

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones

Mothering Sunday - Graham Swift

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

Notes on a Scandal - Zoë Heller

NW - Zadie Smith

Old Filth - Jane Gardam

Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout

Small Island - Andrea Levy

Spies - Michael Frayn

Star of the Sea - Joseph O'Connor

Stay with Me - Ayobami Adebayo

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood

The Book of the Heathen - Robert Edric

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Was - Junot Diaz

The Constant Gardener - John Le Carré

The Corrections - Johnathan Franzen

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry

The Forgiven - Lawrence Osborne

The Green Road - Ann Enright

The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst

The Little Red Chairs - Edna O'Brien

The Noise of Time - Julian Barnes

The Plot Against America - Philip Roth

The Road - Cormac McCarthy (see my review)

The Secret River - Kate Grenville

The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry

The Siege - Helen Dunmore

The Son - Philipp Myer

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

The We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

The Year of Runaways - Sunjeev Sahota

The Yellow Birds - Kevin Powers

The Zone of Interest - Martin Amis

Train Dreams - Denis Johnson

True History of the Kelly Gang - Peter Carey

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

West - Carys Davies

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

You Don't Have to Live Like This - Benjamin Markovits

Novels in Translation

All for Nothing - Walter Kempowski

Alone in Berlin - Hans Fallada

Austerlitz - W.G Sebald

Flights - Olga Tokarczuk

Frog - Mo Yan

Limonov - Emmanuel Carrère

Lullaby - Leila Slimani (see my review)

My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante

Submission - Michel Houellebecq

Suite Francaise - Irène Némirovsky

The Explosion Chronicles - Yan Lianke

The Great Swindle - Pierre Lemaitre

The Unseen - Roy Jacobsen

The Yacoubian Building - Alaa Al Aswany

War & Turpentine - Stefan Hertmans

Your Face Tomorrow Trilogy - Javier Marias



Did I Love those 21st Century Novels that I have read? Pretty much yes. I certainly loved, and remember loving English Passengers, Burial Rites, We Need to Talk About Kevin, True History of the Kelly Gang, The Road, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (and I saw the totally amazing stage adaptation in Sydney last year).  I had forgotten that I loved A Visit from the Goon Squad. And I really, really hated The Life of Pi. Well I loved it until the end, and then I think I literally threw it across the room. 

15 isn't a bad effort for me, but I've shamefully not read any of the works in translation. Several of them are of course waiting for me on my shelves. So much more work to do...

July 2020 16/100


Brona said...

I've read 23 of these books, a 24th was a DNF (The Corrections), 2 were movie versions rather than the book (Life of Pi and The Constant Gardener) and I have a handful of books still on my TBR pile...hopefully I'll read them before the next century!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thanks, Louise. I've just now spent an hour making my own spreadsheet of these books, adding books to my want-to-read list, and sorting my lists. Is there anything book-ish I love more than book lists?

I've read thirty.

Oddly, I see that there is a wide disparity in the rankings of the books I've read (deeply disliked Americanah and greatly loved Suite Francaise). I see that, while there are many books I haven't read that I want to read, there are many books I have never heard of. And how can that be? These books were all published during my prime reading years.

Fun, fun.

Whispering Gums said...

27 for me, including 2 translated ones. I have at least a few on my TBR, including Americanah (sp?) and Alone in Berlin. There are several there I'd like to read, some I don't feel driven to, and some I've never heard of... but that's not surprising I think. At least, I can't seem to keep up with all that's going on these days!

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

I have only read 12 of those so far, but I have a few ore on my TBR list

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

by the way, no need of spreadsheet, the list is on goodreads, so it shows right away the books you have read: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/134753.The_Sunday_Times_100_21st_Century_Novels_to_Love

Louise said...

Brona- yes we've all got a lot of reading to do before the next century!

Deb- there's always books that we haven't heard of, I think that's one of the reasons that I love lists so much too- always the new books to discover, and maybe even one day read.

Sue - I'd like to think that one day I'll have read all of these books, but I think we all know that that won't happen... maybe in retirement? and there's always some that don't appeal.

Emma 12 is a goodly start. Thanks for the goodreads link. I'll check that out.

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