Thursday, 17 September 2015

21st Century's 12 (but really 20) Greatest Novels

A rather grandiose claim perhaps- the greatest novels of the 21st century. This BBC list resulted from polling several dozen book critics. They came up with a list of 156 books. Of course it would be nice to see the whole list, but here is the top 20.

1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Juno Diaz (2007)

2. The Known World - Edward P. Jones (2003)

3. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel (2009)

4. Gilead - Marilynne Robinson (2004)

5. The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen (2001)

6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon (2000)

7. A Visit From The Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan (2010) (see my review)

8. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain (2012)

9. Atonement - Ian McEwan (2001)

10. Half Of A Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)

11. White Teeth - Zadie Smith (2000)

12. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)

13. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

14. Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald

15. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante

16.  The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst

17.  The Road - Cormac McCarthy (see my review)

18. NW - Zadie Smith

19. 2666 - Roberto Bolaño

20. The Great Fire - Shirley Hazzard


I'm rather surprised that I've managed to read 5/20 when my reading focus has been elsewhere for quite some time. By "read" Atonement, I do mean that I started it in good faith some time ago. It's not my fault that I was forced to stop after about 30 pages. Or perhaps it is. I know I should give it another go at some stage. I have meant to read many of these books. Several are sitting in the TBR.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this list. I've read a few here and will definitely explore the others. Some I have on my shelves for a long time. ;)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I have maintained for a long time that "reading a book" is a vague term. Thirty pages counts, I think.

Louise said...

No problem Arti. I've been curious about a number of these books for a while, hopefully this list will help push them towards the surface of the TBR.

Deb, I've come to define it that if I start the book in good faith, and don't finish it, or set it aside for whatever reason, then I've "read it". I may come back to it at another time of course, and maybe that time will be right for that book.