10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years

Flavorwire has posted its list of 10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years. The list focuses almost entirely on fiction literature, and I was a little surprised to see that it is somewhat tilted toward more recent works (these lists usually lean the other way). I was also surprised that I’d only read three of them (The Road, Fight Club, and Ender’s Game). Apparently I need to get out more.

Here’s the list. Check out the article if you’d like to see the explanations for choosing each one:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)
The Beach by Alex Garland (1996)
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)
The New York Trilogy by Paul Austen (1987)
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (2003)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers (2000)

They also added a shortlist of other key books that didn’t make the top 10.

The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (1997)
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001)
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (1997 – 2007)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (2003)

I’m always looking for some good books to read, so if you’ve read any of these and would like to recommend them for my next read, please do so.



4 Responses to “10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years”

  1. pgroach November 10, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    Not much of a literature guy, but “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson won a Pulitzer (2004) and should at least get a mention (okay, its about a pastor, too. I’m biased:-)

    Also, nothing by Updike? “In the Beauty of the Lillies,” also worth a mention. Alright, maybe his best writing was more than 25 years ago, but still…

    • Marc Cortez November 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

      Gilead was very good, but I have to say that I liked Home even better. She definitely deserved a nod in the list somewhere.

  2. Matt Mikalatos November 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Infinite Jest is complete crap.

    I enjoyed Dave Egger’s book, though I thought “What Is The What” was quite a bit better and less self conscious and awkward in places.

    I tend to like Chabon’s work, and definitely enjoyed Cavalier and Klay though I have to say I liked “Carter Beats the Devil” by Glen David Gold better.

    • Marc Cortez November 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

      Good to know about Infinite Jest. I won’t put that one at the top of my to-read list. And, I’d have to agree that Chabon’s stuff is usually very good.

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