LitHub’s 100 Decade-Defining Books
100 Books That Defined the Decade
For good, for bad, for ugly.
By Emily Temple
This is not a list of the best books of the decade. (This is, if you’re interested.) This is a list of books that, whether bad or good, were in one way or another defining for the last decade in American culture. (A global list would be nearly impossible, for obvious reasons. Accordingly, I’ve hewed to English-language and/or US publication dates, when relevant.) This is a list for general readers and followers of literary culture; it includes both major bestsellers and literary standouts, books that have become pop culture phenomenons, and books whose influence has been quieter and/or localized in literary circles. Obviously, it would not suffice for specialist purposes — I imagine a scientist would have selected a very different list of 100 books. (Or 100 books give or take: on a case by case basis, I have counted series as single books, or let the first book in a series stand in for the whole.)
Some of you may wonder if there’s been enough time and/or distance to really evaluate the last ten years in literature, or in culture for that matter. And the answer is probably . . . no! Or at least, our assessment of the last decade will certainly continue to change and harden as time goes on (if in fact it does—let’s cross our fingers and also vote). But even if hindsight is 20/20, there’s something to be said for a contemporary assessment, an in-miasma reading, if you will. So to that end, here are the 100 books that the members of the Literary Hub staff consider to be the most defining, important, transformative, and/or illustrative of the decade that was. Read the full story at LitHub.
© Literary Affairs, 2005-2021. All Rights Reserved.