Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Millions' best of the century

Over-enthusiastically premature, but over on The Millions blog they whipped together a panel of keenos and asked them to vote for the best 20 books of the 21st century so far. It's a good list. The Corrections at No.1? Didn't realise it was that popular, though I wouldn't disagree. Good to see the lad David Mitchell representing too. The only other Brits in there - Ian McEwan, for Atonement? Shit, no. And has anyone read Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go? Hmm. Anyway, two DABC-recommended books made the list, so at least we're not reading total crap -- Junot Diaz' spectacular Oscar Wao and Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, which we're reading next month, or the month after, or something. I didn't even realise it was highly-rated, I just liked the front cover, so that's cool.

The List
#20: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
#19: American Genius, A Comedy by Lynne Tillman
#18: Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
#17: The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
#16: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
#15: Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis
#14: Atonement by Ian McEwan
#13: Mortals by Norman Rush
#12: Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg
#11: The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
#10: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
#9: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
#8: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
#7: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
#6: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
#5: Pastoralia by George Saunders
#4: 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
#3: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
#2: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
#1: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen


  1. My mum loved Gilead. I'm surprised to see Cloud Atlas - for some reason I'd convinced myself that was poplit of the Time-traveller's wife variety.

  2. Most people I've talked to about it far preferred Number9dream or Ghostwritten, and i'm definitely with them on that. Loved those first two novels - havent finished Cloud Atlas. it's very, very inventive, and the middle chapter, 'an orizon of sonmi-451, is spectacular - a classic bit of horrifying dystopian worldbuilding, but i couldn't get into the rest of it.

    Marilynne Robinson, like Alice Munro, always struck me as a mum's favourite. then i actually read Alice Munro and she was one of the best writers i've ever read, easily! So maybe Robinson will get a go. Gilead just looks well dull, at least, ostensibly...