Waterstone’s Books Of The Decade


As some of you may already know, I was quite disillusioned with the top 20 books that defined the noughties, according to The Telegraph website. Yep, I know that was a list of books that defined the noughties, as opposed to being the best books of the decade, but, it still left a lot to be desired.

While at Waterstones the other day (no book-buying, if I may add, ever so proudly), I picked up their leaflet Waterstone’s Books Of The Decade 2000-2009. I was fully prepared to throw it at someone in angst, but, was pleasantly surprised, and hence, thought I’d share it with the rest of you.

Note: this list isn’t in any order – just top fifty books. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  1. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher – Kate Summerscale {2008}
  2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz {2007}
  3. The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid {2007}
  4. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini {2007}
  5. Half Of A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie {2006}
  6. Tenderness of Wolves – Stef Penney {2006}
  7. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert {2006}
  8. The Secret – Rhonda Byrne {2006}
  9. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne {2006}
  10. The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins {2006}
  11. A Short History Of Tractors in Ukraine – Marina Lewycka {2005}
  12. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro {2005}
  13. Arthur and George – Julian Barnes {2005}
  14. Untold Stories – Alan Bennett {2005}
  15. No Country For Old Men – Cormac McCarthy {2005}
  16. The Secret River – Kate Grenville {2005}
  17. Freakanomics – Stephen Levitt {2005}
  18. *Runaway – Alice Munro {2004}
  19. Small Island – Andrea Levy {2004}
  20. Wolfbrother – Michelle Paver {2004}
  21. The Master – Colm Toibin {2004}
  22. Suite Française – Irene Nemirovsky {2004}
  23. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell {2004}
  24. *Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama {2004}
  25. We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver {2003}
  26. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke {2003}
  27. *The Bookseller Of Kabul – Asne Seierstad {2003}
  28. A Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson {2003}
  29. Eats, Shoots and Leaves – Lynne Truss {2003}
  30. *Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi {2003}
  31. *Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts {2003}
  32. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters {2002}
  33. *Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides {2002}
  34. The Crimson Petal And The White – Michael Faber {2002}
  35. If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things – Alice Munro {2002}
  36. Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer {2002}
  37. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold {2002}
  38. Atonement – Ian McEwan {2001}
  39. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman {2001}
  40. *Austerlitz – W.G. Sebald {2001}
  41. Carter Beats The Devil – Glen David Gold {2001}
  42. Life Of Pi – Yann Martel {2001}
  43. The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen {2001}
  44. It’s Not About The Bike – Lance Armstrong {2001}
  45. *True History Of The Kelly Gang – Peter Carey {2000}
  46. The Human Stain – Philip Roth {2000}
  47. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell {2000}
  48. *Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon {2000}
  49. *The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood {2000}
  50. *White Teeth – Zadie Smith {2000}

So, I’ve only read seventeen of them, and have about ten of them on my TBR/wishlist (the ones preceded with an “*”). There’s no Big Brother celebrity, no Ashley Cole, and no Twilight! Only 22 books overlap with the Telegraph’s Top 100. Looks like, unfortunately, the books that defined the decade weren’t actually the best books of the decade (guess there’ll be no arguments there).

At least, after seeing the above list, my faith in the 2000s has been restored a little bit.

26 Responses to “Waterstone’s Books Of The Decade”

  1. Great list. I’ve also read a few of those on the list, and most of those I’ve read was actually rather great reading experiences. Thanks for posting this list.

  2. I have read some, not others. The three I really recommend of those you have not read are
    The Bookseller of Kabul – journalist lives with Muslim family in Kabul, sees their life from the inside
    The Life of Pi – boy on raft with tiger – sounds terrible, but it is a wonderful evocation of the improbable and the resourceful
    White Teeth – multi cultural life in London. Fun.

    Skip Tipping Points. It is over rated.

    • Hopefully, I’ll do Bookseller of Kabul and White Teeth this year. Let’s see how it goes. Thanks very much for the recommendations, and I’ll keep the tip on Tipping Point in mind :)

  3. I see now it is The Tipping Point, not Tipping Points. Doesn’t matter and don’t bother.

    Worse, I overlooked Kavalier & Clay, one of the best books I read in 2009: http://silverseason.wordpress.com/?s=I+never+aspired

  4. That is a good (and useful) list. And how wonderfully eclectic. I notice a few YA novels on there which I enjoyed. Regarding Nancy’s comment on The Tipping Point, I have read Malcolm Gladwell once, and will never do so again!

    • It is wonderful, isn’t it? Love the fact that these books actually mean something, as opposed to being utter rubbish (read “a tribute to pop culture”).

  5. 9 kiss a cloud

    Better list. I have only read 8, but 13 are on the tbr.
    A Thousand Splendid Suns was okay, story-wise, but the writing was very mediocre.
    Life of Pi is excellent, as is the The Blind Assassin.
    I’ll be reading Everything is Illuminated, The Corrections, and White Teeth soon..

    • After reading Kite Runner, I doubt I’ll read anything by Hosseini ever again. I really disliked the book. :(

      Looking forward to your thoughts on Everything is Illuminated and White Teeth. Want to read both of them soon-ish. I have an unread Atwood on my shelf (Oryx and Crake), so will probably finish that before I seek out Blind Assassin.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

  6. 11 lena

    Sounds like a project for the year, if I can fit it in (:

  7. I have only read about half a dozen of the books. I seem not to have many of these on my list of upcoming books. Perhaps I will give some of them a go next time I am on a browse of a bookshop or library. Thanks for publishing the list.

  8. Looks like I’ve only read 5 or 6. But there are a lot of titles in there that I’d love to try. Like Lena said, looks like a project. =)

    PS: Read that you didn’t like The Kite Runner. *nods up there at Claire’s comment*. I haven’t read it, but was planning to some time. Hmm..

    • Some of the titles in that list are awesome. Highly highly recommended, so I do hope you give some more a shot.

      Most people I know loved Kite Runner, so, I’d say go ahead and read it anyway! If you’ve read and enjoyed Time Traveler’s Wife or Little Bee (Other Hand), you’ll probably enjoy it. Something about all three books really ticked me off, but, unfortunately, I’m in the minority, so…. I am quite curious to see how you get on with it.

  9. But Eat, Pray, and Love is there :(
    I’ve read 7 and I’m happy Middlesex and Persepolis are there :)

    I plan to read Kavalier&Clay and maybe the Kelly Gang this year. Hope to cross path with you.

    • My mum just left Eat, Pray and Love here when she visited last year, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why!

      I’ve not read Middlesex or Persepolis, but, will probably read the former very soon.

      I’m reading both this year as well, so, we’ll definitely be crossing paths.

  10. That’s a much better list! I’ve either read or want to read most of those. I think the only two that have never appealed is Eat, Pray Love and The tenderness of Wolves. Other than that I’d pick up any of those willingly.

    • I know! Was so happy to see this list, it’s not even funny.

      I’m not completely convinced about the inclusion of A Thousand Splendid Suns, but, I’m willing to let it go (specially as I’ve not read it). From what I’ve heard, Eat Pray and Love doesn’t have an inspiring story, so, not too keen on that either. Don’t know much about Tenderness of Wolves, so….

  11. A far better list! I’ve read eighteen of these and Everything is Illuminated and Life of Pi are truly stunning and make it onto my list of best books of all-time. Enjoy!

    • I’ve not read either. I’ll definitely be seeking those two out then. I remember trying to read Life of Pi back when it first came out, but, I didn’t get past the first three pages.

  12. Fantastic! Much happier with this list than the previous one… You need to move Persepolis and Middlesex up on you TBR list Cookie – they’re excellent!

    • Middlesex is very high up. March probably :)

      Persepolis… is on my wishlist. Waiting to reduce the number of unread books on my shelf before I buy more.

      Thanks for the recommendations – will be reading ’em soon.

      PS : by the way, i can’t comment on your flickr pics for some reason, but, the pics of India are absolutely fantastic!! Specially the one with the sunset after the storm.

  13. It’s not too bad is it? Authors from diverse countries, women, books I’ve enjoyed. All good.

  14. 26 J

    Just a note: “If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Thing” is actually by Jon McGregor, not Alice Munro. It is an absolutely fantastic read and is certainly on my list of favourite books now!

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