2000-2009, the first decade of the new millennium. Of the thousands of books published in the 2000s, which were the ones you absolutely should read? Here are the best books of the decade, 10 books that are highly recommended and that should withstand the test of time.
(Wondering which books, good and bad, were the most popular of the decade? Here are the People's Choice Top 10 Books of the Decade).
1. 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
helped millions around the world understand the Afghan people. Released in 2003, Hosseini's book was a gift in a decade when a coalition of troops from around the world spent much of the decade fighting a war in this country. The Kite Runner
is a page turner with complex characters and situations that will make you think hard about friendship, good and evil, betrayal, and redemption. It is intense and contains some graphic scenes; however, it is not gratuitous. A great book by many measures.
2. 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
is a rich story about secrets, ghosts, winter, books and family. The Thirteenth Tale
is a book lover's book, with much of the action taking place in libraries and book stores, and the line between fact and fiction constantly blurred. It is hard to believe this is Setterfield's debut novel (released in 2006), for she makes the words come to life with such skill that some passages even gave me chills. With a mug of cocoa and The Thirteenth Tale
, contentment isn't far away.
3. 'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen
The pages of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
burst with rich descriptions and action. You will be drawn into the world of ringmasters, elephants and sideshows. You will also experience the world of nursing homes and old age. You will not want to put Water for Elephants
down, and when it is over, you will want more. Water for Elephants
was released in 2006.
4. 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' by M. Shaffer and A. Barrows
Every once in a while I come across a book that I love, a book that I could read again and again, a book that I want everyone I know to read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
is one of those books. By far the best book I read in 2008, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
is a delightful piece of historical fiction that will make you laugh, cry and remember the transformational power of literature.
5. 'The Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger was released in 2004, but had a resurgence in popularity in 2009 when the movie version of the book was released. If you read the back of The Time Traveler's Wife
you may wonder whether it is science fiction or romance. It is neither. Henry's time travel drives the story, but is not really what the story is about.
6. 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy
In 2006 Cormac McCarthy added another novel to his growing list of masterpieces. What separated The Road
from his other works was McCarthy’s ability to capture moments of lyrical and emotional beauty in a father and son’s haunted relationship even as a silent cloud of death covers the world in darkness. Oprah chose The Road
as a selection for her book club in 2007, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007 and in 2009 it hit the big screen.
7. 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, released in 2003, is unlike any other book I have read. That's because the narrator is a teenager with a developmental disability who is a mathematical genius but cannot understand human emotions. The novel is written as if Christopher is writing it for a class assignment. He numbers the chapters in prime numbers because that is what he likes. In fact, you hear a lot about what Christopher likes and does not like in the pages of this mystery.
8. 'Middlesex' by Jeffrey Eugenides
by Jeffrey Eugenides is told by Cal, a hermaphrodite who was raised as a girl until adolescence. Cal tells the story of his family of Greek immigrants over three generations, weaving a tale of mythic quality that is at the same time as down-to-earth as the motor city in which they live. Like Cal, Middlesex
defies classification. It is more than a sex/gender story, more than an immigrant story, more than a coming of age tale. Eugenides' superb writing and well developed characters create a novel that is large, engrossing and enjoyable.
9. 'What is the What' by Dave Eggers
What is the What
by Dave Eggers is an astonishing, eye-opening, and heartbreaking book that defies classification. Once you’ve read it, the story of Valentino Achak Deng refuses to leave your mind. Even if you’re not familiar with the Lost Boys and their struggles to escape from war-torn Sudan, you’ll be drawn into this pseudo-autobiography. What is the What
tells a devastating story but never plays for sympathy. Instead, the hope, complexity, and tragedy of the situation take center stage. What is the What
was published in 2006.
10. 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' by J.K. Rowling
In some ways, it was the decade of Harry Potter. Books four, five, six and seven in the series were all released between 2000 and 2007. While I only recommend reading Book Six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
, if you have read the five books preceding it, I have decided to declare it the best book in the series.