The awesome book review blog The Broke and the Bookish host a themed top ten list every Tuesday that anyone can participate in. You know what I like? Books and lists. This is kind of perfect.
For this week’s theme, you could choose any theme that they have done in the past. I’m going with the one they did last week:
Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years (in no particular order):
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Of course! I want my kids and my grandkids to wonder what their patronus would be and fervently hope that an owl will bring them their admittance letter to Hogwarts. I was a bit on the old side for Harry Potter to really be a part of my childhood, but I can’t wait to read it to my kids when they’re young.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
I’m a big dystopia fan, and it seems that the genre isn’t going anywhere. Never Let Me Go evokes the same feeling as a lot of dystopia novels, but it all unfolds in such a delicate, subtle way. I love the voice of the narrator, as it is imperfect, confused and incredibly embarrassed at times. Also, the question of how far science/humanity should go in sacrificing the self for the greater good will most likely still be important in 30 years.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Humans are always trying to understand how to narrate our own stories, and what to believe from others’ personal narratives. Atonement tackles that question while keeping the reader wrapped up in a darn good war and love story. I want my kid to read this in a senior English course, just to mess with the idea of a reliable narrator.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Nothing to Envy should serve as a reminder of what happens when a corrupt government is allowed to run wild, while the world looks the other way. Also, instead of just focusing on the political history, this book shows how the average person lives in North Korea, which really opened my eyes to just how bad it is. I hope that in 30 years, this book can serve as a reminder of how things were, not of how things are.
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Ohhhhh, one of my all time favorite books. I hope people are reading this in 30 years because it’s just gosh darn good. The story is simple — a boy comes of age in 1980’s England — but the prose is beautiful, the plot is well-paced and the whole thing is a pleasure.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Yep, two David Mitchell books in a row. He’s pretty darn good. Cloud Atlas is the book he will be remembered for. I know it. This book is a set of short stories that nest inside each other like nesting dolls. The stories span from the old-timey style of a 19th century exploration tale to an uber-futuristic future where language is almost completely different. He masters each style PERFECTLY. This is a master author at work, folks. Right here.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Again, this is another book where the language just sings. I love the different viewpoints that Foer uses when constructing the story of a man going to Ukraine to find out what happened to his family during the Holocaust. The narrator’s Ukrainian guide, Alex, speaks with the most interesting, broken English I have ever seen on the page. And it’s perfect!
Plus there are passages like this:
From space, astronauts can see people making love as a tiny speck of light. Not light, exactly, but a glow that could be mistaken for light — a coital radiance that takes generations to pour like honey through the darkness to the astronaut’s eyes. In about one and a half centuries —– after the lovers who made the glow will have long since been laid permanently on their backs — metropolises will be seen from space. They will glow all year. Smaller cities will also be seen, but with great difficulty. Shtetls will be virtually impossible to spot. Individual couples, invisible. . . . Trachimday is the only time all year when the tiny village of Trachimbrod can be seen from space, when enough copulative voltage is generated to sex the Polish-Ukrainian skies electric. We’re here, the glow of 1804 will say in one and a half centuries. We’re here, and we’re alive.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joan Didion is pretty much a national treasure at this point. Her autobiographical novel of being young and in love in Los Angeles, and then losing absolutely everything years later is harrowing, but beautiful. I think the emotional resonance of this book will not be lost in 30 years…heck, in 100 years!
Columbine by Dave Cullen
The author was one of the original reporters at Columbine, and he watched as the school shooting unfolded in 1999. In the ten years that followed, he watched as legends and rumors about the shooting became regarded as fact. He decided to go back and really delve into the event, to lay out what actually happened. I hope that this book is a must read for future journalists, as even the best journalists can get caught up in the emotional furor around something like a school shooting. This book shows that there is another way to handle it.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
This book was personally important to me, as it introduced me to the idea of creative nonfiction. I had always been a novel girl. I figured nonfiction books were stuffy, boring, and only needed when writing a research paper. Oh, was I wrong. This book is a rollicking, harrowing narrative of how a serial killer terrified Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair. There is nothing stuffy or boring about it at all. I hope that this book, or others like these, are around in 30 years to open other novel snobs’ eyes.
Does anyone have any additions?