Books of the Decade- da da!


Carl commented today- Christmas Eve- that this was our last working day for the decade (I went in for a couple of hours and most of that was morning tea!). It hadn’t occurred to me until then that the decade is finishing….where did it go?

And then my friend Con posted her response to the Guardian’s ‘Books of the decade’ – and I knew I had to see which ones I’d read….the ones I have read are in blue.

The Guardian says – “The world was rocked by terrorism, climate change became an emergency, celebrity culture moved from our TVs to our bookshelves, and a boy wizard held millions spellbound. Love them or hate them, these are the 50 books that defined the decade”


  • White teeth by Zadie Smith – liked this and would re-read it I reckon. TV series not so good, and I haven’t read anything else by Zadie Smith ever since I read her next book- ‘The Autograph  Man” which just didn’t cut it for me.
  • No logo by Naomi Klein – I have this and a couple of other Naomi Klein books, but I truthfully haven’t finished any of them.
  • The tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers – admit I haven’t heard or read anything about this, but I am instantly drawn to the title of the book and so I think I will read this one – altho a quick look on Wikipedia reveals it’ll be a tough one…
  • The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman
  • How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking, by Nigella Lawson – I have a pretty enormous collection of cookbooks but not this, but love the idea of being a domestic goddess…*sigh*
  • Experience by Martin Amis


  • The corrections by Jonathan Franzen – got it, just haven’t read it!
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan – I think I’ve almost read everything that Ian McEwan has written. I think he is just brilliant. Loved the movie of this too.
  • Austerlitz by WG Sebald
  • A life’s work: On becoming a mother by Rachel Cusk – I’m living this, do I need to read it?


  • Nickel and dimed: undercover in low-wage USA by Barbara Ehrenreich – stumbled upon this one somehow and though it was great. A journalist tries to live on the basic wage in the US. Really interesting and depressing. I then read Polly Toynbee’s (UK journalist) experiences in ‘Hard work: life in low paid Britain’ – a similar book.
  • London orbital: A year walking around the M25 by Iain Sinclair
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • Persepolis: The story of a childhood and the story of a return by Marjane Satrapi


  • The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown – for book group. Let’s just say after reading this I didn’t want to see the film or read any more Dan Brown ever again.
  • Landing light by Dan Paterson
  • The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon – great book. After I read this one I contacted a friend who has a child with autism and said -‘read it’. Insights into autism.
  • The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini – yep I cried at the end (and in the movie) and then again for ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’- another powerful read and I think one I enjoyed more as it was about women. Brilliant author. Makes me feel that I live in a very small part of the world and I should know more about things outside my daily sphere.
  • Eats, shoots & leaves by Lynne Truss – might be cheating a bit on this one. Have I read it cover to cover? No- but a great read. I love the illustrated children’s version even better!


  • The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy – will read/ been meaning to?
  • The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst – another goody, I then heard Alan Hollingshurst speak at a literary lunch, and then got my copy of the book autographed!! Love it for its time in English history….
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – will read/ been meaning to?
  • Being Jordan by Katie Price
  • Earth: An Intimate History by Richard Fortey-  googled this and it mentioned geography and poetry – so sounds interesting


  • Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
  • Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – saw the play of this last year. I think I am going to choose this one for my bookgroup in 2010.
  • Postwar by Tony Judt
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan – enough said on Ian McEwan


  • The God delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • The road by Cormac McCarthy – gruelling, will watch the movie and see how that goes….
  • The looming tower by Lawrence Wright
  • The weather makers by Tim Flannery – I have another Tim Flannery book to read (that reminds me)
  • The revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock


  • Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by JK Rowling – can’t honestly say I have ever read a Harry Potter book cover to cover. I have read aloud many HP books to the kids, but because Carl and I used to alternate reading…I only got bits and pieces of these books (seen all the films though- of course!)
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale
  • The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries – will someday read I reckon. My dad or my brother probably have this.
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – enjoyed this, again, I have never read anything about Nigeria.
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid – sounds interesting, will follow up.


  • Change We Can Believe In, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama – I would like to skim, read through some of these. (Like Con though – three books by Obama in a top 50??)
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross
  • Netherland by Joseph O’Neill
  • The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes – sounds interesting


  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – the Booker prize winner isn’t it?- will read.
  • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Eleven … that good or bad? Who cares? Interesting though.


3 Responses to “Books of the Decade- da da!”

  1. Interesting list and comments.

    There’s an Australian ‘version’ of Nickel and Dimed – Dirt Cheap. (
    I haven’t read it, but heard the author speak at an NTEU conference. She was very interesting. I was going to offer to lend it to you, but a quick look at the shelves has not made it materialise!

  2. 2 strawberriesofintegrity

    thanks Rach- just requested it from the Dicko library. I guess I should put reading ‘Down and out in Paris and London’ with this group of books too. I mean we all talk about money being tight – but the whole issue of the working poor is so much harder than anything we have known about…

  3. a heartbreaking work is SO GOOD. my copy wandered off and i just ordered another today:)

    i just alluded to nickel and dimed in a post just now. two strange connections!

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