Apparently they were inspired to do this after reconsidering the famous New York Times list of "Best Work of American Fiction Published in the Last 25 Years" and realizing that none of the authors on the list were younger than 69 years old, and that the most recent publication date on the New York Times list was 1997. Oh yeah, the Times list was released in 2006. (Also, I'd like to note that the Times list contains a total of two women. Two.)
Here's how The Millions presents their list:
It’s a bit early, of course, to pass definitive judgment on the literary legacy of the ’00s, or how it stacks up against that of the 1930s, or 1850s. Who knows what will be read 50 years from now? But, with the end of the decade just a few months away, it seemed to us at The Millions a good time to pause and take stock, to call your attention to books worthy of it, and perhaps to begin a conversation.Reading their list of the top fifteen so far, I'm sad to admit that I've only read three of these: Middlesex, Gilead, and The Road -- all three of which I'd put on my list of top all-time novels I've ever read. (It's a long list, okay? Back off.) I just haven't made much time for novels over the last (gasp!) decade. Or, rather, the ones I've read have not been contemporary.
I read a total of twenty-six Gothic novels last semester (one of my favorites is pictured on the right. Click the picture to go to the website of THE best publisher of Gothic novels around), and so any other time I had for reading was spent on poetry, poetry crit/poetics, aesthetics, theology, journalism, and, of course, studying for my PhD poetry comprehensive exam (which begins tomorrow). With more time though, I'm much more likely to pick up some of these off The Millions' list.
How does this list stack up with your reading past? Your evaluations? Your reading future? What's in store for you?
The List (so far)
#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