Τετάρτη, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2009

Τα 100 βιβλία της δεκαετίας

Μετά την Telegraph έρχονται οι Times με τα δικά τους best 100 της απερχόμενης δεκαετίας. Για όλη την λίστα μπείτε στον σύνδεσμο εδώ.

20 White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000)

This dazzling first novel became a classic as soon as it appeared. No voice like Smith’s had yet been heard — clever, wise, street-smart and riotously inventive.

19 The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001)

Franzen is the author who famously turned down Oprah. He could afford to. The novel is a triumph, exploring the fragmentation of one middle-class family as they gather for a Midwestern Christmas — ailing, embittered parents and their unsatisfactory adult children.

18 Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (2008)

Goldacre, a hospital doctor, is a witty debunker of all forms of bad science: quack medicines, ropey dietary theories, incompetent reporting. At a time of increasing credulity, he is a tonic.

17 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (2007)

The final adventure in the most successful series of all time — Harry, now a teenager, helped by his Hogwarts mates Ron and Hermione, vanquishes the Dark Lord and his minions, avenges his dead parents and lives happily ever after.

16 Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy (2005)

An intimate and emotionally frank collection of love poems that, following the course of a love affair from first spark through ecstatic conflagration to final burn-out, probably did a lot to earn its author her appointment as first female laureate.

15 The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (2006)

Dawkins showed that you could be a bestseller with a book positing a negative. His witheringly argued treatise against the notion of divine creation made him the poster boy for atheists, the thinker whose arguments every religious person must address.

14 Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi (2003)

Nafisi’s reading group, set up in Tehran in the 1990s, was an assertion of identity and freedom. Her book offers a depiction of a society in a time of war and a celebration of literature.

Azar Nafisi on Reading Lolita in Tehran "People often say, what can we do for Iranians? The point implicit in my book was: Look at what these young Iranians are doing for you. They are reminding you of the best in your own culture, and showing you how through imagination one can connect"

13 Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (2001) Sebald’s masterpiece: the story of a man’s search for his lost history. Austerlitz comes to England in 1939 on the kindertransport. Raised by a Welsh minister who tells him nothing about his real family, he returns to his birthplace 50 years later.

12 A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (2000)

With this modestly titled calling card, the most influential young author of the decade announced his arrival. As well as writing books and screenplays, Eggers has been, as editor of the journal and imprint McSweeney’s, the centre of a literary coterie.

11 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, in a new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (2007)

The greatest novel in the world is given new life by the remarkable translating team who have already blown the dust off Dostoevsky; if there is one essential desert island book, this is it — the literary equivalent of digital remastering.

10 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003)

A murder in the Louvre, and the clues are all hidden in the works of Leonardo. Some love it, some hate it (see our worst of the decade article), but you can’t deny that its mix of conspiracy, riddles and action dominated the decade.

9 Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

A foolish act of bravado and a simple act of conceit at a 1930s house party combine to spoil three lives. Can amends be made? You either love or hate the postmodern twist at the end, but you cannot deny the brilliance of the descriptive set-pieces.

8 Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood (2008)

From Scrooge to Faustus, the Canadian seer’s fascinating examination of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature is essential reading for those curious about the breeding ground for our current financial turmoil.

7 Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002)

Martel was an unknown when his compelling, amusing, eerie fable won the Man Booker Prize: the novel remains the bestselling Booker winner yet, and deservedly so. With a hero named after a swimming pool and a tiger named Richard Parker, this a book like no other.

Yann Martel on Life of Pi "I prepared Life of Pi in the quiet of my creative kitchen, thinking it was a delicious meal but worried that no one would join me. Were there readers out there willing to give animals and gods serious consideration? Well, Pi has proved to be a roaring feast. So many people have joined me at the table. And I'm grateful for that. It's no fun cooking just for yourself. Food is to be shared"

6 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (2000)

By identifying the points at which trends and goods graduated from specialist tastes to mass-market phenomena, Gladwell established himself in the lucrative role of anatomist of contemporary success.

5 Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (2006)
Its astonishing rediscovery more than 40 years after Nemirovsky’s death in Auschwitz should not overshadow that the two novellas here are miniature masterpieces. In the first the veneer of civilisation is stripped from a group of Parisians fleeing the advancing Germans, while the second is a moving tale of forbidden love across the divide of war.

4 Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers trans Robert Bringhurst (2002) One hundred years ago Ghandl and Skaay, two great native poets of the northwest coast of Canada, spoke their stories aloud; Bringhurst’s translations and analysis bring a lost world brilliantly to life.

3 Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (2004)
The book that revealed Barack Obama as not just an ambitious politician, but also as an eloquent writer and deep thinker. The fascinating story of his early life, first published in 1995, was reissued in 2004 and became a worldwide bestseller as momentum for the presidency built.

2 Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003)
With its feisty, irresistible heroine and shapely, naive style, Satrapi’s comic-book account of her childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran is hugely enjoyable — and an essential, humanising eye-opener on a little-understood country. From an interview with Oprah Winfrey, 2007

1 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Cormac McCarthy’s gripping, shattering novel walks in a long line of tradition. Mary Shelley tried her hand at the literature of post-apocalypse with The Last Man, published in 1826; Russell Hoban’s 1980 novel, Riddley Walker, sets the aftermath of doom in Canterbury. The Road’s wilderness — coming to the cinema in January — is an American one: blasted, ruined, destroyed by an unnamed calamity that has scorched the Earth with biblical fury and lit McCarthy’s prose with holy fire. In this awful landscape walk a father and his young son, treading towards a future where it would seem there could be none.

McCarthy has always been a poet of extremity; his earlier novels stripped romance from the myth of the frontier. The Road is stripped back even farther, its father and son the near-sole survivors of what might be called humanity; the book’s narrative is simply that of their survival. There are respites from their suffering —- a cache or two of unspoilted tinned food —- but more often there is horror; this is existence pared to the bone. For this reason, it is McCarthy’s language that must carry the book, and so it does, triumphantly, its Hemingway-like concision shot through with cadences that sometimes recall the sprung rhythms of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The Road is our book of the decade; but it will outlast that judgment, too. It is a work of force and dark brilliance, a perfect expression of the early 21st-century’s terrors —- and of the hope we must all have that we shall not destroy ourselves, nor yet be destroyed. Erica Wagner

Cormac McCarthy on The Road
Four or five years ago, [my son John] and I went to El Paso, and we checked in to the old hotel there. And one night, John was asleep, it was probably about two or three o’clock in the morning, and I went over and just stood and looked out the window at this town. There was nothing moving but I could hear the trains going through, a very lonesome sound. I just had this image of what this town might look like in 50 or 100 years. I just had this image of these fires up on the hill and everything being laid to waste, and I thought a lot about my little boy. So I wrote two pages, and that was about the end of it. And then about four years later I realised that it wasn’t two pages of a book, it was a book, and it was about that man, and that boy.

Ποιοι φήφισαν:

Descriptions by Nicholas Clee, Kate Saunders, Tom Gatti, Erica Wagner, Rachel Campbell-Johnston, Paul Dunn, Richard Whitehead

Compiled by Erica Wagner with assistance from Anjana Ahuja, Lisa Appignanesi, Nicola Beauman, Marcel Berlins, Celia Brayfield, Ian Brunskill, Sarah Churchwell, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Amanda Craig, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Howard Davies, Matthew Dennison, Iain Finlayson, Philippa Gregory, Christina Hardyment, Mark Henderson, Thomas Lynch, Derwent May, Peter Millar, Neel Mukherjee, Rebecca Nicolson, John O’Connell, Stephen Page, Libby Purves, Margaret Reynolds, Ziauddin Sardar, Peter Stothard, Peter Straus, Lisa Tuttle.

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