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The top 20 books of the last 10 years

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 16, 2009 7:30 AM

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INFLUENTIAL BOOKS

1. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling

Rowling’s beloved series came to an end in 2007, and fans who grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the wizard world likely shed a tear or two when the final page closed. Even though it’s over, some fans still may sometimes secretly check the mail hoping to find their Hogwarts letters.

2. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Following a young boy in Afghanistan named Amir, the novel explores many different interpretations of how the Taliban treated its own people and the relationship of Amir and his best friend, Hassan. The book was adapted into a film in 2007.

3. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

A book that set religious groups on fire, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was a worldwide success, selling millions and millions of copies. Later turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks, the protagonist Robert Langdon is a household name.

4. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

The story chronicles how a family dealt with the father dying from lung cancer and the mother passing away a month later from stomach cancer. Flirting with the ground found between fiction and nonfiction, Eggers’ recount is just as the title suggests — heartbreaking.

5. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Owning one of the most effective twists found in literature recently, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi not only shares how an interesting young man thinks, it chronicles his journey across the Pacific in a life boat — a must read.

6. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2003, Middlesex follows protagonist Cal, an intersexed person of Greek decent. The book follows his coming-of-age in Detroit and provides a heartbreaking story of family history and struggle.

7. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

He funny, the David Sedaris. He write the book of a man for who to live in the Europe, take the class of foreign language, and to learn how to talk about the Easter. He also write the book for to talk about the life in North Carolina.

8. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the book follows Oscar Wao, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey. The book deals with themes of isolation and nostalgia while blending comedy and tragedy.

9. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

The chilling novel tells about Susie, a young girl raped and murdered when she was 14. Sebold writes the story from Susie’s eyes in heaven, while she looks over her family and how they cope with her death.

10. Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was known by some as the “Kurt Cobain of literature,” and his suicide in 2008 shook the literary world. His collection of essays Consider the Lobster is heralded as some of his best work, with each essay dancing with numerous themes, from 9/11 to John McCain’s 2000 presidential-nomination campaign.

11. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was arguably the basis for every vampire-inspired book/movie/television show that followed. The Historian, however, may just be the greatest Dracula tale since.

12. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey

Frey’s memoir/novel, though first famous for its story of a drug-addicted boy, became a legend for fooling everyone (Oprah included) with its made-up story marketed as a memoir. Congrats, Frey, for calling the entire genre of memoir into question.

13. Persepolis, by Marjane Satarpi

Drawn in black and white, Persepolis is one of the most well-known graphic novels of the decade. It tells the immigration story of the author, Marjane, and how she dealt with it. The book is soaked with themes of nostalgia.

14. Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

Following letters written by Rev. John Ames, this winner of the Pulitzer Prize centers on the memories and legacy of his life. Taking place in fictional Gilead, Iowa, Robinson explores themes of religion, family, love, and doubt.

15. Marley and Me, by John Grogan

Man’s best friend or worst enemy? Marley was lovingly dubbed “world’s worst dog” in Grogan’s memoir, but even stories of chewed couches and swallowed necklaces weren’t enough to stop the tears from flowing at the end of the story.

16. Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson

Telling the story of the World’s Colombian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, the book follows the tales of two men, Daniel Burnham, the chief architect, and H. H. Holmes, one of the first serial killers in America.

17. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

It began as Niffenegger’s tribute to failed relationships, and it could arguably be one of the most heartbreaking books of the decade. The Time Traveler’s Wife was, although wonderfully written, a story about the world’s most disastrous and painful relationship.

18. Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser

Exploring the world of fast food, Schlosser approaches the industry with all the right questions in mind. His book not only inspired a movie, it is often credited for revolutionizing the fast-food industry, and it might be the reason you can get apples at McDonald’s now.

19. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

One of the best-selling books of the decade, Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir about how she dealt with divorce provided a connection for many who read it. The rights of the movie have been sold, and Julia Roberts will star as the protagonist.

20. Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk

After the success of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk returned with Choke, a novel following protagonist Victor Mancini and his struggles to take care of his dying and feeble mother.


READER POLL

1. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
2. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
3. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
4. The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
5. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
6. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
7. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Seboid
8. A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey
9. Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
10. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
11. Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer
12. Marley and Me, by John Grogan
13. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz
14. Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin
15. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert


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