First of all…

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I’m sorry to my three loyal readers for being so horribly absent the last few weeks. And for that cliffhanger of a post I left you with. Not like you couldn’t have gone to the Millions Web site to see the full list yourself, but still, that was sucky of me. So I’m sorry. If you’re interested here’s the final list of the Best Fiction of the Millenium (So Far).

The List
#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
#5: Pastoralia by George Saunders
#4: 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
#3: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
#2: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
#1: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The count of what I’ve read on this is sad, pathetic, exactly one. Count ‘em: ONE. I’ve heard of fewer than half (8, to be precise) but my reading list needs a serious bump. Sadly, my reading list right now consists of books like Pippi Longstockings and Tuck Everlasting. I mean…I love them, but I’m starting to miss adult books. I was in Mexico last week where I did mostly academic reading, but I was able to at least start on Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, the most recent Oprah Book Club pick, though I’m happy to say I bought it long before Oprah picked it. So far it’s brilliant and heartbreaking and everything everyone said it would be. Look for it on Teaser Tuesday (now I’m locked in to post at least once next week!) I would really like to read all the books on this list. But it might be one of those gradual projects that I attempt in the process of school-going. The Corrections and 2666 alone are like a billion pages each, so there’s that to consider as well. It’s a daunting list for sure, but I think reading at least a few of these books qualifies as self-education — you know, that thing you do once a teacher is no longer giving you a list of books to read. You don’t need to be getting a degree to be educated. Just sayin’.

How many have you read?

(Sidenote: The Millions polled their Facebook group and they came up with this list: http://www.themillions.com/2009/09/best-of-the-millennium-pros-versus-readers.html

There’s also a list of 15 honorable mentions: http://www.themillions.com/2009/09/best-fiction-of-the-millennium-so-far-honorable-mention.html

And the longlist which is all the books that were nominated but didn’t appear on the top 20 or honorable mention lists http://www.themillions.com/2009/10/best-fiction-of-the-millennium-so-far-the-longlist.html

All I can say is there’s enough literary talent in here to keep you busy for a decade. Any one up to the challenge?)

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Comments

  1. I’ve tried to read The Corrections before and it wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t get into it. It’s very, very long like you said. I haven’t read any of these books and only heard of 5-6 of them.

    • I read Middlesex, which to be fair, is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ve read about 100 pages in the Corrections, and like you, couldn’t get into it. Some of these, like Atonement, I feel kind of crappy for not having read though.

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