The Mookse and the Gripes discussion

159 views
Book Chat > Our favourite books of the 2010s - nominations and general chat

Comments Showing 1-50 of 133 (133 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Hugh (last edited Oct 07, 2019 01:45AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
You may have seen this Guardian list of their 100 best books of the last two decades and, like me, had your own ideas of what should have been there.

This got us thinking that a Mookse poll covering the current decade might be entertaining and interesting. We have a sort of precedent in the end of year polls we have done here in 2017 and 2018, and I think a similar approach would work well, but the list of candidates is so much longer that I think we should allow members to nominate up to 5 favourites each, and we can then organise a dynamic rankings poll of the nominees we have read. I think we need to allow at least a week, and maybe two, for the nominations, then we can run the rankings for the rest of the year.

The only rules are that to qualify, a book must have been first published on or after January 1st 2010, and must be at least arguably fiction. Series are allowed as long as the first book was published within the decade.

General discussion is also welcome here, though we may create a separate topic for that.

Nominations are now open - I will update this comment with the list of nominees!

Nominations (109 of them, sorted by author surname):

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013, Jonathan)
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2013, Louise,Kathy)
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (2017, Louise)
Abbott Awaits by Chris Bachelder (2011, H Anthony)
Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette (2015, Jen)
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (2011, June)
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (2015, Antonomasia)
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett (2015, Emily)
HHhH by Laurent Binet (2010, Karen Michele)
Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy (2011, David)
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (2015, Jibran)
Milkman by Anna Burns (2018, Hugh)
Moonglow by Michael Chabon (2016, Jonathan)
The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung (2019, Tracy)
Harvest by Jim Crace (2013, Val)
Sweetland by Michael Crummey (2014, Jen)
Outline/Transit/Kudos by Rachel Cusk (2014-2018, Emily,Jen)
Playing Possum by Kevin Davey (2017, Neil)
Vernon Subutex (1 to 3) by Virginie Despentes (2015-2017, Antonomasia)
Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt (2011, H Anthony)
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014, Karen Michele)
Juanita Wildrose: My True Life by Susan Downe (2013, David)
Murmur by Will Eaves (2018, Neil)
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (2011, Amanda)
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010, Cordelia)
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (2019, Hugh, Neil)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (2019, Louise)
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (2014, Michele)
The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (2011-2014, Sam,Jen)
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (2010, Hugh)
Middle C by William H. Gass (2013, Kristian)
The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie (2011, David)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2016, Amanda)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (2017, Jibran)
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (2011, Ang)
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (2014, Neil, Louise)
Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt (2019, Cordelia)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (2015, Jonathan)
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (2014, Karen Michele)
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (2015-2017, Linda)
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (2016, Linda)
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (2018, Kristian)
The Cemetery in Barnes by Gabriel Josipovici (2018, Val)
Human Acts by Han Kang (2014, Sam)
River by Esther Kinsky (2014, Val)
Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai (2016, Paul)
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (2013, Linda)
The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna (2014, MisterHobgoblin)
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (2019, Tracy)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (2017, Amanda)
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (2011, Ang)
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (2016, Kristian)
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (2019, Kristian)
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner (2012, H Anthony)
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew (2015, Nicholas)
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn (2018, Tracy)
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (2019, Tom)
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty (2017, MisterHobgoblin)
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel (2014, Tom)
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (2014, Debra)
The Ace of Lightning by Stephen-Paul Martin (2017, H Anthony)
A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (2013, Hugh)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (2016, Val)
Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (2010, Ang)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (2017, Hugh)
The Son by Philipp Meyer (2012, Michele)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011, Amanda)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (2010, Karen Michele,Kathy)
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan (2016, Linda)
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015, Antonomasia,Jibran)
Christodora by Tim Murphy (2016, Jonathan)
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (2015, June)
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (2015, Cordelia)
Inland by Téa Obreht (2019, Linda)
There There by Tommy Orange (2018, Tom)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (2013, Amanda)
The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk (2016, Jibran)
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park (2018, MisterHobgoblin)
There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (2019, MisterHobgoblin)
Red or Dead by David Peace (2013, MisterHobgoblin)
Repeat It Today with Tears by Anne Peile (2010, David)
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (2013, Val)
Lucia by Alex Pheby (2018, Cordelia)
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (2015, Emily)
Lanny by Max Porter (2019, Cordelia)
Orfeo by Richard Powers (2014, Neil)
The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018, Tom,Kathy)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (2018, Gumble's Yard)
Doc by Mary Doria Russell (2011, Karen Michele)
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (2010, Tom)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (2013, Sam)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017, Debra,Kathy)
How to be Both by Ali Smith (2014, Sam)
Autumn/Winter/Spring by Ali Smith (2016-2019, Tracy)
Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (2013, Louise)
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (2016, Ang)
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (2016, Emily)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013, Robert,Kathy)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016, Debra)
Fox by Dubravka Ugrešić (2017, Sam)
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (2014, Michele)
The Break by Katherena Vermette (2016, Jen)
Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin (2012, Antonomasia)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (2017, Debra)
The Deadman's Pedal by Alan Warner (2012, David)
Nourishment by Gerard Woodward (2010, Ang)
Frontier by Can Xue (2017, Michele)
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (2013, Michele)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015, Jonathan)


message 2: by Ang (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:58AM) (new)


message 3: by Hugh (last edited Sep 24, 2019 02:29AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
My nominations (some of the omissions were very painful, and I may yet change my mind - I feel particularly bad about omitting Ali Smith, but I can't decide which of hers is best):

Aminatta Forna - The Memory of Love (2010)
Eimear McBride - A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing (2013)
Jon McGregor - Reservoir 13 (2017)
Anna Burns - Milkman (2018)
Lucy Ellmann - Ducks, Newburyport (2019)

In view of the fact that Siri Hustvedt has two other nominations, I have changed that one to another book that was one of the more obvious omissions from the list!


message 4: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Thanks for setting this up, Hugh. If this post is too chatty I can clear it off later to a discussions thread.

I use decade-based tagging for books published from the 1920s onwards, so it was pretty quick to look through the 2010s lot.
There were six books that still really stood out for me, and I haven't decided between two of them.
The other four, in alphabetical order:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty (2015)
Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes [1&2], tr. Frank Wynne (2015, English 2017-18)
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, tr. Roland Glasser (2014, English 2015)
Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin tr. Lisa Hayden (2012, English 2015)

It looks like I've also found my answer for favourite year of the decade in books: 2015.

Vernon Subutex was originally one big novel but the publisher wanted to sell it in separate volumes, so I would argue for allowing it as one item.

A few that I feel would have been contenders if I'd actually read them in time: Brief History of Seven Killings, Perfidious Albion, Jerusalem by Alan Moore, Ducks Newburyport


message 5: by Neil (last edited Sep 23, 2019 04:32AM) (new)

Neil | 1869 comments My immediate thought is that I know my reading tastes have changed significantly over the last decade, so my selections are likely to be recent reads purely because that is what I now like!

It turns out that I have 67 qualifying books that I rated at 5 stars. So I reviewed those and picked the 5 I would most like to re-read.

Murmur by Will Eaves (2018)
Playing Possum by Kevin Davey (2017)
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (2014)
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (2019)
Orfeo by Richard Powers (2014)

I have the same struggle as Hugh - I may need to come back and adjust this, especially as it has no Ali Smith. Interestingly, all the books listed here are ones I have read multiple times and that may be a factor.


message 6: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Neil wrote: "I will add my selection soon.

My immediate thought is that I know my reading tastes have changed significantly over the last decade, so my selections are likely to be recent reads purely because t..."
Mine too - I have read so much more over the last 3 to 4 years too!


message 7: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 184 comments Here's my list. My rule was that I had to remember a lot about the book. It was fun to think about this list and I can't wait to see the results.

HHhH by Laurent Binet 2010
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell 2010
Doc by Mary Doria Russell 2011
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James 2014
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 2014


message 8: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Karen Michele wrote: "Doc by Mary Doria Russell 2011"

I should have a look at this. I was a big fan of the film Tombstone but this book had barely registered on my radar before.


message 10: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "The Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price
Rachel Cusk's trilogy
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
Pond..."

The Welsh version of Rebecca Jones appears to have been published in 2003, so I'm not sure we can accept that.


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily M | 438 comments Hugh wrote: "Emily wrote: "The Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price
Rachel Cusk's trilogy
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
[book:..."


Fair enough. I had no idea it was that old. I was only recently introduced through the Catalan translation, of all things, and thought it was a recent book. Facepalm.


message 12: by Louise (new)

Louise | 222 comments Here are mine (I can't wait to see the finished list!) ;

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson
(I have a feeling that the Danish translation works better than the English one...)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

I guess poetry isn't elligible?
if it had been these two were my favourites ;-)

Tango: Stories of Desire in Poetry
Faithful and Virtuous Night


message 13: by H Anthony (new)

H Anthony | 22 comments These are my favourites since 2010 - the main criteria being that they have stayed with me and I have re-read them all at least once.

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner
Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt
Abbott Awaits by Chris Bachelder
The Ace of Lightning by Stephen-Paul Martin


message 14: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1610 comments This was tough for me since it is not my favorite decade. I included a volume of short stories since I did not see any clarification against it.

How to Be Both
Fox
The Neapolitan Novels
Tenth of December
Human Acts


message 15: by Paul (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:41AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8562 comments "a book must have been first published on or after January 1st 2010"

Original publication date or date of publication of first English translation?

Relevant e.g. for László Krasznahorkai's books - as the translations seem to take many many years.


message 16: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1610 comments Paul wrote: ""a book must have been first published on or after January 1st 2010"

Original publication date or date of publication of first English translation?

Relevant e.g. for László Krasznahorkai's books ..."


I took it as original publication or Knausgaard would have been on my list,


message 17: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Original publication date - otherwise we'd have to allow things like Stalingrad...


message 18: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Sam wrote: "This was tough for me since it is not my favorite decade. I included a volume of short stories since I did not see any clarification against it.

How to Be Both
Fox
..."

Short story collections are fine


message 19: by Debra (last edited Sep 23, 2019 01:12PM) (new)

Debra (debrapatek) | 345 comments Here's my list. I removed Milkman and All the Light We Cannot See since they are already accounted for.


A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (2014)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (2017)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016)


message 21: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Hugh wrote: "Original publication date - otherwise we'd have to allow things like Stalingrad..."

Or Anniversaries!


message 22: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1974 comments I nominate The Goldfinch


message 23: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 281 comments Jen wrote: "The Vegetarian..."

It was first published in 2007.

(I love the book!)

PS: I think that first English translation publication date might be a better criteria than the original publication date. A book that has not been translated into English is inaccessible to people who read their international literature in English translation. (I presume most of us if not all fall in that category).


message 24: by Jibran (last edited Sep 23, 2019 10:33AM) (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 281 comments This is such a terrible thing to say, because it goes against the spirit of the group, but I've not been a big reader of newly published books of late. Of those that qualify, here are a few titles I enjoyed a lot.

Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Milkman by Anna Burns
The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

And if I go by first English translation publication date, I'd include:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan
The Literary Conference by César Aira


message 25: by Jen (new)

Jen | 110 comments Jibran wrote: "Jen wrote: "The Vegetarian..."

It was first published in 2007.

(I love the book!)

PS: I think that first English translation publication date might be a better criteria than the original publica..."


Ah! Thanks Jibran. In that case I'll nominate The Break.


message 26: by Hugh (last edited Sep 23, 2019 01:06PM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
I will update the list again in the morning. If you have named more than 5 books I can only accept the first 5 valid ones - anything else is too complicated. You can edit your choices if necessary


message 27: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments If a book is nominated once, it goes forward, doesn't it?
The number of nominations here doesn't make a difference.

So if someone has made more than 5 choices, they could delete the books that other people nominated further up the thread (and which are already on your list).

They can still rank those books near the top in the next stage.


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8562 comments Hmmm this is hard.

I checked my list of favourite books published in English in the 2010s and they are almost all ineligible on the original date rule including two of the 4 MBI winners (The Vegetarian, Flights, 1Q84, My Struggle, Hiblig's work, Kenzaburo Oe's novels, Krasznahorkai's novels, Tirza by Grunberg, Enard's Zone, etc)

So I think my answer to the question as to the best book of the 2010s is that almost certainly it isn't yet available in English.

I'll nominate Báró Wenckheim hazatér (2016) as that is at least out next week.


message 29: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments We can have volumes 4-6 of Knausgaard's Struggle, can't we?


message 30: by Kristian (last edited Oct 03, 2019 02:40PM) (new)

Kristian (krsvane) | 64 comments Because Ducks is nominated already I nominate:

William H. Gass: Middle C (2013)
Deborah Levy: Hot Milk (2016)
Daisy Johnson: Everything Under (2018)
Deborah Levy: The Man Who Saw Everything (2019)


message 31: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Little Life: Hana Yanagihara
Christodora: Tim Murphy
The Buried Giant: Kazuo Ishiguro
Moon glow: Michael Chabon


message 32: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1610 comments Paul wrote: "Hmmm this is hard.

I checked my list of favourite books published in English in the 2010s and they are almost all ineligible on the original date rule including two of the 4 MBI winners (The Vege..."


Paul, I considered other works by the author and projected that into my picks. I tried to limit myself to the decade but took into consideration past and future. So Ali Smith represents the nomination, plus There but for the and the Seasons Quartet. I figured you would have more nominations than I so the Ferrante was on your behalf.


message 33: by Kristian (last edited Sep 23, 2019 02:32PM) (new)

Kristian (krsvane) | 64 comments Jibran wrote: "PS: I think that first English translation publication date might be a better criteria than the original publica..."

I disagree. For me, a novel "belongs" to the decade in which it was originally published. I personally don't read international literature in English translation if it's available in my native language (there may be a few exceptions if I deem the English translation more reliable).


message 34: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
This is much more of a minefield than I anticipated! I am open to suggestions on tweaks to the rules, but if we allow some leeway on books first published in other languages there should still be some cut-off date for original publication, maybe 5 or 10 years earlier...


message 35: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8562 comments Sam wrote: "Paul, I considered other works by the author and projected that into my picks. I tried to limit myself to the decade but took into consideration past and future. So Ali Smith represents the nomination, plus There but for the and the Seasons Quartet. I figured you would have more nominations than I so the Ferrante was on your behalf."

Yes Ferrante was my one that actually worked - plus The White Book but Human Acts is carrying the Han Kang flag.

Antonomasia wrote: "We can have volumes 4-6 of Knausgaard's Struggle, can't we?"

"Series are allowed as long as the first book was published within the decade."

NB for avoidance of doubt, I think we should stick with the rules we have as it gets ambiguous otherwise plus we do have too many books. But it does leave me struggling to nominate anything.


message 37: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Antonomasia wrote: "We can have volumes 4-6 of Knausgaard's Struggle, can't we?"
That's a tricky one - I would accept the individual books, but I'm not sure about subdividing a series. Is that a nomination?


message 38: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Tracy wrote: "Bottled Goods
The Tenth Muse
The Other Americans
Autumn"


Possibly slightly controversial but I have treated Autumn as a nomination for the quartet so far.


message 39: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Subutex 3 isn't published in English till next year and I don't think there are ARCs available to bloggers yet. So if we included 1-3 of that, or 1-2 it is only fair to allow a bit of flexibility with other series, whether that means allowing incomplete series, or only parts of series that were translated this decade etc.

You are doing all the work on this Hugh, so in terms of how much leeway (like the 5 years either side idea) it seems best if you decide the parameters


message 40: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
I think we allow series that started this decade (in some cases we may not yet know if they are complete) but not continuations of series that were started earlier. So an unfinished series is fine (Vernon Subutex is clear-cut because the series is already complete in French - I was thinking more of Ali Smith).


message 41: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Hugh “Possibly slightly controversial but I have treated Autumn as a nomination for the quartet so far”

Why am I getting that deja - vu feeling?
Mookse Madness won’t lie down quietly...!

(Mentioned in humour, Hugh)!


message 42: by Val (last edited Sep 24, 2019 02:07AM) (new)

Val | 1016 comments I made a list of all my books published in the decade which I rated five stars, removed the non-fiction, translated fiction where the original was earlier, any which were borderline ratings, those already nominated by other members and then those where another book by the same author was already nominated. I still had ten. I then eliminated some favourite authors in the interest of objectivity.
These are the final five.
Solar Bones
The Cemetery in Barnes
River
Night Film
Harvest


message 43: by Kristian (last edited Sep 24, 2019 02:18AM) (new)

Kristian (krsvane) | 64 comments Wait, I thought the 5 were supposed to be subjective choices? There are a couple among my 5 whose inclusion is certainly questionable from a more objective standpoint. I'm happy to adjust my 5 to a more objective selection if that's preferable.

Edit: or maybe to books which stand a fair chance of having been read by more than one of us, as I guess that makes more sense for the rankings round?


message 44: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
You can choose however you like - I can't impose a consistent approach


message 45: by Kristian (new)

Kristian (krsvane) | 64 comments In which case I have to think about what I wanna do - I see the sense in a certain degree of objectivity for this kind of collective effort.


message 46: by Val (new)

Val | 1016 comments My mention of objectivity was not serious Kristian, as the original ten I was trying to reduce to five were chosen almost entirely subjectively.


message 47: by Kristian (new)

Kristian (krsvane) | 64 comments Val wrote: "My mention of objectivity was not serious Kristian, as the original ten I was trying to reduce to five were chosen almost entirely subjectively."
Ah! :) Solar Bones is an excellent choice by the way.


message 48: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8562 comments Hugh - can I withdraw my nomination for Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming - was due out today but seems UK publication date is somewhat later so in reality many won't have a chance to read it.


message 49: by Hugh (last edited Sep 24, 2019 04:29AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3127 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Hugh - can I withdraw my nomination for Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming - was due out today but seems UK publication date is somewhat later so in reality many won't have a chance to re..."
OK, I have updated the list to remove it. I would be very surprised if anyone reads everything on this list given the nature of a few of the nominations...


message 50: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1610 comments Hugh wrote: "Paul wrote: "Hugh - can I withdraw my nomination for Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming - was due out today but seems UK publication date is somewhat later so in reality many won't have a..."

Paul wouldn't thr U.S. release make it eligible?


« previous 1 3
back to top