I decided, in the slew of retrospective ‘best of’ lists chronicling the decade we will be putting to rest in the next weeks, that even though I’m not the biggest fan of lists that try to span even a year, much less 10 of them, I might as well put something together. Of all the lists I’ve seen so far there hasn’t been a single one that came near anything remotely representing the kind of words I like to read, many of them repeating the same names by the same people in the same spots. And that’s fine and good, okay, I guess. Lists like this are really hard to put together in a way that everybody and their mother won’t be throwing darts at where you missed out and what’s wrong with what you put in, and that’s fine and good, okay, too. And this list is surely going to be no exception. What I’ve compiled here is by no means to be considered a definitive Best of the 2000s, or even a definitive My Favorite Books of the 2000s, because depending on mood, and focus, and a whole lot of other things, that’s not how it works. Anyway, to keep a long and rather assumable speech short, here are some books that really got me as they came out during the past 10 years, books which I also think in some way are capital I Important. Some of them are books I read in grad school, or in undergrad. Some I read in the last few months, some I’m still reading, what have you.
There are some obvious gaps. Some are intended. For instance, I swung pretty wide of books of poetry, not because I couldn’t think of any I wanted to list, but because I am less well read in that area and thus would show my brownness in doing so. Regardless, there were a few I couldn’t help, and so there they are [A full on list of important works of poetry from the 00s is on its way]. There are also a large to very large handful of ones that should just as easily be on here (for instance, I avoided books released by my own publishers, each of whom I believe exert a gorgeous load). I’ve talked far and wide about those people anyhow, so they would be obvious for me to list. I tried to be less obvious in my own tastes, despite the fact that a lot of it slipped in. And should be in. Because these are books I think are important. This list for me, not that I’m competing, tries to fill in some of the gaps other similar styled lists have thus far left out. And so, in the barrage of suggestions or additions that will follow (which I by all means welcome, the more the merrier, for real), I hope you’ll take pity on me for being such a goon as to have messed with a list in the first place, and take this for what it is, a partial shoutout to what I think are, if not the top 25 books of the 2000s, at least a version. They are in semi-random order, with some inherent tendencies within.