Best books of the decade

Adrienne Savoldi

Most of the books I read, with the exception of certain Harry Potter books, were released when I was still reading “Dear America” and abridged classic literature. Now that I’m older and can appreciate these works of art, many of the books on this list have become some of my favorites. Some books I only added because of their publicity or high sales. Anyway, these are some, but not all, noteworthy books from 2000 to 2010:



Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel “Atonement” was introduced to me this past summer by my best friend. It had been on my list of movies to see, and when I saw it I was blown away (it didn’t hurt that James McAvoy and Keira Knightley starred in it) so I decided to read the novel. The story is about a young girl named Briony who gives a new meaning the adage “things are not always as they seem.” She not only witnesses the love blossom between her sister Cecilia and the servant boy Robbie, but she becomes jealous of it. She tells a lie that changes the course of all the characters’ lives forever. While McEwan could have been more concise in his description, I love how he allows the reader into his characters’ minds. One of my favorite parts was reading about how Robbie and Cecilia still conveyed their love to each other while he was in prison by discussing literature in their letters and using the novels’ characters as euphemisms. There are not many modern books that I would call absolute favorites, but I think this one is pretty close.


“The Namesake”

– Jhumpa Lahiri’s 2003 novel made me really think about the Shakespeare question: “What’s in a name?” The story is about a boy named Gogol, named for the Russian author, but as he grows up Gogol wants to change his name, replacing it to Nikhil. His parents and those who knew him the first 18 years of his life cannot break out of this, but as time goes on, Gogol at least begins to appreciate the significance of a name and how sometimes names have a larger meaning than perceived.


“The Boleyn Inheritance”

– Being a rabid fan of Tudor England, I longed to read a Philippa Gregory novel. While looking for her acclaimed novel “The Other Boleyn Girl,” I came across her 2006 novel, “The Boleyn Inheritance.” This book details the life of Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII; Katherine Howard, cousin of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn and Henry’s fifth wife; and Jane Boleyn, Anne’s sister-in-law. These three women become tangled in political plots to advance some and lower others. For those who aren’t familiar with Henry VIII and his brutal treatment of his wives, read this book. One of my goals for this year is to read “The Other Boleyn Girl” because I’m beginning to love Philippa Gregory as an author.


“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

– I felt I needed to wrap up the decade with at least one book from 2010, so here it is. This book was written by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish author, who died after completing three books in a series: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” wraps up the trilogy about a girl named Lisbeth who was raped and abused during her teenage years. Lisbeth is finally captured after being on the run for so long, but not before she is hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the head. This book was fascinating because it wove together so many different plots and characters, yet the many dimensions made it more compelling to read. My New Year’s resolution is to read the other two books, but I doubt that will be a problem.

? So make it your New Year’s resolution to read some of these books, or better yet, find a new book of your own and bring it to this decade.

Contact Adrienne Savoldi at [email protected].