A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (2022)

Some books are flashes in the pan, read for entertainment and then left on a bus seat for the next lucky person to pick up and enjoy, forgotten by most after their season has passed. Others stick around, are read and re-read, are taught and discussed. sometimes due to great artistry, sometimes due to luck, and sometimes because they manage to recognize and capture some element of the culture of the time.

In the moment, you often can’t tell which books are which.The Great Gatsbywasn’t a bestseller upon its release, but we now see it as emblematic of a certain American sensibility in the 1920s.Of course, hindsight can also distort the senses; the canon looms and obscures.Still, over the next weeks, we’ll be publishing a list a day, each one attempting to define a discrete decade,starting with the 1900s(as you’ve no doubt guessed by now) and counting down until we get to the (nearly complete) 2010s.

Though the books on these lists need not be American in origin, I am looking for books that evoke some aspect of American life, actual or intellectual, in each decade—a global lens would require a much longer list. And of course, varied and complex as it is, there’s no list that could truly define American life over ten or any number of years, so I do not make any claim on exhaustiveness. I’ve simply selected books that, if read together, would give a fair picture of the landscape of literary culture for that decade—both as it was and as it is remembered. Finally, two process notes: I’ve limited myself to one book for author over the entire 12-part list, so you may see certain works skipped over in favor of others, even if both are important (for instance, I ignoredDublinersin the 1910s so I could includeUlyssesin the 1920s), and in the case of translated work, I’ll be using the date of the English translation, for obvious reasons.

For our eleventh installment, below you’ll find 10 books that defined the 2000s. (Head here for the1910s,20s,30s, 40s,50s,60s,70s,80s, and 90s).

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (1)Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000)

Chabon published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, in 1988, so he’d been around for a while by the time this beloved novel came out and blew everyone’s mind. Anecdotally, I’ve probably heard more people say this is their favorite novel than any other (though “everything by Murakami” (see below) is up there too) which certainly recommends it to this list—a book can’t define a decade if no one’s reading it.The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Claywas our introduction to Michael Chabon as a heavy hitter, and it’s still his magnum opus. The book was a bestseller, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001; the judges described it as “an exhilarating triumph of language and invention, a stunning novel in which the tragicomic adventures of a couple of boy geniuses reveal much about what happened to America in the middle of the 20th century. Like Phillip Roth’sAmerican Pastoralor Don DeLillo’sUnderworld, Michael Chabon’sThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clayis a superb novel with epic sweep, spanning continents and eras, a masterwork by one of America’s finest writers.”

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (2)J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(2000)

(Video) Top 10 Books That Defined the 2000s

There’s no use tiptoeing around it: J. K. Rowling owned the 2000s. Sure, almost half of the Harry Potter books were published in the 90s—the first one came out in 1997—but 2000 was the year that the fandom (and the marketing teams) really kicked into high gear.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Firewas the first massive book in the series at 600+ pages (the initial three are normal lengths, but after the Goblet of Firethey would all be enormous),first book in the series to be published at the same time in the US and the UK, with a “record-setting combined first printing of more than five million copies.” The book was released for the first time on a Saturday so that children would be able to start reading it immediately, and it may have been this that allowed forthe first midnight release parties, now a famous part of Pottermania. Enthusiasm for the series only increased throughout the decade, and in 2007, when the final book was published, it sold 11 million copies in 24 hours, making it the fastest-selling book in history. The influence of these books has been vast and varied. In 2007,TIMEnamed Rowling a runner-up for Person of the Year. “Now translated into 65 languages, the books have joined a canon that stretches fromCinderellatoStar Wars, giving people a way to discuss culture and commerce, politics and values,”TIMEnoted.

Princeton English professor William Gleason compares the series’ impact to the frenzy that surroundedUncle Tom’s Cabinbefore the Civil War. “That book penetrated all levels of society,” he says. “It’s remarkable how similar the two moments are.” And he does not see this as a passing fad or some triumph of clever marketing. “They’ve spoken profoundly to enough readers that they will be read and reread by children and by adults for a long time,” he says. Feminist scholars write papers on Hermione’s road to self-determination. Law professors cite Dobby’s tale to teach contract law and civil rights. University of Tennessee law professor Benjamin Barton published “Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy,” in theMichigan Law Review, which examined Rowling’s view of the legitimacy of government. His conclusion? “Rowling may do more for libertarianism than anyone since John Stuart Mill.” A Rutgers researcher named a rare rain-forest plant in Ecuador apparata after her verb apparate because it seemed to appear out of nowhere. French intellectuals debate whether the stories indoctrinate kids into free-market capitalism. In Turkey, the books were absorbed into the argument over Turkey’s cultural geography: Is Harry a symbol of Western imperialism or of lost Eastern traditions of mysticism and alchemy? A seventh-grade teacher in Pakistan in November invited her class to compare the country’s crisis to Harry Potter. The class immediately cast Pervez Musharraf as Voldemort and Benazir Bhutto as Bellatrix. “Potter is like a Rorschach blot,” says Georgetown government professor Daniel Nexon, “for people articulating concerns about globalization in their cultural setting. It’s incredibly significant that Potter even enters these debates.”

And that is on top of the impact, even her critics acknowledge, of inspiring a generation of obsessive readers unafraid of fat books and complex plots. “They’re easy to underestimate because of what I call the three Deathly Hallows for academics,” says James Thomas, a professor of English at Pepperdine University. “They couldn’t possibly be good because they’re too recent, they’re too popular, and they’re too juvenile.” But he argues that the books do more than entertain. “They’ve made millions of kids smarter, more sensitive, certainly more literate and probably more ethical and aware of hypocrisy and lust for power. They’ve made children better adults, I think. I don’t know of any books that have worked that kind of magic on so many millions of readers in so short a time in the history of publications.”

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (3)Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000)

“This may be the first novel ever written that truly feels at home in our borderless, globalized, intermarried, post-colonial age, populated by “children with first and last names on a direct collision course,”” Lev Grossman wrote inTIME. “The overlapping fates of Smith’s characters seem to trace the new structures of 21st-century life and test their sturdiness as framework for peace and happiness. Both deeply Dickensian and playfully post-modern,White Teeth doesn’t quail before the rampantly ramifying novelistic complexities of a multicultural world. It revels in them.” Smith’s debut (published when she was just 24) was extremely well-received, decorated with multiple awards, and became a bestseller, but one famous person famously did not like it. If this is “hysterical realism,” Mr. Wood, I think I love hysterical realism.

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (4)Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001)

Love him or hate him, or hate to love him, or hated him until you read that profile and now sort of love him or at least hate that you hate him, J-Franz is a cultural pillar of the 2000s, a writer who deftly captured our collective American anxiety and thoroughly entertained us in the process, and um, who also fought with Oprah. I mean, there’s a reasonTIMEput him on its cover and declared him a Great American Novelist at the end of the decade (it’s because he wrote good chick lit and convinced us all it was high literature, one Literary Hub editor informed me). In fact, he was the only novelist to be on the cover of the magazine in that decade.The Corrections, Emily Eakin wrote in theNew York Times, “is as clever as those of the brainy postmodernists he admires but infinitely more accessible.”

Like DeLillo and Gaddis, he dazzles the reader with trenchant riffs on contemporary life—everything from mood-enhancing pharmaceuticals to bisexuality to cruise-ship culture. But rather than relay his thoughts about the world through chilly rhetorical pyrotechnics or plots of mind-boggling complication, Franzen embeds them in the lives of affecting human characters.

It sounds suspiciously simple. But this, it turns out, is Franzen’s big idea: characters are what the contemporary social novel lacks—and what can save it from oblivion. And come to think of it, he has a case. In stuffing their books with formal gimmicks, postmodernists turned the social novel into an act of intellectual machismo and long ago showed characters the door. (Can you remember the name of a single person from Underworld, other than J. Edgar Hoover?) As male novelists abandoned psychological realism for oracular pronouncements, the job of creating memorable characters became women’s work—the forte of writers like Anne Tyler and Annie Proulx.

(Video) Top 10 Novels of the 2000s

Sounds like that Literary Hub editor was right. In any event, The Correctionswon the 2001 National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was one of the biggest bestselling novels of the decade.

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (5)Alice Munro, Runaway (2004)

Honestly, I might have putHateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) here, or The View from Castle Rock (2006) or Too Much Happiness (2009)—it doesn’t much matter. They’re all equally genius. Count them all. Munro has had a long career—she published her first collection in 1968—so it’s also a little ridiculous to claim her for one decade or another, but let’s settle her here in the 2000s, during the boom of creative writing programs (and thus the boom of imitators), and the years leading up to her Nobel Prize for literature—which she won in 2013, with the Swedish Academy rightly cited her as a “master of the contemporary short story.”

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (6)David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004)

In the mid-2000s, this was the novel that everyone was pressing into one another’s hands, wide-eyed and whispering.Read this. I know—I was pressed and pressed in turn, and I wasn’t alone. A puzzlebox of a novel, it managed to be high brow and low brow, undeniably intellectual and deeply entertaining. The novel, Ted Gioia wrote, is “almost a textbook example” of how what he calls “conceptual fiction

is enlivening contemporary fiction—all themore vital because it manages to be bold and experimentalwithout destroying the key elements of narrative structure,character development and linguistic comprehensibility thatearlier progressive movements often ignored at their ownperil. The power of a book such asCloud Atlasis amplifiedbecause its higher level complexities don’t require the groundfloor level of the story be burnt, pillaged and destroyed.Instead of trying to keep up with the Pynchons and Gaddises,who only live in the penthouse, Mitchell occupies the wholebuilding, even the boiler room and broom closet.

And in a 2010 profile of Mitchell, Wyatt Mason wrote:

Although the themes in Cloud Atlas weren’t new—the English novel has been exploring various degrees of human rapaciousness from Moll Flandersto Bleak House to Atonement— Mitchell had found a new form for their dramatization. Formal ingenuity, though, is just one feature of Mitchell’s excellence and, as Michael Chabon wrote in an e-mail message, not the most significant: “Mitchell has to catch you and hold you and keep you reading through what initially appear to be a series of more or less unrelated fragments. It is only his gift for making sentences, and his equally strong gift for framing characters, that enable him to play his marvelous game with narrative structure.”

In both structure and writing, this novel is unlike anything else—and I’d wager it will continue to influence contemporary literature for years to come.

(Video) tier-ranking every classic book (so you know which ones to read)

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (7)Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005)

The most popular novel by our most recent Nobel Laureate in literature (though I’d argueThe Remains of the Dayis still his best) was much acclaimed and much purchased when it was published in 2005, though it seems critics are still arguing over whether it’s dystopian sci-fi or coming-of-age or a complex metaphor about raceor horror or literary fiction of the highest caliber (the answer being, of course, all of these, and a hearty duh to you). Rachel Cusk reads the novel as being as much about art itself as it is about clones and humanity. “On one level Ishiguro seems to be saying that art is a con-trick, like religion; that it obscures from us the knowledge or awareness of our own mortality, knowledge that in the case of the Hailsham children is brutally withheld,” she wrote inThe Guardian.

We believe that art is immortal, and so we represent creativity as an absolute good; but in making this representation to children, are we interfering with their right to know about and accept death? . . .Never Let Me Go, like the clones it portrays, has in the end something of a double nature, for it both attracts and annihilates. Or perhaps it is a book that requires two readers, the reader who can be blind to its ugly visage, and the reader who can see into its delicately conflicted soul. For those who perceive the latter, the novel’s bleak horror will leave a bruise on the mind, a fetter on the heart.

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (8)Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore (first English translation, Philip Gabriel, 2005)

Murakami is another heavy-hitter with surprisingly wide appeal, considering the oddness of his work. Everyone has their own personal ranking system for Murakami’s works, which is exactly why he’s on this list. Everyone has an opinion, because everyone’s thought about him, at least a little bit. For me, this is the best of his novels in this decade (though overall I preferThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle(1997), and though no one asked, you’re still reading this space, so I might as well inform you thatNorwegian Woodis bad trash).

“When the English translation of Haruki Murakami’s bestselling A Wind-Up Bird Chronicle transformed one of Japan’s best-kept literary secrets into the world’s best-known living Japanese novelist, this reviewer’s acquaintances neatly subdivided themselves into three groups: besotted devotees (one British friend went so far as to name his newborn son “Haruki”); critical admirers; and people who came out in a nasty rash,” David Mitchell wrote in The Guardian. He doesn’t count this one as a masterpiece (he citesA Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, as he too has his ranking system, and like me, he is correct) but revels in Murakami’s seductive prose and “trademark kookinesses,” and notes that “Murakami’s protagonists radiate a likeable humanity at odds with many of the “Asia Extreme” Japanese writers currently being translated into English, including Ryu (no relative) Murakami, Natsuo Kirino and Ring-master Koji Suzuki. Murakami writes Cert 18 scenes with aplomb when his plot demands it, but these never feel gratuitous or onanistic.”

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (9)Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)

Another popular, bestselling Pulitzer Prize winner (I wonder if those things have any connection to one another),The Roadmay not be McCarthy’s best work (that is certainlyBlood Meridian) but it is certainly his most read. And, despite its near-psychotic inattention to grammar, it’s still a fantastic achievement. “What emerges most powerfully as one readsThe Roadis not a prognosticatory or satirical warning about the future, or a timeless parable of a father’s devotion to his son, or yet another McCarthyesque examination of the violent underpinnings of all social intercourse and the indifference of the cosmic jaw to the bloody morsel of humanity,” wrote Michael Chabon inThe New York Review of Books.

The Roadis not a record of fatherly fidelity; it is a testament to the abyss of a parent’s greatest fears. The fear of leaving your child alone, of dying before your child has reached adulthood and learned to work the mechanisms and face the dangers of the world, or found a new partner to face them with. The fear of one day being obliged for your child’s own good, for his peace and comfort, to do violence to him or even end his life. And, above all, the fear of knowing—as every parent fears—that you have left your children a world more damaged, more poisoned, more base and violent and cheerless and toxic, more doomed, than the one you inherited. It is in the audacity and single-mindedness with whichThe Roadextends the metaphor of a father’s guilt and heartbreak over abandoning his son to shift for himself in a ruined, friendless world thatThe Roadfinds its great power to move and horrify the reader.

(Video) The Top 20 Greatest Novels Ever Written

It is pretty bleak, especially for a bestseller. “The Roadhas found a surprisingly enthusiastic audience given itsforeboding and, at times, gruesome sensibility,” wrote Ted Gioia. “It won the Pulitzer,made it into Oprah’s book club, and was placed byEntertainmentWeeklyat the top of a list of the best books of the last 25 years.Entertainment Weekly? If this is entertainment, I think I will trade inmy big screen TV for a long stint in solitary confinement. Thisgripping novel will force readers outside their comfort zones, andultimately succeeds without making even the smallest concessionto the formulas of escapist fiction.” A feat in itself.

A Century of Reading: The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s (10)Roberto Bolaño, 2666(first English translation, Natasha Wimmer, 2008)

There’s a fair argument that Bolaño’s final, posthumously published novel is not only one of the defining books of the decade, but of the century.“2666 is as consummate a performance as any 900-page novel dare hope to be,” Jonathan Lethem wrote in the New York Times Book Review.

Bolaño won the race to the finish line in writing what he plainly intended, in his self-interrogating way, as a master statement. Indeed, he produced not only a supreme capstone to his own vaulting ambition, but a landmark in what’s possible for the novel as a form in our increasingly, and terrifyingly, post-national world. The Savage Detectives looks positively hermetic beside it. . . .A novel like 2666 is its own preserving machine, delivering itself into our hearts, sentence by questing, unassuming sentence; it also becomes a preserving machine for the lives its words fall upon like a forgiving rain, fictional characters and the secret selves hidden behind and enshrined within them: hapless academic critics and a hapless Mexican boxer, the unavenged bodies deposited in shallow graves. By writing across the grain of his doubts about what literature can do, how much it can discover or dare pronounce the names of our world’s disasters, Bolaño has proven it can do anything, and for an instant, at least, given a name to the unnamable.

See also:

Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius(2000),Helen DeWitt,The Last Samurai (2000), George Saunders, Pastoralia (2000), Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (2000), David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves (2000), Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth (2000), Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (2001), Richard Russo,Empire Falls(2001), Yann Martel, The Life of Pi (2001), Percival Everett, Erasure (2001), Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001), Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001), Gary Indiana, Do Everything in the Dark (2001), Dennis Lehane,Mystic River(2001), Ann Patchett, Bel Canto (2001), Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (2002), César Chávez, The Words of César Chávez (2002), Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002), W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz (first English translation, 2002), Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (2002), Sarah Waters, Fingersmith (2002), Edward P. Jones, The Known World (2003), Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003), Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003), Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City (2003), Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (2003), Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran(2003), Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (2003), Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003), Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (2003), Zoë Heller, Notes on a Scandal (2003), Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses (2003), Tobias Wolff, Old School (2003), Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004), Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind (first English translation, 2004), Alan Hollinghurst,The Line of Beauty(2004), Carl Hiaasen, Skinny Dip (2004), Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004), Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (2004), Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking(2005), Kelly Link, Magic for Beginners (2005), Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (2005), Zadie Smith, On Beauty (2005), Stephenie Meyer, Twilight (2005), John Green, Looking for Alaska (2005), Markus Zusak, The Book Thief (2005), Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital (2006), Deborah Eisenberg,Twilight of the Superheroes(2006), John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006), Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (2006), Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006), Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives(2007), Patrick Rothfuss,The Name of the Wind(2007), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,Half of a Yellow Sun(2007), Tom McCarthy,Remainder(2007), André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name (2007), Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007), Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (2008), Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (2008), Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (first English translation, 2008), Keith Gessen, All the Sad Young Literary Men (2008), Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter (2008), Joseph O’Neill, Netherland (2008), Richard Price, Lush Life (2008), John Updike, The Widows of Eastwick (2008), Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep (2005), Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (2009)

Alice MunroCloud AtlasDavid MitchellHarry PotterHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ.K. RowlingJonathan FranzenKazuo IshiguroMichael ChabonNever Let Me GoRunawaythe 2000sthe books that defined the decadesThe CorrectionsWhite TeethZadie Smith


FAQs

What were people reading in the 70s? ›

18 Bestsellers Published in the 1970s
  • The Bluest Eye. by Toni Morrison. Add to Bookshelf. ...
  • Jailbird. by Kurt Vonnegut. Add to Bookshelf. ...
  • Sophie's Choice. by William Styron. Add to Bookshelf. ...
  • The Shining. by Stephen King. ...
  • Scruples. by Judith Krantz. ...
  • Burr. by Gore Vidal. ...
  • The Day of the Jackal. by Frederick Forsyth. ...
  • Ragtime. by E.L. Doctorow.

What was Britain's best selling novel of the 2000s? ›

Despite that, Brown snatched the honour for biggest-selling book of the decade from under Rowling's nose. The Da Vinci Code, the rip-roaring, church-bothering thriller, sold a staggering 5.2m copies in the UK, far more than the most popular Potter novel, The Deathly Hallows, on 4.37m.

What is considered the greatest novel of the 20th century? ›

List
RankYearTitle
11962Pale Fire
21922Ulysses
31973Gravity's Rainbow
41977The Public Burning
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What is the best selling book series 21st century? ›

Harry Potter series (Action and fantasy)

As of February 2018, the books which harbour the journey of the wizard by the name Harry Potter sold more than 500 million copies across the globe, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have also been translated into eighty languages.

What was literature like in the 1980s? ›

The 80s were filled with exciting new ideas for books like legal thrillers, or new kinds of poetry like performance poetry that forever changed literature and the way its looked at. These writers took classic forms of the Art and flipped it for the newer generations after them.

What was the biggest selling book from 2000? ›

Best Sellers in Books for 2000
  • #1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (4) ...
  • #2. Who Moved My Cheese. ...
  • #3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (3) ...
  • #4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. ...
  • #5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1) ...
  • #6. Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength. ...
  • #7. The Brethren. ...
  • #8.

Which is the No 1 book in the world? ›

Top 100 best selling books of all time
RankTitleAuthor
1Da Vinci Code,TheBrown, Dan
2Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsRowling, J.K.
3Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneRowling, J.K.
4Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixRowling, J.K.
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What was the best-selling single of the 2000s? ›

Chart
No.TitleYear
1"Evergreen"/"Anything Is Possible"2002
2"Unchained Melody"2002
3"It Wasn't Me"2001
4"(Is This the Way to) Amarillo"2005
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What is 21st century literature all about? ›

Twenty-First Century Literature from the Philippines and the World is the journey in searching for knowledge about the geographic, linguistic, and ethnic dimensions of Philippine literacy history from pre-colonial to the contemporary period.

What are the main features of 20th century novel? ›

1 Answer
  • The main features of 20th century novel are:
  • Concentration on urban middle class.
  • Propensity to introspection.
  • Introduction of the stream of consciousness.
  • Focus on the life of educated characters.
  • Experimental writing.
11 Aug 2021

Who was the best writer of the 20th century? ›

1. Ernest Hemingway 1899 – 1961. Any discussion of the greatest writers of the twentieth century has to include Ernest Hemingway. He was widely considered one of the greatest writers of all time, and he published many books that are still read regularly.

What is the number 1 best-selling book series? ›

The Harry Potter series is far and away the highest-selling series of novels ever. Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the series has sold at least 500 million copies, 150 million more than the next-highest selling series.

Who was the best-selling fiction writer of 20th century? ›

Top 40 Bestselling Authors of the 20th Century
  • Danielle Steel.
  • Stephen King.
  • James A. Michener.
  • Sidney Sheldon.
  • Mary Higgins Clark.
  • Robert Ludlum.
  • Lloyd C. Douglas.
  • Sinclair Lewis.

What is the most popular book right now? ›

The 10 Most Popular Books Right Now
  • I'm Glad My Mom Died. Hardcover $21.99 $27.99. ...
  • The Marriage Portrait (B&N Exclusive Edition) Hardcover $24.99 $28.00. ...
  • It Starts with Us: A Novel. ...
  • The Lost Girls of Willowbrook. ...
  • Fairy Tale. ...
  • The Ballad of Never After (Signed B&N Exclusive Book) ...
  • Lessons (Signed Book) ...
  • It Ends with Us.
16 Sept 2022

What was literature like in the 70s? ›

Irreverence and satire, typified in Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, were common literary elements. The horror genre also emerged, and by the late seventies Stephen King had become one of the most popular novelists in America, a coveted position he maintained in the following decade.

How do you write 80s? ›

Abbreviating decades

(" '80s" is abbreviated from "1980s" and so is usually written with the apostrophe, but I think some style guides prefer to avoid the apostrophe altogether. Note that this is different from the incorrect usage "1980's", which is correct only if you're saying "belonging to 1980" or "1980 is".)

Which other plays and writers were popular in the 1980s? ›

24 Bestsellers Published in the 1980s
  • White Noise. by Don DeLillo. Add to Bookshelf. ...
  • The Handmaid's Tale. by Margaret Atwood. Add to Bookshelf. ...
  • The Cider House Rules. by John Irving. ...
  • The Bourne Identity. by Robert Ludlum. ...
  • The Queen of the Damned. by Anne Rice. ...
  • Cosmos. by Carl Sagan. ...
  • You're Only Old Once! by Dr. ...
  • Poland. by James A.

Who was a best selling author in 1960? ›

1960
  • The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
  • The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace.
  • Ourselves to Know by John O'Hara.
  • The Constant Image by Marcia Davenport.
  • The Lovely Ambition by Mary Ellen Chase.
  • The Listener by Taylor Caldwell.
  • Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute.
  • Sermons and Soda-Water by John O'Hara.

Which classic fiction book has stayed in print for more than fifty years and continues to sell nearly one million copies a year? ›

The Catcher in the Rye has sold over 60 million copies worldwide since it was first published as a novel in 1951. The novel has been translated into almost all of the worlds major languages and sells approximately one million copies a year.

What book topped the best seller charts every year during the 1950's? ›

This is a list of adult fiction books that topped The New York Times Fiction Best Seller list in 1950. Henry Morton Robinson's The Cardinal dominated the list for 24 weeks and Ernest Hemingway had his only Number 1 bestseller that year.
...
The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 1950.
DateBookAuthor
May 28The CardinalHenry Morton Robinson
June 4
June 11
June 18
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Who is the best-selling author in 2000? ›

Best Selling Fiction 2000 - 2009
  • 2000 – The Brethren – John Grisham.
  • 2000 – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon.
  • 2000 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling.
  • 2000 – The Mark – Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. ...
  • 2000 – Journey – Danielle Steel.
  • 2000 – The Bear and the Dragon – Tom Clancy.

Who is the best-selling author of the 21st century? ›

The best-selling author of the 21st century is probably James Patterson. He published his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number in 1976 and since then, he has written more than two hundred and fifty Times best-sellers.

What is considered the best book of all time? ›

The Greatest Books of All Time
  1. 1 . In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. ...
  2. 2 . Ulysses by James Joyce. ...
  3. 3 . Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. ...
  4. 4 . One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. ...
  5. 5 . The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ...
  6. 6 . Moby Dick by Herman Melville. ...
  7. 7 . War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. ...
  8. 8 .

What is the most memorized book in the world? ›

The Quran is perhaps the only book, religious or secular, that has been memorized completely by millions of people.

What is the biggest selling book? ›

The Bible. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, having sold around 5 billion copies to date.

Which country has the best literature? ›

1) England

English writers have shaped the language in profound ways. From the works of Shakespeare to the novels of Jane Austen, England has produced some of the most important authors in history. So unsurprisingly studying literature in England is the first destination on this post.

What was the biggest hit in the 2000s? ›

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 2000
No.TitleArtist(s)
1"Breathe"Faith Hill
2"Smooth"Santana featuring Rob Thomas
3"Maria Maria"Santana featuring The Product G&B
4"I Wanna Know"Joe
96 more rows

Who had the most #1 hits of the 2000s? ›

Number-one entries

Beyoncé spent 36 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 with five number-one songs. Rihanna accumulated five number-one singles, spending 19 weeks atop the chart. Mariah Carey earned four number-one singles, including the best-performing single of the decade "We Belong Together".

What was the number one song in January 2000? ›

“Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas was the No. 1 song on Jan. 1, 2000.

What is your idea about 21st century literature from the Philippines and the world? ›

21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World is a senior high school subject which aims to engage students in appreciation and critical study of 21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World, encompassing their various dimensions, genres, elements, structure, contexts, and traditions.

What is the importance of studying 21st century literature? ›

It helps develop students' critical thinking skills in the quest for the ubiquitous 21st century competencies. Linguistically, it gives students the opportunity to analyse and appreciate good language use by highly regarded wordsmiths.

What is 21st century literature example? ›

The poems of Maria Cecilia dela Rosa are perfect examples of 21st century literature as she conveys a different flavor and turn to her works. The previous periods had already established canon writers and their works which, until now, are being studied in schools and universities.

What is the theme of 20th century? ›

They explore core themes including anticolonialism, democracy, socialism, nationalism, industrialization, nuclear weapons, and globalization and provide their own personal interpretations of the century, as well as their respective nation's experiences and historical memory of the era.

What type of fiction was popular in 20th century? ›

Two of the most common genres of fiction in the 20th century were detective and science fiction.

What is novel describe about 20th century novel? ›

The novels of the nineteenth century were written at a time when there was confidence and stability in British society. But the twentieth-century novels are influenced by the changes in beliefs and political ideas after the events of the First World War and the disappearance of the British Empire.

Who is 20th century novelist of following? ›

Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, D.H.Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and ao on are the main novelists of the 20th century. Now we will write about the main novelists of the 20th century English literature. Joseph Conrad is one of the main novelists of the 20th century.

Who is considered the best writer? ›

Best Writers of All Time
  • William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet, Julius Ceaser, As You Like It, Othello, Hamlet)
  • Leo Tolstoy (War & Peace, Anna Karenina)
  • Homer (The Odyssey, The Illiad)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Demons)
17 Oct 2020

Who is the most famous writer in America? ›

Mark Twain is renowned worldwide as one of the most influential writers in the English language. Such is his influence in his nation that he has been called “the father of American literature”.

What is the best-selling book series of the 21st century? ›

Harry Potter series (Action and fantasy)

As of February 2018, the books which harbour the journey of the wizard by the name Harry Potter sold more than 500 million copies across the globe, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have also been translated into eighty languages.

What are the current top 10 fiction books? ›

FICTION
  • Fairy Tale by Stephen King. ...
  • The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart. ...
  • Oath of Loyalty by Vince Flynn; Kyle Mills. ...
  • Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. ...
  • Blowback by James Patterson; Brendan DuBois. ...
  • All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers. ...
  • Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. ...
  • The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci.
5 days ago

What is the most sold book 2021? ›

2021 was a pretty good year for author Dav Pilkey. Not only is his children's book "Dog Man: Mothering Heights" USA TODAY's bestselling book of the year, but he also followed up the achievement with four more of his books landing in the Top 100 for 2021, more than any other author.

Who is the No 1 writer in the world? ›

List
AuthorMin. estimated salesNumber of books
William Shakespeare2 billion42
Agatha Christie2 billion85
Barbara Cartland500 million723
Danielle Steel500 million179
66 more rows

Who is the best-selling author 2022? ›

Top 10 Selling Books, 2022 Year-to-Date
RankTitleAuthor
1It Ends With UsColleen Hoover
2Where the Crawdads SingDelia Owens
3VerityColleen Hoover
4Ugly LoveColleen Hoover
6 more rows

Which book is best to read? ›

30 Best Books to Read
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. ...
  2. 1984, by George Orwell. ...
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling. ...
  4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. ...
  5. The Great Gatsby, by F. ...
  6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. ...
  7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank. ...
  8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.
4 Feb 2022

What is the best-selling title in America? ›

As of 2006, it remains the all-time best-selling American title and is still in print today. Common Sense made public a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration.

What did Reading used to be called? ›

Reading began life as a Saxon settlement. Reading was originally called Reada ingas, which means the people of Reada. Reada was a Saxon leader who settled in the area with his tribe in the 6th century. The early settlement was probably in the area of St Marys Butts.

What were the main industries in Reading? ›

Reading is best known for the '3Bs' – biscuits, beer and bulbs. Your class has the opportunity to make a timeline, discovering how Reading has been shaped by these and other industries over the years.

What was Reading famous for? ›

The town has been famous for the Three Bs of beer (1785–2010, Simonds Brewery), bulbs (1837–1974, Suttons Seeds), and biscuits (1822–1976, Huntley and Palmers).

When did people start Reading? ›

The first written communication dates all the way back to 3500 B.C., when only a small amount of people learned to read and write. In those days, people who knew how to read held public performances, displaying their skill. It wasn't for several thousand years that the first books came on the scene.

Why is Reading is important? ›

Reading is Essential and serves as a basic building block for learning, regardless of the school subject, be it language arts or even math. In daily life, the need to read things such as street signs or prescriptions proves reading is also an important life skill. 2. Reading Strengthens the Brainand improves memory.

How do people benefit from Reading? ›

Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships.

Who found Reading? ›

The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, where the town came to be known as Readingum. The name comes from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means "Reada's People" in Old English. The name Reada is thought to literally mean "The Red One."

How many people are in Reading? ›

Currently 161,780 residents (ONS mid-year estimates 2019) and 65,410 households (DCLG Household projections 2016- based) live within the Reading borough boundary, while around 233,000 people live in Reading's greater urban area (Local Transport Plan 2011-2026).

Is Reading a nice place to live? ›

A mere 30 minutes away from London, Reading is the perfect home for those who wish to leave the bustling city life whilst also being provided with vast amounts of entertainment. Living in Reading will provide residents with great nightlife and a warm community feel.

Is Reading the biggest town in England? ›

Reading remains the largest town in the UK by population, with its wider urban area, which includes the suburbs of Earley and Woodley, home to around 230,000 people. The area controlled by Reading Borough has an estimated 161,780 residents according to the Office of National Statistics in 2019.

Who is the most famous person from Reading? ›

Did you know these famous people are from Reading
  • JANE AUSTEN. English novelist known primarily for her 6 major novels which include Sense and Sensibility and of course Pride and Prejudice. ...
  • MICHAEL BOND. ...
  • PERCY CHAPMAN. ...
  • JUSTIN FLETCHER aka MR TUMBLE. ...
  • RICKY GERVAIS. ...
  • JEREMY KYLE. ...
  • JOHN MADEJSKI. ...
  • CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE.
27 Apr 2017

What do you mean Reading? ›

Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. Learn how readers integrate these facets to make meaning from print. Reading is making meaning from print. It requires that we: Identify the words in print – a process called word recognition.

Where is the best place to live in Reading? ›

The top 6 Areas to Live in Reading
  • #1. Lower Earley & Earley. ...
  • #2. Shinfield & Arborfield. ...
  • #3. Woodley & Charvil. ...
  • #4. Winnersh & Sindlesham. ...
  • #5. Caversham & Caversham Park Village. ...
  • #6. Central Reading.

How was reading taught in the 1980s? ›

In the 1970s an instructional philosophy called whole language (which explicitly de-emphasizes teaching phonics) was introduced, and it became the primary method of reading instruction in the 1980s and 1990s.

What is the first book in the world? ›

The first ever books

The first book ever written that we know of is The Epic of Gilgamesh: a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history.

How was the first person to read? ›

"Understanding Point of View: First Person and Third ... - YouTube

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