art & literature

8 Best Books of the Past Decade: A Reading List

Sheena Joseph | Jan 17 2021
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The 2010s were a decade of diversity and inclusivity. The literary world certainly reflected these positive changes. If you are looking for a reading list that will help you catch up with the past decade, it must-have books from all over the world and across various genres. Spending time with this reading list is worth it because many notable literary events took place. Ronan Farrow came out with the most important book of Hollywood which sparked MeToo movements across the world. And Cassandra Clare took her Shadowhunter chronicles to the next level by travelling to the past. Nikita Gill also made her as a poetess after being rejected by 137 publishers. Here are some books to add to your reading list.

1) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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'Americanah' is Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's third novel. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2013. The novel tells the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who moves to the US for higher studies. The novel was later adapted to a mini-series by HBO Max. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the most prominent writers who are succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature. In 'Americanah', the protagonist struggles with racism and many variations of it. The story moves along with Ifemelu discovering what it means to be a black person.

2) Pachinko by Min Jin Lee


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Pachinko is another novel that created waves soon after its publication in 2017. It is an epic historical novel about a 20th-century Korean family that immigrated to Japan. It is the second novel written by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee. Pachinko is a Japanese arcade game of a gambling nature. The game acts as a motif in the novel. The story takes place between 1910 and 1989, a period when Korea faced Japanese occupation and World War II. The book was chosen as one of the 10 best books of 2017 by The New York Times. Writer Roxane Gay called it her favourite book of the year.

3) Normal People by Sally Rooney


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Written by Irish author Sally Rooney in 2018, 'Normal People' became a best-seller in the US. The plot follows two teenagers Connell and Marianne. Set during the post-2008 Irish economic slowdown, the story explores the complex friendship and relationship between the two teenagers. The novel was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction. It was also ranked 25th on The Guardian's list of the 100 best books of the 21st century. A television adaptation of the novel aired in April 2020 which went on to earn an Emmy nomination.

4) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


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Those who haven’t already read the novel ‘Gone Girl’ have either heard or watched the movie. There are very few movies that equally match the brilliance of their book on which they are based. Known for the excellent performance of Rosamund Pike, 'Gone Girl' is one of those movies. The thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn in 2012 became an instant hit and made it to the New York Times Best Seller list. The novel focuses on the superficial nature of appearances, especially in marriage. Amy Dunne remains to be one of the best-written complex characters.

5) The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


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Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is most popular for her novel 'The Palace of Illusions', which was a retelling of the ancient Indian epic 'Mahabharata'. The novel describes the plotlines from the point of view of Panchali. In 'The Forest of Enchantments', the author takes on another epic 'Ramayana'. Sita is placed at the centre of the novel and Divakaruni turns this epic tale of battle into a very human story. Women who are often misunderstood and pushed to the margins in the Ramayana are given more space. They escape the single-dimensional character arcs originally plonked on them. This applies to Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, and Mandodari as well. If you are a fan of mythical fiction, ‘The Forest of Enchantments’ is for you.

6) Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow


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'Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators' is a book written by American journalist Ronan Farrow. He is known for sparking the international MeToo movement. He exposed many men across many industries including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In the book, Farrow recounts the challenges he faced while investigating the stories of decades of alleged sexual abuse and assault. Farrow published the stories in The New Yorker. He argues that Weinstein used a private Israeli intelligence service called Black Cube to kill stories at NBC News. 'Catch and Kill' is a term referring to a disreputable practice in which media companies purchase stories in order to bury them.

7) Great Goddesses: Life lessons from myths and monsters by Nikita Gill


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Nikita Gill is known for using social media to create her audience. In her 2019 book, the poetess has taken inspiration from mythical figures. It is a feminist poetry collection about greek myths. The poetry collection questions whether women who have been called monsters in myths were really bad or not? Medusa, Circe, and Athena many who make appearances. Gill explores the untold stories of legends. The modern feminist magic is evident in the vivid reimagination expressed in verses. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, Nikita Gill's book will give you a fresh interpretation.

8) Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare


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Cassandra Clare has already built a cult following for her shadowhunter world. ‘Chain of Gold’ is yet another young adult urban fantasy novel. It is also the first book in 'The Last Hours' trilogy. The trilogy is set to be chronologically second in 'The Shadowhunter Chronicles'. The events in the book take place in London in 1903. Several families who are already fan favourites, Herondales, Fairchailds, and Lightwoods, are part of the story. Published in March 2020, ‘Chain of Gold’ has already taken over the bookstagram and booktuber community by storm. A sequel 'Chain of Iron' is set to be published in 2021. Another sequel, 'Chain of Thorns' will be published in 2002.