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The books of the decade

The Telegraph’s Top 100, ranked by social impact


 

The British newspaper’s list is far from entirely homegrown, but what has got the readers’ comment section humming is the criteria. The paper looked for “defining” books, ones that made an impact on society or reflected it back on itself. At least then there’s a measuring stick: sales. The Top 10 has room for the enormously popular The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson—”a journalist hooks up with a girl punk to form detective fiction’s unlikeliest pair, wading through the murky depths of Swedish society”—and Atonement, the Ian McEwan masterpiece (“a literary bestseller”) that raised him above his peers as Britain’s pre-eminent novelist. In non-fiction, there’s The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (“a popular demolition job of the world’s great faiths”) and Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, one of the first “literary” memoirs, and the original of a new style of non-fiction. The final three seem as eclectic as the decade itself. In descending order: The Da Vinci Code (“Dan Brown may not be able to write, but he sure can pull in the punters; a mad mishmash”), Dreams from My Father—the British love Barrack Obama—and the defining title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. JK Rowling’s seventh boy wizard volume “stands as a cornerstone of the decade, a melding of high and low culture that appeals to all ages and nations.”

The Telegraph


 
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The books of the decade

  1. Canadians can take pride in MargaretAtwood's The Blind Assassin being on the list and coming in at 91 on the 100 movies list:

    91 Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner
    Zacharias Kunuk, 2001, £12.72: This Inuit epic with extraordinary snow chases, based on a tale 2,000 years old, was a unique achievement that lingers.

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