Flick back: 10 years, 10 important books
They wouldn’t all make a list of the best books of the decade, but here, in no particular order, are the most influential, ground-breaking, trend-setting, talked-about or plain unputdownable books of the decade, writes FIONA McCANN
Naomi Klein (2000)
The anti-corporate globalisation movement found its manifesto in this brand-whacking bestseller from Canadian journalist Naomi Klein. Millions choked on their Starbuck skinny lattes.
THE GOD DELUSION
Richard Dawkins (2006)
The British biologist makes a compelling case for atheism, while simultaneously attacking that for religion. The book became a surprise bestseller, and Dawkins a mainstream name, even recently namechecked by Peaches Geldof in an interview. Now that’s influence.
A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS
Dave Eggers (2000)
Eggers’s memoir about bringing up his younger brother after his parents’ death crashed through the fourth wall with its self-referential plays with the passage of time, the format of the book and the characters’ awareness of their role therein. It also paved the way for a whole school of young American writers in the mode of McSweeney’s, the publishing house Eggers’ founded.
THE POPE’S CHILDREN
David McWilliams (2006)
Was there a time before RoboPaddy and Breakfast Roll Man were household names? Like him or loathe him, McWilliams defined the Celtic Tiger in this book about the boom generation, and their labels – along with their legacy – will stay with us forever.
FAST FOOD NATION
Eric Schlosser (2001)
What’s in it, what it does to us, why we eat it: Schlosser’s in-depth examination of fast food turned millions off their Big Macs, and paved the way for Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Jonathan Franzen (2001)
The book where Franzen managed to explode the myth of the white picket-fenced all-American family, while taking on the all-American daytime television queen, Oprah Winfrey. When he expressed public discomfort at being included in her book club choice, he kick-started a debate about corporate endorsements and “high art” that divided the literary world. And sold a lot of books.
THE DA VINCI CODE
Dan Brown (2003)
He has spawned a whole new generation of thriller writers, not to mention conspiracy theorists, though his greatest legacy may well be the reminder not to believe everything you read in fiction. Still makes you look at The Last Supper with a different eye.
THE MISEDUCATION OF ROSS O’CARROLL-KELLY
Paul Howard (2000)
This book heralded the arrival of Irish rugby legend, the Dort-speaking Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, who, in his own words “rips the complete” out of affluent south Dubliners. In his popular creation, Paul Howard proves that there’s still a place for satire in 21st-century Ireland, roysh?
PERSEPOLIS: THE STORY OF A CHILDHOOD
Marjane Satrapi (English version 2003)
This powerful memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution sold like hot cakes while stirring up its own controversies about Satrapi’s “westernised” take on her native country. It also brought a whole new audience to graphic novels, reminding people that comics could take on weighty themes and were not just the preserve of adolescent males.
THE TIPPING POINT
Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
These days, everybody from Al Gore to Auntie Bridie is talking about tipping points, but before Malcolm Gladwell’s popular take on the sociological phenomena nobody could tell a maven from a connector. Imagine.