The last ten years seem to have passed by in a flash, but a lot has happened during the tens! Here at The Insurance Emporium, we’re reviewing some of the releases that have had a large cultural impact since they burst onto the scene, and today it’s the turn of fiction. It hasn’t been easy, trying to decide which works will go on to become the classics of tomorrow, but here’s our shortlist of the top ten books of the 2010s!
The Martian (2011) – Andy Weir
Originally self-published, news of The Martian spread word-of-mouth before it was picked up by Random House, and then turned into a blockbuster film! It’s a simple premise: an astronaut is stranded on Mars and presumed dead. The basis of the book is his struggle to keep himself alive until help arrives. But Weir’s dedication to keeping his story true to scientific fact is quite an astonishing feat!
Ready Player One (2011) – Ernest Cline
As a novel so firmly entrenched within geek culture, it would have been difficult to predict this book’s appeal! The novel is set in a dystopian year 2044, where most people choose to spend most of their time within a virtual world known as the “Oasis”. The narrator, along with others online, collaborate to solve riddles of 1980s trivia in order to inherit a vast fortune, making the novel work both as a glimpse of a possible future, as well as a nostalgic 1980s trip down memory lane.
Gone Girl (2012) – Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl, took the reading public by storm with its tale of a missing wife and the ensuing search. It soon turned out that nothing was as it seemed in the protagonists’ marriage, and Flynn reveals a tangled web of secrets and lies that lead to the truth. The successful 2014 film adaptation managed to expose the novel to an even wider audience!
Citizen: an American Lyric (2014) – Claudia Rankine
Poetry or prose? We don’t think it matters, because Claudia Rankine’s lyrical book of criticism, Citizen, is a genre-bending and cutting look at the state of racism in the US. Rankine tackles her subject full-on, with a palpable intensity and anger that drips off the page. Shocking in its truth, this is the story of a societal problem that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
The Argonauts (2015) – Maggie Nelson
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson is a timely reflection upon traditional gender binaries, while meditating upon what it means to have a child within a queer family. Dreamy yet startlingly astute, Nelson takes us through the lives of herself and her gender-fluid partner via art, feminism and philosophy. While Nelson asks more questions than she answers, her acute observation and precise prose leaves you with a definite sense of fulfillment.
Go Set a Watchman (2015) – Harper Lee
One of the most beloved classics of the 20th century, To Kill a Mockingbird was also the only novel ever written by Harper Lee. Until 2015, and the revelation that she had written Go Set a Watchman before penning her masterwork. Its release was much anticipated and Go Set a Watchman became a bestseller. As a companion to Mockingbird, we think it should stand the test of time!
The Sympathizer (2015) – Viet Thanh Nguyen
There have been many books and films on the subject of the Vietnam War, but perhaps none quite so creatively genre-defying as Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. Part spy thriller, part war novel, part campus tale, the narrative is presented as the confession from “The Captain”, written in isolation. The Sympathizer deconstructs previous war novels, drawing attention to their inherent romanticism, and, in doing so paves the way for a new kind of thought.
Autumn (2016) – Ali Smith
Perhaps one of the most startling aspects of Ali Smith’s Autumn, is how fast it came off the press. This helped to make it the first “post-Brexit” novel to come out after the EU referendum. Smith’s writing is fantastically on the pulse of contemporary Britain, weaving fact and fiction expertly together to create a timely realism.
La Belle Sauvage (2017) – Philip Pullman
The first installment of Pullman’s latest trilogy forms a prequel to his much-loved His Dark Materials books. In it we meet Lyra from the original trilogy, this time as a six-month-old baby, who the adolescent heroes Malcolm and Alice are attempting to keep safe and transport to her father. Set in Pullman’s version of Oxford, a world of political and religious subterfuge, the world built around the main characters is every bit as enthralling as when readers first encountered it in 1995.
The Testaments (2019) – Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, and it was only with the release of the TV series in 2017 that it became the massive hit it is today! 34 years after the original, Margaret Atwood has written The Testaments, the long-awaited sequel, and the recent joint winner of the Man Booker Prize. We’ll have to wait and see if The Testaments can have the same prolonged success as the original!
Coming up with this list was tough, as there has been so much fantastic fiction over the past decade! Getting lost in a magical adventure on the page can be almost as great as being out on your own; and whatever your favourite adventures might be, insuring them can help bring added peace of mind. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer a range of specialist insurance policies to protect your passions. From cats to cameras and horses to holes-in-one, visit The Insurance Emporium today to find out more!
© 2015 image copyright NASA/James Blair and Lauren Harnett and licensed for reuse under public domain.
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