New Classics

posted by Nick Hornby July 7, 2008 at 3:13 pm Books

Yes, I know I’m on here, but Entertainment Weekly’s “New Classics: the 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008″ isn’t such a bad list, honestly.

www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20207076_20207387_20207349,00.html

It finds room for Adrian Nicole Blanc’s brilliant Random Family, a book that anyone who lives in a city should read; it recognises that Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, both published in the last couple of years, don’t need to sit around and wait for the praise they deserve. Gilead, Birds of America, The Secret History, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Clockers and Mystic River are all present and correct.

Like any list, though, its omissions are startling, so I have chosen another thirteen that really should have been included. Why thirteen? Because that would be enough to push High Fidelity down to 101, and I can then claim impartiality.

1. The Giant’s House – Elizabeth McCracken
2. The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler
3. Empire Falls – Richard Russo
4. This Boy’s Life – Tobias Woolf
5. The Sportswriter – Richard Ford
6. What A Carve-Up! – Jonathan Coe
7. The Fortress of Solitude – Jonathan Lethem
8. The Blind Side – Michael Lewis
9. Spies – Michael Frayn
10. Feed – MT Anderson
11. The Railway Man – Eric Lomax
12. Revolution In The Head – Ian McDonald
13. The Van –  Roddy Doyle.

I put my friend Roddy Doyle last only because he’d be the one to get the most pleasure out of shoving me off the bottom – that’s how literary friendships work.

On further reflection, I now see that these are my thirteen favourite books of the last twenty-five years. Whoever compiled that list is insane.