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Best Books of the 2010s

Best Books of the 2010s

By Tribalist

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About the list

This book list was created for you by Friendspire on 11 June 2020 based on a list by Tribalist.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" classics and films are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that scent of p
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When Breath Becomes Air

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2016 | Paul Kalanithi

Rated by 32 people

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * People * NPR * The Washington Post * Slate * Harper's Bazaar * Time Out New York * Publishers Weekly * BookPage Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a naïve medical student "possessed," as he wrote, "by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life" into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. "I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything," he wrote. "Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: 'I can't go on. I'll go on.'" When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

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2017 | Jesmyn Ward

Rated by 1 people

WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR A finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Andrew Carnegie Medal, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, is a “tour de force” (O, The Oprah Magazine) and a timeless work of fiction that is destined to become a classic. Jesmyn Ward’s historic second National Book Award–winner is “perfectly poised for the moment” (The New York Times), an intimate portrait of three generations of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. “Ward’s writing throbs with life, grief, and love… this book is the kind that makes you ache to return to it” (Buzzfeed). Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager. His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances. When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic and unforgettable family story and “an odyssey through rural Mississippi’s past and present” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

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Station Eleven

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2014 | Emily St. John Mandel

Rated by 19 people

2014 National Book Award Finalist A New York Times Bestseller An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse,Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production ofKing Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition,Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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The Bear and the Nightingale

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2017 | Katherine Arden

Rated by 3 people

Katherine Arden's bestselling debut novel spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice. "A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up."--Naomi Novik, bestselling author of Uprooted Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse's fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. Then Vasya's widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya's stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. But Vasya's stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village's defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed--to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse's most frightening tales. Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale "Arden's debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical."--The Washington Post "Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices."--The Christian Science Monitor "Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family."--Booklist (starred review) "An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic."--Robin Hobb

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Slade House

2015 | David Stephen Mitchell

The New York Times bestseller by the author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Guardian Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door. Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you'll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't. Every nine years, the house's residents--an odd brother and sister--extend a unique invitation to someone who's different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it's already too late. . . . Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story--as only David Mitchell could imagine it. Praise for Slade House "Devilishly fun."--The Washington Post "Entertainingly eerie . . . Slade House boils down to Mitchell's take on the classic ghost story, complete with his version of a haunted house. . . . The last thing we expected from Mitchell is simplicity, but here it is, burnished to a hellish bronze."--Chicago Tribune "A ripping yarn . . . Like Shirley Jackson's Hill House or the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's The Shining, [Slade House] is a thin sliver of hell designed to entrap the unwary. . . . As the Mitchellverse grows ever more expansive and connected, this short but powerful novel hints at still more marvels to come."--San Francisco Chronicle "Like Stephen King in a fever . . . manically ingenious."--The Guardian (U.K.) "Slade House, the tricky new confection by David Mitchell, is a haunted house story that savors of Dickens, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and H. P. Lovecraft, but possesses more psychic voltage than any of them."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Tightly crafted and suspenseful yet warmly human, Slade House is the ultimate spooky nursery tale for adults."--The Huffington Post "Diabolically entertaining . . . dark, thrilling, and fun . . . a thoroughly entertaining ride full of mind games, unexpected twists, and even a few laughs."--The Daily Beast "Plants died, milk curdled, and my children went slightly feral as I succumbed to the creepy magic of David Mitchell's Slade House. It's a wildly inventive, chilling, and--for all its otherworldliness--wonderfully human haunted house story. I plan to return to its clutches quite often."--Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl and The Grownup "I gulped down this novel in a single evening. Painstakingly imagined and crackling with narrative velocity, it's a Dracula for the new millennium, a Hansel and Gretel for grownups, a reminder of how much fun fiction can be."--Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize "David Mitchell doesn't break rules so much as he proves them to be inhibitors to lively intelligent fiction."--#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz

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