In the Year 2000…. (Choose the Year Booktag)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The Oilers made the playoffs, but got eliminated in the first round. The Sopranos was on the air, but I had to watch it with my parents because I still lived at home. I was reading chick lit and dude bro memoirs, but not Harry Potter. Let’s take a closer look at the books of the year 2000!

Mel of the booktube channel Mel’s Bookland Adventures created a tag that’s more of an open invitation to explore books from a year of your choosing. Many on booktube are choosing their birth years, but there’s something quaint and strange about the year 2000 that I wanted to revisit.

It’s easy – just customize the URL below to get a list of the top 200 books (according to Goodreads) from the year of your choice. If you’re hardcore, you could look up prize winners and actual bestseller lists, but the Goodreads list are very handy.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/popular_by_date/xxxx

As part of the ongoing book blog/booktube crossover initiative, you can watch me go through books of the very early aughts (with 100% more personal reflection on what Y2K meant to me, if that’s your thing), or you can read on to discover the 8 books from this list of 200 that I’ve actually read and a few I want to read.

There are actual prompts, though I didn’t use them:

1. Choose a year and say why.
2. Which books published in that year have you read, or if none, heard of. 3. Are there any books published in that year that sound interesting and would you read them now?
4. Most obscure sounding book?
5. Strangest book cover

And on to the books. Numbers indicate where they fall on the 200 most popular list on Goodreads.

  1. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. How is this more popular than Harry Potter? And how did I not know this was a prequel to The Da Vinci Code?

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I will be reading this to my kids, as soon as the illustrated edition comes out. They’ve been spoiled by these editions which are beautiful, but cost $60 each!

3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I think everyone my age has read this. It would be interesting to revisit this book, about how things went viral before Web 2.0.

6. Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier. Loved it, but her books since either didn’t do it for me (The Last Runaway) or just sound a bit off (New Boy). However, I just read a great review of her new book, A Single Thread… could be time for a second chance.

7. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Becky Bloomwood perfectly personifies the consumerist late nineties and early aughts. Kinsella has relied heavily on the “naive 25 year old girl tries to make good in London” formula ever since, but she does it so well. And as I proposed a few years ago, I see shades of Jean Rhys in her writing… really!

8. Atonement by Ian McEwan. Somehow this is still the only McEwan book I’ve read. This list is starting to make me feel a bit basic!

18. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Continuing the trend, I haven’t read anything else by Eggers, except his condescending introduction to Infinite Jest. This book reminds me of the way I used to choose books, free from preconceptions or “which reading challenge will this fufil” performativity. I walked into a bookstore, saw a wall full of these books, liked the title, bought it, read it. The end.

20. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This was fine? I don’t know that I’ve found a graphic novel that I wouldn’t have preferred as a straight up novel.

24. White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I only got to this a few years ago, and yes, it’s just as good as everyone says it is. Though I think Swing Time might be my favourite of Smith’s. I only have one of her novels left (The Autograph Man) but she’s got a short story collection coming out in October.

And the rest:

40. Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz. This is the Where the Crawdads Sing of the year 2000: it’s everywhere but I don’t know a person who’s actually read it.

46. Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes. A major gap in my chick lit reading. I’m going to read her more recent book, The Woman Who Stole My Life, first as part of the September ARC readathon (which I have dubbed #ARCsofshame) hosted by Rachel and Hannah.

99. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. The Man Booker Prizer winner just barely cracks the top 100. I forgot that I have a signed copy which *might* be a first edition (no Man Booker flair on the cover, anyway).

104. Shop Girl by Steve Martin. A celebrity novel that’s actually pretty good. Might have to try James Franco’s next!

105. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende. On my 20 Books of Summer List. Which is over tomorrow. But I’ll get to it.

What were you reading in the year 2000, or whatever year is significant for you? I tag all of you, but especially Laura, Rachel, and Hannah, linked above, plus Anne and Emily.

For extra inspiration, check out the original tag on Youtube, Eric’s (Lonesome Reader) entry for 1999, and Memento Mori’s entry for 1983.

16 comments

  1. Laura

    I love this tag, and am keen to do it! I loved reading/watching both your and Eric’s contributions because I was a teenager in 1999/2000, and a lot of the top 200 books seem to be YA, so it reminded me of a lot of things I have read but haven’t thought about since. (Though I’ve never read The Tipping Point). The first Becky Bloomwood novel (it has a different title in the UK) is good, but I’m afraid the character drove me mad thereafter, I can’t stand her. Marian Keyes is wonderful and Sushi for Beginners is my second favourite book by her – her best, IMO, is The Other Side of the Story. I remember that exact edition of Drowning Ruth being in ALL the charity shops, but I’ve never read it.

    • lauratfrey

      Im gonna catch up with Marian Keyes. Yeah, I *think* I read Drowning Ruth (and didn’t like it) aaaand im sure i owned that edition too, but i remember nothing so… did i read it? A mystery 😁

  2. Literary Elephant

    Thanks for the tag, this looks like a fun one! I’m so curious to look up my birth year on Goodreads now and see if I’ve actually read much from that year. I might follow your lead and pick a different year of significance, if not.
    I am shocked Harry Potter came in second place in 2000! And the fourth book even, I really thought those had completely caught on by then. Though I did quite enjoy Angels and Demons back in my Dan Brown phase. It does make me sad to see The Blind Assassin so low on the list as well, I adored that book.
    Great post! 🙂

      • Literary Elephant

        Ha, I agree! Goodreads says it ranks by books most added from each year, but honestly maybe highest ratings or even number of ratings/reviews might have made more sense? Same as with the Goodreads Top Choice awards, I think they skew things a little too far toward popularity and big names than actual quality and reader approval. A missed opportunity, imo.

  3. Rachel

    Ooh fun tag. I watched Adam’s video when he posted it and I loved the idea. I’ll probably also be boring and do my birth year. And I also really want to read Marian Keyes – I don’t usually do chicklit (women’s fiction? what are we calling it these days?), but, she’s Irish, so I have to. I’ll watch your video later!

  4. BookerTalk

    Two of my favourite books are on your list – Blind Assassin and Atonement. Also was wowed by The Tipping Point. You raise an interesting question about whether its as relevant now in an Internet world. My feeling is that some of the points Gladwell raised about how an idea or product suddenly gets popular happens even more now but at a faster pace. Plus the role of influencers has become even more prominent

    • lauratfrey

      Yeah, I looked it up and the phrase “going viral” was coined in the 70s! Nothing new under the sun. Just faster. I remember his book Outliers more than this one.

  5. Pingback: Choose The Year Book Tag: 2003 | Laura Tisdall
  6. Naomi

    How *is* Angels and Demons more popular than Harry Potter?!
    Those illustrated editions of HP are so beautiful. My daughter is collecting them. It would be a pleasant way to read them out loud, plus also might strengthen your arm muscles!
    I read Drowning Ruth a long time ago, but now I can’t remember much except that someone drowns. I also read Atonement and Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I remember much better. The Atonement just about killed me.

  7. Pingback: Choose the Year Book Tag | literaryelephant
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