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The Stick List


The Road: Cormac McCarthy’s own personal The Old Man and the Sea—a slim late-career fable that popularized a difficult writer (and apocalyptic lit in general).

The Da Vinci Code: The inanely addictive juggernaut whose sales sustained an entire book industry.

The Tipping Point: Malcolm Gladwell’s first book of pop sociology was itself a tipping point: It ushered in a whole decade of perky theorizing about everyday experience.

The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay: Michael Chabon scrambled high-lit artistry and geek obsession long before it became trendy.

The Amber Spyglass: Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is Harry Potter on human-growth hormone: dark, weird, rabble-rousing, and aggressively imaginative.

See Also: Sam Anderson on why The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is the book of the decade.