chronological snobbery

The novelist Hannah Beckerman was asked, “I’m an English lit postgraduate who’s slipped into a reading rut since my final exams – what are some good books to get me back into loving literature?” Here are the first publication dates of the books she recommended:

  • 2006
  • 2016
  • 2013
  • 2010
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 1995
  • 1997
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2017
  • 1959–1994 (Paley’s stories)
  • 1937
  • 2017
  • 2019
  • 1988
  • 1926
  • 1989
  • 1999
  • 2015

Also, all of them are written in English and by people from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the USA. The two major temporal outliers (1937 and 1926) are both children’s books, and there are no adults-only (or -primarily) novels from before 2002.

Is it really likely that all the books that might be recommended to someone who wants to “get … back into loving literature” are from our culture, our language, our time? And that none of them are poems or plays?