Here is TOR's list of top ten Science Fiction & Fantasy books of the decade.
1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4. Blindsight by Peter Watts
5. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
6. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
7. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
8. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
10. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
My first impression is that I only know one book on this list, and that's Sanderson's Mistborn book. I believe I've also heard of Anathem. I grew up mainly on the classics, and I'm not as familiar with the modern literature.
This tells me I have some homework. After I finish reading Atlas Shrugged, I can start working on some of the books on this list. What makes these books so popular? What are they doing that I need to be doing?