The Atlantic magazine’s literary editor wades into the fraught waters of best books lists, selecting the Top Five, plus 20 runners up.
As we have come to expect, there is little agreement with other list. Of the 25 titles, just four also appear on Amazon’s Top 100 and one on PW‘s Top 100. None appeared on either of the other pub’s top ten and none are National Book Award finalists.
Below are the titles that appear on more than one list:
Byatt, A.S., The Childrens Book — Amazon #88 and Atlantic Top Five
Davis, Lydia, Collected Stories — Amazon #56 and Atlantic Runner Up
Mantel, Wolf Hall — Amazon #3 and Atlantic Runner Up
Munro, Alice, Too Much Happiness — Amazon #30 and Atlantic Runner Up
[Ed, Note: Earlier, Gordon Wood’s Empire of Liberty was on this list. We are not sure how his name slipped in, but while his book was chosen for two best books lists, he is definitely not a woman.]
The Atlantic list is heavily weighted towards nonfiction, particularly history and biography; just six fiction titles are on the list of 25.
As to the women authors; two of the top five are women, and 9 of the total 25, which works out to 36% of the list, a higher ratio than the other lists.
Again this year, we are posting links to all the major best books lists (at right), as well as compiling the selections into one spreadsheet; Bests — All Adult Titles — Spreadsheet.
We’re only linking to the major national list, but the Largehearted Boy is compiling links to EVERY best books list (as well as all the best music lists). He claims to be a Web developer, but we’re guessing he was a librarian in another life.