Best Books lists offer an opportunity to argue with the critics and to remind ourselves of the books we’d still like to read. To make this easier, and to aid in your end-of-year ordering and readers advisory, we’ve collated the major lists into download spreadsheets.
Several new lists are now available and we’ve update our adult fiction and nonfiction lists, resulting in a total of over 250 fiction titles and 150 nonfiction (we will update the children’s spreadsheet, after Kirkus releases their teen list next week). This year, we’re also including titles selected by the LibraryReads program, which began in September.
As we’ve learned to expect, there is not much consensus. In fiction, just 17 titles are picked by 4 or more of the 9 sources. Tied with six each are Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, (RH/Hogarth) and James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike), which, because one of those picks is a major one, the National Book Award in Fiction, can be declared #1.
With continuing talk about ebook originals, it’s notable that they haven’t made many inroads onto best lists. Although Library Journal selects the 10 best ebook romances, no ebooks are included in any of their other lists. Kirkus lists one “E-riginal,” (originally published as ebook, later released in pbk), from Open Road Media for their top 100 fiction, The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer (with a compelling description). Publishers Weekly includes one in the romance category, Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox (Samhain; later released in pbk).
Paperback originals make a stronger, but still limited showing. A total of 54 were picked in fiction. The top two, with two picks each, are also best sellers, the Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison, (Penguin; Blackstone Audio; Large Print Press) and Stephen King’s Joyland, (Hardcase Crime). The format makes its strongest showing on LibraryReads, which, in just four months, has picked 8 paperback originals out of 40 titles, one of which, the mass market original, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean (HarperCollins/Avon; Brilliance Audio) is the #1 pick for December.
Tell us what you think. Which books got overlooked? Which “best books” are you adding to your TBR piles?