Archive for the ‘Best Books 2013’ Category

Best Preschool and Family Books To Give Kids You Don’t Know Very Well, Part 2

Friday, December 6th, 2013


(For Part One, link here)

Flora and the FlamingoFlora and the Flamingo, Molly Idle (Chronicle 9781452110066, ages 4 and up)

This wordless interactive lift-the-flap book evokes an unlikely friendship between a little girl in a bathing cap swimsuit and flippers who dances a tentative then joyous pas de deux with a pink flamingo.

See the format in action below (link here to the animated book trailer):

Night night little green monster

If there ever was a book that has been read to pieces by a generations of children, its Ed Emberly’s Go Away Big Green Monster! It is with great pleasure that I introduce the new superstar of the family, Night Night, Little Green Monster, (Little Brown). Half the scary and twice as much fun, these die-cut pages build the visage of a little green smiling face with one little curly hair. As the first star is sighted the little green monster slowly disappears with each page turn until holographic stars shine out from the pitch-black end papers.

[Ten more titles after the jump!]


#libfaves13, Day Three

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Librarians are answering the call to tweet their favorite books of 2013. Day three wrapped up yesterday with 98 librarians joining the effort (thanks, Linda Johns, for keeping the stats).

You can join, too. The rules:  Tweet your top ten favorites of the books you read this year (not necessarily those that were published this year), countdown style, one per day, Dec. 1 through Dec. 10 (don’t worry if you haven’t started yet, just jump in). Please include authors (last name is fine to save space), so the compilers can identify the correct titles. Writing titles in all caps also helps the compilers. And, don’t forget the hashtag — #libfaves13

An additional EarlyWord request: We love to know why you picked a book, so please include your passionate recommendations.

Below are some that caught our eye.

Brilliant way to sell a book of short stories:



GODFORSAKEN IDAHO, Shawn Vestal, (HMH/New Harvest; Brilliance Audio)

“Excellent short stories — try one a day for lunch

Andrea Cough @AndBookish



Love the thought of this in audio:

THE TAO OF MARTHA, Jen Lancaster, (NAL Hardcover)

“Great on audio” (Dreamscape Audio)



You had us at sidesplitting, (but totally won us over with the rest):


HOW TO BE A WOMAN by Cailin Moran, (Harper Perennial)

“absolutely sidesplittingly, laugh-out-loud, danger-of-wetting-myself hilarious”

Meriel @aislesofwonder




Best Aliteration:

“Befriend, befuddle, betray. Playing the game with my #8 #libfaves13 pick – spymaster Charles McCarry’s THE SHANGHAI FACTOR.

(Mysterious Press; HighBridge Audio)

David Wright @guybrarian

Best Unexpected Crossover Analogy:

Me Before You

“My #8 pick for #libfaves13 is ME BEFORE YOU [Penguin/Pamela Dorman; Thorndike] which I recently described to someone as a grown-up version of ELEANOR AND PARK

Danielle Dreger @DanielleDregerB



In addition, the library marketers began their own countdown this year, #libMKTGfaves13 (thanks Talia Sherer, from Macmillan!). It’s amazing to see that they manage to find time to read books from other publishers in addition to their own, as proved by PenguinLibrary’s pick, INDISCRETION, Charles Dubow (HarperCollins/Morrow) and ChrisTheBookie from Sterling’s A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME, Wiley Cash, (HarperCollins/Morrow).

Click through to see our Storified version of all the picks.


#libfaves13 The Librarians Top Ten

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Let the world know which books were your favorites this year via #libfaves13, organized by Stephanie Chase (BiblioCommons) and Robin Beerbower (Salem P.L).

The countdown began on Sunday, Dec. 1, but don’t worry if you haven’t joined in yet, you’re welcome to jump in at any time. Just tweet your top ten, one per tweet. If you can, encapsulate why you love your choice; it’s great stuff for readers advisors to crib. Our favorite from today:

The top titles yesterday, according to #libfaves13 list keeper Linda Johns are The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (S&S), The Human Division by John Scalzi (Macmillan/Tor), Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (Macmillan/First Second). The title with the most nominations is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Listening Library; Thorndike).

What will be librarians’ top favorite of the year? In 2011, it was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (RH/Crown). Last year, the top two titles were Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (RH/Crown; RH Audio; Thorndike) and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike), followed by Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan, (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio).

This year, the library marketers, incited by Talia Sherer at Macmillan, have joined in, starting their own hashtag, #LibMKTGfaves13.

Best Books – McBride #1; Few Inroads For Ebooks

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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.

2013 — Adult Fiction — Downloadable Spreadsheet, V. 2

2013 — Adult Nonfiction — Downloadble Spreadsheet, V. 2

The Good Lord BirdAs 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, 9781453297940_30f37later 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?

More Kids Best Books

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

SLJ Best Books, KidsAdding to the 2013 kids best books lists, SLJ has just published their picks (with cool cover by Melissa Sweet):

Picture Books

We’ll add these titles to our Childrens Best Books spreadsheet (see links to downloadable spreadsheets at the right) and post the update early next week.

Little Consensus on Top Ten Lists

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Four Top Ten Best Books lists are now available, giving us an opportunity to see if there is any critical mass. Library Journal released theirs yesterday, following Publishers Weekly‘s and the Amazon editors‘ lists. In addition, the National Book Award’s 5 fiction and 5 nonfiction finalists can be considered a top ten (winners will be announced Wednesday night).

Reflecting a diversity of tastes, a total of 35 titles get nods and no title appears on all or even three of the lists.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon   The Good Lord Bird

Two titles received two picks each. Anthony Marra’s debut A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, (RH/Hogarth) is a top ten for both LJ and PW (it was on the NBA long list, but is not a finalist). James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike) is a PW Top Ten and a National Book Award Award finalist.

Eleanor & park   Fangirl

Author Rainbow Rowell is having quite a year. Her Y.A. debut, Eleanor & Park, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), which came out in February, is a Top Ten pick for both PW and Amazon (as a YA title, it is ineligible for LJ‘s list). Her second book, Fangirl, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), which followed in September was chosen as the #1 LibraryReads title for the inaugural September list. 9781250049377_c5135UPDATE: Thanks to Sarah for pointing out in the comments that Elearnor & Park is Rowell’s debut YA title. Her first novel, published as an adult title, was Attachments, (Penguin/Dutton, 2011). We’ve corrected the post to reflect that. We should also note that Rowell’s next book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press), coming in July, is also an adult title (or, as the author says on her blog, it’s adult “To the extent that it’s about people in their 30s“).

Sea of HooksThe smallest press to appear on the top ten lists is McPherson & Co. which PW recognizes for Sea of Hooks by Lindsay Hill,  a debut they’ve championed throughout the year, featuring it as one of their  “Big Indie Books of Fall 2013,” giving it a starred and boxed review, calling it “The Most Underrated Book of 2013,” and interviewing the author McPerson has received national recognition before. In 2010, Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon made a sensation as the dark horse winner of the NBA in fiction.

See if your favorites made any of the lists, download our 2013 Top Ten Picks.

Best Books, 2013, PW and Amazon Editors

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The Unwinding  The Tenth of December  The Good Lord Bird 

The year-end best books lists are rolling in, beginning with PW‘s list of 101 (including a Top Ten) and Amazon’s ranked Top 100 (97 of which are adult, 2 YA and 1 picture book).

As we’ve come to expect, there’s little agreement between the lists. Just 5 nonfiction titles and 10 fiction titles were picked by both.

The National Book Awards winners will be announced next week. Only one nonfiction NBA finalist is on either best books list, George Packer’s The Unwinding(Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio), which is on both.

Among the NBA fiction finalists, just two titles get nods. George Saunders’ book of short stories, The Tenth of December, (Random House; BOT; Thorndike) is #7 on the Amazon editors list and on the PW list, but not in the Top Ten. On the other hand, McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike) is on the PW Top Ten, but comes in at a middling #44 on Amazon’s list.

What about the Booker? Amazon picked all but one of the titles on the short list, while PW didn’t pick any of them, not even the winner, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio).

As we have for several years, we will compile all the major lists into spreadsheets, convenient for checking against your collections, for creating displays, virtual and actual, and for placing end-of-the-year orders. You can dowload the adult lists below (and from the links at the right, under “Best Books, Spreadsheet”:

2013 — Best Books, Adult Fiction, Version 1

2013 — Best Books, Adult Nonfiction & Poetry, Version 1

NYT BOOK REVIEW’s Best Illus. Books 2013

Friday, November 8th, 2013

9780061783746_0_CoverCelebrating the beauty of illustrated books, this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review features the ten best of the year, as selected by a judging panel consisting of Brian Selznick, who has won the award twice himself, NYPL’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist Betsy Bird, and Steven Heller, art director at the NYT and author of many books on design.

Among the titles is Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson, (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

Also in the issue is a special section of children’s book reviews.

For a list of the titles, with ordering information, download our NYT Book Review Best Illus. Books spreadsheet,

Best Books Season Begins

Friday, November 1st, 2013

PW Best Books

Kicking off the evaluations of the best books of the year, Publishers Weekly releases its list in the upcoming issue, PW’s 101 Best Books of 2013, including lists of the top ten (featured on the cover is Hanya Yanagihara, author of The People in the Trees, RH/Doubleday).

Amazon could claim to have the first list, since they published their “Best Books of the Year So Far” in June, but we’ll go with this one as the first  list for the full year.

We will  track the lists as they arrive and create a spreadsheet of all the major picks.

PW’s Top Ten, 2013


The Good Lord Bird, James McBride, (Penguin/Riverhead); also a National Book Award Finalist

The Silence and the Roar, Nihad Sirees, (Other Press)

Sea of Hooks, Lindsay Hill, (McPherson & Co.)

The People in the Trees, Hanya Yanagihara, (RH/Doubleday; Dreamscape)  

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra, (RH/Hogarth; Thorndike)


Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill, (Nation Books; Blackstone)

Lost Girls, Robert Kolker, (Harper)

Miss Anne in Harlem, Carl Kaplan, (Harper)

Going Clear, Lawrence Wright, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT), also a National Book Award Finalist

Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; Thorndike)