The Ultimate Best Books Lists

We’ve just posted updates to our compiled best books spreadsheets, adding picks by New York Magazine, the New York Times daily reviewers,  People magazine, Shelf Awareness and the Wall Street Journal, resulting in the following:

2013 — Best Books, Adult Fiction, Version 5
536 picks, 302 titles, 20 sources

2013 — Best Books, Adult Nonfiction, Version 4
396 Picks, 267 titles, 19 sources

2013 — Best Books, Childrens and YA, Version 3
447 picks, 283 titles, 10 sources

0d472f2-3.cachedWe are not the only ones obsessed with best books lists. The Daily Beast has also combed the lists to come up with the ultimate “best of the best” lists, the top ten picks in fiction and nonfiction (their tag line is, after all, “Read This Skip That”). They claim 40 sources (sorry to quibble, but by our count, it’s actually 32), including some British sources that we did not include.

978-0-307-26393-3The result? The top fiction titles are very similar to ours, in somewhat different order, but the nonfiction top ten is quite different. For instance, Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee is tied at #4 with 6 votes. It hasn’t been released in the U.S., so wasn’t available for any of our sources to pick. Also tied at #4 with 6 votes is Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallet (RH/Knopf), which was only chosen by one of the sources we tracked (the Washington Post).

Which seems to prove what we know, but sometimes forget; no matter how many heads you put together, there is no definitive way to arrive at the best books of the year and it can be more fun to make your own discoveries among the titles on the lower rungs of the lists.

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