Put a Bow on It: 2014 Best Books

The site FiveThirtyEight wrapped up the year by declaring that there are far too many best of the year lists and then wading right in to offer a fascinating analysis of consensus among them (best books lists show the least, as a result of the sheer volume of titles published — far more than the number of movies released or even TV shows aired).

We’ve wrapped up our spreadsheets of all the lists (that is, until the ALA Awards are announced):




They now include titles from several lists that squeezed in at the end of the year:

Salon Top Ten Books — 12/29

USA TodayTen Books We Loved Reading — 12/23

Booklist Editors Choice, Adult and Youth — 12/18  — Usually released in January, Booklist, like many others this year, released their lists early

Comparing our top titles to FiveThirtyEight’s, you’ll see several significant differences, because, well, we had little consensus on the lists we used.

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But to us, it’s more interesting to look at the titles that made the top of certain lists, but appeared on few others. For instance, Time magazine picked as #2 in nonfiction a book about mixed martial arts, Thrown by Kerry Howley (Sarabande Books), Booklist picked a children’s book as top of the list that isn’t on other lists, The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, (Enchanted Lion Books) and the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani picked as one of her ten favorites a book of short stories, The Dog by Jack Livings (Macmillan/FSG), not to be confused with another book with the same title, Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog, a Booker longlist title, picked by the NYT Book Review and a PW top ten title.

If you really want to drive yourself crazy about what you may have missed last year, check out the best overlooked books lists:

The Overlooked Books of 2014 – Slate

Overlooked Books – Huffington Post

Overlooked Books – Flavorwire

Or, just relax and enjoy Entertainment Weekly‘s picks of the 5 Worst Books of 2014.

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