PW Picks: 150 Best Books of the Year

Best Books season kicks into gear with 13-1Publishers Weekly‘s picks of the top titles of the 2015.

As in years past, the PW editors offer a Top 10 list and divide their remaining picks into 12 categories including Mystery/Thriller, Nonfiction, Picture Books, and YA, with a total of 150 titles.

9781555977078_af676Maggie Nelson is the cover author this year. PW says that her “vital, shape-shifting memoir … The Argonauts, shook up what we thought nonfiction writing could do.” PW has a good track record in identifying new talent on their Best Books covers. Last year’s cover person was Marlon James, who went on to win the Booker for
A Brief History of Seven Killings. The year before, it was Hanya Yanagihara, for her first novel, The People in the Trees. This year, she is a finalist for the National Book Awards for her second novel, A Little Life.

Arriving in a year when transgender issues have been in the spotlight, Nelson writes about becoming a mother at the same time her partner transitions from female to male. Published by the award-winning indie Minneapolis literary press Greywolf (distributed by Random House), which was described more pointedly as “tiny” in a profile by New York magazine earlier this year, it received strong critical attention this spring. Praising it, the L.A. Times described the book’s unusual style as “a loose yet intricate tapestry of memoir, art criticism and gentle polemic.”







Translated titles have a notoriously difficult time finding an audience in the U.S., but three of the top ten picks were originally published in other languages. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian (Europa), is the final novel in a series that has moved from cult status to best seller. It is joined by two more under-the-radar titiles, the German translation, Imperium by Christian Kracht,(Macmillan/ FSG), and the Indonesian Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (New Directions).

Again this year, we will compile  downloadable spreadsheets of all the Best Books selections, useful for end-of-the year buying, as more lists are released.

4 Responses to “PW Picks: 150 Best Books of the Year”

  1. Robin B Says:

    “Again this year, we will compile downloadable spreadsheets of all the Best Books selections, useful for end-of-the year buying, as more lists are released.”

    Yay for Nora! I, for one, really appreciate Nora going to the extra work of compiling the spreadsheets as they are a great help for purchasing and creating the “best of” lists for the library.

  2. Mary C Says:

    Two teachers at my middle school asked me for “my” list last week. I explained that someone else does all the work, and I just pass the list along. I will now call it “Nora’s spreadsheet”, in the hopes that there really is a Nora compiling away for us!

  3. Cleo M. Says:

    Thank you for compiling this list. I have used this for book ideas and gift buying for some years now and it makes me smile every year.

  4. Maureen Says:

    What a wonderful idea on Indie Picks to have a category of Books Revisited. There are just some books that will always be cherished. And Ladies of the Club will be one of them.