[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Is it too early for ‘best books’ lists? Nope
—Seattle Times [/pullquote]
I’ve waited until December 1 to start reporting on these lists, though a few of them appeared before today.
The editors of The New York Times Book Review recommend the best books in two categories: (1) fiction and poetry, and (2) nonfiction.
There’s a separate listing for Notable Children’s Books of 2015.
Jonathon Sturgeon compiled this list for Flavorwire. Here’s his introduction to the list:
This was the year, as Wesley Morris pointed out in the New York Times, of “a great cultural identity migration” — it was a year we wrestled with identity. This fact is everywhere evident in our independent literature — take, for example, John Keene’s exploration of race and historical identity in Counternarratives, the year’s best work of short fiction, independent or otherwise. Or Maggie Nelson’s much celebrated The Argonauts, which wrestles with family, queerness, and gender-fluidity by way of a courageous act of autotheory. It’s worth pointing out, too, that these examples, like many others on this list, rely on hybrid or altogether new forms of writing. Migrating identities, in other words, require migrating forms.
This is why I’ve chosen to include independent nonfiction on this year’s list. It’s also why I haven’t shied away from selecting from a wealth of translated fiction. National identity, or identities that build and dissolve within foreign borders, likewise migrate — sometimes into English. And they shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s an interesting approach to grouping individual works into a single list.
A suggestion: Unless you relish clicking 50 times to see the complete list, click on “View All Slides” below the “1/51” that follows the list of tags. You’ll have to look hard for this shortcut. It appears in such light type that it’s easy to miss.
Publishers Weekly ’s business is books, so it’s not surprising that they offer quite a listing. This is the portal page that takes you to the goodies, cataloged in the following categories:
- Top 10
- Picture Books
- Middle Grade
- Young Adult
Most lists are compiled by critics and reviewers, but the Goodreads Choice Awards are voted on by the people who actually read the books. There are lots of categories here, too:
- Mystery & Thriller
- Historical Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Memoir & Autobiography
- History & Biography
- Science & Technologh
- Food & Cookbooks
- Graphic Novels & Comics
- Debut Goodreads Authors
- Young Adult Fiction
- Young Adult Fantasy
- Middle Grade & Children’s
- Picture Books
From the folks in Great Britain comes this list:
Compelling fiction, a game-changing biography and a 900-page whopper for food nerds – writers reveal which of the past year’s books they have most enjoyed
And also this one:
From provocative novels, giants real and imagined, and new novels from past masters … authors and critics select their favourite reads of 2015
Both of these pages on The Guardian allow readers to nominate their own “favourite books of the year.”
I personally like lists that impose some restriction on the number included. After all, it’s easy to just write down the titles of all the books you read that you like. But when you’re limited and have to choose among them, which ones do you keep and which ones do you discard.
So I give bonus points to The [Toronto] Star for holding itself to a mere five books chosen by its reviewers from the “thousands of books released this year.”
Mary Ann Gwinn, book critic for the Seattle Times, “scanned the best-books picks from Publishers Weekly, Amazon Books and Library Journal and mined a little data: out of 30 books, only three made more than one list.”
You’ll have to look at the article to see which three books those are.
At the end of the article Gwinn mentions some local (Pacific Northwest) authors whose books won some kind of recognition.