Best Books of 2008: Day One


It seems like the end of the year gets closer every year. It's only early November, but somewhere, somebody has already put the Xmas music track on the PA sound system. And we're no better: we always like to get a jump on things by announcing our best books of the year on the first Monday in November. And so today you can visit our new Best Books of 2008 store, featuring our Top 100 Editors' Picks, our Customer Favorites list of the year's top 100 bestsellers, dozens more top 10s in categories from Audiobooks to Teens, and--for the first time this year--our top 10 book covers and videos. We announce the lists today, but we've been thinking about them all year (with every new book I open, the question in the back of my mind is: is this best-of-the-year material?), and we spent much of October putting our lists together, in consultation with an entire books team full of rabid readers. This year we're also going to be blogging about them for the rest of the year, with a post each day about a book, or a list of books, that in one way or another were among the best of 2008. (Some of these blog bests will be ones you can find on the Best of 2008 page, but many of them will be just for Omni.)

But today let's start at the top, with our top editors' top 10:

  1. The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
  2. Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
  3. Nixonland by Rick Perlstein
  4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
  5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  6. The Likeness by Tana French
  7. Serena by Ron Rash
  8. So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
  9. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon
  10. The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu

It's a list that snuck up on us, especially our #1 pick, The Northern Clemency: I'm fairly sure we've never chosen a book as our favorite of the year that hadn't even been released when we chose it (it did just come out last week, after Knopf moved it up from a November 11 pub date, after moving it up once before from the Spring '09 list after it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize). But a few of us were smitten as soon as we could get advance copies, and we managed to spread our enthusiasm to the rest of the team just in time to make our final list. My colleague Anne Bartholomew (like me, one of our early enthusiasts) has written a lovely review of The Northern Clemency on our Best of November page that's eloquent about much of what made me love it too, and I'll blog my ardor further in a separate post soon. And in the days to come my colleagues will champion their own favorites.

And, for comparison, here's our customer favorites top 10 (the books published for the first time this year that sold the most on our site through October):

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Comments (1)

I've been away too long...

Great list, Tom, and all Amazon editors. I was especially happy to see you rank Michael Greenberg's book (Hurry Down Sunshine) so high - # 2! That was my favorite book of 2008. So brave and honest. An emotional punch to the gut that really leaves you caring about this girl and her family long after you have finished it. Amazing stuff.

Posted by: JL | Tuesday November 4, 2008 at 8:50 AM

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