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Top 10 Avalanche: Time, Washington Post, Salon, The Atlantic

We're now at the peak of the year's-bests season, with the top 10 lists and other year-end roundups coming faster than my mouse can cut-and-paste, but I wanted to highlight a few of the latest top 10s. (If you want to keep up with more, Largehearted Boy, in keeping with his regular music/book crossover theme, has added books this year to his traditional roundup of year-end best music lists, and he has dozens and dozens of links to rabbit-hole your day away with--and hundreds(?!?) of the same for music).

If you want to see how our lists compare to the ones below, I've added an asterisk for any book that's also on our Top 100 editors' picks.

Time, as part of their Top 10 of Everything smorgasbord, has dropped last year's graphic novels top 10, but added a children's book list this year, along with fiction and nonfiction. (Their children's list only includes picture books, but they emphasize the "adult" in "young adult" by putting Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Graveyard Book on their fiction list.). And, as in other years, extra points to Time for ranking their lists, which of course is completely arbitrary but lots more fun:


  1. 2666 by Roberto Bolano* (as always with this universal favorite--though who else besides critics (and me) has read it so far?--I mention the two editions: a single-volume hardcover and (my favorite) a three-volume paperback set)
  2. Lush Life by Richard Price*
  3. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld*
  4. Anathem by Neal Stephenson*
  5. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri*
  6. Personal Days by Ed Park
  7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows*
  8. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
  9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean*
  10. The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike


  1. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins* (our #4 overall)
  2. The Thief at the End of the World by Joe Jackson
  3. The Snowball by Alice Schroeder*
  4. The World Is What It Is by Patrick French
  5. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
  6. Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg* (our #2)
  7. Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
  8. John Lennon by Patrick Norman
  9. The Magician's Book by Laura Miller
  10. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell*

Children's (only one overlap with our Picture Books top 10: Bats at the Library, which is currently my 6-year-old's favorite book):

  1. The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman
  2. Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
  3. Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
  4. Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
  5. Oodles of Animals by Lois Ehlert
  6. Too Many Toys by David Shannon
  7. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
  8. Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet
  9. Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
  10. The Umbrella Queen by Shirin Bridges and Taeeun Yoo

The Washington Post includes five fiction and five nonfiction in their unranked ten:



Salon splits five and five too, and is the first US list I've seen to include our own #1 pick, The Northern Clemency (woo-hoo!), along with some of our other in-house favorites: The Likeness, Atmospheric Disturbances, Pictures at a Revolution, and the ubiquitous 2666 (and they have a video with Laura Miller--whose own new book on C.S. Lewis is on Time's list above--discussing their picks).



I also wanted to link to The Atlantic's Best Books list. On the downside, they only list 6 books, without comment (just links to their original reviews). On the upside, they only list 6 books (they've got standards!), and their picks are in keeping with their idiosyncratic, history-heavy, and always-interesting (whatever you might think of Caitlin Flanagan) books section:

Whew... --Tom


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