Best of the Year...So FarWho doesn’t love early summer? The warm days, the cool breezes – the promise of lots of time off to read? (OK, so we’re book geeks. But you knew that.) That’s one of the reasons we pick books at the half-year mark and declare them the Best of the Year So Far: if you start reading these now, by the time we give you Best of the Year (in late fall), you’ll be halfway there, and ready for a new batch.  

Picking our Best Ofs is always a delightful ordeal – delightful because we love what we do (i.e., read) and an ordeal because we always, individually and collectively, have to make some hard choices. More than once at our meetings this past month, someone has moaned about how painful it was to cut a particular title. And don’t get me started on the lobbying, politicking and influence peddling we employ; we make Washington, DC, look like kindergarten.

But enough complaining about how hard it is to read books you love. (I guess this is what they mean by a “humble brag.”) Today we launched our Best of the Year So Far, which you can see in its entirety here. Some callouts – and yes, it was also hard to decide what to mention and what to leave out of this very post.

*We have more nonfiction than usual in the top 20 – in fact we’re evenly split between fiction and nonfiction – and it’s the first time I can remember that three of our top five choices for Best of the Year So Far (Lab Girl, Grunt and When Breath Becomes Air) were nonfiction.  

*Without doubt, our universally favorite novels of the year so far were Before the Fall and The Nest. But in which order? Click here to see – but don’t imagine it was an easy choice.

*We have short books and long books, but we have one superlong tome, Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, which lands at number 16 at 736 pages. 736 glorious pages, say our judges, about the Brokeback Mountain author’s masterwork.

*There are several repeat appearances by authors – can you guess which ones they are? – but one of my personal favorites is LaRose by Louise Erdrich (number 18). Erdrich’s work is always fantastic (which is why we made The Round House the #1 book of 2012). LaRose is no exception.

For the complete list, click here.


Best of the Year...So Far

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