The Best Books of the Year, According to All the Lists


Beginning in October, here at Book Riot we’ve been watching as a slew of Best Books of the Year lists came rolling in from publications ranging from The New York Times to Buzzfeed. This was a great year for books, but it’s interesting to see just how little overlap there is between these lists.

To test that hypothesis, I compiled every book on ten of the notable “Best Books of the Year” lists: from Amazon, The Atlantic, Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble Booksellers (yes, those are two different lists), Book Riot (naturally), Buzzfeed, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Vulture, and the Washington Post.

I was looking for overall best of lists, not genre lists, and I was also looking for lists that were roughly ten books long — no cheating with a “100 notable books” list. After that, I tallied every book mentioned on all ten to see which showed up on multiple lists. As expected, the vast majority were mentioned only once. About one in five titles showed up two lists, and only eight made three or more best of lists.

It’s interesting to see the kinds of books highlighted by publications like the Atlantic versus the Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ picks, for example, but by looking at the overlap between them, we can get a sense of the big books of the year.

Here are the best of the best books of 2022, according to all the lists. And if you want to take a look at all 100+ books mentioned on any of these lists, I’ve left that as a bonus at the bottom of the post.

Babel by R.F. Kuang book cover

Books on Four “Best Of” Lists:

Babel by R.F. Kuang (Barnes & Noble, Booksellers, Book Riot, Buzzfeed): This title got Barnes & Noble’s inaugural Speculative Fiction Book Award, essentially tying for first place for its best book of the year.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Amazon, Atlantic, Booksellers, Buzzfeed): This book got a ton of buzz this year, and Amazon’s editors named it their best book of the year overall.

cover of An Immense World by Ed Yong

Book on Three “Best Of” Lists:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Amazon, The New York Times, The Washington Post)

The Furrows by Namwali Serpell (The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Vulture)

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage (The Atlantic, Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post)

An Immense World by Ed Yong (Booksellers, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly)

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Book Riot, Buzzfeed, Vulture)

Stay True: A Memoir by Hua Hsu (Atlantic, The New York Times, the Washington Post)

the cover of Lessons In Chemistry

Book on Two “Best Of” Lists:

Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa book cover

Those are all of the books mentioned on multiple lists, but if you’re interested in every book mentioned on any list, here they are, alphabetical by title.

The initialisms used are B&N: Barnes & Noble, NYT: the New York Times, PW: Publishers Weekly, and WP: the Washington Post.

All Books On All Lists:

2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus (Vulture)

Activities of Daily Living by Lisa Hsiao Chen (PW)

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (WP)

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd (PW)

Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record by Andy Saunders (Booksellers)

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews (Buzzfeed, Vulture)

Ask the Brindled by No‘u Revilla (Book Riot)

Babel by R.F. Kuang (B&N, Booksellers, Book Riot, Buzzfeed)

Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty (Book Riot)

The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones (PW)

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (Book Riot)

Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan (Book Riot)

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (Book Riot)

Book Lovers by Emily Henry (Book Riot)

The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li (Buzzfeed)

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk (Atlantic)

The Boy With a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund (Buzzfeed)

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (NYT)

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins-Reid (Amazon)

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd (Book Riot)

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett (NYT)

City on Fire by Don Winslow (Amazon)

The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz (Atlantic)

Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson (Buzzfeed, WP)

Crying in the Bathroom by Erika L. Sánchez (Buzzfeed)

Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley (Book Riot)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Amazon, NYT, WP)

Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister (Book Riot)

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton (Buzzfeed, PW)

Easy Beauty: A Memoir by Chloé Cooper Jones (Buzzfeed, Vulture)

The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freeland (Amazon)

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Amazon)

Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor by Kim Kelly (Buzzfeed)

Finale: Late Conversations With Stephen Sondheim by D.T. Max (Buzzfeed)

The Furrows by Namwali Serpell (NYT, PW, Vulture)

The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs
by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Book Riot)

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage (Atlantic, PW, WP)

Green Lantern: Alliance by Minh Lê and Andie Tong (Book Riot)

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family by Kerri K. Greenidge (PW)

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (Book Riot, Buzzfeed)

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai (Atlantic)

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney (Buzzfeed)

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (Book Riot)

High-Risk Homosexual by Edgar Gomez (Buzzfeed)

Horse by Geraldine Brooks (Amazon)

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz (Book Riot)

Icebreaker by Hannah Grace (Book Riot)

Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History by Vikki Tobak (Booksellers)

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga (Buzzfeed)

If I Survive You: Stories by Jonathan Escoffery (Buzzfeed)

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (B&N)

An Immense World by Ed Yong (Booksellers, NYT, PW)

The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke (Book Riot, PW)

It Won’t Always Be Like This by Malaka Gharib (Book Riot)

Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen (Buzzfeed)

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu (Book Riot)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (B&N, Booksellers)

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama (B&N)

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin (Vulture)

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (Booksellers)

Mecca by Susan Straight (WP)

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner (Buzzfeed)

A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch (Buzzfeed)

The Other Mother by Rachel M. Harper (Book Riot)

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (Atlantic)

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Amazon, B&N)

The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change by Geoff Dembicki (WP)

Prisoners of the Castle by Ben Macintyre (B&N)

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty (B&N, PW)

Reader, I Murdered Him by Betsy Cornwell (Book Riot)

Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey (Book Riot)

Search by Michelle Huneven (Book Riot)

Seduced by Story by Peter Brooks (Vulture)

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Book Riot, Buzzfeed, Vulture)

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman (B&N, Booksellers)

Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora (Amazon)

Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee (B&N)

Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century by Daniel Treisman and Sergei Guriev (Atlantic)

Stay True: A Memoir by Hua Hsu (Atlantic, NYT, WP)

Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari (Amazon)

Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us by Rachel Aviv (NYT, Vulture)

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott (Book Riot)

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (Booksellers)

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Amazon, Atlantic, Booksellers, Buzzfeed)

Trust by Hernan Diaz (NYT, WP)

Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans by Mason Hereford with JJ Goode (Booksellers)

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa (Atlantic, NYT)

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen (Book Riot)

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett (Book Riot)

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb (Buzzfeed)

Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind by Robert Draper (WP)

We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland by Fintan O’Toole (Atlantic, NYT)

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson (Book Riot)

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (Booksellers)

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (Book Riot, Buzzfeed)

When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw (Book Riot)

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi (Vulture)

World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (B&N)

X by Davey Davis (Vulture)

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (Buzzfeed)

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Buzzfeed)

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (WP)

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