It's that time of year again....no, not the holidays, but the time when all of the "Best of 2013" lists start to come out. They used to wait until after New Year's Day, but I think they've moved it up so that you have handy gift buying guides for last minute Christmas shopping. I've compiled several of the Best Books of the Year lists for your convenience:
For professional reviewers, try Publisher's Weekly Best Books, or the New York Times' list of 100 notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction as selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
The Goodreads Choice Awards are the only major book awards decided by readers instead of professional reveiwers.
If you want to base your selections strictly on sales, go to Amazon.com's Best Sellers of 2013 (so far).
The book editors of the Huffington Post listed the books that are not necessarily considered the 'best', but simply the ones they enjoyed reading the most.
If you're looking for something out of the mainstream, Slate has a list of the Most Overlooked Fiction of the year. They have several other lists, too, including their favorites, editors' picks and best lines of the year.
I hoped I would find a few books that were clear standouts, and as luck would have it, there were two books that appeared on multiple lists. Click on the titles to check their availability or to place a hold.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the company links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world, even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
Going Clear: Scientology. Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Wright’s prodigiously researched investigation of Scientology does what good reporting ought to do: examine something in search of truth, lay out the findings, and let conclusions be drawn. In this painstaking work, the author bravely confronts the lawyered-up and controversial church in a dramatic encounter woven right into the narrative. New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize–winner Wright offers a reality test about a set of beliefs and behaviors that constitute this formidable 20th-century religious movement.