I've been reading lots of year-end "best of" lists, from serious outlets that is, and these are the books which I see recurring with special frequency:
1. Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.
I've read through the lists of many other sources, and these are the fictional works which recur the greatest number of times, in my memory at least:
1. Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs.
2. Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin.
Here is a meta-list of "best books of the year" lists; the selections I looked at did not thrill me, so here's my own list, in no particular order. First tier:
Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography, by John A. Hall.
The link is here, (ungated?) emergency link here, It is about an hour long, and here is the premise:
A month ago I [Cardiff Garcia] asked Diane and Tyler each to choose five books released this year that would be fun to discuss. Then I narrowed that list of ten down to five:
Reading a good investment book should top your list of New Year's resolutions. But these books are a dime a dozen. Book stores have sections devoted to investing in the stock market, personal finance, and how to 'get rich quick.' The 27 books we selected appear on must-read lists repeatedly. They are the best finance books ever written.
There's no doubt that this has been the year of E.L. James and her "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. The three-part series has been a topic of conversation in book clubs, TV shows, and news stories all year long. And now, a new report from Amazon.com confirms that James's “Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy” is the best-selling book this year.
As the year draws to a close, editors everywhere are busy putting together their end-of-year / best-of lists. The New York Times jumps into the fray with its straight-forwardly-named list of The 10 Best Books of 2012.