It is the time of year when we are awash in “Best of” lists, and many worthy publications have put forth their recommendations for the best books of the year that is about to pass us by. A friend of mine professed herself overwhelmed by the lists, and asked me if I would curate them for her. Here, for Julie and for the rest of you, is my “best of the best,” a list of books I think you should find a time and a place for in your busy schedule.
The National Book Awards ceremony is getting the Oscars treatment, reports the New York Times. In addition to adding a red carpet, hiring a DJ and inviting celebs like, ahem, Molly Ringwald, the awards board appears to be making a push toward higher-profile nominees, noting, as per the report: “Fame or obscurity, small press or large, should have no bearing on your deliberations."
In addition, as per the Times' Leslie Kaufman, the finalists (Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers) were announced on Morning Joe. —Brian Howard