The Daily Beast went through the top 10 lists of the best books of the year and tallied up the results to come up with the ultimate books ranking for fiction and non-fiction. Plus, the best art & photography books of 2009.
Every newspaper and magazine has released lists of their favorite books from the past year. The Daily Beast presents the ultimate best-of-the-year list by compiling the books that have appeared on the most lists (from The New York Times to the Chicago Tribune to The Economist) to come up with our definitive list of the best fiction and nonfiction this year.
Top 5 Fiction Books of the Year
1. Wolf Hall By Hilary Mantel
The Booker Prize-winning novel was a critical favorite with its historical plot centered on Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.
2. A Gate at the Stairs By Lorrie Moore
After nearly a decade of silence, Moore’s triumphant return was a smashing success among old and new fans alike.
3. Love and Summer By William Trevor
From the acclaimed Irish short-story master, a crisp novel of church and family in postwar Ireland.
4. Too Much Happiness By Alice Munro
No surprise that the latest collection of short stories from “Canada’s Chekhov” made the best of the year.
5. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders By Daniyal Mueenuddin
The only debut in the top five, Mueenuddin’s stunning collection of short stories set in Pakistan made him the literary darling of the foreign-policy set.
Top 5 Nonfiction Books of the Year
1. Lit: A Memoir By Mary Karr
The bestselling memoirist returned this year with her devastatingly honest account of struggles with marriage, motherhood, and alcoholism.
2. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World By Liaquat Ahmed
In a year when finance dominated the headlines, it’s no surprise that this account of central bankers in the 1920s trying to stave off disaster was a favorite.
3. Strength in What Remains By Tracy Kidder
An inspiring and moving story of a young man who escaped war in Burundi and found his way to Columbia, medical school, and U.S. citizenship.
4. The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President By Taylor Branch
This massive, exhaustive account of the Clinton years through the president and Taylor’s recollections made a big splash with revelations about Boris Yeltsin’s drunken behavior.
5. The Good Soldiers By David Finkel
An embedded reporter’s vivid account of a battalion of American troops fighting in the Iraq surge, and one destined to be a classic of the genre.
Honorable Mention for Fiction:
Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
This Is How by M.J. Hyland
Honorable Mention for Nonfiction:
Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit
D-Day: The Battle of Normandy by Anthony Beevor
Here are the lists we consulted: The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Time Magazine, The Economist, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, The London Times