The 10 Best Books Through Time

Each fall, the editors of the Times Book Review select the best fiction and nonfiction titles of the year. Our editors read, nominate, discuss, and debate the merits of each year’s books, working together to land upon our list. The practice of editors sharing their picks of the year dates nearly back to the beginning of the Book Review in October 1896. But over the years, that list has taken many different names and forms. Now, we call this list the “Ten Best Books” and have done so since 2004. We hope you’ll enjoy, and perhaps find inspiration in, the Best Books of years past.

Fiction

DISAPPEARING EARTH By Julia Phillips. THE TOPEKA SCHOOL By Ben Lerner. EXHALATION By Ted Chiang. LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE By Valeria Luiselli. NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER By Kevin Barry.

NonFiction

SAY NOTHING By Patrick Radden Keefe. THE CLUB By Leo Damrosch. THE YELLOW HOUSE By Sarah M. Broom. NO VISIBLE BRUISES By Rachel Louise Snyder. MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL By Adam Higginbotham.

FICTION

ASYMMETRY By Lisa Halliday. THE GREAT BELIEVERS By Rebecca Makkai. THE PERFECT NANNY By Leila Slimani. Translated by Sam Taylor. THERE THERE By Tommy Orange. WASHINGTON BLACK By Esi Edugyan.

NONFICTION

AMERICAN PRISON: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment By Shane Bauer. EDUCATED: A Memoir By Tara Westover. FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Prophet of Freedom By David W. Blight. HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND: What the New Science of Psychadelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence By Michael Pollan. SMALL FRY: A Memoir By Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Fiction

AUTUMN By Ali Smith. EXIT WEST By Mohsin Hamid. PACHINKO By Min Jin Lee. THE POWER By Naomi Alderman. SING, UNBURIED, SING By Jesmyn Ward.

NONFICTION

THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us By Richard O. Prum. GRANT By Ron Chernow. LOCKING UP OUR OWN: Crime and Punishment in Black America By James Forman Jr. PRAIRIE FIRES: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder By Caroline Fraser. PRIESTDADDY By Patricia Lockwood.

Fiction

THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS By Karan Mahajan. THE NORTH WATER By Ian McGuire. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD By Colson Whitehead. THE VEGETARIAN By Han Kang. Translated by Deborah Smith. WAR AND TURPENTINE By Stefan Hertmans. Translated by David McKay.

NONFICTION

AT THE EXISTENTIALIST CAFÉ: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails By Sarah Bakewell. DARK MONEY: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right By Jane Mayer. EVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City By Matthew Desmond. IN THE DARKROOM By Susan Faludi. THE RETURN: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between By Hisham Matar.

FICTION

THE DOOR By Magda Szabo. Translated by Len Rix. A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN: Selected Stories By Lucia Berlin. Edited by Stephen Emerson. OUTLINE By Rachel Cusk. THE SELLOUT By Paul Beatty. THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD: Book 4, The Neapolitan Novels: “Maturity, Old AgeBy Elena Ferrante. Translated by Ann Goldstein.

NONFICTION

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME By Ta-Nehisi Coates. EMPIRE OF COTTON: A Global History By Sven Beckert. H IS FOR HAWK By Helen Macdonald. THE INVENTION OF NATURE: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World By Andrea Wulf. ONE OF US: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway By Asne Seierstad. Translated by Sarah Death.

Fiction

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE By Anthony Doerr. DEPT. OF SPECULATION By Jenny Offill. EUPHORIA By Lily King. FAMILY LIFE By Akhil Sharma. REDEPLOYMENT By Phil Klay.

NONFICTION

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? By Roz Chast. ON IMMUNITY: An Inoculation By Eula Biss. PENELOPE FITZGERALD: A Life By Hermione Lee. THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: An Unnatural History By Elizabeth Kolbert. THIRTEEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David By Lawrence Wright.

Fiction

AMERICANAH By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. THE FLAMETHROWERS By Rachel Kushner. THE GOLDFINCH By Donna Tartt. LIFE AFTER LIFE By Kate Atkinson. TENTH OF DECEMBER: Stories By George Saunders.

NONFICTION

AFTER THE MUSIC STOPPED: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead By Alan S. Blinder. DAYS OF FIRE: Bush and Cheney in the White House By Peter Baker. FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital By Sheri Fink. THE SLEEPWALKERS: How Europe Went to War in 1914 By Christopher Clark. WAVE By Sonali Deraniyagala.

Fiction

BRING UP THE BODIES By Hilary Mantel. BUILDING STORIES By Chris Ware. A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING By Dave Eggers. NW By Zadie Smith. THE YELLOW BIRDS By Kevin Powers.

NONFICTION

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity By Katherine Boo. FAR FROM THE TREE: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon. THE PASSAGE OF POWER: The Years of Lyndon Johnson By Robert A. Caro. THE PATRIARCH: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy By David Nasaw. WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST? An Existential Detective Story By Jim Holt.

THE ART OF FIELDING By Chad Harbach. 11/22/63 By Stephen King. SWAMPLANDIA! By Karen Russell. TEN THOUSAND SAINTS By Eleanor Henderson. THE TIGER’S WIFE By Téa Obreht.

NONFICTION

ARGUABLY: Essays By Christopher Hitchens. THE BOY IN THE MOON: A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son By Ian Brown. MALCOLM X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable. THINKING, FAST AND SLOW By Daniel Kahneman. A WORLD ON FIRE:Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War By Amanda Foreman.

Fiction

FREEDOM By Jonathan Franzen. THE NEW YORKER STORIES By Ann Beattie. ROOM By Emma Donoghue. SELECTED STORIES By William Trevor. A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD By Jennifer Egan.

NONFICTION

APOLLO’S ANGELS: A History of Ballet By Jennifer Homans. CLEOPATRA: A Life By Stacy Schiff. THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES: A Biography of Cancer By Siddhartha Mukherjee. FINISHING THE HAT: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, ­Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes By Stephen Sondheim. THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration By Isabel Wilkerson.

Fiction

BOTH WAYS IS THE ONLY WAY I WANT IT By Maile Meloy. CHRONIC CITY By Jonathan Lethem. A GATE AT THE STAIRS By Lorrie Moore. HALF BROKE HORSES: A True-Life Novel By Jeannette Walls. A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN By Kate Walbert.

NONFICTION

THE AGE OF WONDER: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science By Richard Holmes. THE GOOD SOLDIERS By David Finkel. LIT: A Memoir By Mary Karr. LORDS OF FINANCE: The Bankers Who Broke the World By Liaquat Ahamed. RAYMOND CARVER: A Writer’s Life By Carol Sklenicka

Fiction

DANGEROUS LAUGHTER: Thirteen Stories By Steven Millhauser. A MERCY By Toni Morrison. NETHERLAND By Joseph O’Neill. 2666 By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. UNACCUSTOMED EARTH By Jhumpa Lahiri.

NONFICTION

THE DARK SIDE: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals By Jane Mayer. THE FOREVER WAR By Dexter Filkins. NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF By Julian Barnes. THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING:Death and the American Civil War By Drew Gilpin Faust. THE WORLD IS WHAT IT IS: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul By Patrick French.

Fiction

MAN GONE DOWN By Michael Thomas. OUT STEALING HORSES By Per Petterson. Translated by Anne Born. THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. THEN WE CAME TO THE END By Joshua Ferris. TREE OF SMOKE By Denis Johnson.

NONFICTION

IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. By Mildred Armstrong Kalish. THE NINE: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. By Jeffrey Toobin. THE ORDEAL OF ELIZABETH MARSH: A Woman in World History. By Linda Colley. THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the Twentieth Century By Alex Ross.

FICTION

ABSURDISTAN By Gary Shteyngart. THE COLLECTED STORIES OF AMY HEMPEL. THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN By Claire Messud. THE LAY OF THE LAND By Richard Ford. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS By Marisha Pessl.

NONFICTION

FALLING THROUGH THE EARTH: A Memoir By Danielle Trussoni. THE LOOMING TOWER: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 By Lawrence Wright. MAYFLOWER: A Story of Courage, Community, and War By Nathaniel Philbrick. THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA: A Natural History of Four Meals By Michael Pollan. THE PLACES IN BETWEEN By Rory Stewart.

Fiction

KAFKA ON THE SHORE By Haruki Murakami. ON BEAUTY By Zadie Smith. PREP By Curtis Sittenfeld. SATURDAY By Ian McEwan. VERONICA By Mary Gaitskill.

NONFICTION

THE ASSASSINS’ GATE: America in Iraq By George Packer. DE KOONING:An American Master By Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. THE LOST PAINTING By Jonathan Harr. POSTWAR: A History of Europe Since 1945 By Tony Judt. THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING By Joan Didion.

Fiction

GILEAD By Marilynne Robinson. THE MASTER By Colm Toibin. THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA By Philip Roth. RUNAWAY By Alice Munro. SNOW By Orhan Pamuk. WAR TRASH By Ha Jin.

NONFICTION

ALEXANDER HAMILTON By Ron Chernow. CHRONICLES: Volume One By Bob Dylan. WASHINGTON’S CROSSING By David Hackett Fischer. WILL IN THE WORLD: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare By Stephen Greenblatt.

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