Booklist’s 2019 Top of the List Picks Announced!

Each year Booklist editors are tasked with the impossible: from thousands of 2019 book releases, select seven. These seven picks, dubbed the Top of the List, showcase the year’s most exceptional titles in the following categories: adult nonfiction, adult fiction, adult audiobook, youth nonfiction, youth fiction, youth picture book, and youth audiobook. Whew. To see which seven books editors recommend, cherish, and would probably fight to the death over (their meetings are intense) this year, please watch this exciting announcement from Donna Seaman, Sarah Hunter, and Biz Hyzy.

[To peruse this year’s full editors’ choice lists—yep, more of 2019’s best books!—click the link for each category: Adult Books, Adult Books for Young Adults, Adult Audio, Books for Youth, and Youth Audio. Happy reading!]

Booklist Top of the List, 2019

Adult Nonfiction

Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story, by Marie Arana

Arana’s (Bolívar, 2013) fluency in Latin American history blossoms in this unique and arresting inquiry into three “crucibles” which have shaped Latin American life for centuries: lust for precious metals, proclivity for violence, and fervor for religion. She also illuminates the region’s cultural splendor and entrenched racism as she combines scholarship with reportage. read more→


Adult Fiction

Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie follows his last scathing best-seller, The Golden House (2017), with an exuberantly imagined and lacerating homage to the revered satire, Don Quixote. As Cervantes did four centuries ago, Rushdie attributes his tragicomic tale of a delusional romantic to another author, a midlist, Indian American crime writer using the pen name Sam Duchamp, who believes that his spy novels have put him in actual danger. read more→


Adult Audio

Bowlaway, by Elizabeth McCracken and read by Kate Reading

Time has a funny way of moving in a small town like Salford, Massachusetts. It wanders and curves but plows ever onward until, thwak!, it knocks us right over, like pins on a bowling lane. Such is Reading’s narration of this whimsically dark, curiously challenging, and unexpectedly touching multigenerational novel centered on the regulars in a candlepin bowling alley in the early half of the twentieth century. read more→


Youth Nonfiction

Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters, by Carlyn Beccia

Extraordinarily clever and phenomenally entertaining, this graphics-forward resource intrepidly investigates the science behind eight monsters and cryptids, digging into the possibilities of their existence, exploring ways to react in case of a hypothetical encounter, and drawing real-world parallels. Each scenario is loaded with data: chapters describe why King Kong’s size makes him a mathematical impossibility . . . read more→

Youth Fiction

This Was Our Pact, by Ryan Andrews

A group of boys on bikes sets out to learn whether the lanterns cast down the river in their town’s annual ceremony actually turn into stars like the legends say. The titular pact: no turning back from their quest. Who ends up breaking the pact and who doesn’t is only one element of this richly imagined and complexly emotional story that would be spoiled by too thorough a plot summary . . . read more→

Youth Picture Book

Home in the Woods, by Eliza Wheeler

This book opens on an image of eight children of varying ages, formally positioned around their mother for a family photo in the woods. Labeled with everyone’s name and age, the painting conveys everything about their situation: no father is present, household goods are piled around them, and the two oldest children lay protective hands on their mother’s shoulders. From there, the story is told from six-year-old Marvel’s perspective. read more→

Youth Audiobook

Shout, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson’s Speak (1999) is a modern classic of YA literature and a testament to both the silencing isolation sexual violence wreaks on a survivor and the restorative power of finding—and using—one’s own voice in the healing process. In the light of the #MeToo era, Speak was clearly ahead of its time, but Shout, read by the author, arrives at the perfect moment, is carried by the perfect voice, and will inspire listeners to shout their own truths. read more→

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About the Author:

Briana Shemroske is Booklist's Marketing Associate. She graduated with a BA from Lake Forest College where she studied English Writing and Art History. In her free time she can be found eating cheeseburgers, frolicking with her schnoodle, Moritz, and feebly attempting to play board games. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Briana.

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