Book Lists

I’m always looking for lists of “the best” or recommended books. I like to reference lists to make my picks, particularly for challenges like “Book of Our Lives”. Also there are SO MANY books, I like to try to minimize the possibility of spending time on a dud. And, of course, like any bibliophile, I’m always looking for hidden gems.

Here are some of the lists I’ve found and referred to. Feel free to post more in the comments.

Magic Carpet Lists

Best Horror Novels List 

Best Mystery/Thriller Novels List

BEST OF THE YEAR (2010-2016)

Since 2010, there have been annual lists from a number of good sources. Most of the lnks below link to the 2016 list, but there’s navigation to take you to previous years. These lists include a wide variety of books from non-fiction to literature to thrillers.

  1. GOODREADS Choice Awards – This is a good list because it has massive amounts of voters. Definitely a populist view. Top books in each category. Also lists for previous years.
  2. Amazon Editor’s Choice Awards 2016 – Various categories/genres picked by the Amazon editors and influenced by what’s been popular.
  3. Publisher’s Weekly Books of the year – 2009 – 2016, top books overall and top in each genre. These books are editor’s picks from the Publisher’s Weekly reviewers and not populists, so it tends to be a different list than the ones above.
  4. NPR’s Book Concierge – Books are selected by NPR’s staff and cricitcs.
  5. Tournament of Books — This is a fun little program that pits the year’s best books against each other. More high brow literature.

Additional BEST OF 2016

  1. Pop Sugar 50 Best Books of 2016 – A mix of genres
  2. New York Times 10 Best Books of 2016


If you’re working on “Books Of Our Lives” or other challenges that focus on the year of publication, these are good places to look.

  1. #1 New York Times Bestsellers – From 1942 to 2017.
  2. New York Times Bestsellers on Wikipedia – Same data in a different format.
  3. All New York Times Bestsellers – #1-15 on the list for each week, fiction and non-fiction.
  4. Goodreads book lists by year — These lists are voted on by the GR community, so it’s more of a populist take on the “best”. I’ve linked to 1975, but just search the lists for “Best of ” to find other years. There are also lists by decades.
  5.  1001 Books to Read Before You Die list — This list is arranged by year and is a good place to look for books for a given year, especially if you are also working on a challenge to read some off this list.


Definitely check out Essential Mystery Lists, a book which includes many lists including the Top 100 from Crime Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Edgar Winners, and dozens more. This is one-stop-shopping for mystery lists. It’s available only in hard copy on Amazon, but you can buy the pdf of Google Books (link above).

Other online lists:

  1. Amazon “100 Mystery/Thrillers To Read in a Lifetime” List  – Editor’s Choice
  2.  New York Times 10 Best Crime Thrillers 2016
  3. NPR’s Top 100 Killer Thrillers
  4. Reader’s Digest Best Thrillers
  5. The Guardian Best Thrillers of 2015
  6. Telegraph Best Thrillers of 2016


  1. 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium
  2. Paste Magazine 40 Best Horror Novels
  3. Flavorwire 50 Scariest Books of All Time
  4. Publisher’s Weekly – 10 Best Horror Novels You’ve Never Read
  5. Horror Novel Reviews – Top 100 Scariest Novels Of All Time
  6. The Line Up – Scariest Books of 2016
  7. Riffle Books – Best Horror of 2014


  1. 1000 Best Romance Novels of All Time – from Romantic Times readers
  2. NPR Top 100 Swoon Worthy Romances
  3. Top 100 Romance Novels on Goodreads – chosen by editors based on ranking