I collected over 10 lists of “Best Books of 2008” and combined them into one big meta-list. Here are the results – every book on at least three of the original “best of” lists. The numbers in bold indicate the number of lists the book was on. If I’ve read the book, I’ve included the rating I gave it on Goodreads (1-5 stars).
On 9 lists
UNACCUSTOMED EARTH. By Jhumpa Lahiri.
NETHERLAND. By Joseph O’Neill.
On 8 lists
666. By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer.
THE WORLD IS WHAT IT IS: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul. By Patrick French.
THE DARK SIDE: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. By Jane Mayer. (4)
A MERCY. By Toni Morrison.
NIXONLAND: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. By Rick Perlstein. (4)
HOME. By Marilynne Robinson.
On 7 lists
THE FOREVER WAR. By Dexter Filkins.
On 6 lists
THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING: Death and the American Civil War. By Drew Gilpin Faust. (4)
LUSH LIFE. By Richard Price.
On 5 lists
DANGEROUS LAUGHTER: Thirteen Stories. By Steven Millhauser.
OUR STORY BEGINS: New and Selected Stories. By Tobias Wolff.
THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, by David Wroblewski.
On 4 lists
WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? By Kate Atkinson
NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF. By Julian Barnes. (4)
FACTORY GIRLS: From Village to City in a Changing China. By Leslie T. Chang.
THE PLAGUE OF DOVES. By Louise Erdrich.
SEA OF POPPIES. By Amitav Ghosh.
THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO: An American Family. By Annette Gordon-Reed. (5)
THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. By David Hajdu.
PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. By Mark Harris. (5)
MY REVOLUTIONS. By Hari Kunzru.
TELEX FROM CUBA. By Rachel Kushner.
THE BOAT. By Nam Le.
DICTATION: A Quartet. By Cynthia Ozick.
OLIVE KITTERIDGE. By Elizabeth Strout.
THE SUICIDE INDEX. By Joan Wickersham.
WHITE HEAT: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. By Brenda Wineapple.
BREATH. By Tim Winton.
HOW FICTION WORKS. By James Wood. (4)
THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD. By Fareed Zakaria.
On 3 lists
LIFE CLASS. By Pat Barker.
A SUMMER OF HUMMINGBIRDS. By Christopher Benfey.
THE THREE OF US: A Family Story. By Julia Blackburn.
THE BIN LADENS. By Steve Coll.
THE KONKANS. By Tony D’Souza.
YESTERDAY’S WEATHER. By Anne Enright.
THE LIKENESS. By Tana French.
HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America. By Thomas L. Friedman.
ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES. By Rivka Galchen.
ANGLER: The Cheney Vice Presidency. By Barton Gellman.
OUTLIERS. By Malcolm Gladwell.
THE GIVEN DAY. By Dennis Lehane.
HOW THE DEAD DREAM. By Lydia Millet.
IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. By Michael Pollan.
SERENA. By Ron Rash.
TELEPHONE GAMBIT. By Seth Shulman.
TRAFFIC: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). By Tom Vanderbilt.
CHAGALL: A Biography. By Jackie Wullschlager.