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The NYTimes Best Books of 2019

  1. 1
    Disappearing Earth Book Cover Picture
    Disappearing Earth Book Cover Picture

    Disappearing Earth

    by Julia Phillips

    “A superb debut—brilliant. Daring, nearly flawless. A crime jump-starts Disappearing Earth; the novel exposes the ways in which the women of Kamchatka are fragmented not only by [a] kidnapping, but by place [and] identity . . . Phillips describes the region with a cartographer’s precision and an ethnographer’s clarity, drawing an emblematic cast . . . There will be those eager to designate Disappearing Earth a thriller by focusing on the whodunit rather than what the tragedy reveals about the women in and around it. Phillips’ deep examination of loss and longing is a testament to the novel’s power.” —Ivy Pochoda, The New York Times Book Review
    Disappearing Earth Book Cover Picture
    Disappearing Earth Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    Exhalation Book Cover Picture
    Exhalation Book Cover Picture

    Exhalation

    by Ted Chiang

    “Deeply beautiful. . . . These stories are carefully curated into a conversation that comes full circle, after having traversed extraordinary terrain. . . . [Exhalation] is as generous as it is marvelous, and I’m left feeling nothing so much as grateful for it.” —Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review
    Exhalation Book Cover Picture
    Exhalation Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    Lost Children Archive Book Cover Picture
    Lost Children Archive Book Cover Picture

    Lost Children Archive

    by Valeria Luiselli

    “Riveting, lyrical, virtuosic . . . There is joy in make-believe in Lost Children Archive—a novel as much about storytellers and storytelling as it is about lost children. Two texts and two journeys—one by car, meandering; the other speeding forward with the locomotive propulsion of suspenseful fiction—seem on their way to a collision; Luiselli’s most thrilling section consists of one rhythmic, delirious feat of a sentence reminiscent of Molly Bloom’s epic soliloquy in Joyce’s Ulysses. The novel bears rereading, to reveal pleasing ironies. Luiselli’s metaphors are wrought with devastating precision . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.” —Gaiutra Bahardur, The New York Times Book Review
    Lost Children Archive Book Cover Picture
    Lost Children Archive Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    Night Boat to Tangier Book Cover Picture
    Night Boat to Tangier Book Cover Picture

    Night Boat to Tangier

    by Kevin Barry

    “[A] high-low style of philosophical clowns out of Beckett or Jez Butterworth. . .Kevin Barry has a fine instinct for the sweet spot where the comforting familiarities of genre blend into the surprises and provocations of art. . .Back story is where novels often sag, but in this case it’s where the book hits its propulsive stride. . .Barry has a great gift for getting the atmospheres of sketchy social hubs in a few phosphorescent lines, and much of the pleasure of the book is in being transported from one den of iniquity to another, effortlessly and at high speed. . .If you like your dark deeds illuminated by Dostoyevskian insight this might not be the book for you. But the sheer lyric intensity with which it brings its variously warped and ruined souls into being will be more than enough for most readers. It certainly was for me.” —James Lasdun, The New York Times Book Review  
    Night Boat to Tangier Book Cover Picture
    Night Boat to Tangier Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

    Say Nothing

    by Patrick Radden Keefe

    Say Nothing has lots of the qualities of good fiction. . . Keefe is a terrific storyteller. . .He brings his characters to real life. The book is cleverly structured. We follow people–victim, perpetrator, back to victim–leave them, forget about them, rejoin them decades later. It can be read as a detective story. . .What Keefe captures best, though, is the tragedy, the damage and waste, and the idea of moral injury. . .Say Nothing is an excellent account of the Troubles. —Roddy Doyle, The New York Times Book Review 
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

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