New York Times Best Books

Best Books of the last 125 Years

Cover image for To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee

Six year-old Scout, a white girl living in Alabama in the 1930s, narrates her experience as the daughter of a lawyer defending a Black man accused of raping a white woman.

Cover image for The fellowship of the ring :

The Fellowship of the Ring 

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Given the powerful One Ring by his cousin, Bilbo, Frodo Baggins leaves the Shire to cross Middle-earth and destroy the ring.

Cover image for 1984

1984 by George Orwell

In a dystopian 1984, Winston Smith secretly disagrees with rulers “The Party” and “Big Brother” and wants rebellion.

Cover image for One hundred years of solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude 

by Gabriel García Marquez

Seven generations of the Buendia family live, work, and struggle in the small, odd town of Macondo where magical realism abounds.

Cover image for Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Sethe, a Black woman previously enslaved in Kentucky, now lives in Ohio but struggles with the trauma she experienced at Sweet Home and the death of her baby, who was never named.

The Best of 2022



The Candy House 

by Jennifer Eagan

Told through lives of multiple characters, this electrifying, deeply moving novel, spanning 10 years, follows “Own Your Unconscious,” a new technology that allows access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others.

An Immense World 

by Ed Yong

The Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times best-selling author of I Contain Multitudes examines how the world of animal senses can help us understand and transform the way we perceive our world. 


by Claire-Louise Bennett

In a working-class town in a county west of London, a schoolgirl scribbles stories in the back pages of her exercise book, intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination.

Stay True by Hua Hsu

A New Yorker staff writer, in this gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self and the solace that can be found through art, recounts his close friendship with Ken, with whom he endured the successes and humiliations of everyday college life until Ken was violently, senselessly taken away from him. 

Demon Copperhead 

by Barbara Kingsolver

The son of an Appalachian teenager uses his good looks, wit and instincts to survive foster care, child labor, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses.

Strangers to Ourselves 

by Rachel Aviv

Raising fundamental questions about how we understand ourselves in periods of crisis and distress, the author draws on deep, original reporting as well as unpublished journals and memoirs to write about people who have come up against the limits of psychiatric explanations for who they are. 

The Furrows 

by Namwali Serpell

Haunted by the accidental death of her little brother Wayne years ago, Cassandra Williams begins seeing her brother everywhere and meets a man both mysterious and familiar who is also searching for someone and for his own place in the world--and his name is Wayne. 

Under the Skin 

by Linda Villarosa

From an award-winning writer at the New York Times Magazine and a contributor to the 1619 Project comes a landmark book that tells the full story of racial health disparities in America, revealing the toll racism takes on individuals and the health of our nation. 

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Told from the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction, this unrivaled novel about money, power, intimacy and perception is centered around the mystery of how the Rask family acquired their immense fortune in 1920s-1930's New York City. 

We Don't Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole

The Irish government opened the country to foreign investment and popular culture in 1958. O'Toole weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary "backwater" to an almost totally open society-perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history.

The Best of 2021



Cover image for How beautiful we were :

How Beautiful We Were 

by Imbolo Mbue

As an American oil company destroys the environment of Kosawa, the residents of the fictional African village fight back against a dictatorship that only cares about itself.
Cover image for The Copenhagen trilogy :

The Copenhagen Trilogy

by Tove Ditlevesen

Danish poet Ditlevesen combines three books into one in a biographical exploration of her life, family, and womanhood.
Cover image for Intimacies

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

The life of an interpreter working at The Hague’s International Court is destabilized by personal and political drama.

Cover image for How the word is passed :

How the Word is Passed

by Clint Smith

Smith examines the legacy of slavery and the United States’ collective history through monuments and landmarks.
Cover image for The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois 

by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Ailey Pearl Garfield, a Black girl growing up in Georgia, works to find belonging and explores the stories and legacies of her ancestors. 
Cover image for Invisible child :

Invisible Child

by Andrea Elliott

Elliot narrates the childhood of Dasani Coates as she grows up in shelters across Brooklyn with her siblings.

Cover image for No one is talking about this

No One is talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

A woman who is social media famous travels to meet her fans and faces the existentialism of “the portal,” when her family is struck suddenly by tragedy.
Cover image for On Juneteenth

On Juneteenth 

by Annette Gordon-Reed

Gordon-Reed combines history with memoir as she delves into the importance and history of Juneteenth and the legacy of slavery. 
Cover image for When we cease to understand the world

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut

During the 20th century, scientists make groundbreaking discoveries and wrestle with their ethical implications. 
Cover image for Red Comet

Red Comet

by Heather Clark

Clark writes a unique new biography of Sylvia Plath, focusing on her relationships and literary achievements rather than her eventual suicide.

The Best of 2020



Cover image for A children's bible :

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

After a storm hits a summer vacation home, a group of teens run away from their parents and experience a dystopian and apocalyptic world wracked by environmental changes. 
Cover image for Hidden Valley Road :

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Kolker focuses on the Galvin family in the mid-1950s as 6 out of 12 children are diagnosed as schizophrenic. 

Cover image for Deacon King Kong :

Deacon King Kong 

by James McBride

The lives and stories of South Brooklyn residents are explored after a church deacon shoots the project’s drug dealer in 1969.
Cover image for A promised land

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

The first volume of President Obama’s memoirs, narrating his education to his first year as president.

Cover image for Hamnet :

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

In 1580s England, Agnes marries and has three children. When Hamnet, her only son, dies, her husband writes a play titled Hamlet.
Cover image for Shakespeare in a divided America :

Shakespeare in a Divided America by James Shapiro

Shapiro examines American identity and issues through the history of reading Shakespeare’s plays.
Cover image for Homeland elegies :

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Akhtar based much of this book on his own experiences; although it is a work of fiction, it reads like a memoir or collection of essays. The author considers themes of family, identity, and immigration in a post-9/11 America.
Cover image for Uncanny valley :

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

Wiener’s memoir is a narrative of not only her entrance into the Silicon Valley tech industry, but also the industry itself.

Cover image for The vanishing half

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Identical twin sisters lead different lives after growing up together in a southern Black community when their daughters’ lives begin to intersect.
Cover image for War :

War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan

MacMillan considers the influence and meaning of war, or organized violence and its relationship to humanity.

Want to read more Top Ten books of the year? All can be found here