Making a book list, and checking it twice

Seems everyone’s making lists and checking them twice right about now.

In that spirit of organizational efficiency, here are lists of books: best-sellers, award-winners and even the president’s recent purchases.

Maybe something here will help you cross items off your to-do list.

Need a gift book recommendation? Check.

Is there an e-reader under the tree and you need suggestions of good titles to download? Check.

Putting together a New Year’s resolution list of books to read in 2014? Check.

When it comes to best-seller lists, The New York Times Best Seller List is the granddaddy of them all.

Started in 1931, the gray lady’s list has become the gold standard for national recognition and financial success. A “New York Times Best Seller” moniker translates to ka-ching!

The Times weekly ranks books based on samples of weekly sales reports from independent and chain bookstores and wholesalers. Categories have evolved over time, and now there are 21, including lists for graphic books, Manga and e-books.

The Daily Sentinel prints the Top 10 in Fiction and Nonfiction categories in these pages every week. You can see the full lists, too, at if you’d like to drill down by more specific categories. There you can see, for instance, that today’s Top 5 e-book list for E-Book Nonfiction is:

1. “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell

2. “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

3. “Things That Matter” by Charles Krauthammer

4. “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northrup

5. “George Washington’s Secret Six” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Today’s Top 5 list for E-Book Fiction is:

1. “Cross my Heart” by James Patterson

2. “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham

3. “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich

4. “King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci

5. “Remy” by Katy Evans

Times Preview Editor Gregory Cowles publishes an interesting column at the site, “Inside the List,” which offers background on featured books and authors. For instance, Cowles writes that “Cross my Heart” by James Patterson is his seventh novel on the best-seller list this year. Seventh! Patterson accomplishes that level of productivity, Cowles explains, by employing writing “partners,” who publish under his name as a brand.

In you’re interested in quality and not necessarily quantity, here are some of the biggest award-winners this year:

■ The Man Booker Prize: Eleanor Catton for her novel “The Luminaries.”

■ Nobel Prize in Literature: Alice Munro, described as the “master of the contemporary short story.”

■ National Book Award for Fiction: “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride.

■ National Book Award for Nonfiction: “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” by George Packer.

■ National Book Award for Poetry: “Incarnadine: Poems” by Mary Szybist.

Lastly, President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha shopped at independent bookstore Politics & Prose as part of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30. According to the White House, Obama bought books to cover readers “from 5 to 52” (his own age):

■ “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri

■ “The Ballad of the Sad Café” by Carson McCullers

■ “Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews

■ “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

■ “Ragtime” by E.L. Doctorow

■ “Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka

■ “All That Is” by James Salter

■ “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra

■ “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” by David Epstein

■ “Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football” by Nicholas Dawidoff

■ “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

■ “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

■ “Half Brother” by Kenneth Oppel

■ “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus

■ “My Antonia” by Willa Cather

■ “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

■ “Jinx” by Sage Blackwood

■ “Lulu and the Brontosaurus” by Judith Viorst and Lane Smith

■ “Ottoline and the Yellow Cat” by Chris Riddell

■ “Moonday” by Adam Rex

■ “Journey” by Aaron Becker

Have news about local authors, bookstores, book clubs or writing groups? Email Laurena Mayne Davis at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Davis is the director of marketing and product development for The Daily Sentinel.


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