December 13, 2012 Susan Stamberg presents the year's best books, picked by independent booksellers around the country. Selections range from gritty, free-verse fairy tales to ballerina photographs and a grim Southern story about a small town that would rather its ghosts remain at rest.
December 22, 2012 It was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction, says critic Maggie Stiefvater. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. This list isn't concerned with classification — it rounds up five magical books for young adults and grown-ups alike.
December 22, 2012 On subjects familiar (Beethoven's Fifth) and obscure (notoriously tight-lipped cult artists), our favorite writing about music dove deep and showed us new ways to love the sounds in our lives.
December 12, 2012 Some of these novels will touch your heart; others will challenge your mind. One will make you laugh — a few might make you cry. But all of these books recommended by NPR's Lynn Neary will give you and your friends plenty to talk about.
December 13, 2012 2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.
December 30, 2012 This year's literary heroines aren't defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable. Writer and critic Parul Sehgal celebrates five sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times.
December 23, 2012 Writer Eloisa James gathers the best of 2012's romance subgenres. Expect lots of heat, in the most unexpected places and with some unlikely people: From the military to the paranormal, and from Shakespeare to steampunk, James' picks for the year skip across oceans and genres.
December 10, 2012 NPR's Backseat Book Club polled children's booksellers and librarians to find 2012's best books for middle-graders. The winners are a heartwarming city kid's tale, a Chinese folklore-inspired adventure, and an encounter with a 10-year-old you'll never forget.
December 28, 2012 Our list of this year's best biographies focuses on books about individuals who lived their lives off the beaten path. From the story of a spy turned chef to the story of the real Count of Monte Cristo, these books chronicle subjects who refused to conform to the expectations of others.
December 25, 2012 It's been a great year for high-profile comics creators, producing landmark works destined for many "Best Comics of 2012" lists. But what about the lesser-known artists and their work? Glen Weldon points to outstanding works that haven't gotten the attention they deserve.
December 13, 2012 From post-apocalyptic character studies to speculative paleontology, reviewer Annalee Newitz says this year's best science fiction stretches boundaries and crosses genres. She also sees a strong resurgence in political themes, with a focus on civilizations on the brink of transformation or collapse.
December 25, 2012 The rebels, rule breakers and renegades who rule this year's Top 10 list aren't looking for a Ph.D. in Traditional Cooking. They're pleasure seekers whose books are filled with quirky facts, gorgeous pictures and ingredients deployed in unexpected places.
December 19, 2012 Femmes fatales and their crafty female creators dominate this year's mystery and thriller picks. Critic Maureen Corrigan wonders whether it takes a woman to capture the evil that can hide behind a lip-glossed smile and pair of shining eyes.
December 6, 2012 To bring the past to life and make it matter, historical fiction must do more than conjure up an exotic backdrop for a conventional story. These six books challenge our preconceptions and help show how the past shaped the world we live in today.
December 3, 2012 This year's treasures include a heart-racing memoir, a fun first novel, a fascinating study of fraternal bonds, plus Toni Morrison's Home and Christopher Hitchens' last work. Critic Heller McAlpin has sifted through piles of new publications and panned for literary gold.
January 3, 2013 Poet Kevin Young picks out his favorite poetry books from 2012, including works from the U.S. poet laureate to up-and-coming writers.
December 29, 2012 Author Hortense Calisher once called the short story "an apocalypse in a teacup." Critic Jane Ciabattari presents her favorite mini-apocalypses of 2012, from veteran authors like Sherman Alexie to newcomer Claire Vaye Watkins, who combines a unique voice and a shadowed family history in her debut collection.
December 11, 2012 Gift books should be special: arrestingly visual, deeply felt, quirky, comprehensive, important. We've combed the shelves to bring you several such suggestions, guaranteed to put a sparkle in the eyes of any big reader.
December 7, 2012 Critic Alan Cheuse maps out a winter wonderland of fiction and poetry — from ancient Greece to the near-future visions of Walter Mosley, a selection of the best books to give and receive this holiday season. Cheuse says these five books strike the perfect balance between lyricism and narrative.