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We'll be adding new lists from our critics throughout the holiday season.

Best Books For A Book Club? Lynn Neary's '09 Picks()  

'The Interrogative Mood' Detail

December 15, 2009 What makes a good book-club selection? Most of Lynn Neary's picks are quick reads. All are fiction. And, because some of the best conversations occur when people don't agree, a few are calculated to spark debate. So have a glass of wine, maybe a bite to eat, and let the discussions begin.

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Librarian Nancy Pearl's 2009 Under-The-Radar Books()  

Librarian Nancy Pearl's plastic alter-ego

December 10, 2009 The end of another year means another giant stack of books you missed during the past 12 months. Nancy Pearl, our favorite librarian, stops by to share recommendations that should keep old, young and 'tween readers content.

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On Morning EditionPlaylist

The 10 Best Cookbooks Of 2009()  

Cover Detail from 'Rose's Heavenly Cakes'

November 25, 2009 If you're the kind of person who's always believed that a book can teach you to do anything, this year's crop of cookbooks will prove you right. Cooks lacking confidence will find comfort in detailed instructions and comprehensive how-tos.

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On Weekend Edition SundayPlaylist

The Year's Most Mesmerizing Mysteries()  

'Dial H for Hitchcock' detail

December 11, 2009 Holiday season have you feeling a touch homicidal? Critic Maureen Corrigan offers a selection of sleuth stories and hard-boiled whodunits to satisfy all your deepest literary desires.

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Maureen Corrigan's Best Books Of 2009()  

'The Financial Lives Of The Poets' Detail

December 23, 2009 Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.

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On Fresh AirPlaylist

The Best Debut Fiction Of 2009()  

Breaking In

December 18, 2009 Granta editor John Freeman picks the year's top five debuts by fiction writers. The list includes three collections of short stories and two novels. Freeman says the era of the splashy debut might be gone, but these authors demonstrate, despite their short publishing histories, that first-time writers can still make a big impression.

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The Best Five Books To Share With Your Friends()  

Two women reading back to back as they sunbathe in Hyde Park, London in May 1937.

December 2, 2009 Some books you simply can't keep to yourself. Glen Weldon shares the titles he's recommended this year — from a history of women in comics, to a collection of very short short stories — what unites these books is the urge they spark to send them out into the world so that they might sink their hooks into someone else.

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Alan Cheuse's Book Picks To Warm A Winter's Night()  

'Becoming Americans' Cover Detail

November 23, 2009 Book reviewer Alan Cheuse selects the highlights of this holiday season: futuristic dystopias; things that go bump in the night; portraits from Norman Rockwell's America; gay New York; a celebration of our immigrant adventures; one writer's journey to manhood; and, of course, Long John Silver.

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On All Things ConsideredPlaylist

A World Of Novels: Picks For Best Foreign Fiction()  

Book and map of the world

December 4, 2009 2009's top works of foreign fiction, as picked by critic Jessa Crispin, feature a geography as wide ranging as their topics: genetic research, civil unrest, sibling resentment, and fairy-tale depictions of government corruption.

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2009's Best Young Adult Fiction (Mostly)()  

Detail from 'Marcelo in the Real World'

December 8, 2009 Critic Jonathan Hunt's picks include love stories between historical figures; fantasy and supernatural fiction that doesn't concern vampires or werewolves; and time traveling mysteries.

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Fit To Print: Top Five Current Affairs Books Of 2009()  

'When Everything Changed' detail

December 29, 2009 If these books prove anything, it's that the legacy of nonfiction storytelling is still very much alive. Steve Weinberg's picks reflect the depth and diversity of the 2009 current affairs library, ranging from investigations of the role of women in America to a look at what it means to sit supreme on the highest court in the U.S.

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2009's Crop Of Great Gardening Books()  

Illustration of a tree growing from a book.

December 17, 2009 From an anti-lawn manifesto, to "sophisticated plant porn at its finest," Ketzel Levine shares this year's yield of great gardening books. She finds that geeky plant lust is officially outre, and memoirs of urban homesteads of produce and poultry are a budding new genre.

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In The Year's Best Memoirs, Mirth And Melancholy()  

Man types on a typewriter

December 14, 2009 Heller McAlpin's picks include: the story of a lifelong crush on Albert Camus, a humorous take on middle-aged malaise, and a no-nonsense look at mortality. The sharp, fresh writing in these memoirs will bring you headfirst into each author's world, with your heart following close behind.

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Big And Beautiful: Best Gift Books of 2009()  

Gift Books

November 24, 2009 Reviewer John McAlley selects gems from the worlds of fine art, fashion, photography, science, lit-crit and cartoons. These luxe volumes will be gracing coffee tables long after the lights and wrapping paper are gone.

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Best Books of 2009: The Complete List()  

Books tied with a bow

November 22, 2009 Get all of NPR's Best Book of 2009 recommendations in this one list of lists.

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Best Books of 2009: Browse The Excerpts

The Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon's essays on marriage and fatherhood.

Excerpt: 'Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son'

The Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon's essays on marriage and fatherhood.

T.R. Reid's expose reveals the false rational of those opposed to health care reform.

Excerpt: 'The Healing Of America'

T.R. Reid's expose reveals the false rational of those opposed to health care reform.

Tracy Kidder's book about an American-trained physician struggling to modernize medicine in Africa.

Excerpt: 'Strength In What Remains'

Tracy Kidder's book about an American-trained physician struggling to modernize medicine in Africa.

Joan Biskupic's sharp-eyed biography of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Excerpt: 'American Original'

Joan Biskupic's sharp-eyed biography of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Jess Walter's satire <em>The Financial Lives Of The Poets</em> is a lovely balance of sharp satire and heart.

Excerpt: 'The Financial Lives Of The Poets'

Jess Walter's satire The Financial Lives Of The Poets is a lovely balance of sharp satire and heart.

Reed Farrel Coleman's <em>The James Deans</em> follows PI Moe Prager on another adventure.

Excerpt: 'The James Deans'

Reed Farrel Coleman's The James Deans follows PI Moe Prager on another adventure.

Pierre Bayard's book is chock full of perceptions, philosphy and bon mots of cultural literacy.

Excerpt: 'How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read'

Pierre Bayard's book is chock full of perceptions, philosphy and bon mots of cultural literacy.

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