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This is the Best Book of the Year, According to Barnes and Noble Booksellers

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Always books. Never boring.

In October, Barnes & Noble posted their list of the top 11 books of the year, as selected by their booksellers. The list included bestselling novels, a picture book, a New Orleans cookbook, a history of hip-hop jewelry, and more.

Some of these books overlap with the previous editorially-selected Barnes and Noble Best Books of the Year list, like Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman, but most are not.

B&N has just posted the results of the final vote for booksellers’ top book of the year out of this short list, though, and the winner appeared on both best books lists as well as being a bestseller of 2022:

the cover of Lessons In Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

“Our booksellers are most proud to make Lessons in Chemistry the 2022 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year. This blockbuster debut is not only charming, funny, and whip-smart but proves that life, like science, is unpredictable.”

Barnes and Noble’s CEO also said, “Lessons in Chemistry is one of those rare novels that punches hard, whilst being brilliantly funny and a compulsive read. It is sensational and everyone should read it.”

Bonnie Garmus was on the Barnes and Noble podcast back in April discussing the book.

This year, though, another book was also recognized, in a new category: the Barnes & Noble Speculative Fiction Book Award for 2022.

Book cover of Babel by R. F. Kuang

Babel by R. F. Kuang

“Barnes & Noble’s inaugural Speculative Fiction Book Award goes to R. F. Kuang’s Babel, a dark academia standalone that’s smart, witty, and terrifying — the type of book you can’t stop reading and can’t stop recommending!”

Barnes and Noble’s Director of Books said, “Booksellers have been obsessing over and revisiting the dark magic, lavish lore and the atmospheric world not too far removed from our own of R.F. Kuang’s Babel.”

The Barnes & Noble Book of the Year award began in 2019, and it has previously been awarded to The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (2019), World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (2020), and The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney (2021).

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.