The Most Thought-Provoking Books of the Year, According to the Atlantic

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Always books. Never boring.

‘Tis the season for “best of” book lists, and we’ve rounded up quite a few on Book Riot. The newest addition is the first “The Atlantic 10,” which the magazine defines not quite as the best books of the year, but the books that “impressed us with their force of ideas, that drew us in not because of some platonic ideal of greatness, but because they got our brains working and presented fresh angles on the world. In a phrase, they were good to think with.”

The editors introduce their picks as,

“Between the covers of these books, readers will find an enormously diverse set of subjects and an array of writerly moods, from the whimsical to the deadly serious. These are stories that plunge into the intimate world of farmworkers in Central California, the unlikely friendship between two Asian American college students, and the machinations of modern-day authoritarians. The questions these titles pose are varied and generative. How has Ireland evolved over the past several decades? What kind of art form is the video game? What role does racism have in the health and wellness of Black people? But what binds these books to one another is that, in 2022, they were the ones that gave us a new way of looking, that forced us to stop and consider—that, once the last page was turned, dropped us back into our lives as smarter people.”

Likely because of the slightly different focus, this doesn’t have a lot of overlap with other “best of” lists, with the exception of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which was a Buzzfeed, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble booksellers pick as well.

Read their write ups for each choice at the Atlantic.

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