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Best of 2010 book lists

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(Read caption) Oprah holds a copy of Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom," the novel appearing at the top of many "best of 2010" book lists.

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Halloween hadn’t even ended this year before Christmas decorations made their appearance. Not even that progressive holiday creep-back, though, prepared me to see lists of the year’s best books start coming through in early November, with no apologies to those few unfortunate authors with books scheduled for release in the final sixth of the year.

The Seattle Times took on the task of “mushing together” the gate-jumpers. Book editor Mary Ann Gwinn picked out titles that showed up on each of the three “Best of 2010” list she’s received so far, from Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, and – assembling a best-of list for the first time, Library Journal.

“May I just say that librarians think differently from retailers?” Gwinn wrote of the Library Journal list.

Three books made all three lists, she noted: One was “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen (a book of which Monitor critic Yvonne Zipp was less than enamored; she wrote that brilliant writing and caustic wit couldn’t save it from “a film of disdain so thick it almost comes off on your hands”). The second was Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” and the third was “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, a hit with Monitor readers as well as critics.

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