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The Books That Made the Most ‘Best Of 2012′ Book Lists

December means a lot of things. Our normally latent shopping gene starts itching like crazy, mint-flavored coffee starts sounding like a good idea, and every single media outlet (ourselves included) puts up their “best of” everything lists. Well, ’tis the season. In an effort to distill all those year’s end book round-ups — and let’s face it, be a little meta — we looked at 16 lists from 14 media organizations and counted up the books that tickled the most critics this year. Turns out, they had quite a few differing opinions — on those 16 lists alone, we noted more than 150 unique titles — but also agreed across the board on a few knock-outs. After the jump, feast your eyes on the most popular books of the 2012 best book list season — and let us know if you agree with consensus or think the world’s gone mad in the comments.

Two Mentions

At Last, Edward St. Aubyn
The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675, Bernard Bailyn
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, D.T. Max
The Lifespan of a Fact, John D’Agata and Jim Fingal
The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, Tom Reiss
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East, Anthony Shadid
Tell The Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt
The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
Shine Shine Shine, Lydia Netzer
The Twelve, Justin Cronin
A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
Joseph Anton: A Memoir, Salman Rushdie
May We Be Forgiven, A.M. Homes
Carry the One, Carol Anshaw
My Heart is an Idiot, Davy Rothbart
Suddenly, A Knock on the Door, Etgar Keret
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, David Nasaw
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, Timothy Egan

Three Mentions

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up, Richard Lloyd Parry
Dear Life, Alice Munro
The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson
Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Megan Mayhew Bergman
Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

Four Mentions

Arcadia, Lauren Groff
Building Stories, Chris Ware
NW, Zadie Smith
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, Andrew Solomon
The Round House, Louise Erdrich
Canada, Richard Ford

Five Mentions

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, Anne Applebaum
This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. Four, Robert A. Caro

Six Mentions

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Seven Mentions

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers

Nine Mentions

Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel

The Best Book Lists We Consulted:

Publisher’s Weekly
Slate
TIME (Fiction)
TIME (Nonfiction)
Vogue
The Washington Post
Book Riot
Amazon
The Atlantic
Esquire
The Huffington Post
The New York Times
The Daily Beast
Newsday
Christian Science Monitor (Fiction)
Christian Science Monitor (Nonfiction)

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