Normally I am beyond not excited by the end-of-year best lists. Partially this is because I get my books from the library, and the waiting lists for new books tend to be long (meaning I rarely get books in the year they were published, particularly in the latter half of the year). But primarily it is because I resent reading on anyone else's schedule, and having to read books just because they're new (unless they're by authors I really love) definitely feels like reading on someone else's schedule.* I am actually a very poor "social reader"--meaning I'm not particularly interested in chatting over the latest books with others who have read them. All of this contributes to me really not caring a whole lot about which books are called each year's "best."
But I still like to look over these lists, which is a good thing, because they're tough to avoid right now. One of my favorite lists is always the New York Times 100 Notable Books; usually I peruse it just to see how few books I've read from it. This year I have another pathetic total: One of the fiction titles (The Tenth of December, by George Saunders--although I am currently waiting for library copies of two other titles on the list), and two from the nonfiction list (George Packer's The Unwinding, and Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial). In looking over the list just now I put a few titles on hold at the library, but I can honestly say I'm just not interested in most of these books--I won't be reading Peter Baker's Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House, for instance, because, frankly, who could stand reliving the Bush regime?
So are there lists out there that I enjoy? Well, yes. I'm enough of an Anglophile to enjoy The Telegraph's List of 100 Best Books for Christmas--I simply MUST have the biography of Penelope Fitzgerald by Hermione Lee. I also typically enjoy the fiction and nonfiction bests lists at the Christian Science Monitor--but that may be just because I LOVE the CSM. Seriously. Are you reading the online version? There's always something interesting there, not just in the news department but also on such topics as money matters and parenting. They even have recipes!
But no, I'm not finding a lot of "best of" lists that light my fire. Are you?
*Mr. CR calls this sort of thing me being "difficult."