January Magazine's Best Books of 2002

Online review journal presents annual best of the year feature.
Of the thousands of books published in the English language in 2002, here are the 92 books January Magazine's editors and reviewers liked best.

"It was a year for killing trees. Almost -- though not all -- of the most talked about books of 2002 were huge, toe-breaking tomes that begged the question: do consumers want bigger books, or was it just one of those weird publishing coincidences? Whatever the case, serious reading in 2002 involved turning a lot of pages. As January contributing editor David Abrams notes in his write-up of the gargantuan The Crimson Petal and the White, "many trees nobly sacrificed their lives so that others may read."

Each year, January's editors and contributors are asked to select the titles they liked best. The criteria? The book has to have been published in the English language during the preceding 12 months. Of course, what's best is subjective and how it's quantified varies from reviewer to reviewer. We're not necessarily looking for an epic canvas, a huge cast of characters or a convoluted plot line. Rather, what's "best" are the books that touched us, made us pause or moved us in some deep and real way.

Our selections are listed in alphabetical order within genre. The book that is listed first in a genre wasn't necessarily our first choice, merely one of those chosen. Each book's description is bylined, so you can see which of our writers chose your own favorites. Did we miss your favorite altogether? Please let us -- and other readers -- know with a public comment. We love hearing from you."

Linda Richards
editor, January Magazine