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Special Features

Here’s where you can keep track of our various limited-run series about books—we launch a new one of these every few months. Most of them feature phenomenal books that our contributors have loved, so this is a great place to snoop around for your next read. To find ongoing columns and features, mouse over the “Ongoing Features” box in the upper nav bar above.

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Top 5 Books

We copped the idea from High Fidelity and asked our contributors put together a “top 5″ list of books on a theme of their choosing.

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Deserted Isle Books

If you were stranded on a deserted island, for the rest of your life, with no hope for rescue and only one book, what would it be? We’ve asked our contributors that very question, and in these posts they tell us what book they would bring with and why.


2011 Edgar Award nominees

Just like 2010, Nico reads and reviews all the Edgar nominees in the Best Novel category, to sift through the pretenders and unearth the contenders. If you’re looking for a mystery, start here—or follow all the Edgar coverage here.


The Best Books of 2010

It is what it says. These are our contributors’ picks for the best books published in 2010. Click the link above to browse the entire series of posts, or click here to see all our favorite books of the year on one easy-to-browse page.


I Loved This Book When…

In this series, our contributors each discuss a book they loved at a specific time in their lives. That time might be vague (like, “in college”) or specific (like, “after I got hit by a car”). We’ll explore how books impact the way we live and the people we are, and along the way, we’ll recommend some great reads, too.


Read This Book Now

Put down what you’re doing and read these books immediately. Each entry is a single book hand-picked by one of our contributors. This series features everything from autobiographies to classics to sprawling contemporary novels like Let the Great World Spin. Find out why we love these books.


2010 Edgar Award nominees

Unlike most other C4 series, this one doesn’t focus exclusively on phenomenal books. Instead, these posts are reviews and rankings of all 12 books nominated for 2010 Edgar Awards—given by the Mystery Writers of America—in the categories Best Novel and Best First Novel By An American Author (click links to filter that category, or header link to see them all). Some of the 12 are good, some are very, very bad—be warned.


The Best Books of 2009

It is what it says. These are our contributors’ picks for the best books published in 2009, with a few great books from 2008 tossed in for good measure. This is the ideal place to catch some great books you might have missed. Click the link above to browse the entire series of posts, or click here to see all our favorite books of the year on one easy-to-browse page.


Literary Beach Books

Each post in our Literary Beach Books series will suggest four or five enjoyable page-turners that won’t leave you feeling intellectually lobotomized like certain popular bestsellers. If you like thoughtful, well-written novels, but still want to relax with a ripping good yarn, this is the series for you.


Babytown Frolics

This isn’t a proper series or a category, it’s just the place we put the worst books we read. We love books, and we love reading great books, but we don’t issue free passes. When a publisher lets a truly awful book out into the world, we call shenanigans. Sometimes, those reviews are kind of funny. Find them by clicking the header, or find a longer explanation of the Frolics here. If this isn’t your thing, we’ve also got Great Reads, the place we put the best books we read.