Atif Mian’s “House of Debt” makes it to the Best of the Best Reading list for 2014

They’re everywhere. You can’t escape them. You can even set your watch by them. Every year, as the air begins to chill and radio stations begin flipping the Christmas music switch, the inevitable comes: the annual year-end “best of” lists.

These lists of course tell us which books, movies and TV shows the critics liked best. But a closer look also reveals which cultural products critics agreed upon most this year — for books, it was Marilynne Robinson’s “Lila”; for movies, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”; and for TV, Amazon’s “Transparent.”

These titles appeared so frequently on 2014 “best of” lists that it made me wonder about the whole year-end enterprise. If the lists basically agree, do we really need so many of them?

I spoke to Maureen Ryan……

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