If you’re the kind of person who reads year-end book lists, odds are you’re already well aware that the Big Important Critics at the Big Important Newspapers and Newsweeklies loved There There by Tommy Orange, The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright, and Florida by Lauren Groff. And rightly so. We loved these books, too. But we also loved a handful of titles that, for one reason or another, got largely shafted by the literati (if there’s still such a thing).
To right this wrong, we’ve compiled a list of excellent, largely overlooked books, both fiction and nonfiction, that stuck with us this year. Many of them are outdoorsy (this is Men’s Journal, after all) while others cover subjects as diverse as fracking, racism, war, and beyond.