Bonnie Garmus’s Debut Novel Lessons in Chemistry is the 2022 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

Press Release

New York, NY – November 11, 2022 – Barnes & Noble announces Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus as the winner of the 2022 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

Booksellers at Barnes & Noble each year vote for the book that they have been most proud to sell.  Their first round of voting produced an eclectic range of titles for the shortlist.  In the second round, Lessons in Chemistry triumphed.

“The enthusiasm of booksellers always results in a lot of fun with our Book of the Year and invariably produces a winner that dominates sales over the Holiday season.  Booksellers, after all, sell what they love,” said James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble.  “Lessons in Chemistry is one of those rare novels that punches hard, whilst being brilliantly funny and a compulsive read. It is sensational and everyone should read it.”

“I’m incredibly honored to learn Lessons in Chemistry has been chosen as Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year,” said author, Bonnie Garmus.  “Thank you to each and every Barnes & Noble bookseller for your tireless championing of the book, and special thanks to readers for reading, reviewing and recommending the book to others.  It really does take a village and I’m especially grateful for mine.”

Booksellers have heaped praise on the winner: 

  • “The writing is witty and brilliant … There are moments that had me laughing out loud, and others where I was fuming with Elizabeth Zott.  Being a female chemist in the ‘50s and ‘60s is no easy task, but Elizabeth Zott is fearless and brilliant … She is so quirky and lovable!” –Emily B, Nashua, NH

  • “Well written … laugh-out-loud funny.  Elizabeth Zott is a fabulous heroine.  Even though the book is set in the 1950s and 60s it speaks to issues faced by so many women today.  And you’ll never think of mushrooms in the same way again.” –Lisa M, Farmington, CT 

  • “Hooked from the beginning … One of the most satisfying, fun and irresistible reads I’ve had in a long time.  I need more Bonnie Garmus in my life.” –Scott B, Denver, CO

  • “Brilliant, smart, funny and gut-wrenching … This is such a unique book, perfect for book clubs and anyone who appreciates magnificent authors.” –Stacy A, Boston, MA  

This was a hard-fought year of bookseller voting and Lessons in Chemistry was chased to the line by a remarkably strong shortlist.  The vociferous support of booksellers was particularly focused on one other title and, to satisfy this passion, this year Barnes & Noble is proud to introduce a Speculative Fiction Book Award.

The inaugural Barnes & Noble Speculative Fiction Book Award for 2022 is given to R.F. Kuang’s Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translator's Revolution.

“Booksellers have been obsessing over and revisiting the dark magic, lavish lore and the atmospheric world not too far removed from our own of R.F. Kuang’s Babel,” said Shannon DeVito, Director of Books, Barnes & Noble.  “In response to this overwhelming bookseller enthusiasm and the growing fanbase we’ve seen for her books, we are so pleased this year to give the inaugural Speculative Fiction Book Award to R.F. Kuang.”

The other Book of the Year Finalists were: 

The Book of the Year tops off the bookseller’s impressive array of programs that champion the best of the best including Book Clubs, Discover Prize, Children’s & YA Book Awards and Game of the Season, shining a spotlight on the titles that Barnes & Noble booksellers are most excited about.   

The first Barnes & Noble Book of the Year was announced in 2019 and was awarded to Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse where bookseller enthusiasm propelled it onto bestseller lists, and is now regarded as a bookshelf staple and a publishing sensation.  Booksellers then selected World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil in 2020 and last year’s prestigious honor was bestowed upon Paul McCartney’s treasure trove spanning sixty-four years, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

Customers can find the Book of the Year and Book of the Year Finalists at their local Barnes & Noble and on  They can also join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, using the hashtag #BNBoTY. 

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