Well, hello, Dear Readers, (whoa, “dear” is “read” spelled backwards! A coincidence?? I think not!). I just remembered that I haven’t yet put up my best books of 2014 list yet! I read a “some” (*laugh of pure insanity*) books in 2014 and have come up with a list of my 15 favorites. Some were published in 2014 and some were not. The only books I deemed ineligible were ones which I reread in 2014 but had read for the first time in a previous year. I also decided to only select one book per author in cases where I read multiple books by the same author over the course of the year.
The numerical order is (as always) irrelevant. I just really enjoy putting numbers in front of things.
1.) Before and Afterlives by: Christopher Barzak. This collection of short stories didn’t have a single flawed one in the bunch. Each story was beautifully written—Barzak’s use of language always stuns me—and the stories were sometimes funny, often heartbreaking, and always perfect.
2.) The Gamal by: Ciaran Collins. The voice of this novel stayed with me long after I finished reading it. Collins does a brilliant job with a truly memorable character.
3.) Visitation Street by: Ivy Pochoda. Tense and evocative. The neighborhood of this mystery came so fully to life in Pochoda’s writing that the reader truly feels as if they are involved in the story.
4.) All the Light We Cannot See by: Anthony Doerr. I had mixed feelings after reading this book (preferring other Doerr works), but the more I thought about it the more I was impressed with Doerr’s precision of language and the complex webs of the novel.
5.) Bird Box by: Josh Malerman. One of the most original horror concepts I’ve read in years. The fact that Malerman also writes with great skill and makes the reader care deeply about his characters makes this a pretty fantastic debut novel.
6.) Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert by: Michael Krondl. Not only is this books filled with delicious and delightful facts about dessert (which is basically I’d have asked for), but his writing is also compelling and the descriptions are lovely.
7.) Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by: Wendy Lesser. I feel like the title says it all. I love books about reading and Lesser writes wonderfully. Enough said.
8.) Siege 13 by: Tamas Dobozy. Each story in this collection feels like it’s been chiseled to its absolute purest, most perfect state. What a stunning group!
9.) Elizabeth is Missing by: Emma Healey. Save for an epilogue that I felt took away slightly from the beauty of the ending, this was a skillfully written book—sorrowful in just the right ways, an elegy for the still living.
10.) Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by: Diana Wynne Jones. Because DWJ forever.
11.) Station Eleven by: Emily St. John Mandel. Mandel is fast becoming a favorite author and this book further pushed me into fangirl mode. Mandel does dazzling things with the apocalypse—making it thoroughly original.
12.) The Cold Song by: Linn Ullmann. Gorgeous prose and a tightly wound story makes this a striking read.
13.) At Night, We Walk in Circles by: Daniel Alarcon. Lovely writing and a strangely layered story.
14.) Pastoral by: Andre Alexis. Alexis tackles faith and the natural world, writing about both with a tender humor and precisely lovely prose.
15.) The Silkworm by: Robert Galbraith and Mr Mercedes by: Stephen King. Yes, a bit of a cheat on my part. Yet, I feel these two connected in my head. In both cases, they are writers not necessarily known for the genre tackling more traditional detective novels. And, in both cases, the results are thoroughly enjoyable.
And, already looking ahead to 2015’s list, there are new books coming out this year by some of my absolute favorite authors: Kelly Link, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Kazuo Ishiguro, Andre Alexis, Daniel O’ Malley, and more. EXCITEMENT!