Best of 2014

Okay, it’s time for my best-of list. I made this list really quickly because I’m not sure agonizing over what I put here will lead to a better list. I go with my gut impulse instead. But I think my gut impulse is pretty reliable!

Best Fiction:

  • Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill
  • Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
  • A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
  • Kindred, by Octavia Butler

Best Mysteries:

  • A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin
  • Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke

Best Nonfiction:

  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast
  • Men We Reaped, by Jesmyn Ward
  • My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead
  • On Immunity, by Eula Biss

Best Poetry:

  • Bough Down, by Karen Green

Best Short Story Collection:

  • I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying, by Matthew Salesses

Best Essay Collections:

  • Notes From No Man’s Land, by Eula Biss
  • Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin

Books I Brought Up in Conversation and Recommended Most Often:

  • Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz
  • A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin

Funniest Book (and best book to have on hand Christmas day to make your bookish family read chapters of):

  • Texts from Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg

And a shout-out to the best book published by a friend, which is really great book and could go on my best-of list easily: Michelle Bailat-Jones’s Fog Island Mountains.

Happy reading in 2015 everyone!

12 Comments

Filed under Books

12 responses to “Best of 2014

  1. I loved Dept of Speculation too. And considering picking up My Life in Middlemarch today. Initially, I was just in love with the cover design but quite a few readers with whom I share likes and dislikes have raved about it. Just wondering if I should read the Eliot first to brush up? Or if it’s necessary? Great lists! Happy reading in the new year!

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    • That’s a tough one. If you are planning on reading Middlemarch any time soon, I’d do that first, but otherwise, don’t wait to read Mead, as you can enjoy it without knowing the novel. It’s been years and years since I’ve read it and I felt like I got what I wanted out of Mead’s book.

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  2. I liked Dept. of Speculation a lot too but it got pushed out of my top five by a few other really spectacular books I read. I keep telling people about Being Wrong too! Such a good book. I am on the waitlist at the library for the Chast, Biss and Ortberg books. Really looking forward to them. Happy New Year!

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  3. rohanmaitzen

    Such an interesting and varied list! It’s always amazing how little overlap there is among these lists, too. I have read literally one of the books on your list — but I did just, by coincidence, pick up A Kiss Before Dying from the library.

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  4. I’m taking note of your faves – I have Americanah on my shelf and I just know I’m going to love it. Must get to it soon. Happy New Year!

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  5. Oh, I’m excited to A Kiss Before Dying here. It’s one I recommend and talk up a lot too. Some of the best plotting I’ve ever encountered.

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  6. What you like, I like – I still find our reading/book acquisition habits to be on parallel lines from time to time! I’ve just got hold of an essay collection by Meghan Daum called Unspeakable that looks pretty cool. Just saying!

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