Best Books of 2014

Posted: November 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: personal | Tags: , , | No Comments »

This has been an interesting year in reading for me. I read a lot of books, about 65. I didn’t track them all, but I reviewed 25 books for Publishers Weekly, read 6 books in manuscript form, ¬†3 books for the Texas Book Festival panel I moderated in October, 6 books for our book club at work, and I got about 10 other books for free (review copies). I checked out 140 books at the library so far this year, but many of those were children’s books or books which I read only a portion of. ¬†Several of the books I reviewed will not be published until 2015 and many of the books I read for personal pleasure were published in years past. I’m not counting those for this list, but if I did, the blue-ribbon would go to Reif Larsen’s I am Radar. I’ll save that one for 2015. Here are some of the best things I read this year, published in 2014.

1. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

This was probably my most-anticipated book of the year. And I found it fairly disappointing. The first three fifths of the novel were excellent and Mitchell had me in thrall, gliding along on the expectation of a tight conclusion. But I could not find the urge to care enough about the science fiction angle of a supernatural battle. The first section, about Holly Sykes, sort of goes off the rails when Holly discovers a brutal murder caused by some sort of spirit or apparition. But I stuck with it for the next section, which is centered around Hugo Lamb. The story of his pursuit of Holly in a Swiss ski resort is expertly told, Mitchell at his best.

2. 10:04 by Ben Lerner

This, along with the Mitchell novel, was at the top of my list for 2014 novels. I adored Lerner’s first novel and had high hopes for his Atocha-Station-set-in-NY and there are parts of this book that are fantastic, but overall, I didn’t feel that the book had the narrative coherence Lerner was able to establish in Atocha Station.

3. My Struggle, volume 1, by Karl Ove Knausgaard

4. Women by Chloe Caldwell

5. Sister Golden Hair by Darcey Steinke

6. Fancy by Jeremy Davies

7. The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley.

Honorable Mentions: The David Foster Wallace Reader, Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis



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