Although the end of 2014 is still a couple of weeks away, I like to get my end of the year book lists written and posted before the holidays — by the time I get back from Christmas travel, I’m so busy thinking about the new year that it’s hard to get myself to go back.
First up, I’m sharing my favorite fiction reads of 2014. It’s important to note a few things about this list. First, it doesn’t include just books published in 2014, it’s pulled from all the books I read this year. However, now that I look closely, it seems that most of them actually were new releases this year… whatever!
Second, I don’t think these books are necessarily the best books of the year, they’re just the books that I loved most. And third, they’re listed in no particular order — I loved each of them nearly equally as much. With all those caveats off the table, on to the list!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – This inventive take on the post-apocalyptic novel grabbed me at the first page and didn’t let go. Reading straight through it during the fall Readathon is one of my top reading experiences of the year. (Review)
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – I just finished this book a few days ago and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a haunting look at how difficult it can be to communicate with the people we love, as well as a thoughtful look at the challenges facing a middle class, mixed-race family in the late 1970s. It was so good.
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood – This is the first short story collection I’ve read in a long while that seemed to hit me perfectly. Atwood is a masterful storyteller and really infuses every piece in this collection with a sense of past and future. (Review)
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman – The Magicians trilogy is probably not for everyone, but it was a perfect trilogy for me. I loved the way this book concluded these stories and I’m excited to see what Grossman works on next.
The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman – This quiet novel, about a thirty-something bookstore owner named Tooly digging into her past, didn’t get as much love and I thought it might. The book alternates between three threads, sharing Tooly’s history and exploring how she got to where she is. I read this one over my birthday weekend in July and loved it.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – This is another final book in a trilogy, this one a young adult fantasy set in a world much like Imperial Russia. It has a whip-smart, sarcastic, challenging main character and a bunch of vivid supporting cast members. It’s such a fun series. (Review)
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – I loved the way this book felt like three stories in one, held together by a distinct and well-drawn main character. (Review)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – Saga is one of the strangest most wonderful comic book series I’m struggling to describe the plot, so I’ll send you to Wikipedia and just say that this is so good and you should start reading it now.
Whew! It really was a wonderful year in fiction reading. I’ll be back at the beginning of next week with my list of top nonfiction for the year, sneaking that list in just before the holidays begin.
What was the best novel you read this year?