Monday, December 15, 2014

Best of 2014: Fiction and Non-Fiction


I'm still not sure what to think of 2014.  I definitely read less books than I have in awhile (90 total, 52 of them audio).  I always tend to blame myself...I say that I was moody and distracted, which was true.  But I think that if the books in general had been more compelling, I would have pulled out of those funks.  As a result, the lists are much shorter!

Here is how I'm going to break down my genres.  Today I'll talk about Fiction and my one lonely Non-Fiction book, all of them scored at 5 stars.  Tomorrow I'll talk about a few Graphic Novels that impressed me.  And finally I will go over my favorite Audiobooks, which are both Fiction and Non-fiction.  Just FYI, these books were not necessarily published in 2014, I just read them this year.


FICTION




Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel:  This girl has hit her stride.  Don't let the phrases "traveling performers" or "post-apocalypse" scare you off.  This is a story of humanity rising above the need to just survive after an epidemic wipes out 99% of the population.  It has gorgeous writing, the random human connections like little Easter eggs hidden within the story.  She didn't win the National Book Award this year, but give her time.  



Wool - Hugh Howey:  I'll be the first to admit that I don't like Science Fiction, so that should tell you how absolutely mind-blowing this book is.  Again, post-apocalyptic, and a world-building that is phenomenal...unique and fully-developed. I've just read nothing like it.  (Even more amazing, this guy started out as self-published until someone discovered him.)  And there are two more books in the series that I'm dying to read!  





Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty:  I've been a fan of this author for several years, and she just keeps getting better and better.  I love her for several reasons.  First, she just GET'S IT.  Being a woman, a mother, and wife.  And while she may come across as fluffy chicky lit, she digs into some serious territory.  In her latest book, she nails the whole parent/student dynamic at a small elementary school.  I feel like I've lived this.   Her setup and pacing is perfect, and is the fastest long book you'll ever read. 





We Were Liars - E. Lockhart:  This is another very fast read with a twisty plot and an unreliable narrator.  It is officially deemed a Young Adult book but it is suitable for anyone.  Not only is it twisty but so accurately captures magical summers and coming of age.  I laugh every time I think of one girl in my exercise class that was exercising and reading this at the same time because it is unputdownable.




Wolf - Mo Hayder:  I am completely addicted to this murder mystery series starring Detective Inspector Jack Caffrey, a guy who is damaged (of course, they all are).  The series is incredible dark and disturbing, and has been stringing us along on a few things.  Our protagonist gets some answers here, as well as a horrendous case.  It is the stuff of nightmares and I love it! 




The Wicked Girls - Alex Marwood:  This was a recommendation from Uncle Stevie, and I trust his sense of the macabre.  It was a well-told story, very fast-paced, very dark, but at this point, I don't remember a whole lot of the details.  So I'm not sure it belongs in the five star category but that is what I gave it at the time.


NON-FICTION



Devil's Knot - Mara Leveritt:  I've always been a little creepster about true crime.  I love analyzing the crazies, I love how you can Google the details, and it is terrifying because it is real.  This story?  As good as it gets.  Small town, a brutal murder of three little boys.  The local police go on a witch hunt and arrest three teens based on little more than rumor, prejudice and the coerced confession of one of the teens who is mentally handicapped.  The corruption goes all the way to the judge and the jurors, and these boys are convicted and serve FOR 17 YEARS before released.  This case is appalling, and if you need more, there are several HBO documentaries that allow you to see it all in it's full glory.  Doesn't matter if you are a fan of true crime or not, this is one you have to read.







13 comments:

JoAnn said...

Big Little Lies and We Were Liars - yes and yes! Must read Station Eleven soon...

bermudaonion said...

I read less this year too - I just have too much going on these days. I'm sad to say I haven't read the first book on your list.

susieq512 said...

I have to confess that I basically read 8 books this year and they were all Diana Gabaldon. I reread Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn, and then read the other four. I was preparing for the Outlander series on Starz. Did you watch the first half? It is outstanding! The casting perfect, in my opinion. Can't wait for the second half in April. I even went back and read your reviews, which were great, BTW.

Susan

Belle Wong said...

I'm going to have to check these out. The only one in my to-read pile is Station Eleven, but some of these other titles sound really good.

Ti said...

REALLY enjoyed Station Eleven. It's on my list as well.

Carrie said...

I'm putting Wool on my list to look at when the WHOLE series has been released. I'm tired of waiting between books and forgetting half the plot!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm still trying to figure out how I felt about Station Eleven...

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Station Eleven is going on my list too. I loved that books so much!

Beth F said...

I loved Station Eleven -- and I have Wool on my eReader.

Literary Feline said...

You still read more this year than I did. ;-)

I have heard such good things about Station Eleven. I have a copy. I just need to read it. :-)

Big Little Lies is another one I really want to read. And Wolf once I get to the other books in the series.

stacybuckeye said...

I haven't read any of these, but am amaking a note of them for 2015!

Jackie Bailey said...

Great selection! I love Liane Moriary, but haven't read Big Little Lies yet. I've been avoiding Station Eleven as I didn't think it sounded like my sort of thing, but it has been included on so many lists that I'm going to give it a go. Let's hope 2015 provides us with more books that pull us along in a fantastically entertaining way :-)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Big Little Lies made my top ten list of the year too. I think I need to read We Were Liars soon.