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The Best Books I Read in 2014

I read 43 books this year, for a grand total of 12,695 pages. The longest was Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which weighs in at 771 pages.

Here, listed alphabetically by author, are the 10 best:

Atkinson, Kate. Life After Life
Fergus, Jim. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
French, Tana. Faithful Place
Galbraith, Robert. The Cuckoo’s Calling
Galbraith, Robert. The Silkworm
Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Joyce, James. Dubliners
O’Nan, Stewart. The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch
Yates, Richard. Revolutionary Road

After compiling this list, I realize that only one, The Circus Fire, is nonfiction. Although I always read more fiction than nonfiction, I don’t think recall any recent year in which nonfiction was so sparsely represented.

*Pseudonym of J.K. Rowling

How about you? What were the 10 best books you read in 2014?

Book Recommendations

Best Books 2014

There Are Way Too Many ‘Best Of 2014′ Lists

If you despair over working your way through all these lists, just take a look at Hayley Munguia’s distillation:

I set about compiling lists of the best books, movies and TV shows of 2014 in prominent national publications.1 My colleague Andrew Flowers helped me run the numbers to see how much critics agreed. Here are the top 20 most frequently cited titles in each category2:

Here you’ll find all the information you need in digestible form.

2014’s Best Books on Psychology, Philosophy, and How to Live Meaningfully

The incredible Maria Popova (how does she find so much time to read?) of Brain Pickings offers her selections:

How to be alone, wake up from illusion, master the art of asking, fathom your place in the universe, and more.

The opening paragraph contains links to her lists in other categories as well.

What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?

In this special year-end edition of Bookends, all 15 columnists share their favorite reading experience of 2014.

Schwarzman, Piketty, Kerry, Gorman Pick Best Books of ’14

Here’s something a bit different:

responses to the annual Bloomberg News survey, which asked CEOs, investors, current and former policy makers, economists and academics to name their favorite reads in 2014.

Our favorite books of the year

_ The A.V. Club_ invited our regular books writers to pick their favorite titles released in 2014. Since very few of our contributors read the same list of books each year, a ballot system doesn’t work as well. Here is a list of our 2014 book recommendations, from reviewed favorites to unsung gems.

The 100 best books of 2014: The Star’s staff and reviewers recommend their favorites of the year

From the Kansas City Star.

Stuart Kelly: Diversity rules in non-fiction

NON-FICTION is at its finest when it shows how diverse it can be. Stuart Kelly picks out some of this year’s books that stayed truest to that principle.

Because there aren’t enough lists devoted exclusively to nonfiction.

11 best mysteries and crime novels of 2014

From Adam Woog of The Seattle Times, because I’m a big mystery fan.

Best books of 2014: The Seattle Times lists its top 35 titles

Includes lists of both fiction and nonfiction.

The best psychology books of 2014

From The Guardian.

The best nature books of 2014

From GrrlScientist, via The Guardian.

Six Books We Missed This Year

From The Atlantic:

In the holiday spirit, now is a moment to mention an array of 2014 books across the non-fiction and fiction spectrum I wish we hadn’t missed—and to ask their authors to pay it forward, and single out a few books themselves. What recent work has caught their expert eye? What book, however old, helped them write the one they’ve been busy promoting?

The Best Books of 2014

From Mother Jones:

In what’s become an annual tradition, we invited Mother Jones staffers to write up their favorite books published this year, the ones they’d recommend to friends and relations, and so here they are.

There are also links here for “Best Food Books of 2014” and “The 10 Best Albums of 2014.”

Sometimes You Can’t Pick Just 10: Maureen Corrigan’s Favorite Books Of 2014

From the book critic for NPR (National Public Radio)

Their Shelf Life Will Continue

At year’s end, The New York Times’s three daily book critics explain what goes into making our year-end lists. It’s an explanation liable to make heads spin, but it’s born of necessity. We can’t make trustworthy “10 best” lists because none of us reads everything, even though each of us reads quite a lot. So each critic’s list includes only books that the critic reviewed during 2014.

I know we’ve heard a lot from the New York Times, but their explanation of how they compile their best books lists seems relevant.

And how could we not feature the personal favorites of Michiko Kakutani?

The publisher’s year: hits and misses of 2014

Which books took off and which failed to sell? Publishers choose their books of the year, and the ones that slipped through the net

From Britain’s The Guardian.

2014 in Review: David L. Ulin looks at the year in books

From the book critic of the Los Angeles Times.

The best popular medicine books of 2014

From GrrlScientist, for The Guardian:

Today’s list of “best of” are my choices of books published in 2014 that focus on the topics of human biology, psychology and medicine. This genre always produces a large and (mostly) excellent collection of books, so it was difficult to limit my choices to just “a dozen or so” titles that I think you will enjoy.

At the end of this list you’ll also find links to her other lists: Best Birds Books, Best Nature Books, Best Popular Science Books (Biological sciences) and Best Popular Science Books (Physical sciences).

Favorite Books of 2014

From James Wood, for The New Yorker.

Books: Jay Strafford’s favorite books of 2014

Both fiction and nonfiction recommendations from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The 22 Most Exciting Literary Debuts Of 2014

These are the voices in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that kept our eyes glued to the page.

From Arianna Rebolini, for BuzzFeed

The Year in Books: Asian America’s Must-Reads of 2014

Need new book ideas now that your Asian-American Literature class is over? Check out some of the books published by Asian-American authors in 2014. From food to family, comedy to color, these books will be next on your must-read list.


The 28 Best Books By Women In 2014

Compiled by Daniel Dalton for BuzzFeed:

Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that killed it this year. Ranked in no particular order.

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And finally, because 2014 is now so passe:

12 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2015, aka the Titles We Can’t Get Our Hands On Soon Enough

13 of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2015, aka What You Need to Be Reading From January Through March

Book Recommendations

Best Books 2014

Jonathan Yardley’s favorite books

This is not a “best books of the year” list:

As longtime Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley retires this week, he lists some of the books he’s cherished most during his 33-year tenure with Book World. Some of the titles here he reviewed for The Post, and others he read for the first time over those years.

Yardley chooses his favorites of both fiction and nonfiction.

Sound Off: What book influenced you the most?

This also is not a best books of the year list:

The holiday season is when many books are given as gifts. We asked member of the Times-Union/ Email Interactive Group which book, besides the Bible or other essential religious work, has had the most influence on them and why?

Our picks for the best books of 2014

From the book reviewers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The best crime and thrillers of 2014

From the U. K.’s The Guardian:

Louise Welsh’s dystopian tale of plague in London and Tom Rob Smith’s Swedish family chiller are among the highlights in this year’s roundup

Best fiction of 2014

From The Boston Globe. There’s also a link to the newspaper’s complete list of the year’s “top picks for children, teens, and adults, for fans of fiction and nonfiction, lovers of sports and thrillers, devotees of poetry and all things New England.”

The Best Fiction for Christmas: Literary novels of 2014

John Boland on a dozen literary novels that made this year special

The best biographies of 2014

The Guardian strikes again.

Book Recommendations

Best Books 2014

The best biographies and memoirs of 2014 

From the U. K.’s The Guardian: “ this year’s roundup of life writing.”

The best poetry books of 2014

Also from the U. K.’s The Guardian

Best Books 2014: Slate Staff Picks

Slate’s columnists, editors, and bloggers pick their favorite books of the year.

Our Favorite Books of 2014: Newsweek Staff Picks

Though far from exhaustive (our apologies, Monsieur Piketty), this 20-book list is meant as a small glimpse at the books we read and loved in 2014. It’s an eclectic grouping, ranging from scholarly tomes about tax policy to National Book Award winner Phil Klay’s war vignettes to blog-to-book offerings from The Toast’s Mallory Ortberg and Pitchfork Reviews Reviews’ David Shapiro.

Books of the year 2014: Literary memoirs

From another U. K. publication, The Independent. This article includes a link to the publication’s other Best Books of 2014 lists.

Page turners

The Economist offers its list of the years best books in politics and current affairs; history; economics and business; science and technology; culture, society, and travel; and fiction.

Best books of 2014

Newsday’s books editor and regular reviewers highlight their 10 favorite books of 2014.

Ayelet Waldman Rages Against the New York Times Notable Books List. Here’s How the Sausage Gets Made.

Not everyone is happy about these “best books of 2014” lists:

The New York Times unveiled its annual roundup of “100 Notable Books” Tuesday, throwing a flattering light on 2014’s top fiction and nonfiction offerings. But one author did not come off in a flattering light: Ayelet Waldman stormed Twitter to complain that her novel Love and Treasure wasn’t on the list, despite a favorable review from the Times back in May. (For what it’s worth, Waldman’s skin seems to have unique, flattering-light-repellant properties. She’s a provocateur who has detailed the trials of perhaps not loving her children enough and of being the only mother in her social circle to enjoy a passionate, consuming sex life.)

Waldman’s opening shot:

”I am really not dealing well with having failed to make the @nytimes notable book list. Love & Treasure is a fucking great novel IISSM.”

According to this article, Waldman has deleted her tweets, but there’s a link to a site that displays them.

Why shouldn’t Ayelet Waldman complain?

Ron Charles of the Washington Post offers his take on the Waldman affair.

Book Recommendations

Best Books 2014

The “best books of the year” lists will be coming thick and fast. I’ll try to keep up with them here.

Writers pick the best books of 2014: part one

It’s been a year of calls to action. Naomi Klein tackled climate change, Owen Jones got to grips with class politics, and Russell Brand preached revolution. Writers from Hilary Mantel to Lena Dunham recommend the titles that leaped out at them this year.

From the U. K.’s The Guardian.

Writers pick the best books of 2014: part 2

From Britain’s brilliantly inventive Ali Smith to America’s master storyteller Richard Ford, from Michael Lewis’s cautionary tale of Wall Street renegades to Henry Marsh’s candid account of neurosurgery, writers, our critics and others pick their favourite reads of 2014. Plus, what they hope to find under the Christmas tree.

A companion piece to the one above.

Goodreads: Best Books of 2014

The Amazon-owned site says that 3,317,504 votes were cast in this compilation of readers’ favorite books in 20 categories.

The Best Books Of 2014

Editors at Huffington Post discuss their choices.

100 Notable Books of 2014

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Book Recommendations Best Books of 2014

2014 Best Books of the Year: The Top 100 in Print Format

via Best Books of 2014.

Yes, the Best Books of 2014 lists are beginning already.

The link here features Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng as top book of the year.

If you click around this page a bit, you’ll find Amazon’s other lists (e.g., best cookbooks, best mysteries & thrillers).