These books weren’t all published in 2014 and, since I haven’t read most of this year’s prize-winners, I don’t claim that they’re the best of this year’s crop of new books, either. They’re just the ones that I read and loved this year, and want other people to read!
2014 Favorite Books
Alena by Rachel Pastan
Reminiscent of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, with the main character the new curator for edgy museum of contemporary art on Cape Cod, taking the place of the title character, Alena.
The Arsonist by Sue Miller
Summer homes are burning one by one in a small New Hampshire town, bringing class tensions to a boil.
Driving the King by Ravi Howard (ARC)
A major theme of this novel narrated by Nat King Cole’s chauffeur/bodyguard is racial inequality under the law in Montgomery, Alabama, and across the U.S. in the ’50s – very resonant for the current time.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Classic chunkster — family saga with good vs. evil: fathers, brothers, sisters, and wives.
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson
William Morrow, 2014
Suspend disbelief and go along for the “sexy, electric thrill ride,” as Dennis Lehane suggests.
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
This is the conclusion to a trilogy, so if you like dark urban fantasy and read The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, start with The Magicians and The Magician King.
The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis
Harper Perennial, 2014
My #1 favorite book of 2014! This story of childhood love, friendship, and adult betrayal starts and ends in Provincetown, Mass., on the very tip of Cape Cod.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Simon & Schuster, 2013
Took me a while to get around to reading this romantic comedy with Asperger’s, but once I did, I loved it and you probably will too!
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Took me even longer to read this collection of linked stories about the adult children and grandchildren of Hattie, an African-American woman with a very hard life, but it was just as good as Oprah and everyone else said!
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
A dysfunctional New York family goes abroad for a final vacation before the break-up.
2014 Favorite Audiobooks
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, narrated by David Colacci
Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen, narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon, narrated by George Newbern
Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo, narrated by Sean Runnette
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, narrated by Jim Dale
Listening Library, 2003
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, narrated by George Guidall
Blackstone Audio, 2014
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, narrated by Fenella Woolgar
The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray
Brilliance Audio, 2014
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, narrated by Scott Brick
These are excellent books and audiobooks that I rated four or five stars in my LibraryThing catalog this year but, for one reason or another, didn’t make it into my top ten favorites of 2014, and mostly haven’t been reviewed by me yet.
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny, narrated by Ralph Cosham
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
The Troop by Nick Cutter, narrated by Corey Brill
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014
20th-Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, narrated by David LeDoux
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Random House Audio, 2014
The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Some of the 2014 books that I wanted to read and haven’t yet:
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Random House, 2014
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman [2015 Update=Reviewed]
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (won from Leeswaame’s Blog during the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop — thanks, Judith!)
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Can’t get enough Best Of 2014 lists? Visit Largehearted Boy for best-of book lists gathered together for you in one place.