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2014 Favorites — Books & Audiobooks in One Big List

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!

Links go to my reviews (if I wrote one), either here on the blog or on LibraryThing (baystateRA).

2014 Favorite Books

Alena by Rachel Pastan
Penguin, 2014

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
Knopf, 2014

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)
Harper, 2015
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
Viking, 2014
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
Knopf, 2012
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
Riverhead, 2014
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
Tantor, 2011

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
Hachette, 2013

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
HighBridge, 2014

Runners-Up

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.

Audiobooks

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny, narrated by Ralph Cosham
Macmillan, 2014

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
Brilliance, 2014

The Troop by Nick Cutter, narrated by Corey Brill
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014

20th-Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, narrated by David LeDoux
HarperCollins, 2007

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Random House Audio, 2014

Books

The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker
Penguin, 2013

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Viking, 2014

The Unread

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
Penguin, 2014

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Knopf, 2014

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman [2015 Update=Reviewed]
Atria, 2014

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (won from Leeswaame’s Blog during the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop — thanks, Judith!)
HarperCollins, 2014

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Penguin, 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Knopf, 2014

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Click to check out my Top Five of 2014 and lists created by other LibraryThing users!

Can’t get enough Best Of 2014 lists? Visit Largehearted Boy for best-of book lists gathered together for you in one place.

12 thoughts on “2014 Favorites — Books & Audiobooks in One Big List”

  1. Sometimes when I read these lists I wonder why I didn’t include a particular book on my list, and realize I read it before 2014. And in fact most of my books for this year’s list weren’t from 2014. I always envy those people who read so many published in the current year they are able to do a decent list of the actual year!

  2. I wonder if I had read The Vacationers if I would have liked it more? Great list though – lots of interesting books to read OR listen to. Happy New Year! (and yay! I’m glad we agree on Life After Life. – loved that book)

    1. I know a lot of people didn’t like The Vacationers. You must have been one of them! I started Life After Life in print twice, and put it aside both times pretty quickly (had to bring it back to the library both times), but the audiobook edition drew me right in and was fantastic!

  3. Ive only lately discovered Steinbeck. I avoided him for years having failed to get far with Grapes of Wrath but then got persuaded to read Mice and Men and Cannery Row both of which I loved. East of Eden could be next

  4. Same here regarding not reading as many books from the current year, but older books often make for better discussions 🙂 You read some great books, and I like how you included those you didn’t get to – easier to get to them this year as you won’t forget. Happy new year!

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