Before it’s time to post my lists of 2014 Favorite Books and Audiobooks, I’d better post this wish list of books I wanted to read in 2014, but haven’t gotten to yet. I also still want to read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and some of the other books that got so much buzz this year (Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Revival by Stephen King, etc.) but I don’t need my own copies of those!
History of the Rain by Niall Williams
We are our stories. We tell them to stay alive or keep alive those who only live now in the telling. That’s how it seems to me, being alive for a little while, the teller and the told.
So says Ruthie Swain. The bedridden daughter of a dead poet, home from college after a collapse (Something Amiss, the doctors say), she is trying to find her father through stories—and through generations of family history in County Clare (the Swains have the written stories, from salmon-fishing journals to poems, and the maternal MacCarrolls have the oral) and through her own writing (with its Superabundance of Style). Ruthie turns also to the books her father left behind, his library transposed to her bedroom and stacked on the floor, which she pledges to work her way through while she’s still living.
I’m a sucker for a book cover that looks like this one on History of the Rain.
The bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning novel hailed as “a true achievement. Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, and in so doing created a novel for the 21st, something utterly new. The pages fly.”—New York Times Book Review
I started The Luminaries but it’s a long one (864 pages) and I had to keep setting it aside for book club reads and review copies. Now it’s out in paperback, and if I had a copy of my own, I wouldn’t have to keep borrowing it from the library and returning it.
For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Mona Simpson, and Jhumpa Lahiri comes a winning, irreverent debut novel about a family wrestling with its future and its past.
With depth, heart, and agility, debut novelist Mira Jacob takes us on a deftly plotted journey that ranges from 1970s India to suburban 1980s New Mexico to Seattle during the dot.com boom. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is an epic, irreverent testimony to the bonds of love, the pull of hope, and the power of making peace with life’s uncertainties.
I like the sound of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, and hope for a family story to sink into over the winter. It comes in nice and long at just over 500 pages.
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
I was really impressed with The Lola Quartet, this young author’s last novel, so, although this one sounds completely different, I’m curious about it. It’s been getting a lot of buzz, and was a National Book Award finalist.
And just for fun…
Mix holiday drinks like a pro with the help of this book from the editors of the award-winning Imbibe Magazine. Cocktails for the Holidays features favorite seasonal recipes from bartenders around the world—50 classic and contemporary recipes for every festive occasion.
What books have I left off my list of must-reads for 2014?