2014 Year in Review

It seems I neglected to do one of these last year, because reasons, I guess, but I have read so many fantastic books this year that I can’t not remind you all about how awesome they are. Here are a few top-five lists to help pad out your TBR for the coming year. I went with five so that I would have to narrow things down a bit, and it was surprisingly difficult to leave some books off the list! All lists are in alphabetical order because I cannot choose, people.

Top 5 favorite adult books published in 2014:

I had a pretty good year of reading current books, some of them even in advance through my fancy librarian hookups! None of these are probably surprises, as they are all pretty widely popular, but hey, maybe you’ll find something new!

Lock In, by John Scalzi — This book beat out some others that were probably technically better books, but Lock In wins on its fantastic premise and sneaky gender politics.
The Martian, by Andy Weir — Holy cats, guys, this book. Go read it. You’ll love it. Unless you don’t like snark and science and fun, in which case, I’m not sure why you’re here.
My Real Children, by Jo Walton — My first Walton but not my last. I was expecting something more sci-fi-y, but I got domestic fiction and I liked it anyway. I am still sad over that ending.
The Secret Place, by Tana French — I adore Tana French, and this is no exception. I am eagerly awaiting her next book already!
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel — Ditto the above; my first Mandel but not my last, and the best super-flu book I read this year, which is, surprisingly, saying something.

Top 5 favorite adult books read in 2014 but published earlier:

This list was probably the hardest to cull, largely because it had the biggest pool to draw from but also because I did a good job picking out great backlist books to read!

Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie — Guys, this is a book about a person who used to be a spaceship. Nothing else I say can persuade you more.
Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell — The book that made my bff go, wait, this is a book that you like? Adorable dudes being adorable and awesome ladies bringing on the snark? People quasi-stalking each other before Facebook? Um, yes, I loved it.
Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan — I did not think I would like this book at all, but I was quickly swayed by the absurd characters and fabulous wealth and general insanity. Not laugh-out-loud funny like Bernadette, but super amusing nonetheless.
The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara — I’m still angry about the ending, which is a good thing, I’m sure. A great book club read if your book club isn’t averse to throwing books across the room.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple — Oh, my goodness, I don’t think I could have loved this book more if I tried. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, and wonderful and it hit me right when I needed to be amused.

Top 5 favorite YA books read in 2014 and published whenever:

I read surprisingly few YA books this past year; I’m going to have to work on that, I think! But all of these were super amazing and you should go check them out right now.

Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King — I may have a girl crush on A.S. King, and this book is a pretty good manual for how to deal with that sort of thing, so that’s useful.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell — omg college, you are both the best and the worst. Another adorable love story from RR, with bonus slash fic love story that will soon be a real book of its own and I’m so excited!
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King — The best book you’ll ever read involving a petrified bat.
Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein — Historical fiction what? A fantastic follow-up to Code Name Verity and a great book on its own, too, but go read Verity first because it’s the best.
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson — Awesome action and adventure from beginning to end. The sequel comes out next week. Squee!

Top 3 favorite comics read in 2014 and published whenever:

I guess I could have done five here, but there are really only three that I think make the top cut. There will definitely be more to talk about next year, if the pile of comics on my bookshelf is any indication!

Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona — Muslim, Pakistani, teenage superhero from Jersey City. Done. Sold.
Rocket Girl, by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder — I’m surprised I haven’t been hearing more about this comic, but I guess a year-long hiatus will do that. I was sold at “teen cop from 2013 goes back to 1986 to stop her future from ever happening”.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — This one lives up to its name, with star-crossed lovers and political intrigue and books that can end wars and Lying Cat. Lying Cat is the best.

Notes:

I had a pretty good genre year, with lots of sci-fi/speculative fiction and a couple of cuuuuute love stories and even historical fiction in my top lists. I like that my favorites are pretty even, gender-wise, with 10 ladies and 6 dudes in the writer’s slot on these 18 books (2 are repeat ladies). I am pretty sad that there are only 2 non-white writers (and 1 non-white artist on Ms. Marvel), they’re mostly Americans (though I do have most of the British Isles covered), and absolutely nothing in translation made it to the list, but that’s what my personal I Need Diverse Books project is for, after all. I’m pretty sure things will look better this time next year. If you have recommendations for that project, or for books I may have missed in 2014 or earlier, leave them in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “2014 Year in Review

  1. Carl V. Anderson says:

    You did have a good year, that is a great list of books. Hard to believe, as big a fan of Scalzi as I claim to be, that I haven’t read Lock In. I did enjoy the prequel novella, Unlocked, so I expect I’ll like the novel when I get to it.

    • Alison says:

      I really loved Unlocked, so it took me a bit to get into Lock In, which is written in a drastically different style. But if you like crime procedurals, you’ll probably be into it!

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