It’s that time of year when books of 2014 round-ups are appearing everywhere. I might not have the prestige of a national newspaper, or the fame of a top writer, but hopefully my choices will throw up a few books to add to your to-read pile. Most of my choices are, by complete coincidence, by women. Here goes…
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
If I had to pick favourites from my books of the year, this would be one of them. A beautiful, literary post-apocalyptic tale about art, the interpretation of it, memory and community, Station Eleven is as close to perfection as you can get in book form.
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
I read this book months and months and months ago, and when I think about it, it still feels as though someone is squeezing my heart. This would be the other book I’d pick if I was picking favourites of my favourites, because even though it’s harrowing and painful, it’s also utterly brilliant.
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
I’m not a funny book type of person, but Dear Committee Members is not just funny, it’s witty and moving and a little bit sad. And it’s also written entirely as letters, all by one person, which shouldn’t work. But it does.
The Storms of War by Kate Williams
Epic family drama against the background of the First World War, Williams covers feminism, love, desire and more in the first instalment of this series. Forget Downton Abbey, pick this up instead.
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
I’m not picking books by women on purpose (even though 2014 has been dubbed by many as the year of reading women), but there was just so much out there this year written by fabulous women. Not only is The Fair Fight written by an uber cool woman, its focus is also women who are busy breaking glass ceilings. This book kicks butt all around.
The Secret Place by Tana French
Yes, this is a crime novel, but it’s also a novel about teenage girls and the secret world they inhabit. French had me guessing the murderer until the very end, and also impressed me with how good she is at getting inside the mind of teenagers.
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
This is also a murder mystery, but of a completely different kind to The Secret Place. I loved the snarky narrator, the pop culture references and the sheer whodunnit-ness of it. This is a novel for right now, and it’s fun with it.
This book is a master class in how to do psychological thrillery type fiction, and that ending still has me stunned.My review
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Who knew a story about an old woman trying to track down her friend would have me on the edge of my seat? Healey’s book is moving, and packs as much of a punch as any thriller. It’s also a beautifully illustrated novel.
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
A book by a man! That’s not why this book is on my list though. It’s here because it’s a zombie novel that manages to not be about zombies at all, but about humanity and the places it can be found. Absolutely brilliant.My review