Wrapped Up in Books 2014: Superlatives

I finished thirtysomething books this year. Some of them came out this year, but not all of them. I’ve decided not to concern myself with the date of such things. Art endures and is not limited by the calendar. Here’s the things I enjoyed the most.

Best Ending

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It’s not often that an ending makes you smile and think oh yeah, that’s right. This big book about love and racism in America and Nigeria ended so well that I was kind of stunned by it.

Best ‘I didn’t See That Coming’

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
It’s not often that an author can present a mystery in away that doesn’t seem contrived, coy, or obvious. E. Lockhart pulled off a mystery about a rich group of teens on a private island off Martha’s Vineyard so brilliantly that I spent most of a day racing to the finish, breathless and in awe at this clever, clever book. One of my favorites of the year.

The One That Cracked Me in Two

Love Me Back By Merritt Tierce
I don’t know if I’d really call this one a novel. It feels too disjointed. I’d call it fiction, like how they labelled Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. The writing in Tierce’s book of fiction is fierce, unmerciful, and so honest there were paragraphs that literally took my breath away. This was one of those books where I had to put it aside and then just breathe for awhile because it filled me with so much emotion. If you can handle excellent writing around a loose story, this is a good’un.

The One I Recommended to Everyone Who Asked What Book to Get Someone For Christmas

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I just wrote about this yesterday.

The I Have to Wait HOW Long for the Next Volume?

Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
The first trade paperback of Rat Queens was so good. I read it twice in a row. Nothing graphical I read this year can compare to the adventures of Hannah, Violet, Dee, and Betty. May which brings us Volume 2, can’t get here soon enough.

The Best Books Written by My Friends

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff & The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Steve’s book is a brilliant look at video games, gender, and teens falling in love. Lesh and Svetlana and great characters who I loved spending time with. Kelly’s book is about magic and bravery and family, and if you aren’t captivated by her stories, there’s something wrong with you.

The Best of the Best

Dept. of Speculation By Jenny Offill
FUUUUUuuuccccckkkk. I forgot how much I loved this book until Christa wrote about it (tomorrow, on MN Reads). It’s so fucking good that mere words don’t do it justice.

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