The Best Books I Read in 2014

Another 365 days of reading is over! Aside from books I have yet to finish (looking at you “Infinite Jest”), my goal this year is to reread some old favorites and read more women writers. That’s a pretty doable goal. Mark Zuckerberg’s is to read a new book every two weeks. You go, Mark Zuckerberg. Two years ago, I read a total of 22 books, but that’s because I had plenty of free time. It won’t hurt to try that again this year. Anyway, here are my favorite books of 2014.

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt’s third novel has drawn numerous comparisons to Harry Potter, albeit catering to a more mature audience. Despite the similarities (an orphan protagonist, a Hagrid-like character, a redheaded love interest), there’s little magic in “The Goldfinch.” This is a novel that tackles loneliness and loss. Even so, “The Goldfinch” is an entertaining page-turner. It’s worth reading for Donna Tartt’s masterful prose alone.

Fear of Flying

Let me start off by saying this book is full of sex. It’s the novel that coined the term “zipless fuck.” For the full definition, read this Wikipedia article. While it may seem dated, “Fear of Flying” shocked me with its fearlessness. Pun intended. It unflinchingly discussed female desire and sexuality. Jong’s Isadora Wing brims with wit, sass, and introspection.

Promiscuities

Let me start off by saying that this book is full of sex. Again. Naomi Wolf’s book uncovers how female sexuality is shaped by society. Recommended for slut shamers everywhere.

The Glass Castle

Jeanette Walls’ memoir about her poverty-stricken childhood is touching, bold, and often hilarious.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

I thoroughly enjoyed Joan Didion’s popular essay collection. One of my favorites is the oft-quoted “On Keeping a Notebook.”

The Imperfectionists

Anyone who has some sort of journalism background will appreciate this novel. Tom Rachman’s story about the correspondents of a newspaper in Rome is full of memorable characters and Oohhh I Didn’t See That Coming plot lines. Brilliantly written.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Dave Eggers’ memoir about the death of his parents is definitely heartbreaking. But in true Dave Eggers style, it’s funny as well. And is peppered with so. many. commas.

Pulphead

Whenever I need inspiration for my work, I read this book. But JJS’ genius never seems to rub off on me. “Mr. Lytle: An Essay” remains my favorite in this nonfiction collection. You can read the essay for free on The Paris Review.

Adverbs

One of Daniel Handler’s lesser-known novels is a book about love. Made up of 17 interconnected love stories, this is a heartwarming read that will leave a smile on your face once you’re done with it.

What books are you reading this year? Give me recommendations!

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