Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Librarians' Line-Up: Best books we read in 2014

As we begin 2015, we're reflecting on our favorites from 2014. We are an eclectic readership, so hopefully there's something for everybody here!

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
My favorite book I read in 2014 was Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore. This book, which is a mash-up on The Merchant of Venice, The Tragedy of Othello, "The Cask of Amontillado." It is also a sort-of sequel to Moore's earlier book, Fool. It's rare that a book be so smart and funny. It was well-written, filled with literary references, and hilarious. Even if you aren't familiar with the Shakespeare plays (and Poe story) it is loosely based on, this book is awesome.
~Cailey W.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie 
This is the best Sci-Fi novel that I’ve read in years (at least that wasn’t written by Charles Stross). Lots of really interesting stuff about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and different cultures, and multiple overlapping storylines. And lots of stuff blows up, which is essential in good science fiction.
~John F.

My favorite book this year was G. Willow Wilson’s 2010 memoir, The Butterfly Mosque. Wilson tells her story of moving from the USA to Cairo and converting to Islam. It’s an incredibly thoughtful book and, as it turns out, I had a lot of feelings about it, so this blurb turned into a full blown review, coming soon. 
~Meredith T.
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
Earlier this year I put The Shadow Hero on my Summer TBR list, and I loved it. While it may not have been the most thought-provoking book I read this year, I kept returning to it in between reading other books. It tells the story of Hank, a powerless shop boy who is pushed into super heroism by his well-intended but overbearing mother. He trains in martial arts and eventually becomes The Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero.

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My favorite book of 2014 was "Burn for Me" by Ilona Andrews.  This is the beginning of a new series by my favorite authors - Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife writing team. It is a very entertaining and engaging paranormal romance featuring magic users... and a slow-burn romance. A great, quick, fun read.
~Mary P.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I think I'll have to go with Station Eleven as my favorite--so much so that it compelled me to write a post about it. But I also have to say that I'm reading Harry Potter again, and I'll tell you it's just as good the third time around!
~Amanda D.

Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up by Grace Helbig
Anyone who is an avid YouTube viewer like me has likely heard of the hilarious vlogger Grace Helbig.  Much to my delight, Grace published a book this year called Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up.  Full of personal anecdotes detailing Grace’s many misadventures, this book is a sidesplitting must-read for millennials.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Contemporary gothic fiction is one of my favorite genres and The Thirteenth Tale is a great example of it.  When Margaret receives a letter from the famous author Vida Winter requesting Margaret to listen to and record the details of her mysterious childhood, she reluctantly accepts. The book jumps between the time in which Margaret is listening to the story while simultaneously dealing with her own personal tragedies, and the true story of Vida Winters past. Both taking place in old estates, the book is full of mystery, ghosts, and family secrets. There is a lot of backstory in the first part of the novel so the plot builds slowly, but I am happy that I stuck with it because it turned out to be a beautiful and heartbreaking story about the love between siblings, childhood trauma, and being forced to grow up too fast.

This book taught me not to judge books by their genre! Although this is a science fiction (stress on science) novel, it was the perfect combination of humor, science, survival, and character building all set at a speedy pace. I was surprised at how hilarious the main character could be and I thought the story was incredibly interesting and fun.
~Kristin M.

And what about you? What was your favorite book in 2014??

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