The end of every year heralds the inevitable arrival of the “Best Of” book lists. From the New York Times, to NPR, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Amazon and countless others, everybody has list. Usually they just serve as a reminder of how many books I didn’t get to this year and cause my reading list to just get longer and longer. But I took a few minutes to compare the various lists with what I’ve read and come up with a few titles that I would put on my “Best of 2014” list.
Martian by Andy Weir
The first manned mission to Mars is forced to evacuate due to a sudden dust storm. Believing him to be dead, crew member Mark Watney is accidentally left behind. Stranded, he must find a way to signal Earth and survive until he can be rescued. Marc draws on his ingenuity to overcome the harsh conditions of surviving on Mars. A fast-paced adventure, next year’s film release is sure to be a blockbuster with Ridley Scott directing and Matt Damon in the leading role.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Writing as Galbraith, JK Rowling has ventured into the adult mystery genre. But you don’t have to be a fan of the Harry Potter series to appreciate this well-written mystery series. Silkworm is the second title in this series featuring struggling private investigator Cormoran Strike. When a famous author goes missing, Cormoran is asked to track him down, but when the author turns up brutally murdered, Cormoran is drawn into a bizarre case. Strike is a flawed, yet likable character and the well-crafted mystery offers a satisfying conclusion. Rowling just announced last week that the BBC will be adapting this series for television.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
On a snowy night, Hollywood actor Arthur Leander is performing on stage in King Lear when he suddenly has a heart attack and dies. Meanwhile, across town the hospital has been overrun by patients dying from a deadly new strain of influenza. The story moves back and forth in time between Arthur’s past, and the future, in which society has collapsed and a Traveling Symphony travels between settlements performing Shakespeare because “survival is insufficient.”
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Readers who enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will want to check out this gripping suspense story. Mia Dennett has just been rescued from a kidnapping, but she has lost all memory of the event and insists her name is Chloe. Shifting perspectives between Mia’s mother, the detective working the case, the kidnapper and Mia, the story of Mia’s kidnapping slowly unfolds. A surprise ending makes for a very satisfying conclusion.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Is there a Best Of list that this book isn’t on? Ok, unfortunately, this is the one book on this list that I haven’t actually read yet. Because I’m still on hold for it! But based on the reviews and its popularity at the library, this story of a blind French girl and a German orphan during WWII will be worth the wait.