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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Library Journal's Best Books of 2014

Seems a little early to me but Library Journal put out their Best Books list first this year. Of the top 10 titles - 6 of them are fiction and 4 are nonfiction. They have separate lists for genre fiction which I may cover later but here is their top 10.

Roxane Gay's An Untamed State (Fiction) came out in May. It is the story of a woman of privilege in Haiti who is kidnapped for ransom. Her wealthy father refused to pay while her husband fights for her release over thirteen days.

Glenn Greenwald's No Place To Hide (Nonfiction) came out in January. It is the Edward Snowden story told from the point of view of the journalist that Snowden first contacted.

Mark Harris's Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War (Nonfiction) came out in February. It is the story of how Hollywood changed WWII. and how WWII changed Hollywood through the eyes of 5 film directors (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens).

Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings (Fiction) came out this month, in October. It offers
 a fictional investigation of the attempted assassination of reggae star Bob Marley and travels from 1970s Jamaica, to 1980s New York and back to the Jamaica of the 1990s.

Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction (Nonfiction) came out in February. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions where multiple species disappeared. This is an account of the disappearances occurring all around us today.

Gary Krist's Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans (Nonfiction) yesterday, October 28th.  This is the story of the early-20th century battle in New Orleans between the city's elite "better half" and the underworld - personified in Tom Anders, the head of the city's vice district.

David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks came out in September. This plot is kind of confusing. If anyone remember Cloud Atlas you might know what I mean. It beings with a 15 year old Holly Sykes who packs up and leaves home after a fight with her mother over her boy friend. Then, when she goes to the boy friends, she finds him in bed with someone else so she wanders further away. Suddenly, her reality changes and her younger brother who gave her a labyrinth comes up missing. Then, it becomes even harder to follow for me. Obviously that is not true of the people from Library Journal.

David Nicholls' Us came out at the end of September. Douglas and Connie Petersen are preparing for a trip across Europe with their 17 year old son before he leaves home for the university. Connie tells Douglas that she will be leaving also and is thinking of a divorce. Douglas thinks by planning the perfect trip, he can win back the love of his wife and repair his relationship with his son. Nothing goes as planned.

Jane Smiley's Some Luck came out in October. This made the LibraryReads October list. It is the beginning of a trilogy celebrating family farming and follows the lives of an Iowan farm family over 30 years beginning in 1920.

Lastly Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry came out in April. This one also made the LibraryReads list and I loved it. It was such a delightful uplifting story. This is the story of A.J. Fikry, the grouchy owner of Island books and how it changes with just one addition.

If you haven't read one of these, perhaps this list will tempt you.

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