With Christmas fast approaching, we at Segullah thought it would be a great time to recommend some of our favourite book-related finds of 2014 for your viewing, reading and possible buying pleasure, roughly arranged by “recommended for”, and with the recommender’s initials afterwards.
- Non-fiction readers:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – by Susan Cain. For those who likes Malcolm Gladwell-type informative essays or who is interested in people-types. – DY
No Man’s Land, essays by Eula Biss. Recommended for more sophisticated literary readers who appreciate interwoven themes. – DY
The Boys in the Boat – by Daniel James Brown is a great read for anyone who likes nonfiction, history, and inspirational true stories. This would be a great book for older teens or young adults. – JC
- For historical fiction types:
I liked All the Light We Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr, for historical fiction types, people who like WWII, people who like interesting structures. I happened to be reading it simultaneously with The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer) and it made an interesting pairing-a fictional white German boy in the 1940s and a young Malawian boy in the 2000s both using radios-disassembling them, finding scrap parts, etc.-to find their life paths. – MY
The Meaning of Names by Karen Shoemaker was an off-the-beaten-track find, beautifully written about a German American settlement in Nebraska during WW1. – AW
- For kids:
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – by E.L. Konigsburg. Specifically for any curious child in grades 3-6ish, who you’re reasonably sure wouldn’t get any ideas and actually run away. One Segullah staffer recently purchased a couple of copies so she can (someday) share it with her grandchildren. She would also love to share this with the recipient and, maybe someday, hope to take them to the museum herself.
- For older teens/young adults:
I agree with Melissa about All the Light We Cannot See (see “historical fiction types” above); it’s one of those books you can feel pretty comfortable recommending to anyone. My 16 year old son loved it, too. – AW
Red Rising by Pierce Brown is a great read for older teens/YA’s too (see below under “Sci-fi/Fantasy” heading). – KG
- For contemporary fiction readers:
Where’d You Go Bernadette – by Maria Semple. For any of my adult friends who is going through a tough year and who might need a distraction from their sorrows, I would definitely give this, which I read twice this summer. I’m having a difficult time starting something new because I’m reasonably sure I won’t find anything else that amused me so. – DR
One Plus One – by JoJo Moyes is a fun book that’s perfect for anyone who wants to read a romance that’s grounded in real life. This book is sweet and funny and perfect to curl up with on snowy day (there is a bit of adult content in the book). – JC
Love Letters of the Angels of Death – by Jennifer Quist. Both KG and AW have this as a favourite this year, and I recommend it to everyone who does, has ever or hopes to one day love and be loved (reviewed earlier this year here). – AW & KG
- For Sci-fi/Fantasy readers:
This year has been all about The Martian for me, by Andy Weir. It’s about a human astronaut being abandoned on Mars, and his survival. There is swearing throughout (quite a bit at times), a whole lot of science, problem solving and I found it fascinating, hilarious, reviewed it here and it’s my favourite book of 2014. – KG
Red Rising – by Pierce Brown. Blurbed as “a cross between Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies”, this story is about a caste system on Mars, and I lost myself in it and the world building. The second book is due out next year, and I can’t wait. – KG
- For writer-readers:
My favorite book of the year was Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which is basically a memoir told by stringing together essays and articles she wrote as a freelance writer. It works beautifully and is as much about writing as it is about relationships. – SM
All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir – by Emma L. Thayne and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich It’s been around for decades now, but I just got to it this year, and it is the best thing I’ve read this year. It’s a sampler of essays, talks and poems. – SJ
- Bookish present ideas
If you’re after something not books but book-related, check out Out of Print, who do some amazing clothing, bags and associated gear, Book Riot who recommend new wonders every week and of course the Etsy search engine (it’s how I found these stunning literary bracelets!)
Don’t forget you can search for “Book reviews” on Segullah (click here for results) too!
Which books/bookish items do you recommend this year?