Favorite Fiction 2014: A Top Ten List

It’s that time of year again*: Lists. Lists of lists. Best of. Worst of. Best Cover. By genre, etc., etc. My list will be straightforward: favorite fiction of 2014. It’s funny, I’ve been in the biggest reading slump the last several weeks and I was thinking that it had not been a great reading year for me. However, looking back, it’s been a pretty good year.

Favorite Fiction

So, in no particular order:

10. Steal the North // Heather Brittain Bergstrom. “Vocally graceful and fearlessly intimate, STEAL THE NORTH, Heather Brittain Bergstrom’s remarkable debut novel, is a strikingly beautiful portrait of modern identity, faith, family, and love in all its forms.”

09. Fourth of July Creek // Smith Henderson. “In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation’s disquieting and violent contradictions.”

08. The Heart Does Not Grow Back // Fred Venturini. “The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini. ”

07. Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma // Kerry Hudson. ” Told in an arrestingly original — and cry-out-loud funny — voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life’s great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future.”

06. All the Birds, Singing // Evie Wyld. “From one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, a stunningly insightful, emotionally powerful new novel about an outsider haunted by an inescapable past: a story of loneliness and survival, guilt and loss, and the power of forgiveness.”

05. Bellweather Rhapsody // Kate Racculia. “A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from a hotel room that was the site of a famous murder/suicide fifteen years earlier, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with the dark and giddy pop culture pleasures of The Shining, Agatha Christie, and Glee.”

04. The Ploughmen // Kim Zupan. “A young sheriff and a hardened killer form an uneasy and complicated bond in this mesmerizing first novel set on the plains of Montana.”

03. Cry Father // Benjamin Whitmer. “In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown comes a haunting story about men, their fathers, their sons, and the legacy of violence.”

02. Road to Reckoning // Robert Lautner. “With taut prose and a swift plot, this literary crime novel set in 1800s Pennsylvania captures the unlikely friendship between a spirited young boy and a gruff ex-ranger on a shared quest for vengeance.”

01. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain // Adrienne Harun. “In this intoxicatingly lush debut novel, Adrianne Harun weaves together folklore, mythology, and elements of magical realism to create a compelling and unsettling portrait of life in a dead-end town. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is atmospheric and evocative of place and a group of people, much in the way that Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones conjures the South, or Charles Bock’s Beautiful Children provides a glimpse of the Las Vegas underworld: kids left to fend for themselves in a broken world—rendered with grit and poetry in equal measure. “

Honorable mentions: Ruby // Cynthia Bond and The Supernatural Enhancement // Edgar Cantero.

What was your favorite book of 2014?

*This list is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

17 thoughts on “Favorite Fiction 2014: A Top Ten List”

  1. I’m going to go with Everything I Never Told You- but there was so much amazing debut fiction this year that it’s a tough call.

    And you are so eclectic that I haven’t read any of the books on your list- which means my TBR just increased by 10.

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  2. I’ve only read All the Birds Singing, but most of the others are still on my list, and have probably been there since the first time you mentioned them. 🙂

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  3. Rory, I always feel like our tastes are so the same but also really different if that makes any sense. I think you approach books that I might not take up otherwise. I lurved Bellweather Rhapsody and I anticipate really enjoying ‘The Ploughmen’ when I’m in the proper mood.

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  4. The only book I’ve read from your list is Fourth of July Creek, which was such a fascinating, dark, and beautifully written story! I’m intrigued by several other books on you mentioned and I’ll be adding them to my to-read list!

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  5. I love the inundation of year-end lists (I’m a list addict, myself), but my favorite are lists like yours: I’ve read none of the books here, and heard of maybe half of them. This is why I love book bloggers so much. It’s so much more than an echo chamber of the big books the publishers throw dollars behind.

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