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.


  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. 🙂


  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.


  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!


  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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