Best Books I Read in 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As I did last year, I thought I’d write a bit about the best books I read this year. I didn’t read as much this year. In 2013 I set a goal, and I pushed myself to reach it. I didn’t really enjoy doing that, so this year I was more casual about it.

So, in no particular order, here are the books I rated highest this year.

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - I read this because it was nominated for a Nebula award, but you really have to stretch to consider this sci-fi. It’s more fiction about scientists. It’s about a young woman and how she comes to terms with her childhood. It explores memory and point-of-view, and I thought the whole thing was very well done.

  • Cibola Burn - This is the fourth book in the Expanse series, and it’s probably my second favorite so far. This is James S.A. Corey’s take on a western1, and it’s a fun and exciting ride. Humanity is moving out into the galaxy and bringing all their old problems with them. One of my favorite parts of this book was slowly realizing we had met some of these characters before. The authors give you plenty of time to figure it out for yourself before pointing it out.

  • The Martian - You won’t mistake this for great literature, it’s just a fun read. It’s about a man stranded on Mars and his struggle to survive. Which doesn’t sound fun, but it is. It’s funny and exciting, and if you grew up watching MacGuyver I think you’re going to like it.

  • The Golem and the Jinni - I resisted this book for a long time because I just didn’t think I’d like the setting. Boy was I wrong. The story of a golem and a jinni meeting in 19th century New York is funny and sweet, and I would feel safe recommending it to anyone.

  • Ancillary Sword - This sequel to last year’s amazing Ancillary Justice does not disappoint. It explores the Radch society in more depth and opens up some new mysteries to explore in future books. The narrator, Breq, becomes even more badass than in the previous book. In her mind she has nothing to lose, so she’s free to do what she believes is right, and she has the skills to make it happen.

  • Red Seas Under Red Skies - I read a lot of good sequels this year. This one follows The Lies of Locke Lamora and the continuing adventures of Locke and Jean. It’s probably the weakest of the series so far, but I’m willing to forgive the ludicrous plot because the interaction between the characters is so much fun and the world is so interesting.

  • The Republic of Thieves - This picks up almost exactly where Red Seas leaves off. There are nits to pick, but it’s another fun Locke & Jean adventure. And the flashbacks tell a beautiful and funny story of first loves.

  1. A western, in space! Who would ever expect that to work?