Not everything on this list was published this year. Not everything on this list will be to your liking. I'm not doing a Worst Of List this year, because who needs all that negativity, really? You can click on the title of each book to read my review. If you would like a rundown of all the books I read this year, click HERE.
With all that being said, let's talk about the last year, shall we?
Best New Find of 2014:
Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith. While I just started reading YA this year, Andrew Smith quickly became a favorite author of mine, one that I will autobuy in hardcover whenever he drops a new release. I do believe his novel Winger was a better all around book, but I read Grasshopper Jungle first and wouldn't have sought out his other novels had it not made such an impression on me.
Best Short Story Collection of 2014:
Pieces, by Michael Crane. My review speaks for itself. I continued think about the simple magic of "The Gunslinger" and "Tragedy" long after I put this one down. Mike's a friend of mine, but I sought him out after enjoying his drabble collections. In other words, I was a fan before I was a friend.
Top Three Novellas of 2014:
#3. Crawlspace, by Evans Light. This novella alone made me want to work with Evans Light. I read it back in Feburary, and when Evans approached me months later with an offer to be part of his anthology Bad Apples, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away. The ending of Crawlspace stands out in my mind, and every time I think about it, I shiver.
#2. Conduits, by Jennifer Loring. This book is beautifully written. Not often do I find a work of prose so visually striking and entertaining all at the same time. I think I highlighted no less than five lines per page, and I absolutely could not put the book down. It's also one that I read while in the hospital for my last back surgery. I appreciate that it took my mind off the pain, and gave me an escape for a time.
#1. The Hanover Block, by Gregor Xane. Yeah, Gregor has become a good friend of mine. Yes, we were featured together in Bad Apples. But that doesn't mean this dude isn't the best thing to happen to Speculative Fiction in a long time. His imagination is unmatched in today's market, and he has the writing chops to back up that statement. This man can make any subject entertaining. Any of you who've read The Hanover Block know how good he is. Seriously, folks, what other author could have pulled off that story line? And that cover? Point. Set. Match.
Top Five Novels of 2014:
#5. The Pilo Family Circus, by Will Elliott. I haven't been able to erase this book from my mind, and I read it back in January. I even recall the names of all the clowns, but mostly I remember the fantastical epicocity of this author's imagination. This is one of those novels best read if you know absolutely nothing about it.
#4. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. Other than the narrator losing his penis at the beginning of this book, what I remember the most about it is the storybook feel. I'll never forget the stories featuring feudal Japan and the vikings. This is a book about love unconsummated. Love without sex. And while I enjoy bang-a-rang as much as the next chap, it's nice to read a love story that doesn't focus on the bumpity bump.
#3. Revival, by Stephen King. While many people have disagreed with my review of this book, I stand by every statement I made. Revival still lives with me, and I believe its ending is one of the best King has ever written. To go into more detail on why I believe so would be to tread into spoiler territory, and I won't do that. Not here. Not with this book. If you've read it and would like more insight on why I feel the way I do, message or email me, and we will discuss it.
#2. You, by Caroline Kepnes. This one's placement shocked me probably as much as it will shock you, but Kepnes's fantastically dark novel about two broken souls deserves this spot. This book made me think differently about an entire style of writing, one I'd shit-panned since childhood. I honestly did not believe someone could write a piece of adult fiction in a second-person POV that I would enjoy. I fully admit I was wrong.
#1. Animosity, by James Newman. I'm a self-proclaimed horror writer. This book is about the stigma the rest of the literary world places on my beloved genre and those of us that write it. Animosity being number one on this list was a no brainer. Writing about monsters does not make you one. Moreover, this book tackles mob mentality like none other I've read. Brilliant piece of affecting fiction.
And that's that, folks. My year in review. I have another year-end post coming entitled, Stephen King: A Decade in Review (1974-1984), but that will be a few days coming. I look forward to reading all my friend's lists in the days and weeks to come. It's been a blast reading with everyone this year.
Keep that TBR loaded!