Over the last few weeks, our editorial manager reached out to some members of TheReadingRoom community with a question: what’s the best novel they’ve read in 2014 so far? The only parameter was that the book had to have been published between the January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2014, in their respective territory (we have a global membership after all, and it felt wrong restricting them to North American release dates). The results were plentiful and diverse. Below is a mere snapshot of our community’s favorite novels the last six months. Be sure to add your favorites in the comments and write a review of on the site!
The Fever by Megan Abbott
“If you have not read Megan Abbott before then you need to do so as soon as possible,” says Knowledgelost in his review of The Fever, about the panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion that threatens the bonds of family and community in an idyllic suburban community. “The Fever has everything you expect from a Megan Abbott novel,” according to Knowledgelost; “it is deliciously dark and sinister, it packs a huge punch and in the end you are left contemplating life.” You can read additional reviews by Knowledgelost at TheReadingRoom, and visit his website Literary Exploration.
Ronan’s Echo by Joanne Van Os
Ronan’s Echo by Joanne Van Os
“What a deeply moving, powerful story!” exclaims Brenda56 about Ronan’s Echo, in which Forensic Anthropologist Kat Kelso’s innocent question of whether any of her relatives died during the First World War begins the unravelling of a hundred years of family history, lies and secrets. “I absolutely loved this wonderful novel by Aussie author Joanne van Os,” she continues in her review. “The characters are so well drawn, the emotion so incredibly raw … The novel travels in both time frames very successfully with the story coming together perfectly, but with an unexpected twist at the end.”
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Shelleyrae, who hails from Book’d Out, describes The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry as “a funny, moving and sometimes saccharine, story which embraces quirky individuals, the comfort of community and the enjoyment of a good book.” A love letter to the world of books—and booksellers—that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds, Shelleyrae calls the novel “a beautifully crafted novel about the power of love, and literature, to transform and redeem us.” Sounds like a must-read for lovers of literature.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
“There is a lot to remember in a complex 700 page book that left me with so many impressions,” says Suncoast, whose reviews also appear on his personal website.”Intelligent and clever, superbly and deeply plotted, brilliant characterization, ambitious, enthralling, page-turning, action-packed and mostly unpredictable, [this] is definitely the best covert ops/terrorism/murder book I have read this year.” Pilgrim is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen, and Hayes’s debut is reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest.
The Son by Jo Nesbo
“The Son is perhaps the best of the Jo Nesbo books I have read,” begins Reading, Writing Riesling, whose reviews also appear on her blog. “Complex and intriguing, this novel has it all!” An electrifying standalone from the author of the internationally bestselling Harry Hole series, The Son is set inside Oslo’s maze of especially venal, high-level corruption. Sonny Lofthus, imprisoned from crimes he did not commit, enjoys the solitude solitude of prison life – but his world is torn apart, and his contentment is replaced with a burning desire for vengeance when he learns the truth about his father’s supposed suicide.
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands in what our editorial manager Simon McDonald labels “a modern classic.” He continues, “Despite clocking in at over 400 pages, not a page, paragraph or sentence is wasted in Mr Mercedes. It’s a fast read despite its enormity, and one I’m destined to return to in the years that follow; the highest praise I can bestow upon a novel.” So, Stephen King fans should be pleased, then!
We’d love to hear from you, dear reader: which novel published in 2014 has been your favorite so far? We’ll run a similar feature at the end of the year, and if you’d like to be included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org