Nonetheless, oldies are goodies, people, and I read some great books in 2014. Here are my top 10:
1. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
White Teeth is an incredible book. I think it may be the only book that I read this year that has officially been added to my "favorites" shelf. The story of many characters in modern-day England, this novel gives voice to the experience of colonization. With one family a mix of white British and Jamaican, and another family Indian, these best friends all get a chance to talk about their place, or misplacement, in England.
2. Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Arcadia is an incredibly original novel. Essentially the story of a hippie commune that goes to crap, this book is not exactly a happy one, but it's really worth the read. It gives a vivid portrayal of a community that struggles to adhere to the ideals it was founded upon, and paints a striking portrait of human failure. I highly recommend this book.
3. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
A retelling of the biblical story of Dinah, this is a book that will really stick with you. It touches on everything from family dynamics to gender roles, and if you haven't picked up this highly popular book yet, I recommend you do in 2015.
4. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
I just finished this one and I loved reading it. It has that quick, addicting quality that you don't always find in Literary Fiction, and it again touches on a underrepresented topic. The novel consists of a main character, Ben, a man who has lost his family and has recently taken a class to become an in-home caretaker, and Trevor, a teenager with muscular dystrophy. Eventually they embark on a road trip. Heartbreaking but also really funny, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
5. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This book is really fun without giving you a bad aftertaste of bad writing or some other unsatisfying literary component. It tells the story of a Sheldon Cooper-like character falling in love, and it's highly enjoyable. This book made me laugh out loud, which basically never happens, and it's just a really sweet read. This one would make a good holiday gift.
SO SAD. So sad. If you want to be heartbroken read this book. But I love when a book breaks my heart because that means it really affected me. This is a quick, compelling read, that clearly packs an emotional punch.
7. Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers
This book is not for the faint at heart. I had to read this for a class where I understood about 25% of what was going on. It's so well-written, however, and it really made me think. It revolves around a group of people who are trying to build a computer that can successfully pass the exam for a Master's degree in Literature, it involves a lot of flashbacks and a lot of people who are not what you would call nice. This book isn't for everyone, but I have to say that I was really impressed with this novel.
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
I was not expecting to like this book, but I have to say I really did. I knew nothing about the Dracula story except the fact that he is a vampire, but the book is so much more than that. It's told in a series of letters and diary entries, and it has a great cast of characters. If you're looking for a classic to try, I think this is a good one.
9. Listening is an Act of Love by Dave Isay
This is a book compiled by the Storycorps group, and organization whose mission is to preserve the history of America through the stories of real people. They have vans set up where a person and a loved one go in and get interview each other. They get a CD with the interview, and so does Storycorps. The book is a compilation of some particularly poignant stories, and I really loved reading it. If you, like most readers, are interested in people and how their lives have been shaped, give this book a read.
10. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
This title is pretty misleading but also entirely accurate. Set in a technology-laden future, this is the story of a pretty sad and pathetic main character and his love for a mean girl. It's also the story of the destruction of our society. It's bleak, but it's good.
So there you have it, the top 10 books I read this year. I hope 2015 yields even more great reads!