Top Ten Books of the Year

Ho ho ho, etc. Here are my favourite books of 2014. I haven’t written too much about them here, as the book covers below link to my reviews that either appeared in The Independent on Sunday or The Big Issue magazine. Anyway, they’re all awesome. Enjoy! Dx

1. Megan Abbott, The Fever (Picador)

51Pqm2V7UQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Just the sharpest and smartest piece of writing. A brilliant look at suburban America in general and the everyday mania of teenage girls in particular, as strange symptoms spread amongst kids at a school. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book.

2. Anneliese Mackintosh, Any Other Mouth (Freight)

FB_AOM_Cover_visual_3_web.270A truly startling debut collection of semi-autobiographical stories that deal with grief, alcoholism, mental health issues and sexuality, but somehow Mackintosh does it all with a laugh and a huge heart.

3. Willy Vlautin, The Free (Faber)

25119-3jhmnS83fVlautin’s best book yet in my opinion, as a cast of characters struggle to do good things in the face of terrible hardship. So moving.

4. Amy Poehler, Yes Please (Picador)

20910157I love Amy Poehler! And this memoir is just terrific, a manifesto for living the right way without ever being po-faced or preachy. And very, very funny.

5. Dennis Lehane, The Drop (Abacus)

51ED-2Gtt9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Oh, just the tightest little noir plot you could imagine, as a well-intentioned everyman gets sucked into badness beyond his wildest nightmares.

6. Laura Lippman, After I’m Gone (Faber)

6a010536b33b69970b01a3fd1a3a40970b-250wiBrilliant stuff from Lippman, as ever, this look at the women left behind by a missing criminal is expansive and heartfelt, a wide-ranging but deeply personal tale.

7. Craig Davidson, Cataract City (Atlantic)

CVT_Cataract-City_2232Davidson is a brave writer on men and masculinity, and this is his most ambitious book yet, tracking the lives of two friends after a terrible early experience.

8. Christos Tsiolkas, Barracuda (Atlantic)

51bADcOT96L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Tsiolkas is the best chronicler of modern Australia, and this look at the country’s relationship to sport and class is as visceral as ever.

9. Joyce Carol Oates, Evil Eye (Head of Zeus)

14928740Four genuinely scary stories collected together. Oates is brilliant at creating tension and creepiness in her prose, and both are here in spades.

10. Rory Flynn, Third Rail (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

ThirdRail_cover_277x419The only book I haven’t reviewed, as it hasn’t been published in the UK yet. A cracking dip into crime fiction by author Stona Fitch under a pseudonym, this is the darkest detective story you can imagine, dripping with disillusionment and moral ambiguity. Cracking, in other words.

About Doug Johnstone

I write things
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