The stack of books I’m excited to read in 2015 is already pretty high, and to make room, sorted the books of 2014—keep, donate, donate, keep, keep. Handling them again and in writing last week’s post on the 11 very best, I couldn’t help thinking how many more really good ones there were! All 22 **** books of the past year.
Mysteries & Thrillers
- Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook – originally I gave this 3 stars, but when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, slapped on a fourth
- The Golden Hour by Todd Moss—believable political thriller, awesome first novel
- Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin—an always-satisfying outing with Edinburgh’s Inspector John Rebus
- Mystery Girl by David Gordon—a wacky Hollywood tale with oddball characters and LOL dialog
- The Cottoncrest Curse by Michael H. Rubin—I met Rubin, so bought his book about late-1800s murders on a Louisiana plantation. So glad I did!
- Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger—won all the big mystery world prizes in 2013
- Spycraft by Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, and Henry Robert Schlesinger—non-fiction, describing the technologies of espionage (and avoiding recent scandals entirely)
- The Reversal by Michael Connelly—Harry Bosch AND Mickey Haller
- The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty—really makes his Belfast-during-the-Troubles setting work for him
- Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison—growing up in a dysfunctional Southern family
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr—on many 2014 “best of” lists, charming
- Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow—also WWII, a page-turner
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt—late to this party, but had a good time, anyway!
- The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner—beautifully written, striking insights
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton—surprisingly old-fashioned Man Booker Prize winner of last year (848 pages!!)
Biography, History, Politics
- Alice by Stacy A. Cordery—if you enjoyed The Roosevelts on tv, you’ll like this biography of Teddy’s daughter, Princess Alice
- As Texas Goes by Gail Collins—how always-colorful Texas politicians have shaped the current American scene
- Catherine of Aragon: Henry’s Spanish Queen by Giles Tremlett—worth checking the review if only to see the great matchup between the book cover and my lamp
- Fighter Pilot: The Memoir of Legendary Ace Robin Olds by Christina Olds, Ed Rasimus, and Robin Olds—you don’t have to agree with his politics to admire his derring-do!
- The White Rock by Hugh Thomson—adventurers still discovering lost Inca outposts
- The Danube by Nick Thorpe—from the Black Sea to the river’s origins in Germany
- The New York Nobody Knows by William B. Helmreich—this sociologist walked more than 6000 miles of NYC streets and talked to everybody
- On Writing—how and why