Monday, December 15, 2014

Best Adult Fiction of 2014

I just finished this one over the weekend, but it's definitely worth inclusion on my list.  I really love pretty much everything I've ever read by McEwan and this is no exception.  I love moral quandries of any kind and the premise of this book revolves around a teenage boy who is a Jehovah's Witness and wants to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion and the judge who must decide whether or not to honor his wishes.  Completely engrossing.

Another recent read that I've yet to review, this epistolary novel uses letters of reference written by a beleaguered English professor who is in a constant struggle to get his department the respect it deserves in a university that values the sciences more than the humanities.  

Yes, yes, you already saw this on my Best Audiobooks list, but I couldn't resist including it here too.  It's just that good.  One of the best love stories I've read in ages and, I think, the perfect romance for anyone who has been married for a while.

I had a hard time deciding whether to put this with fiction or with domestic suspense, but in the long run I think the literary merit outweighs the very low-level suspense.  It's there, of course, but the real focus is on the character development of the narrator.

Another choice that has an element of suspense, but, again, focuses largely on character development and how the tragic circumstances affect the dynamics of the family.  Beautifully written and completely deserving of all the praise it's garnered.

Right up there with Yes, Please in regards to the funniest books of the year.  I completely identified with this story of a young boy being raised by ultra-conservative evangelical missionary parents and the way he tries to balance his beliefs with being embarrassed and sometimes confused about his parents' behavior.  If you grew up in a conservative family, this is a must-read.  And the best part is that it's not written in a harsh or critical way - there's no mockery or finger-pointing.

One of the darkest books I read this year, but beautifully written.  It's a historical fiction set in Germany during World War II.  It was intensely unsettling to read from the Nazi point of view and to waffle between caring for the characters and being horrified by their casual cruelty.  It's incredibly hard to read and definitely not a happy book, but the writing is stunning.

Another work of literary historical fiction, this one set in Iceland surrounding the upcoming execution of a woman convicted of murder.  It's also bleak, both in terms of setting and outcome, but the writing is just beautiful and the characters are completely captivating.

I worried that my lack of ballet knowledge would keep me from fully enjoying this novel that centers around the world of professional ballet, but that was far from the case.  It's incredibly readable for those who are familiar with the world of dance and for those who have no clue.  Beautifully written and completely engrossing.

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