Our Year in Books: Keaton

Article by keaton

Look What I Can Do! Award for Best Debut:

Shortlist:
Donal Ryan - civil servant from Limerick comes out of nowhere, just about writes the great Gaelic novel of this era...twice, wins every Irish literary prize, the Guardian First Book Award, gets longlisted for the Booker, then quits his day job, thus renewing the hopes of struggling writers everywhere

Katherine Faw Morris - small town girl moves to freaky-hip Brooklyn, writes a highly stylized, ultraviolent take on the bildungsroman, creating one of the most memorable characters in recent memory, and in between takes risqué pictures, raises pitbulls, and generally doesn’t give a shit what you think

Courtney Collins - bespectacled Australian living in an idyllic cottage by a river writes the most disturbing fever-dream of a “Western” since BLOOD MERIDIAN, gets praised by everyone from Patrick DeWitt to Elizabeth Gilbert, freaks me the hell out, then quietly goes back to work on a second novel like none of it ever happened

Winner:
DONAL FECKIN' RYAN!!!! When you announce your arrival to the literary world with not one but two stellar works of fiction in the same year, you’re gonna be hard to beat. In both THE SPINNING HEART and THE THING ABOUT DECEMBER, Ryan perfectly captures the zeitgeist of contemporary rural Ireland--the insular community power structure, the anxiety over the boom and bust of the Celtic Tiger--with Faulknerian insight into the psyches of individuals and the communities they live in. Yet, this very Irish author never fails to tap the vein of universal human drama within his tales. There’s no other way to put it: Donal Ryan is the truth!


Mic Drop Award for Best Ending:

Shortlist:

Young God Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780374534233
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - May 6th, 2014

In the darkness of the North Carolina night, young Nikki Hawkins stakes her claim within the criminal underworld in a bloody coup that is equal parts noir thriller and Greek tragedy; first-time author Morris leaves her readers perched on a razor’s edge of dramatic intensity with a final sentence that will not soon fade from consciousness


Staff Pick Logo
Orfeo Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393349849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 2nd, 2014

The fugitive flight of Peter Els had to end somehow and most likely not well, but you will never see this conclusion coming; at an unimaginably emotional moment with nowhere left to turn, Powers has the tragic hero meet his fate in such a way that readers have no choice but to close the book and catch their breath


The Thing about December Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781586422288
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Steerforth Press - August 26th, 2014

After a very hard year, Johnsey Cunliffe has retreated to his home to escape the swirling world outside filled with sadistic bullies, greedy land developers, and angry neighbors; he’s a simple man who just wants to be left alone, but they just won’t go away; what will happen when he’s finally pushed to come out? Ryan ends his second novel this year at the apex of a shocking and heartbreaking

Winner:
ORFEO! This was a hard one. All three novels were remarkable and left you feeling gut-punched in the soul, but the ending of National Book Award-winner Richard Powers' latest offering is damn near perfect. I don’t want to ruin this stunning novel for you, so I will say NO MORE!!!


WTF!? Award for Weirdest Premise That Actually Works:

Shortlist:


Young God Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780374534233
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - May 6th, 2014

Thirteen-year old North Carolina girl decides to take over the family business--the business of being the biggest drug dealer in the county--and she will stop at nothing


The Untold Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780399167096
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Amy Einhorn Books - May 29th, 2014

Three words: dead. baby. narrator.


The Book of Strange New Things Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780553418842
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth - October 28th, 2014

Christian missionary leaves his beloved wife behind to join the first offworld settlement on a distant planet and bring Jesus to the aliens

Winner:
THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS! The long awaited new novel from Michel Faber could have gone off the rails so easily. I mean, it’s a sci-fi novel about teaching the gospel to the strange, inhuman inhabitants of an alien planet, right? Yet, in the hands of this master, such a premise becomes a somber, philosophical treatise on the power of love and faith against unimaginable circumstances. THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS is an incredibly human novel of ideas masquerading as high science fiction, and it hoists Faber up to the level of Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler. Utterly strange and fascinating!


@Tex_Ulysses Memorial Award for Most Effective Use of Violence in a Novel:

Shortlist:


Young God Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780374534233
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - May 6th, 2014

Combining the brutality of the criminal mind and the amoral innocence of childhood, Nikki Hawkins has more horrific acts under her belt than birthdays; a simply terrifying character


Hold the Dark Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780871406675
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 8th, 2014

Homo Homini Lupus; an Arctic chase within a chase cuts a bloody swath across the Alaskan tundra and the last vestige of humanity disintegrates at the farthest reaches of civilization; ravenous wolves, missing children, dark secrets, and a vengeful father illuminate the impotency of law and morality to control the animal in man


Last Winter, We Parted Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781616954550
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Soho Press - October 21st, 2014

psychosexual obsession, a sociopathic photographer who burns his models to death in order to capture their “essence,” and a cult of life-like doll enthusiasts all play their part in the creepiest novel of the year; the violence here is as much mental as physical

Winner:
HOLD THE DARK! William Giraldi’s second novel is so stark and unforgiving, it’d give your brain frostbite if it wasn’t for the torrents of fresh-spilled blood keeping you warm. Yet, for all its carnage, HOLD THE DARK never feels gratuitous, never devolves into a mindless action-adventure or cut-rate Cormac McCarthy impersonation. It is a relentless and original look into the abyss of human nature. Simply unforgettable!


Can’t Make This Shit Up Award for Best Nonfiction Read of the Year:

Shortlist:


Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780871404510
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - March 10th, 2014

Unbelievable true story of an author’s fifteen year friendship with Clark Rockefeller, a man who turns out to be a serial imposter and double-murderer, a sick perversion of the American myth of the self-made man whose deceptions bring into doubt the nature of identity and the very concept of trust


Thrown Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781936747924
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - October 14th, 2014

Bored philosophy grad student stumbles upon a mixed martial arts bout, becomes instantly obsessed with the spectacle, quickly insinuates herself into the lives of two very different fighters, and emerges with an erudite, witty, and rousing profile of sport, violence, and masculinity in contemporary America


The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780300187373
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - September 2nd, 2014

greatest music critic of this era offers a non-chronological “secret history” of rock ‘n’ roll that goes places no one would ever expect in playful, utterly captivating vignettes that feature pioneering garage rockers, performance artists, divas playing other divas, and alternate lives for tragic legends Buddy Holly and Robert Johnson

Winner:
THE HISTORY OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IN TEN SONGS! Music criticism is rarely this lyrical or personal. THE HISTORY OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IN TEN SONGS is perhaps Greil Marcus’ greatest achievement. Flying in the face of pop culture’s master narrative, he chooses deep cuts and b-sides to illustrate how the “DNA” of rock music can be found in any song at any time. A masterful work destined to become an instant classic!


Article Type Terms: