Best of the Best

Article by Jeremy

For the past five weeks, we’ve counted down our individual staff picks for the year’s best books. But many of those titles appeared on multiple lists. As the year comes to a close, here is yet another list: the best books of 2014, as agreed upon by the Brazos staff. 

Staff Pick Logo
Faces in the Crowd Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566893541
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - May 13th, 2014

“FACES IN THE CROWD focuses on a young mother living in New York who, while working on her novel, inadvertently begins blending with her own story the life of Gilberto Owen, a dead Mexican poet who haunts her. The past mixes with the future, and the book the young author is working on becomes the book you, the reader, are reading. It’s difficult to explain her novel—which, of course, is a good thing. It’s literary and original, and the prose leaves fingerprints on your mind.” -- Mark

Sidewalks Cover Image
By Valeria Luiselli, Christina Macsweeney (Translator), Cees Nooteboom (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781566893565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - May 13th, 2014

“SIDEWALKS is like a lovely flâneur’s stroll through Mexico City. Luiselli brilliantly weaves together travel, architecture, literary criticism, and voyeurism. I found myself dog-earing pages throughout to go back and make notes on…until I realized I was marking pretty much every single page. She’s the kind of writer I have a lady crush on—intellectual, well read, well traveled, with the ability for making laser sharp observations and powerful one-liners that make my jaw drop.” -- Augusta

The Other Side Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935639831
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 15th, 2014

“It took me at least a month to write a shelf-talker for this book, and when I did, this is what it said: ‘the most important book you will read this year. pinkie promise.’ That’s still how I feel, but it’s hard to explain why. Most every synopsis available about THE OTHER SIDE will mention rape, kidnapping, and/or intention to kill. I cannot stress this enough: like the tip of the iceberg, that is only a fraction of Lacy Johnson’s story and what it means for her to tell it. This memoir is for anyone who has ever loved.” -- Annalia

Station Eleven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385353304
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 9th, 2014

“Everybody just…read this book. Don’t argue with me. I don’t have time to tell you why; they told me I could only put ten books on this list and I’m pushing my luck throwing on my eleventh ELEVEN here. Just take it home and read it. I’ll give you your money back if you don’t like it. But you will.” –- Liz

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

“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!” –- Keaton

Staff Pick Logo
Inside Madeleine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616953096
Availability: Backordered
Published: Soho Press - May 13th, 2014

“Normally I don’t recommend books based on their ability to induce vomiting, but in this case, I feel it’s apt. Paula Bomer’s new short story collection is not for the faint of heart. These gut-wrenching stories about girls at work, in school, or at loose ends will make you laugh out loud and possibly throw up as her characters share the gritty, strange, and poignant details of their lives. Bomer writes with equal power about the tough girl, the quiet girl, and the wild child. The title novella is a heartbreaker about the eating-disordered and lonely Madeleine, whose story loops right around to the opening short story. A stunning collection that you won’t forget anytime soon.” -- Brooke

On Such a Full Sea Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632891
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - December 2nd, 2014

“In Chang-Rae Lee’s dystopic landscape, China has spread across the world to create order in the unruled landscape. When Fan’s lover goes missing, she abandons that order to seek him out and in the process becomes a folk hero for a generation. The people that Fan encounters on her journey are some of the most memorable for me, particularly Miss Cathy’s ‘Girls’ and their history mural.” -- Jeremy

Thrown Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936747924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarabande Books - October 14th, 2014

“In this work of nonfiction, a philosophy student—not so much Kerry Howley as “Kerry Howley”—finds herself drawn to the spectacle of mixed martial arts and two fighters in particular, one up-and-coming, the other battling obscurity. THROWN manages to do many different things with envy-inducing skill. A sports story; a portrait of a subculture; a philosophical inquiry; a journalistic study of two men; a satire of academic pretension: where to begin? Howley doesn’t see these different styles/narratives as disparate; instead, she sees them all as part of the same spectacle. Like the fights she portrays with a mix of blood and poetry, Howley’s THROWN overwhelms.” -- Ben

We Were Liars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385741262
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 13th, 2014

“There are a lot of ends in this book. I won’t tell you about them, though—you have to read it for yourself. After that, you’ll need a friend to talk about it with, and I’ll be here. Waiting. Waiting for that moment when you burst through the Brazos door, exclaiming “How? What? I didn’t—! She didn’t—! How could—? I…we…they…agh this book!” Then I’ll pat you on the shoulder and make you a cup of hot cocoa and we’ll work our way through this emotional journey together.” –- Mary-Catherine

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