4 Books That Stuck with Us

Before digging into our New Year’s to-be-devoured stacks, here’s a look back at some of the books we read in 2014 that left a big impression. Hope you find a new favorite among them!

4 Books That Stuck with Us

  • With beautiful prose and short, gripping chapters, Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See had me turning its pages well into the night and quickly became my favorite read of the year. WWII books are a dime a dozen, but Doerr's main characters, a young German recruit named Werner and a blind girl named Marie-Laure, have the power to make you see it in a different light. ~Katie Dvorak [Read our interview with Anthony Doerr here and Martha Anne Toll's essay about his work here.]

  • The Son by Philipp Meyer — an old-fashioned story in a five-generation frontier saga blends modern sensibility and great writing. ~David Stewart [Read Fred Haefele's review of The Son here.]

  • Orfeo by Richard Powers. This profound, intelligent, and moving story of a man's retrospective on his ambition, love of music, and failures at love is stretched over the taught frame of a plot driven, seemingly improbably, by bioterrorism accusations and the omniscience of a police state.  If that sounds like a lot to cram into one novel, it is — and Powers succeeds at every stroke. ~Carrie Callaghan [Read Beth Kingsley's review of Orfeo here and Martha Anne Toll's essay comparing Orfeo to Us Conductors here.]

  • Elliott Holt's You Are One Of Them sticks out to me for adeptly highlighting two major narrative themes at once. The overarching story illustrates the elemental differences between East-West logic, education, and foreign policy, but the underlying current that resonates even more is how friendships can develop as much character when they don't work out as when they do. ~Shanna Wilson

  • I read so many great books in 2014 — A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, The Children Act, Bring Up the Bodies, Dear Committee Members, etc. — but The Son, by Philipp Meyer, trumps them all. The story of Texas' settling is sobering, shocking, and impossible to shake. ~Holly Smith
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