6 Best Books We’ve Read This Year (So Far)

  • July 21, 2014

It’s hard to believe, but 2014 is halfway over. Below, some of the Independent’s staffers share the best books they’ve read so far this year. Here’s hoping the next six months offer just as many amazing titles!

6 Best Books We’ve Read This Year (So Far)

Joyland by Stephen King.
For those who think King is a hack writer who only pens over-the-top horror
stories, think again and dive into this beautifully written coming-of-age
story. Oh, yeah, it also has a mystery about an unsolved murder at an amusement
park thrown in for good measure. ~Gene

The Son by Philipp Meyer. I’ve never had much interest in stories about the American West, but
this sweeping, exhilarating novel of one multi-generational Texas family sucked
me in immediately. Unflinching and unsentimental, it tells — in often gory
detail — the tale of white settlers, the native peoples they vanquished, and
the oceans of blood spilled in the process. ~Holly

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. This is Gay’s first
full-length novel, and, oh, what a novel it is. It follows the kidnapping of a
woman named Mireille while in Haiti. During the 13 days of her captivity —
while her husband fights for her release and her father refuses to pay the
ransom — Mireille endures horrors beyond the imagination. This novel is not for
the faint of heart, but once you pick it up, you will not be able to put it
down. ~Katie Dvorak

You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt. Holt’s
novel is several parts Cold War fiction, mystery, and a sociological study of friendship.
In the early 1980s, a young girl and her best friend write letters to the
Russian president acting as peace brokers, and one of them gets a response.
What ensues is a thoughtful dissection of growing up in America, and the
illusions and ideas we have of places we’ve never been (but only experience
through news headlines and network images). Holt develops a well-told story of
how we figure out where we’re supposed to end up. ~Shanna Wilson

Redeployment by Phil Klay. Each of the short stories in this collection has a certain
power in portraying U.S. troops’ ground-level experiences in Afghanistan and
Iraq and how they face life afterward. But the best come from unexpected angles
— the military chaplain, the hapless and harried Foreign Service officer, or
the psychological-operations specialist who returns home both wily and possibly
utterly broken. A valuable, entertaining, and sometimes bitterly funny read. ~Chris Schneidmiller

Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson. Frances
Stuart is a beautiful, penniless woman who uses her gumption and talent to
manage two kings. Jefferson writes with tremendous sensitivity and insight, and
her characters bring the 17th-century English court of the Restoration alive. ~Carrie Callaghan

What’s the finest book — recently released or otherwise — you’ve read so far this year? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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