Best of the Best Books of 2014 Lists

It's that time of year . . . the Best Books of the Year list season! What is your custom to ring in this special time? Maybe you swap considered opinions with friends during dinner and grumble grievances alone over leftovers. Do you cobble together your own lists, in defiance of what "They" (whoever they are) say? Or perhaps you're "Normal" (whatever that is) and have a few regular lists that you trust, take a few notes, and shuffle over to your local Diesel to give them a look?

The list below does not intend to be comprehensive. Consider it a sort of Best of the Best Books of 2014 Lists. And be sure to check back on it from time to time this month. It's early December, after all, and arriving late to the party is as much a holiday tradition as throwing one in the first place. 

  • Our friend and colleague at the Larkspur store, Clare Doornbos, knows children's books like nobody's business. We are so lucky to have her insight . . . which she recently lent to the website, Marin Mommies, for a very helpful listing of what she considers the best children's books of the year.
  • Because it's The New York Times, there is always a great deal of hullabaloo when the "100 Notable Books" of the year are announced. If you're a contrary sort you'll publically disavow it, eventually and reluctanctly read it, and usually be surprised. Thus is my annual custom anyway.
  • I'm not particularly fond of how NPR lays out their list, but if they're going to showcase such a diverse range of excellent titles as this they can present it however they please! 
  • Publisher's Weekly has assembled a delightful series of lists, ranging from weighty, furrowed-brow non-fiction to giggly children's books. Publisher's Weekly is always a great resource for booksellers, but this time of year it's especially helpful for customers looking to get a lay of the literary landscape. Highly recommended.
  • Eileen Battersby's list is perhaps not one most Americans would think to check, unless you're a devoted reader of the Irish Times, but . . . my goodness. It is so wonderfully different from everybody else's, I simply could not help but link to it.
  • Flavorwire's list of "50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry" deservedly knocked the socks off Literari Twitter when it was released. It is very good, and a great entry-point to a wide world of writing that often stays deeply under the radar.
  • Entropy Magazine has quickly become one of the most exciting online literary and culture magazines available. It is unsurprising, then, that their series of lists have been so impressive. Definitely for the adventurous readers out there or in your life. 
  1. Best Non-Fiction
  2. Best Poetry & Collections
  3. Best Fiction
  • Electric Literature  has a fine eye, and rightly dubs this the "year of the debut novel." 

Whichever list(s) you prefer, calling a book "Best" is a difficult thing, and not nearly as important or mysterious as "Beloved." At Diesel, we're here to help you with both.