15 Books You Should Have Read in 2014
There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, and that’s especially true of reading. With so many amazing new books coming out every year, it can be hard to keep up with them all. In honor of National Readathon Day tomorrow, we’re revisiting 15 of our favorite books from 2014 that you’ll want to make #timetoread. Whether you’re into mixology, biology or high school comedies, there’s something for you here. The best thing about books? There’s no expiration date on them.
1. Texts From Jane Eyre ($23): What would your favorite classic books be like if everyone had iPhones? According to Mallory Ortberg (my new favorite writer, who should probably be my best friend), they’d be like, at least fifty billion times as hilarious. You may not sit down and read this all in one go, but it’s perfect for a laugh whenever you need it.
2. All the Light We Cannot See ($27): This is historical fiction at its most ambitious, lyrical best. Set in France shortly after D-Day, this stunning novel took author Anthony Doerr a decade to write. His immaculate attention to craft pays off big time. You’ll need tissues for this one.
3. How We Got to Now ($30): Tracking the modern world through six key inventions (glass, recorded sound and artificial cold, to name a few) author Steven Johnson provides a quick and fun primer on how modern life came to be. There’s plenty of surprise and great food for thought, as well as gorgeous color photography, making this a total pleasure to read.
4. The Bone Clocks ($30): It’s not a light read, but it IS a mind blower. It’s fantasy, but without the escapism. Author David Mitchell, who’s probably best known for his mind and time-bending The Cloud Atlas, writes completely unforgettable characters who will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.
5. Animalium ($35): Is it a children’s book or a coffee table book? Who cares? What matters is that it features some of the most lush, gorgeous illustrations of our natural world. It’s like a slim cabinet of curiosities, for the design-minded reader.
6. Hand Lettering Ledger ($19): After you’ve taken the Brit + Co course on hand-lettering basics, you’ll be ready to use this awesome book to its fullest extent. Your greeting cards will never look the same.
7. Grasshopper Jungle ($19): If you’re a Kurt Vonnegut fan, you definitely cannot miss this one. It’s like Vonnegut on acid. Featuring an apocalypse brought on by militarized corn, giant praying mantises, horny teenagers and one of the most hilarious narrators ever, there’s a reason this was one of the most buzzed about books of 2014: It’s awesome.
8. I’ll Give You the Sun ($18): Author Jandy Nelson is one of the fastest rising stars in young-adult literature, and this book is the reason why. Told in switching perspectives between two teenaged twins, it’s the kind of book that will break your heart and then put it all back together again. Grab the tissues and prepare your face for ugly crying.
9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ($17): Author Marie Kondo is a professional cleaning consultant in Japan, so she knows what she’s talking about. If the three-month waiting list for her services isn’t enough proof, then this book will be. Breaking down organization into categories, her methods are both practical and completely — as the title promises — life changing.
10. Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails ($40): It’s the only mixology book you’ll ever need. From the ultra basic to the incredibly complex, the bartenders behind one of New York’s most popular bars let you in on all their secrets. Whether you’re in the mood for a Manhattan or a Porfirian Punch, this book has got you covered.
11. Meanwhile in San Francisco ($19): Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton pays homage to the city she loves in this gorgeous book of San Franciscan profiles. Armed with a notepad and ample curiosity, MacNaughton got to know the people around her and collected their stories and faces in this amazing book.
12. The Book of Strange New Things ($28): If you were looking for proof that science fiction is all grown up and full of literary merit, then look no farther. Whether you’re a regular sci-fi reader or someone who’s never read a sci-fi novel in their life, this book has got the chops to please you.
13. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel ($17): Totally hilarious and relatable, this high school rom-com is just the antidote to a boring day. It can be hard to be really funny without being mean, but author Sara Farizan nails it with her believable, utterly kind narrator.
14. Huckleberry ($35): Ina Garten recommends it, so it’s basically the best cookbook of 2014. From the uber popular bakery and lunch spot in LA by the same name, this cookbook breaks down some delicious foods in accessible steps. Reading this book will make you want to cook up a storm — a beautiful, delicious storm.
15. Spineless ($50): Did you know that invertebrates make up 98% of life in the ocean? Well, it’s true, and this book features some fascinating and lovely photos of all the strange and wonderful crawlers, swimmers and creepers that live in the sea. It’s one of those books that proves that art and science are definitely BFFs.
What books did you read in 2014 that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!