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The Best Book of 2014

January 6, 2014
When selecting a "Best Book of the Year," some critics would argue that the nominated books should be released first. (photo credit: Wikipedia)

When selecting a “Best Book of the Year,” some critics would argue that the nominated books should actually be released first. (photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not easy choosing the “Best Book” of any year.  Before a “Best Book” of the year can be chosen, a list of “Best Books” must be compiled.  The annual “Best Books” lists usually don’t come out until the end of the year, and that makes sense because by then all of the books that year have been published.

The problem is that by the time the end of the year rolls around, there are too many books to decide which one is the best of the year.  No individual can read every book published in one year, so if you’re going to judge a best book, it should be done when there are few books to choose from.  As of this writing, the first wave of highly publicized books will start being released in a couple days, so these books have been the ones nominated.

The advantage of selecting “The Best Book of 2014” before the books have been released is that since the books haven’t been released yet, I can’t read them before I select them.  I probably wouldn’t have read them anyway, but now nobody can blame me.  I WOULD have read them if they’d been released on January 1st, but publishers waited until the 7th or beyond.  If book companies want one of their products to be Dysfunctional Literacy’s “The Best Book of the Year,” they need to pick up the pace.  Maybe next year they’ll learn.


Andrew’s Brain by EL Doctorow- It sounds like an overuse of stream-of-consciousness.  I usually don’t like overuse of stream-of-consciousness, unless I’m the one writing it.

Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah- The title is poetic and suggests hope in a book with a bleak setting and plot.  It sounds kind of… literary.  It will probably be somebody else’s “Best Book of 2014.”

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs- This is Book 2 in a YA series.  I really don’t want to read another YA series.

The Kept by James Scott- Violence in late 1800s New York.  Short title with an author who has two first names.  I’m partial to authors with two first names.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty- An affair and a murder.  It sounds standard but reliable.  I’ve been called a reliable guy, so I like reliable.

Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll- An arsonist in a book with “Burn” in the title.  I have mixed feelings about that.

The Wind Is Not a River by Brian Payton- I don’t like book titles that state the obvious (even my kids know that wind and rivers aren’t the same thing), but the author kind of has two first names, so the book has potential.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee- The premise (future America, possibly dystopian) might make a good book, but the title is just one long prepositional phrase.

“THE BEST BOOK OF 2014” is….

The Kept by James Scott!

Between a short title and an author with two first names, the competition didn’t stand a chance.


The great thing about announcing “The Best Book of 2014” before the books have come out is that nobody can say I’m wrong.  They might disagree with me, but any arguments they have are mere speculation.  Some other worthy contenders might come out over the next 52 weeks or so, but they’re too late, and I think it’s going to be tough to beat The Kept anyway.

I’m confident that The Kept WILL KEEP its top spot.

Ugh.  I can’t believe I wrote that.  Now I think I’ll go punch myself in the face.

  1. That was hysterical. Thanks!

  2. How could you have read all those in just six days? You’re a superhero.

  3. I’m always interested in what people believe to be the “best” book of the year, as I normally read dead authors. I have a literary blog myself, so I enjoy reading other’s critiques about books.

  4. Well, now I have some more titles to read. 🙂

    • And you can start reading them tomorrow when a few of the books will actually be released.

      • I wish. They’ll be on a TBR list that’s about 12 miles long while I struggle through the reading list for my comprehensive exams in literature. But soon, books. Soon.

  5. I like your criteria for selection. I agree: I will have loved that book.

  6. Since your choice is the only one of the bunch I would even consider reading, I congratulate you on your good taste.

  7. defensordelaverdad permalink

    Reblogged this on Fabián.

  8. This made me laugh – thanks!

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