Goodreads Blog

Nine Standout Books of 2014...So Far!

Posted by Jade on August 06, 2014
It's August, which means there's still time to fit in some summer reading! We took a look at the books that are topping Goodreads Want-to-Read charts and garnering 4.0-and-above average ratings to compile our list of the top tomes published this year in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Adult—three per category. These mighty nine offer up everything from tales of Wall Street excess to adventures with sexy, sarcastic demon hunters to the struggle of two women bound by history. The best part? They'll stay with you long after summer is over.

Have you been following our annual Goodreads Choice Awards? It's too soon to say for sure, but these favorites could be contenders! Which books are you hoping to see on the list of 2014 nominees this November? Tell us in the comments!

FICTION



The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
(Goodreads Author)
Connie says, "When Sarah Grimke turned 11 years old in 1803, she was given [an enslaved girl named] Hetty (called 'Handful') as a birthday present…the book follows Sarah and Handful for 35 years through alternating chapters. By mixing fact and fiction, the author has created a moving story about the cruelty of slavery and the resilience of both the slaves and the abolitionists."

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
(Goodreads Author)
Angela says, "Parallel stories are told in alternating chapters of Marie Laure, a teenage French girl who has been blind since the age of six, and Werner, an intelligent, perceptive and sensitive German orphan who learns to fix radios and becomes noticed by the German army. Each of their stories will move you in their own right, but especially when their paths cross." Jenny adds, "I died a thousand times while reading this book. It is mysterious, heart-breaking, and just brilliantly beautiful. It deserves all the stars."

The Martian
by Andy Weir
(Goodreads Author)
Mike (the Paladin) says, "The story of Mark Watney, how he gets stranded on Mars, how he survives or doesn't, is frankly fantastic. You want a suspenseful thriller, it's here. You want hard science fiction, it's here. You want a character-driven story, you got it. You want a plot-driven story, you got that, too…Mr. Weir…I don't know how you'll follow this one up, but I for one will be watching for your next novel."



NONFICTION



Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
by Michael Lewis

Mal Warwick says, "Flash Boys tells the tale of the arcane and long-secret phenomenon known as high-frequency trading (HFT). The book reads like a thriller, showcasing the author's legendary writing talent. Like the best fiction, it's centered on people, not abstract processes or institutions, and the prose sings."

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
by Esther Earl

Mason Deaver says, "I know The Fault In Our Stars was dedicated and inspired by her, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. Let me tell you that you will not find a more heart-warming, tear-jerking story…this book gave me so much insight not only into the life of Esther, but also the life of someone living with cancer, someone who did not become her disease and instead chose to spend her unknown amount of time with friends and family."

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer
(Goodreads Author)
Marvin King says, "Holy smokes, this was a tour de force of political economy and economic history. Piketty explains why a tax on capital is so much preferable than taxes on income, the need for global cooperation and why inequality in America will only get worse unless policymakers address higher education affordability, tax policies, especially on inheritance, and minimum wage laws. A brutally long read, yet well worth the effort."



YOUNG ADULT



City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
(Goodreads Author)
Aiman says, "Important note: Reading this book will surely evoke fits of of despair, but also fan-girling. Tread with caution…Cassandra Clare deserves a standing ovation for the beautiful world she has created, a tale not only of Shadowhunters and magical creatures, but [also] one of friendship, family, blood, pain, and loss. She brings new and extraordinary meaning to these ordinary words and binds them into something completely bedazzling."

The One
by Kiera Cass
(Goodreads Author)
Ilana says, "When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants."

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs

Jon says, "Hollow City does an excellent job of creating a captivating, magical world and accompanying the plot with finely selected vintage photos…[it] is incredibly fast-paced with an interesting story that fans of Miss Peregrine's will absolutely love. With plenty of unexpected twists, Hollow City is quite frankly one of the best sequels I've read to date and it definitely surpasses its predecessor."


Comments (showing 1-50 of 197) (197 new)


message 1: by Off (new)

Off City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare is a must nominee. Jace... *glazed eyes*


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane The Thing About December by Donal Ryan needs to be on this list.


message 3: by Gigi (new)

Gigi Romano Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books further along in a series are ones that liked the first book enough to pursue the other publications. A reader who didn't enjoy the first book won't go on to read the others, therefore eliminating their potential low rating.

I have started each of those series, but I don't have a concrete personal opinion. But I do know that for the city of bones series, you hear a lot of criticism for the first book, and nothing but praise for the last one, the one listed here. It could be because it's actually improved, or simply because the reader pool is more biased.

I went on quite the rant there, but I just wanted to put in my 2 cents.


MysteriousPanda The Martian was really good. But. The book page says it was first published in 2012 (if I click "all editions" the editions page says "First published September 23rd 2012") So it doesn't qualify for a "list of the top tomes published this year in Fiction" does it?


message 5: by Myra (last edited Aug 06, 2014 04:17AM) (new)

Myra Reads BEST 2014 BOOK: All the Light We Cannot See


message 6: by Lynda (new)

Lynda starfleetbrat wrote: "The Martian was really good. But. The book page says it was first published in 2012 (if I click "all editions" the editions page says "First published September 23rd 2012") So it doesn't qualify fo..."

The Martian was self published earlier. It was picked up by the actual publisher this year. The self published edition was only in ebook format.


message 7: by Rainey (new)

Rainey starfleetbrat wrote: "The Martian was really good. But. The book page says it was first published in 2012 (if I click "all editions" the editions page says "First published September 23rd 2012") So it doesn't qualify fo..."
Hey! First- good catch. I thought the same thing when I first picked up an arc of The Martian. But in defense of this list, the book was originally self-published in 2012 (with pretty much no press) and was picked up by Random House for widespread publication in 2014. :)


message 8: by Srosch (new)

Srosch I think there are better ya books that hollow city. Lots of great series finishing this season ;-)


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura Fourth of July creek. Still reading it but it's amazing


message 10: by Heidi (new)

Heidi City of heavanly fire :)


message 11: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Disappointed with the YA selection, as usual. For once I'd like to see historical fiction featured.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 06, 2014 10:23AM) (new)

COHF ALRIGHT AND EASTHER'S BOOK! Yay!


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Gigi wrote: "Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books furth..."

I completely agree. I'd love to see standalone titles chosen for YA, or at least the first book in a series rather than series conclusions/continuations.


message 14: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn Harrison Do they put lists out like this every year? This is the first I've seen one. This is great because now I have a chance to read some of the books BEFORE voting opens for the Goodreads Choice Awards.


message 15: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Don't like any of the nominees, just going by the blurbs alone.


message 16: by Andrea (new)

Andrea My picks from this group are The Martian- Andy Weir -very compelling well done.
Capital - Thomas Piketty, interesting discussion on current economics.
The three YA choices are good but there are better ones out there.


message 17: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Gigi wrote: "Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books furth..."

Nothing wrong with putting in your two cents. :) I have not read any of the books in the YA section. I can honestly say though that in all the YA series books I have read I typically like the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. books better. I'm an odd one like that.


message 18: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale I prefer to avoid 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999ad infinitum% of the YA genre as it seems to have more sex (and more explicit sex) than most adult novels like both Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files and Codex Alera series.

My $.02-worth.


message 19: by Lesa (new)

Lesa I love this blog post because last year when I was voting in the Goodreads Choice Awards, I was wishing I had read more of the finalists. I was wondering if there was a way to find out which books were likely to be in the running. Is there a way to find out what books are most popular on Goodreads right now?


message 20: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Don't know, Lesa.


message 21: by Eva (new)

Eva Lesa wrote: "I love this blog post because last year when I was voting in the Goodreads Choice Awards, I was wishing I had read more of the finalists. I was wondering if there was a way to find out which books ..."

@Lesa: Under the Explore tab on your GR homepage, is a link to the Popular books. The list only holds the top 200 and can be sorted by year and by month.

Good browsing!


message 22: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Lesa wrote: "Is there a way to find out what books are most popular on Goodreads right now? "

You can also access it directly with this link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/popula...


message 23: by Molly (new)

Molly Anything that Alice Hoffman or Neil Gaiman writes is a good read any time of the year.


message 24: by Meghanly (new)

Meghanly Gigi wrote: "Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books furth..."

I thought the same thing! Wish there was at least one stand-alone novel in the YA bunch!


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I also thought the YA section seemed weak, but whatever. I am actually interested in all three of the fiction category and have added them to get soon. They sound fascinating.


message 26: by Derrick (new)

Derrick Burton Did the world do a 180 on The Martian? Early reviews I read didn't seem that positive.


message 27: by Lesa (new)

Lesa Eva wrote: "Lesa wrote: "I love this blog post because last year when I was voting in the Goodreads Choice Awards, I was wishing I had read more of the finalists. I was wondering if there was a way to find out..."

Thank you, Eva and Andrea!


 Charlie - A Reading Machine Did not mind the Martian but was very hard science fiction. I'd have put Red RIsing on this list


message 29: by Parmida (new)

Parmida Aelin Sardothien city of heavenly fire is the best!!!


message 30: by July (new)

July I have read 2 of the 9 books! I may check the other 7.


message 31: by Prity (new)

Prity Malhotra I loved The One & Hollow City however I hated The Light we cannot see..I gave it a 1 star. Being an Indian & having read a lot more scary Indian Historical Fiction/Non-Fiction, I guess the ongoings of this book didn't moved me one bit.


message 32: by Adeline (new)

Adeline Well, if these are the best YA books of the year so far, it's no wonder I stay away from the genre... I'm certainly never touching anything that's been written by Cassandra Clare, or rather "Cassandra Claire".


Hold_My_Heart (Rachel) Divergent should be on this list!


message 34: by Patty (new)

Patty Gigi wrote: "Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books furth..."

I have to agree with Gigi, although I haven't read any of these books. I would have actually preferred to see some standalones or at least first books in a new series.


message 35: by Andy (new)

Andy City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare needs to be on this list.


message 36: by B.R. (new)

B.R. Maycock Very impressive list,Good reads,would put nearly all nine books on my now ridiculous reading list!


message 37: by B.R. (new)

B.R. Maycock Note: Am a pure novice to ya so am just going on book descriptions alone,as for non fiction and fiction,they seem like an impressive bunch!


message 38: by Katie (new)

Katie Half a King is my fave 2014 book...

but, I like this idea of sharing this years favorites - so far


message 39: by Tsie (new)

Tsie "City of Heavenly Fire" was good even if I couldn't connect properly with the second storyline. I'm surprised there are only 3 though .. I've read better stories.


Highly interested in reading "All the Light We Cannot See" though!


message 40: by Devan (new)

Devan Meghan wrote: "Disappointed with the YA selection, as usual. For once I'd like to see historical fiction featured."

Historical fiction is part of Miss Peregrine's series.


message 41: by Devan (new)

Devan Completely agree with Hollow City for the YA list (p.s. it's not a genre). It has been one of my favorite reads this year so far. I even liked it better than the first novel, which is a rare occurrence. Can't wait to see what Tim Burton does with the film.


message 42: by ThePinkCarrot (new)

ThePinkCarrot Counting by 7s is a great YA read if you're looking for something other than a series.


message 43: by Cat (new)

Cat Bradford I"m rereading The One, and yeah, it totally deserves to be on here! It's an awesome book - Kiera Cass is an awesome writer.


message 44: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Fears The Silkworm (by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, has been my favorite read of the year so far (out of 17 books). I liked Cuckoo's calling well enough, but The Silkworm was phenomenal!


message 45: by Dawn (new)

Dawn A Burnable Book (John Gower, #1) by Bruce HolsingerA Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger is my pick for historical fiction of 2014


message 46: by Georgesear (new)

Georgesear The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. I am loving this new series. Cormoran Strike is a great character.


message 47: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Rhody The best book of the Summer by far is Water Walker by Ted Dekker. If you've never read Ted Dekker before you will not be disappointed and you'll be addicted to his books.


maybedeathisagift Gigi wrote: "Hmm. The picks for the YA section seem a bit rigged to me. Because of course they have high ratings! They are all later books in a series. The people who tend to read and therefore rate books furth..."

this is a really good point


message 49: by Boshra (new)

Boshra I think we were liars by E. Lockhart is a book to consider (as whether a fiction or Young Adult, I'm not so sure since I see it as a contamporarian). I find it very well crafted and it's a very deep tale about love and family and money and heirs and I see it may affect everyone in the society !


message 50: by Ainoa (new)

Ainoa I'm sorry but I can't take seriusly this list. Just like I can't take seriusly Cassandra Clare's writing- I'm still not getting over the fact that the capital of Idris is called "Alicante". Chek out google maps, please.

There are far better examples of YA literature that the ones listed here


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