Best Books

Books And Reviews Best Books of 2014

The wonderful, challenging and surprising 2014 is coming to an end today, so following Books & Reviews’ tradition, here are the best books I’ve read this year. Can you guess which was my favourite?

10. East of Eden by John Steinbeck


9. Linda, as in The Linda Murder by Leif G.W Persson


8. Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary


7. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan


6. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell


5. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly


4. The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard


3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


2. Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


1. The Savage Altar by Åsa Larsson




  • FictionFan

    I’ve only read one on your list – the Liane Moriarty – and it made my ‘best of ‘ list too, but a couple of the others have made it onto the TBR. Have a great New Year, and I look forward to reading more of your reviews in 2015! 🙂

    • Elena

      Happy New Year, FictionFan! I think Moriarty is in most of the best books of 2014 list, becuase really, Little Lies is THAT good. I hope more people read it in the future, before it’s turned into a limited TV series.

  • Charlotte Gringras

    I was blown away by ‘Apple Tree Yard’ by Louise Doughty. It shocked and affected me in equal measure and, unlike so many novels, there was even a surprise twist to the ending. If I said any more I would give too much away. Read it!
    Also : Perfect by Rachel Joyce. A brilliant portrayal of the apparently dysfunctional members of society.
    Am now ensconced in the memoir of Emmeline Pankhurst: My Own Story ( reprinted) I know a lot about the suffragette battles, having its history in my own novel, The Purple Rose, but this is a diary of courage like no other. Happy New Reading Year

    • Elena

      Hi, Cleo! That’s because they are two awesome books, and I really hope they become more famous. Let me know if you read something more from the list, please?

    • Elena

      Thank you, Li. I think you’d love Mitchell, but to tell you the truth, I don’t consider myself a huge fan of his, even though The Bone Clocks is really good.

  • crimeworm

    I have The Engagements; thank you for reminding me to read it. And I love Elizabeth Jane Howard! I’m not at that stage in the Cazalet chronicles yet though. Great list Elena, as I’d expect! Just noticed you’ve got The Bone Clocks pic up twice, instead of The Girl On The Train the second time (feel free to delete this bit of the comment, just wanted to let you know!)

    • Elena

      Thank you for always reading and being around, crimeworm. I’m really glad you love the list, and even more that you noticed that mistake. Oops! Already corrected xxx

    • Elena

      You need to read it as soon as possible. It is such a complex and socially relevant read! I think you could write an essay on the meaning of engagements in the USA (I say this because there was no tradition in Spain of an engagement ring until very, very recently).

  • Helen Giltrow

    I love these lists & yours has got me scribbling down titles – I’ve only read ONE of these but want to read Persson – and Mitchell (love his stuff) – and Daly – and Hawkins … okay, basically the other nine! Thanks too for some great blog posts this year – they always get me thinking. Happy New Year!

    • Elena

      Thank you for reading, Helen. I read some realy good stuff this year, but I can’t recommend new, British women writers enough, and my list proves how awesome they are.

    • Elena

      I think East of Eden is a huge favourite out there, at least among my reading friends. Come back when you read The Bone Clocks? It’s a book we need to talk about.

  • crimeworm

    I’m going to have to read East of Eden; we read some Steinbeck in school, particularly the shorter ones. I loved The Moon Is Down, probably because I learnt some history too (if my memory serves me correctly, it’s about Nazi occupation in Norway, although he may not have specifically named places.) I need to make myself read more classics; it’s just too tempting to indulge in more IMMEDIATE books, like crime fiction…less effort required by the reader! Maybe I’ll put one in the bathroom for reading (I hate missing any potential reading time!) And yes, I am always around, and always reading, as your blog is one of my favourites…interesting re the engagement ring/Spain thing. But it’s sad that countries don’t stick to their own traditions. In the UK baby showers have caught on, imported from the US.

    • Elena

      Hi, crimeworm! I don’t think crime fiction is necessarily easier to read than classics, but this all has to do with my personal “battle” with the classics and the Canon (who says what is a classic and what is not?!). Anyway, you know I’m all for crime fiction, and I read East of Eden because Cathy is the first female psychopath described in detail in literature.

      • crimeworm

        Now I’m really thinking it sounds worth reading…I don’t think I’ve read any classics since school, except for a couple of Thomas Hardy books (which were v easy going!) – so I really should make an effort! I’ve tried some, but they generally get abandoned as they can be hard work 🙁 Lazy of me, I know!

  • Rebecca

    I really need to read Someone Else’s Skin, and I concur on your Steinbeck and Larsson picks. I’ve only read one Larsson that I didn’t love, and that’s a pretty good record. Best wishes in the new year, and I hope you can squeeze in some reading for entertainment!

    • Elena

      Happy New Year, Rebecca! I have only read one Larsson, so I think there’s still time to fall out of love with her works, although I really hope I don’t.

      As for my reading time, I hope to find some kind of balance. When you’ve been researching crime fiction the whole day the last thing you need is to read more crime fiction…

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