The Best Books Of 2014

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With guest host Jane Clayson.

“All the Light We Cannot See," "Fourth of July Creek," "Another Great Day at Sea" and more. The best books of 2014.

"Fourth of July Creek," "Another Fine Day At Sea" and "Lila" are among the best books published in 2014. (Courtesy Publishers)
"Fourth of July Creek," "Another Fine Day At Sea" and "Lila" are among the best books published in 2014. (Courtesy Publishers)

It’s been a strong year for books. And no matter what the form--- bound pages or pure digital--- this year’s reads inspire, challenge, and transport us. This year’s crop is plentiful. From a backwater town in Ireland to a little house on the prairie. Great expeditions to the North Pole and deep soul searching. Back to World War Two and the Iraq War. Big family memoirs that kept us turning the pages. And, mind-bending journeys through a post-apocalyptic world. This hour On Point: the great reads and best books of 2014.
-- Jane Clayson


Janet Potter, staff writer at The Millions. Co-host of "The Book Report" on YouTube. (@sojanetpotter)

Laurie Hertzel, senior editor for books, Minneapolis Star Tribune. Author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist." (@stribbooks)

Mark Laframboise, book buyer for the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

From The Reading List

NPR Books: NPR's Book Concierge -- "Maybe you're looking to crack open a few books this holiday season. Maybe you're looking to buy some as holiday gifts. Well, we have for you a guide of sorts to 2014's great reads. We call it our Book Concierge. This is not a best-of list, but it's suggestions from NPR staff and critics about what they've liked in fiction, nonfiction, biography, young adult literature and plenty of other genres."

Publisher's Weekly: The Future of Reading: 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond -- "The Internet has been disrupting the businesses of publishing and bookselling for the past two decades. Despite it all, a few stubborn concepts have retained their shape: the integrity of narrative (stories have a beginning, middle, and end); the book as container of ideas, fixed in time and place; the necessary involvement of authors and editors, as well as publishers and distributors; and, most remarkably to some, the boundary between physical objects and the digital domains."

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Our critics choose their 10 favorite books -- "Maybe you’re shopping for the holidays, maybe you’re just cobbling together your own reading list for the coming winter. Either way, here are recommendations for you, one suggestion each from 10 of the Star Tribune’s most trusted book critics. The best books of the year? Maybe. Books that you should read? Definitely. And books that will make fabulous gifts? Absolutely."

See The On Point Staff's Favorite Books of 2014 At Our Blog

Janet Potter's Best Books

1. "Another Great Day At Sea" By Geoff Dyer

2. "Wolf in White Van" by John Darnielle

3. "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel

4. "On Immunity" by Eula Bliss

5. "Painted Cities" by Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski

6. "Red Or Dead" by David Peace

7. "California" by Edan Lepucki

8. "Thrown" by Kerry Howley

9. "The Secret Place" by Tana French

10. "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell

Laurie Hertzel's Best Books

1. "Fourth of July Creek" by Smith Henderson

2. "The Empathy Exams" by Leslie Jamison

3. "Pioneer Girl" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, annotated by Pamela Smith Hill

4. "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chaz

5. "In the Kingdom of Ice" by Hampton Sides

6. "Nora Webster" by Colm Toibin

7. "Underground" by Jim Moore

8. "A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing" by Eimear McBride

9. "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" by Richard Flanagan

10. "When Paris Went Dark" by Ronald Rossbottom

Mark Laframboise's Best Books

1. "Lila" by Marilynne Robinson

2. "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

3. "American Innovations" by Rivka Galchen

4. "Thrown" by Kerry Howley

5. "Nora Webster" by Colm Toibin

6. "The Laughing Monsters" by Denis Johnson

7. "Love Me Back" by Merrit Tierce

8. "Five and Twenty-Fives" by Michael Pitre

9. "Flirting with French" by William Alexander

10. "Take This Man" by Brando Skyhorse

Your Picks From During The Hour And The Web

"The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher" by Hilary Mantel

"The Peripheral" By William Gibson

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

"To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" by Joshua Ferris

"Edge of Eternity "by Ken Follett

"This Changes Everything" by Naomi Klein

"Driving Backwards" by Jessica Lander

"Ask the Moon" by Dannie Abse

"Man V. Nature" by Diane Cook

"In the Light of What We Know" by Zia Haider Rahman

"Sane New World" by Ruby Wax

"The Great Divide" by Matt Taibbi

"Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenon

"Bad Feminist" by Roxanne Gay

"Citizen: An American Lyric" by Claudia Rankine

"Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts" by Robert M. Dowling

"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler

"Darkwalker" by Dunacan Eagleson

"The Zone of Interest" by Martin Amis

"The Invisible Bridge" by Rich Perlstein

"The Mayhem Wrangler" by D.R. Schervish

"Zero to One" by Peter Thiel

"The Care and Management of Lies" by Jacqueline Winspeare

This program aired on December 5, 2014.


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