Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2014

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Only read the first VanderMeer, which I enjoyed but not enough to stick with the trilogy. Probably prefer him as a curator.

Really wanna read that Marlon James.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 11:53 (eleven months ago) link

The Wake. A spectacular linguistic achievement, a gripping descent into the void, and some of the better analysis of English exceptionalism I've read. But most of all, the sentences are just beautiful

imago, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 11:57 (eleven months ago) link

Wolf In White van and Annihilation in the same year? Of fucking course.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:10 (eleven months ago) link

Giving my vote to Wolf though I deeply enjoyed both of these books. (The only two from this list I’ve read.)

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:12 (eleven months ago) link

Voting for ilxors is allowed now? ;) (I've only read Universal Harvester, which is really good)

imago, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:17 (eleven months ago) link

> Britt-Marie Was Here

seen the film, does that count? (no, no it doesn't)

otherwise only Station 11 here, i think.

koogs, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:47 (eleven months ago) link

Wolf In White Van by John Darnielle
Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill

only two i’ve read. both great

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 12:53 (eleven months ago) link

12 and a half! I'm gonna rank them.

Outline by Rachel Cusk - I love what she accomplished, all the different voices, the stories, the monologues masquerading as conversations and the way you could feel the different levels of engagement or tension between the narrator and her different conversational partners.
The Story Of The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante - as good as any of the others
Lila by Marilynne Robinson - feel that if I were to reread this it would be comfort reading despite the deprivation depicted
Wolf In White Van by John Darnielle - a neat and original debut
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - a cosy catastrophe
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor - an interesting mix of SF/folklore/reportage
Ancilliary Sword by Ann Leckie - little bit of a middle book problem with this one
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer - maybe trying a bit too hard for the weird fiction vibe
How To Be Both by Ali Smith - not bad but just didn't engage me
A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James - same
Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill - some similarities in style with patricia lockwood's debut but the narrator here failed to win my sympathy
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (unfinished) - annoyingly Mary Sue-esque
J by Howard Jacobson - one of those books that is so bad as to make you question your skills as a reader and wonder if you've completely misconstrued every word. But I don't think I did.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 13:28 (eleven months ago) link

Outline or Story of the Lost Child. kind of impossible to choose.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 13:40 (eleven months ago) link

i like Department of Speculation, but nothing stands a chance against the Ferrante or Outline. although i keep meaning to read the Marlon James and haven't yet.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 13:41 (eleven months ago) link

oh damn i need to read outline i guess

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 13:45 (eleven months ago) link

i think that trilogy is great!

horseshoe, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 14:41 (eleven months ago) link

My feeling is that Outline is very good, Dept of Speculation is excellent, but A Brief History of Seven Killings is on a whole other level.

ed.b, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 14:49 (eleven months ago) link

I've only read the Marlon James but voted for it anyway, it's really amazing though one of the more violent books I've ever read.

I thought I'd read the Tana French, but it turns out that isn't the one "influenced" by The Secret History (that's The Likeness).

rob, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 15:18 (eleven months ago) link

This is a tough one for me. Very much my least favorite of the four Neapolitan novels though this still leaves it far above most novels. Annihilation was wonderfully alien and impenetrable which is something I like in an SF novel but I was somewhat retroactively soured on it by how much I disliked the next one. Dept of Speculation I sure did like when I read it but remember nothing about it which is maybe a bad sign -- was it, like, cut into short pieces some of which were aphorisms? Prep for the Next Life was gooey nonsense. Station Eleven was crowd-pleasing SF at it very best and I could imagine voting for it. But I might just not vote in this one on the grounds that Seven Killings is probably better than any of the ones I've read.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 15:28 (eleven months ago) link

The only one I've read is "Wolf in White Van", but happy to vote for it.

o. nate, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 16:03 (eleven months ago) link

this Tana French is not her best, although it has flashes of brilliance.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 16:24 (eleven months ago) link

Oooh, I can join in again this year. I really liked Wolf in White Van and would have been happy to give it a vote, but... Tokyo Ueno Station is an absolutely brilliant book. A beautifully sad work, with lack of agency in life reflected in lack of agency in death.

emil.y, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 16:51 (eleven months ago) link

I don't seem to have read anything here. Am reading Marlon James at the moment but only got a few personas in . So need to get back to it.

Still surprises me that I haven't read anything on a list from a given year. But must have read other things from then. Do read quite a bit.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 17:13 (eleven months ago) link

I've been unable to get through The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, and have yet to start on Wolf in White Van. Of all the rest, I read Lila when it was released.

Jaq, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 17:35 (eleven months ago) link

I'm actually not going w the Ferrante here at the quartet finish line---great fireworks and momentum increases, w perfect punchline for whole sequence---also Lila is great, a detour life in the Gilead cycle, w that migrant worker subculture, which started w colonizing of North American, probably, but I've never seen it in fiction before, not in pre-Grapes of Wrath/Great Depression times, w GD just another thing for these people---but Wolf In White Van is a genius move if anything is, that kind of magnetic focus and force, and maybe uniquely so in fiction that tries to deal w these thematic elements---JD will long be remembered/is known for this by even by those who don't know or care about The Mountain Goats, and it's as least as strong as any of his music(I say this as somebody who first got into the chain o' tapes in early 90s). A unique reading experience for me, unlike components of Neapolitan and Gilead sequences)(Will have to re-read Universal Harvester and looking fwd to Devil House)

dow, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 18:06 (eleven months ago) link

But here's hoping for another tie, three-way split, even.

dow, Tuesday, 7 December 2021 18:08 (eleven months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 9 December 2021 00:01 (eleven months ago) link

went with JD even tho I've read a few on this list. i loved it while reading it, and then loaned it to a friend who never returned it. meanwhile, i have her copy of a different book, which is now worth some money. strange how those things work.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Thursday, 9 December 2021 00:28 (eleven months ago) link

strong year. i'm reading the atticus lish right now and loving it. also enjoyed 'annihilation' (but couldn't make it through the second one in the series). voted for 'outline' though. maybe this is just me bc i feel like the reviews i've read didn't acknowledge its humour but i find her frequently hilarious

flopson, Thursday, 9 December 2021 01:56 (eleven months ago) link

The only one I've read is "Wolf in White Van", but happy to vote for it.

― o. nate, Tuesday, December 7, 2021 11:03 AM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

This book absolutely haunted me because of the evocation of childhood damage and early rpgs.

ma dmac's fury road (PBKR), Thursday, 9 December 2021 02:44 (eleven months ago) link

I saw this negative review of WiWV a few days ago: http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/17/17471.html

i still like it

adam t. (abanana), Thursday, 9 December 2021 02:51 (eleven months ago) link

This reminded me I need to read "Universal Harvester".

o. nate, Thursday, 9 December 2021 15:59 (eleven months ago) link

It keep me reading, thinking, but seemed more diffuse than WWIWV, although---a lot of things are---deserves rereading--and even if I still don't get it overall, there will still be a lot of pleasures along the way, incl. sensuous--- eventually, I started having the sensation of walking around the contents of a silo, purchase constantly, minutely shifting (more Arthur Russell than Mountain Goats)---and then dang if there isn't a silo in there---and much more--

dow, Thursday, 9 December 2021 19:29 (eleven months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 10 December 2021 00:01 (eleven months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2015

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 10 December 2021 17:48 (eleven months ago) link


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