The Best of the 2014 Best Book Lists

Lists are a great way to look back and celebrate the year that was. As the clock winds down on 2014, we are seeing more and more people release their best books of the year lists. Many organizations like CBC, NPR, & The Globe have released great lists. Looking through them, it quickly became apparent that we really need a list of lists.  I’ve checked it twice, and made it available to you. Below you’ll find my favourite lists regarding the best books of 2014 (in no particular order.)


Great Lists

CBC has their best books of 2014 here.  They let you sort by fiction, non fiction, graphic novels, novels, and short stories. They don’t really have a countdown, so there’s no “best book” per se, but they have put together a group which contains some stellar works. It’s not overwhelming though, and if you wish you could easily read all the items in 2015. They’ve also provided pictures of the cover, even though I suppose you’re not supposed to use that to judge contents…

Check out NPR’s best books of 2014 by clicking here. Out of the United States, NPR is a great resource for literature lovers. They have cultivated an amazing collection of great books.  Rather than a list, they use a delightful “book concierge” (which is something akin to a digital librarian.) Visually pleasing and certainly in depth, NPR can help you get lost in books as you explore the best of 2014. With categories such as “seriously great writing” and “book club ideas,” it’s well organized and extremely high quality.

If you follow publishing industry debates, 2014 was a year of considerable controversy for Amazon. That didn’t stop them from putting out a very nice “Amazon Best Books of 2014” list for us (available here.) With celebrity picks from Lena Dunham, Martin Short, BJ Novak, George Clinton, and many more – the beauty of the Amazon list is they’ve got something for all personalities and tastes. They also have in depth categories ranging from science, to kids books by age, gift picks, and many more.

Goodreads is a great resource for finding your next read. You can also join in the WPL Online Book Club with us here. The site also puts out the Goodreads Choice Awards (available here) which is driven by fan voting, so it’s an excellent way to find popular reads. This does however mean that established authors and stories will be pushed over new ideas and independent or newer authors.  For example, a graphic novel from the short-lived Firefly series (with a cult following) takes home the award for best graphic novel. An author like Stephen King has a major advantage (and perhaps doesn’t need the recognition,) but there’s nothing wrong with that at all. The democratic system they have behind their awards means anyone can have a say, which means you’re getting a list from normal people.  If you love user driven online content, this is the list for you.

The library world also puts out some awards and lists worth checking out.  Library Journal provides an extensive list and includes the cost.  Their best of 2014 book list is available here. They also have a nice top 10 available here.  There is a best romance of 2014 category here, and their complete list of best of categories is available here.  There are also specific divisions within the library world which put out lists.  I believe the best one just might be the Young Adult Library Service Association who have their 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults (available here.)


My personal favourite news resource for books is The Guardian.  If you follow our twitter account @windsorpublib you may notice that we share a lot of their articles.  They have some great authors picks. If you’d like to know what Hilary MantelJeanette Winterson,  Naomi KleinIan Rankin, or Margaret Atwood recommend then check out the Guardian’s best of 2014 page here.

The guardian is far from alone though. A lot of newspapers have put out very useful lists.  The Washington Post has their top 50 fiction books of 2014 available here.  The Wall Street Journal has their best books of 2014 available here. The Huffington Post has their list here.  The Telegraph out of the UK may not be in your list of newspapers you read regularly, but they have a nice list for your perusal here.

The Globe and Mail has a much longer list which you can see here. It is thematically made up of smaller lists such as “Favourite Canadian Fiction,” the specific picks of particular reviewers, small press books, and much more. If you want to get specific, the Globe has you covered.

The New York Times has an interesting list available here. The beauty of this “notable” list is that it provides access to their reviews on the works in question. If you want to know more about potential reads, they’ve done some great work. It may just be an end of the year list rather than a prestigious prize, but you can see here that authors may not take too kindly to being left out of the Times.

Award Winners

If you want to stick with award winning books, 2014 was a good year. There are prestigious lists and awards that can be a great guide for finding your next read. The Scotiabank Giller shortlist simply provides a stellar selection with every book worth reading. You can find the Giller longlist here and the Giller shortlist here.  It’s a nice bonus that it’s Canadian made, and the longlist includes some local talent from Biblioasis.

The Man Booker Prize is another prestigious award for literature. With recent winners including Hilary Mantel , Eleanor Catton, and many other great writers – this award is an excellent place to find an excellent read.  You can find their longlist, shortlist, and winner by clicking here.

And there you have it.  A listing of some of the best lists of 2014.  Maybe you can find your next read amongst these treasures.  If you’re still not sure what to check out, talk with your friendly neighbourhood librarian.

 Happy Holidays!

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