RT Editors’ Best Books of 2014 — Sarah’s Picks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — when we look back on all of the great books we’ve read over the past 12 months. All during December the RT editors are sharing their favorite reads of 2014. Won’t you reminisce along with us? (Apologies to your TBR pile.)

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit — This is a short but powerful read. It’s the kind of book you hope people ask you about on the subway. Solnit puts a name to a common occurrence for women and in doing so creates a way to discuss and change systems. This book was enlightening and cathartic. 

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay — Gay’s essays tackle the intersectionality of gender, race and class through culture in a way that is both heartbreaking and funny. She tackles the gray areas that are usually left unexplored in cultural commentary, which was refreshing.   

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews — I couldn’t get enough of Nevada and her family. Even her grandma kicks ass. The stakes in this story start out high and just keep ramping up. Mad Rogan is a super hot hero and I’m dying to see him finally win over Nevada. The subtle stabs at corporate dominance and the treatment of veterans were appreciated. I’m eagerly awaiting the second book.     

Mrs. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson — I’ve been a Marvel lover literally from the time I learned to read; however, the lack of amazing female characters always stung. Kamala Khan is the kind of superhero I wish I had growing up. The message about being true to yourself is wonderful, but what really makes this book shine is how Kamala keeps her sense of humor through everything.

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley — A friend of mine described Bryan Lee O’Malley as the Judd Apatow of comics and I have to agree. The book is about being in the middle of things, relationships, projects — life and how frustrating that can be. I was really drawn to the idea that nothing is perfect and rather than regret the past we need to build better futures. 

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe — If you have a racy sense of humor and love poking fun at fantasy novels, you need to read Rat Queens. It’s violent, sexy and had me laughing hysterically. I found the comic to be pretty unique, like a Dungeons and Dragons quest gone hilariously wrong.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes — I couldn’t put this book down. It’s like Gillian Flynn and Steven King got together to write the best episode of Law and Order ever. I loved the psychological thriller aspects of the story, but what really impressed me was the way the author uses social media in the story. Characters interact with technology in a way that I rarely see outside of science fiction and it shapes the story in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago. The portrayal of Detroit is complicated and authentic, perfect for a book about destruction and the constant human struggle for something better.

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer — Part memoir, part self-help book, Amanda Palmer builds a case for generosity and self promotion. I was expecting a funny glimpse into a rock star’s life, I wasn’t expecting it to be so full of genuine emotion. This book makes you want to create or just help someone else do so. 

Rooms by Lauren Oliver — The feels, oh my, the feels. Part haunted house story, part family drama, Oliver created a cast of characters that I loved and hated in equal parts. I found this to be a truly unique way to intertwine the lives of very different characters across several generations. 

Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny — This book’s critique is so honest and raw that it hurts. It’s not for the feint of heart or those who don’t want to get too mad at the state of the world. I don’t know how anyone could read this book and not want to take action to fix the issues Penny discusses, which is to me is a sign of a terrific writer.  

See any of your 2014 favorites? Sound off below! And stay tuned all week as we revisit our favorites from the year.

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