Well, it's hard to believe it, but it's that time of year again. Time to sum up the year in reading with my favorites lists. For those who may be new to the blog this year end, I have foregone the use of the term "best" because the connotation indicates there is a standard or rubric that makes the selection objective, when in reality all of these lists--no matter who they are compiled by--are completely subjective and dependent on the choosers' tastes and interests. So my lists are "favorite lists."
I had hoped to integrate some stats from what blog readers also liked this year, but the responses were too few to offer anything up in that realm. Maybe next year?
As for my favorites in the categories of covers and first lines, here are those that rocked my reading world for 2014:
5. A Better World (Marcus Sakey): I think you'll notice a running theme of simplicity in my favorite covers. In addition to A Better World's cover having a connection with the first in the trilogy, it screams a big meaning in a subtle use of art. The only thing that would have improved this cover is a more subtle use of the blurb--preferably moving it to the back cover.
4. Roosevelt's Beast (Louis Bayard): The rich layered approach of Bayard's writing is epitomized in the dimension of this cover. His atmosphere and setting are nailed. The minimalistic use of color gives each hue strength in the overall arrangement. The font choice for the title builds the suspense before readers even crack the cover. And the wording is limited to the title and author--how wonderfully refreshing.
3. Conquest (John Connolly & Jennie Redyard): I absolutely love the use of shape and light in this cover. It exudes so many elements of the novel: the blending of cultures, the sci-fi genre, they mysterious and unknown, as well as the strong connection to basics of the planet. Again, I think the simplistic color scheme adds strength to each shade and highlight.
2. The Global War on Morris (Steve Israel): This is a very late entry for 2014. The book comes out tomorrow and you'll hear more about it after my review runs in Shelf Awareness, but this cover has a less subtle use of color which is perfect for this political satire. The stark contrast between the elements in this composition are bold and loud and funny, just like the points Israel makes inside the book.
1. The Intern's Handbook (Shane Kuhn): I listened to this audiobook for Audiofile Magazine and much like The Global War on Morris, the colors of this cover are minimal but they are bold and jump out at the viewer. The composition of the cover is brilliant and intricately tied to the plot. I can't help but love a cover that makes a concerted effort to accurately tie into the novel it's representing. Kudos to Simon and Schuster on this beauty!
FAVORITE FIRST LINES:
5. Talk by Michael Smerconish: "Fire, tits and sharks are TV gold."
4. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix: "It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end."
3. Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz: "Terror came as a vibration, a plucked-wire note more felt than heard, primary to the deadening heat, to the flick of unseen insects against her face, to the oppressive night humidity that pressed into her pores."
2. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta: "On the last day of Jace Wilson's life, the thirteen-year-old stood on a quarry ledge staring at cool, still water and finally understood something his mother had told him years before: Trouble might come for you when you showed fear, but trouble doubled-down when you lied about it."
1. The Happiest People in the World by Brock Clarke: "The moose head was fixed to the wall, the microphone in its mouth was broken, but the camera in its left eye was working just fine, and as far as the moose head could see, this was just another Friday night in the Lumber Lodge!"
What covers and first lines tickled your fancy this year? Share with us in the comments, we'd love to know. Tomorrow I'll have my favorite debuts and favorite audiobooks for 2014. See you then!