Underline of any color= graphic novel/comic book
- Robin: Year One—written by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty, illustrated by Javier Pulido and Robert Campanella
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince—J.K. Rowling
- Portraits of a Marriage—Sándor Márai, trans. by George Szirtes
- Tell the Wolves I’m Home—Carol Rifka Brunt
- Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation—Thomas Siddell
- The Plain Janes—written by Cecil Castellucci, art by Jim Rugg
- Sweeney Astray—translated by Seamus Heaney
- Saints—Gene Luen Yang
- Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 2: Research—Thomas Siddell
- Batman & Robin, Vol. 1: Born to Kill—written by Peter J. Tomasi, illustrated by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
- Nightwing: Year One—written by Chuck Dixon, illustrated by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens
- Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth—Warsan Shire
- A Town Like Alice—Nevil Shute
- In the Woods—Tana French
- Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 3: Reason—Thomas Siddell
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—J.K. Rowling
- Nightwing: The Lost Year—written by Marv Wolfman and Marc Andreyko; art by Joe Bennett, Jack Jadson, Jamal Igle, Jon Bosco, Keith Champagne, Alex Silva, etc.
- Zot! Book 1—Scott McCloud
- Surprised by the Voice of God—Jack Deere
- The Fire in All Things: Poems—Stephen Yenser
- The Book Thief—Markus Zusak
- Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Pearl—written by Peter J. Tomasi; art by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, Tomas Giorello, etc.
- Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight—Travis Langley
- Catching Fire—Suzanne Collins
- Sex at Noon Taxes—Sally Van Doren
- Nightwing, Vol. 1: A Knight in Blüdhaven—written by Chuck Dixon; art by Scott McDaniel and Karl Story
- Batman: The Heart of Hush—written by Paul Dini, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
- Mockingjay—Suzanne Collins
- Streets of Gotham, Vol. 1: Hush Money—written by Paul Dini, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
- Streets of Gotham, Vol. 2: Leviathan—written by Paul Dini; Mike Benson; and Christopher Yost, art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
- An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination—Elizabeth McCracken
- Of Gravity and Angels—Jane Hirshfield
- Comfort Me with Apples—Ruth Reichl
- Batman: Streets of Gotham, Vol. 3: House of Hush—written by Paul Dini, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
- Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes—written by Kyle Higgins; illustrated by Eddie Barrows, Eduardo Pansica, Geraldo Borges, JP Mayer, Paulo Siqueira, Eber Ferreira, Ruy José, etc.
- A Tale for the Time Being—Ruth Ozeki
- Everything is Illuminated—Jonathan Safran Foer
- Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1: Demon Star—written by Grant Morrison; art by Chris Burnham (p), Frazer Irving (p), Bit artists (p), Nathan Fairbairn (c), Frazar Irving (c), etc.
- JLA/W.I.L.D.Cats—written by Grant Morrison, (art by ?)
- Batman Incorporated—written by Grant Morrison, art by Yanick Paquette and Chris Burnham
- Doc—Mary Doria Russell
- Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey—Nick Bertozzi
- Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love—written by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack Jr., art by Randy Duburke
- The Search—written by Eric Heuvel with Eric Heuvel, trans. by
- Brown Girl Dreaming—Jacqueline Woodson
- The Light Between Oceans—M.L. Stedman
- Bone: Out from Boneville—Jeff Smith
- The Search for Delicious—Natalie Babbit
- Dogs of War—written by Sheila Keenan, art by Nathan Fox
- March: Book One—story by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin, art by Nate Powell
- Lewis & Clark—Nick Bertozzi
I shouldn't be surprised, especially given my recent project.
I could tell I wasn't reading many (text-based) novels (something I'd like change this year), but I was bewildered to see so few nonfiction books on the list. I'd felt like I'd read more nonfiction last year. Then I realized. . .I read a lot of nonfiction last year, but mainly things that I can't count on this list: articles and blog posts, books I haven't finished yet, books I read huge sections of (for research), but not in their entirety (or in order). For example, Shelley Taylor's The Tending Instinct was one of the most interesting books I read last year, but I only completed about 80% of it.
My favorite novel of 2014 was, no contest, Mary Doria Russell's Doc—sharp and tender, full of pithy descriptions and heartbreaking characters.
My favorite nonfiction book was Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere, in part because it was exactly the book I needed to read at the time. I had read parts (if not all) of it before, but what struck me this time through was the graceful humility with which it was written.
My favorite poetry read was a tie between Of Gravity and Angels (I always end up loving Jane Hirshfield's work) and The Fire in All Things, which made me promise myself I'd read it again in a few years and see if I understood different elements.
My favorite memoir was March: Book One, which surprised me because I hadn't expected so much artistry from a book so closely connected to a politician. But the story is well-told and captures John Lewis' personal journey and hallmarks of the Civil Rights movement in a way feels simultaneously broad and intimate. It left me eager for the next installment.
My favorite "capes" comic collection was Batman & Robin, Vol. 1: Born to Kill. This was the first Batman and Robin of the New52 reboot; a change I wasn't looking forward to. (I had been upset when the New52 broke up the duo of Dick Grayson's Batman and Damian Wayne's Robin for the "return" of Bruce Wayne.) But now I want all my superhero comics to be as thoughtful as this volume. The tension between father and son is so believable that it keeps the story grounded in psychological realism, even as the crime-fighting enters the typically bizarre world of Batman villains. Tomasi was wise enough to focus on the characters first and the heroics second. And Gleason's artwork is full of atmospheric shadows and heart-rending visual parallels.
My favorite non-capes comic collection was Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 2: Research because that was the volume where I realized I was absolutely addicted to the strange scientifically-magical/magically-robotic boarding school Thomas Siddell had created. Siddell had also grown into his art style by this volume. I have not caught up to the online comic yet, so I can't recommend it in its entirety (and if the inclusion of same-sex relationships ruins stories for you, this will not be your favorite read). I think of Gunnerkrigg Court as "Harry Potter with female protagonists and adorable robots." If that sounds awesome to you, check it out.
In an upcoming post, I'll write a bit about my reading goals for this year. But I want to know: What were your favorite books for 2014? And do you have any reading goals for 2015?