Best Books of 2014: Sheer Randomness

I’ve done both my best of for fiction and nonfiction for 2014, so why another list? Well, I feel like there are still some “best of” books that I’d like to mention, but didn’t quite make the cut for the overall lists. These are books that I read in 2014 that I absolutely adored, and I made up the random categories they go in . . . hence the name Best Books of 2014: Sheer Randomness.

Swapna's Best of 2014: Sheer Randomness

Best celebrity memoir on audio:

No Land’s Man – Aasif Mandvi 

Aasif Mandvi’s memoir is hilarious, of course, but it’s also an insightful cultural memoir about growing up in the UK and America with brown skin. My review of this memoir is coming soon, and I’ll link it up when it goes live.

Best book of 2015 (so far):

A Bad Character – Deepti Kapoor (releases in February, keep an eye out for the review!)

Best mystery about a religious group:

Tie: The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison and Invisible City by Julia Dahl

The Bishop’s Wife doesn’t release until the end of December, so my review will go up in January. It’s about a Mormon housewife, the wife of a local bishop, and it’s both gripping for its plot and for its fascinating insight into modern-day Mormon culture.

Best book that I wish I’d given a higher rating to because of how it’s stuck with me:

I Am China – Xiaolu Guo

Best book that actually lived up to all the hype:

The Southern Reach Trilogy – Jeff VanderMeer

Best fiction book of 2013 that I read in 2014:

The Grammarian – Annapurna Potluri

Best nonfiction book of 2013 that I read in 2014:

The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay – Hooman Majd

Best YA novel:

Belzhar – Meg Wolitzer

Best book about books:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin

Best novel about ballet:

Tie: Astonish Me – Maggie Shipstead

Best historical novel:

Tie: While Beauty Slept – Elizabeth Blackwell and The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Best romance novel:

A Bollywood Affair – Sonali Dev

Best crazy ride of weirdness that still has me reeling:

Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes


  1. I’m surprised that The Grammarian is on your list. I started it but never finished it and I can’t remember why. I didn’t like it? Due back at the library? Ack!! I wish i knew.

  2. I like the “Best book that I wish I’d given a higher rating to because of how it’s stuck with me” category. That happens so often, and it makes me want to read I Am China even more.

  3. The only one of these I’ve read is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, but I quite enjoyed it! Good to hear While Beauty Slept made your list – I haven’t seen a lot of reviews of that one but I’m a fan of fairytale retellings, so I’m intrigued.

  4. I love your list! I started A Bollywood Affair this morning and I’m really excited about it!

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