As we say goodbye to 2014 and all it had to offer, we reflect on the amazing books we’ve enjoyed. From fiction to nonfiction and all the genres in between, 2014 was full of great literary works that we have to gush over. The staff of Bookmans Flagstaff debated what we would dub our favorite reads of 2014. These aren’t books published within the past year, but what we call “new to us” texts. Some of these books have been around and we are just now reading and some may be the latest best seller. No matter how we selected them from our orange shelves, these are the books we couldn’t put down. These are our Top Reads of 2014. To celebrate another awesome year of awesome books, we asked members of our bookish team to name two of the best books they read this past year.

Top Reads of 2014

Pat’s picks,

The Storied Life of A.J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin
Widowed A.J. Fickry owns Faded Island Books on Alice Island. After his prized collection of rare Poe poems is stolen, the already isolated A.J. Fickry removes himself even more from those around him. His days are dismal and his once-loved bookstore has lost meaning when the arrival of a mysterious package brings a spark back into A.J.’s life. A lovely tale of transformation and why we read, The Storied Life is recommended for anyone who enjoys books about books, second chances and love.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Brilliant botanist Alma Whitaker falls in love with artist Ambrose Pike. A woman of science, strength and independence, Alma is soon introduced to the spiritual and magical. Though they seem to be opposites, the couple find common ground in their shared need for explanations. Readers will be taken on an adventure across the globe as Alma and company explore Peru, Amsterdam and Philadelphia among other exciting locations. Gilbert’s writing is true to the time and completely envelopes its readers in the story.

Caity’s picks

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
In a time when fairytale retellings are everywhere, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder stands out from the rest. With cyborgs treated as second class citizens, a plague that ravages the country and a lunar civilization holding war over Earth’s head, the Cinderella part of this story manages to stay fresh and exciting. Cinder is a talented mechanic and a cyborg who is wrongly blamed for her step-sister’s illness by her vain step-mother. She is taken into the custody of the New Beijing government. The mystery surrounding Cinder’s past is slowly revealed as she finds new allies and realizes how pivotal a role she has in Earth’s survival. The series continues with Scarlet, a twist on Little Red Riding Hood, Cress, a.k.a. Rapunzel, and a forth book being released in 2015.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell’s magnificent YA novel is a story of first love. Eleanor’s home life is anything but ideal. She tries to stay out of her abusive stepfather’s way and under the radar of the popular kids at school. Park, though growing up in the same house among the same classmates all his life, feels like an outsider. The two develop a friendship over comic books and mixed tapes. As things at home escalate for Eleanor and peers at school grow less accepting of the young couple, obstacles stack up against them. What’s to happen to two teenagers who are smart enough to know first loves rarely last but cling to the hope that it will?

Kat’s picks,

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Written primarily from three women’s POVs, The Help follows Skeeter, a collage grad and aspiring writer, Aibileen, an African American house maid who returns to work after the death of her son, and Minny, a maid who unlike her friend Aibileen can’t hold her tongue at the expense of her cruel employers. Set in 1962’s Jackson Miss., Skeeter after seeing how “the help” in her friends households are mistreated sets out to write a book exposing the cruelty these women fall victim to at the hands of the privileged white community. Heartfelt and poignant, The Help is a great novel sure to please its readers.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel
Growing up Tsukuru has four best friends who all have a surname that incorporates a color. Tsukuru does not. In college he is told by his friends that they no longer wish to see him or speak to him. Tsukuru is depressed, feels guilty and colorless in his existence. He is unable to form relationships with those around him until he meets Sara. Sara is convinced that he must seek out his former childhood friends and solve the mystery of their ended friendships. Tsukuru sets out on a pilgrimage to seek out each of them, one by one and all over the world, to discover what happened all those years ago.

There you have it, Bookmans Flagstaff’s Top Reads of 2014. What are your fave reads of 2014? Are they the latest great work of fiction or something classic that you finally got around to reading? Let us know in the comments and check out your local Bookmans employee recommends shelf to see the books, movies and music that we can’t stop talking about. Bookmans can not guarantee stock, so if there is something you see in this post you would like to purchase, give your local Bookmans a call and a staff member will be happy to assist you. Happy New Year!