Want to read contemporary American fiction about the Iraq war that doesn’t put a heroic spin on the realities of warfare?
Try Redeployment by Phil Klay
With a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, former marine captain and Iraq veteran Phil Klay depicts the the human cost of war.Redeployment is a deserving winner for the National Book Award for Fiction. (Find the full list of National Book Award Winners here.)
Want to read a soon-to-be classic of nature writing about grief, the author T.H. White and training a goshawk?
Try H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
This extraordinary book made history this year as the first memoir to win the Samuel Johnson prize. Claire Tomalin, the chair of the judges, said, ‘…this book is so intense and magnificent it knocks you over’. In it, Helen Macdonald documents her attempts to win the trust of her goshawk Mabel while grieving the loss of her father.
Want to read an unpredictable tale that flips between 1997 San Francisco and 2030 Melbourne?
Try A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson
Jane Rawson’s novel was recognised as the Most Underrated Book of 2014. (This award is presented annually to the best title released by a small, independent Australian publisher that, for whatever reason, didn’t receive its fair dues when first published.) Judges described A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists as ‘refreshing’ and ‘full of dark humour’.
Want to read a novel about WWII described as ‘extremely powerful’?
Try The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for this, his sixth novel. The philosopher AC Grayling, who chaired the judges, said, ‘Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.’
Want to read a book that will surprise you?
Try Only The Animals by Ceridwen Dovey
Look… We know you may be put off by this book’s premise – animals souls sharing stories of how they’ve died in human conflicts over the last century – but we guarantee this book will surprise you with both its playfulness and emotional punch. After all, it wasn’t the inaugural winner of Readings New Australian Writing Award for nothing!
Want to read a tightly-wound narrative that is hauntingly beautiful and darkly mysterious?
Try All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld
Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds Singing won the Miles Franklin Literary Award this year. Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Until something starts picking off her sheep, one by one…
Want to read something brilliant and challenging?
Try A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride
The winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Eimear McBride’s astonishing debut novel is the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. In her review of the book novelist Anne Enright called McBride ‘that old fashioned thing, a genius…’
Want to read about a significant part of Australian history and folklore that has previously been ignored?
Try The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright
The winner of this year’s Stella Prize, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, ‘…revisits that well-trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat and the parts they played not only in its society but also in its public life.’
Want to read an epic, immersive story that features a Dickensian cast of characters and antiques?
Try The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Our reviewer writes, ‘Tartt captures the romantic intensity of adolescence, alienation and suffering beautifully, and expertly portrays a boy growing up too fast in modern America without moralising.’
Want to lose yourself in a smart, fast-paced crime thriller about a spectacular escape and a game-changing man-hunt?
Try In the Morning I’ll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
Sean Duffy’s got nothing. And when you’ve got nothing left to lose, you have everything to gain. So when MI5 come knocking, Sean knows exactly what they want, but he hasn’t got the first idea how to get it. This thrilling third book in the Sean Duffy thriller series was awarded the 2014 Ned Award for Crime Fiction.
For some inspiration on book’s you’ll love to read – try these:
This article was originally published on readings.com.au here and has been republished here with full permission.
Looking for something to read? Readings bookshop matches your literary inclinations with a prize winner of 2014.