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My Top Ten of 2014 - Carol J.

Who Asked You?Our top staff picks for 2014 continue!  Today's Top Ten of 2014 comes from Carol J. of RCL - Mounds View, who could only get her top ten from the year only down to eleven, not ten.  (She also read a bunch of books by and about new immigrants:  NoveList: New Fiction from New Immigrants.)

Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan (audiobook, read by McMillan, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Boatman, Carole DeSantis)
I often half-listen to audiobooks, but this book and the excellent performance by the narrators had me fully engaged and invested.  I loved this book and I've never listened to an audiobook where I went, "WHAT?" or "Oh, Luther" or was as surprised and touched and delighted. 

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Hilarious novel about 13-year-old Nate who runs away to New York to audition for E.T. The Musical. Endearing characters, surprisingly complex relationships and a whole lot of love for musical theater and for New York. 

What I'd Say to the Martians by Jack Handey 
Oh man, I LOVE Jack Handey. He is the perfect miniaturist humorist with perfect petite humorous essays. And I love the call-forwards to the Stench of Honolulu with Doctor Ponzari and his friend Don. I love Handey's crazy, crazy world. Love, Nina

Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe
With an introduction by Nick Hornby, this charming epistolary novel is a treat for anyone who loves dry, British humor and gets a bit starstruck by London literary elite.

Sad Monsters by Frank Lesser
Adorable collection of short, hilarious pieces on monsters subtitled: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside, in a variety of formats like diaries to letters, to court transcriptions including essays called Missed Possessions, His Fangs Just Aren't That Into You, Giant Ape Class-Action Lawsuit, and The Passive-Aggressive Monster in the Closet. The Outsmarting of Criminals

The Outsmarting of Criminals by Steven Rigolosi
Miss Prim lives in NYC, but gets mugged and decides to move to CT and take up her dream job: Criminal Outsmarter. So much love for mysteries and books and bookstores, and great, rich characters, including the fabulous Miss Prim herself, who is practically perfect in every way and is not averse to a slight crush on an attractive policeman. 

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Lovely novel about a 29-year-old mousy spinster who learns that she has a fatal illness and decides to stand up for herself with her overbearing family and do what she wants to do--including getting a job, asking a man to marry her and finding her beautiful, imaginary Blue Castle in real life. 

Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick
Delightful novel about an airline attendant who gets in a plane crash and dumped on the same day. So she goes to Black Dog Bay, a town dedicated to healing people who are getting through break-ups. The surprisingly delightful part is that Summer, the stewardess, is hilarious and full of sassafras and turns the town upside down, in a good way. 

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Li Lin lives in colonial Mayala with her opium-addicted father and her beloved Amah. All is satisfactory until she receives a marriage proposal from the son of an influential neighbor. However, the son is dead and the proposal is for Li Lin to be his ghost bride. When her intended haunts her in her dreams and she falls in love with the new (live) heir to the family, Li Lin embarks on a fantastical voyage among the dead. Utterly original.

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
Loved this nonfiction book which deconstructs 'what we see when we read', the physical and emotional act of reading. Absolutely fascinating, marvelously designed. "Maybe elaborate descriptions, like colorful descriptions, are misdirection.  They seem to tell us something specific and meaningful (about a character, a setting, the world itself), but perhaps such description delights in inverse proportion to what it reveals." The Silent Land

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce
From the beginning to the ending, this is a practically perfect novel. Jake and Zoe are skiing at a resort when they are caught in an avalanche. And the description of Zoe trapped under snow is one of the scariest things I've ever read. When they finally dig out and return to the resort, everyone is gone, and they can't seem to leave the village. Subtle, spooky and realistic.     

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