The best, best books list of 2014

Book Tree

Here at Red Brick Reads we like to remind our readers that we know better than the big review sites that will purport to tell you what the best books of the year were. Sure, they have access to authors, writing staffs large enough to review all of the significant publications in a given year, the respect of most readers, and money. But we make up for all of that with jokes about Kanye West and the investigative ability to crack one of the biggest book conspiracies of the year.

May this list help guide your holiday shopping, even if you’re just buying books to read during your winter hibernation. If nothing else, maybe it will help you sound well-read at your spouse’s awful company Christmas party.

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This is not a YA novel: A few seconds of radiant filmstrip

indexA couple of weeks ago Ruth Graham of Slate wrote this take down of adult readers who choose Young Adult books, stating that adults who read books meant for children should be ashamed of their reading choices. Graham’s article is click-bait. Meant to boil blood and inspire enraged responses all of which will link back to her original text. And it worked! The article currently has 74,000 Facebook shares, 2800 links via Twitter and 3000 comments. There’s no doubt that Graham spent all of last week on Slate’s leader board.

The most obvious counterpoint to Graham’s argument is that “Young Adult” is merely a construction of book marketing and reflects less on the text than on the desire of a publisher or bookseller to move copies. Michelle Dean over at Gawker makes the counter-argument very well so I’m not going to re-hash what she’s presented so well.

To celebrate Ruth Graham’s trolling, let’s talk about a book that may or may not be YA but is definitely wonderful: Kevin Brockmeier’s A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade.

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