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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Leslie Jamison is in my head: The Empathy Exams

indexThe one about your head:

The second essay in Leslie Jamison’s excellent collection, The Empathy Exams, is titled “The Devil’s Bait” and it’s terrifying. The essay deals with a community of people suffering from Morgellons disease. Google Morgellons, as I just did, and you’re in for an immediate introduction to the controversial conversation about the disorder. The top results include your expected Wikipedia, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic sites, as well as two Morgellons “truther” sites that urge people to click to learn the “real facts,” and to disregard the CDC.

I’m not going to offer an opinion on Morgellons and Jamison doesn’t really offer one either. What she does offer is the astute observation that there is a robust, organized community of sufferers that would prefer to believe that there are bugs crawling under their skin than to believe they may be mentally ill.

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