Wayback Wednesday: Books I Read in 2014

One of the casualties of me having an insane schedule the last year was the fact that I had no time to read any books. This is something I plan on rectifying this year, and for my first Wayback Wednesday I thought I’d get you all along on the ride. I am currently reading A Brief History of Seven Killings and finding it a fascinating sprawling character piece. But what of the books I finished? Well here’s a selection of books you should check out.

P.S. If you click on the title it will take you directly to amazon if you want to purchase the book 🙂

The New Classics?: Books that I read in 2014 which will make all types of important lists and deserve strong consideration from you.

Redeployment by Phil Kay: My #1 Book of 2014
“Phil Klay’s Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.”

The UnAmericans: Stories by Molly Antopol
“An absentee father, a former dissident from communist-era Prague, needles his adult daughter for details about her newly commissioned play when he fears it will cast him in an unflattering light. An actor, imprisoned during the Red Scare for playing up his communist leanings to get a part with a leftist film director, is shamed by his act when he reunites with his precocious young son. An Israeli soldier, forced to defend a settlement filled with American religious families, still pines for a chance to discover the United States for himself. A young Israeli journalist, left unemployed after America’s most recent economic crash, questions her life path when she begins dating a middle-aged widower still in mourning for his wife. And in the book’s final story, a tour de force spanning three continents and three generations of women, a young American and her Israeli husband are forced to reconsider their marriage after the death of her dissident art-collecting grandmother.”

All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu
“All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.”

Horror Highlights: For those of you who enjoy being scared whilst reading.

The Terror: A Novel by Dan Simmons
“The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. When the expedition’s leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the Terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape. A haunting, gripping story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core.”

Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer
“An expedition of four women is sent into an unknown region called Area X, beyond the borders of humanity: a psychologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist, and our narrator, a biologist. The purpose of the mission is to collect data about Area X and report back to the government, the Southern Reach, but circumstances begin to change when the group discovers a tower (or tunnel) that was previously unmarked on the map. Inside the structure, strange writing scrawls across the walls, and a spiral staircase descends downward, beckoning the members to follow. Previous expeditions ended badly, with group members disappearing or returning as shells of their former selves, but little is known about what actually occurred on those trips to Area X.”

The Queer Corner: Each of these books contains a strong LGBT protagonist

The Witch Eyes Trilogy by Scott Tracey
“Braden’s witch eyes give him an enormous power. A mere look causes a kaleidoscopic explosion of emotions, memories, darkness, and magic. But this rare gift is also his biggest curse. Compelled to learn about his shadowed past and the family he never knew, Braden is drawn to the city of Belle Dam, where he is soon caught between two feuding witch dynasties. Sworn rivals Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe will use anything–lies, manipulation, illusion, and even murder–to seize control of Braden’s powers. To stop an ancient evil from destroying the town, Braden must master his gift, even through the shocking discovery that Jason is his father. While his feelings for an enigmatic boy named Trey grow deeper, Braden realizes a terrible truth: Trey is Catherine Lansing’s son . . . and Braden may be destined to kill him.”

Hero by Perry Moore: Got the Friday Fantasy Adaptation treatment
“The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father’s pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he’s been asked to join the League the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he’s gay. But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League. To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he’ll have to come to terms with his father’s past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.”

Drama Queers! by Frank Anthony Polito
“Bradley Dayton is your typical outgoing, sarcastic 17 year old high school senior, circa 1987. He’s also gay, a fact that he doesn’t share with his friends for fear they won’t understand, even though he is estranged from his former best friend (and first lover), Jack, simply because the other boy could not accept his own homosexuality. He keeps busy through his involvement with the school band, and especially with his involvement in the school drama program, with dreams of attending Julliard School in New York City to study acting.”