Best books of 2014

Arifa Akbar in The Independent:

BookOne of the biggest and boldest trends to emerge in books this year was fourth – or even fifth? – wave feminism, which arrived in rallying calls from Laura Bates's recording of inequality in 'Everyday Sexism…' (Simon & Schuster, £14.99) to Vagenda and Femen's mission statements, among others. Out of these, Chi Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists' (Fourth Estate, £5), a TEDx-talk-turned-essay, would be the book I'd press into the hands of girls and boys, as an inspiration for a future “world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves”.

Curmudgeons hailed the death of the novel (Will Self), or the demise of the long novel (Tim Parks), but the following pages prove them most emphatically wrong. Some of the best reads this year weighed in at more than 500 pages, though 2014 was also the year of the short story, with Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel, among other novelists, turning their hand to the short-form. Long-percolating debuts eclipsed fare from some of the most seasoned authors (Ian McEwan's middling 'The Children Act'; Martin Amis's bewildering Holocaust “comedy”, 'The Zone of Interest'). So, Nathan Filer's Costa triumph was followed by Eimear McBride's Bailey's prize success.

More here.