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Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist 2014!

by Louisa Klein

And it’s that time of the year again, Fiction’Fans! Yesterday got my email with the shortlist of the  Waterstones Book of the Year and I’m so SO excited! If you do not live in the UK, you might not know what Waterstones is, well, it’s kind of our Borders, the biggest UK book chain, with dozens of shops scattered all over the country.
This prize is very selective, so the book chosen are always very good. Still, this year shortlist is beyond fantastic! I mean, there’s so much literary fiction with unexpected twists, so many good books have been selected! Actually, according to the  Watestones’ management, ” There were so many brilliant books published this year that we had to expand our shortlist to eight titles from our usual six.”
OK, now, (takes a deep breath) I am going to share this shortlist with you, trying to stay calm in the process … 🙂
So we’ve got:
This book is a manifesto for change; a ground breaking, anecdotal examination of sexism in modern day society. Every decent man should read it. Every mother should buy it for her son. I’m not a big fan of feminism, since I consider myself a person, not a female. Unfortunately, most men would first see my gender and then, maybe, have a look at my personality (and analyse it with a bag full of stereotypes, of course). So, we should have more books like this one. Just remember that you go far beyond your gender, ladies!
The next book is beyond fantastic I LOVED IT! Everything is amazing about this debut novel: a gripping plot, a wonderful historical setting, interesting characters. No wonder it was selected! According to Waterstone:
“An atmospheric literary thriller set in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Written by actress-turned novelist Jessie Burton, it was our Fiction Book of the Month back in July and is the best-selling debut novel of the year.”
Man Booker Prize winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North is not just a war story (dedicated to his father who was a prisoner of war) but a love story. Hailed as a masterpiece, Richard Flanagan‘s epic novel tells the unforgettable story of one man’s reckoning with the truth.
Tis book is filled with exotic, tasty and healthy Mediterrean recipes, most of them suitable for veggies so … I couldn’t endorse it more!  According to Waterstones:  “A celebration of the food and flavours from the regions near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. A beautiful book that has already been named Observer Food Monthly’s Book of the Year.”
ABSOLUTELY SUPER-EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE, SINCE I LOVE, LOVE PICTURE BOOKS! I know, I’m a little too grown-up, but who cares? This book encourages children to read, this book is a great help to literacy. And it’s fun! Waterstones: “The letters of our alphabet work tirelessly to make words that in turn make stories, but what if there was a story FOR each of the letters instead? A work of exhilarating originality from artist Oliver Jeffers that is packed with funny, thrilling, perilous and above all entertaining tales inspired by every letter in the alphabet.”
This book is great and sad at the same time, since its author died when she was only 22. Car accident. She was a very smart girl and an even more promising writer and while reading this book the first thing that pops into one’s mind is “what a waste”.  I consider it as a reminder to work had and cultivate my small talents. Life is a precious gift and should never be wasted. Waterstones: ”
A hope-filled collection of essays and stories from Marina Keegan, who died in a car crash five days after her graduation from college in America, that articulates the universal struggle of working out what we aspire to be.”
Another sad book, in a way. Butalso a book which can truly help you coping with the loss of a dear one. I do hope you don’t need it but, if you do, be sure it will give you a big hand. But no wonder: that’s what literature is for: to help us go through life and learn in the process.
Waterstone: “This year’s Samuel Johnson Prize winner, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey. An unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with the grief of losing her father, and her attempts at catharsis through the difficult process of training a goshawk. Woven throughout the story is Macdonald’s retelling of author T.H. White‘s own attempts to train a hawk. It’s a book that is as hard to explain fully as it is to forget.”
I know absolutely nothing about this title but, apparently, it’s in great demand and very informative. According to the Waterstones’ team is “A thought-provoking, brilliant and much-talked about economics book – and that’s not a common combination. Capital in the Twenty-First Century – nominated for this year’s FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year – reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.”

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