Books

Ten of the biggest and best books of 2014

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It's been a brilliant year for books. Some of our favourite authors released new literature, and new writers gave us a selection of enjoyable and engrossing novels - Jessie Burton's debut The Miniaturist dominated the bestseller and prize lists while Emma Healy's Elizabeth is Missing kept us gripped.

Some of our favourite women released books - we had Caitlin Moran's new novel How To Build A Girl, as well as Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl and Amy Poehler's Yes Please. Re-workings of Hercule Poirot and Northanger Abbey, as well as new books from literary heavyweights like Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami completed the set.

But what were our favourite bestselling and award winning books of the year? Read on to see...

  • The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

    The somewhat unexpected winner of this year's Man Booker prize, The Narrow Road To the Deep North tells the story of an Australian surgeon who survives a POW camp during World War II and must adapt back into his life and learn what it means to be a good man.

    (Chatto and Windus)

  • How To Be Both by Ali Smith

    Nominated for the Man Booker Prize, the Costa Novel Award and winner of the Goldsmith's Prize, Ali Smith's novel intertwines the story of an artist in the 1460s and a child in the 1960s to create a genre-bending examination of art's versatility.

    (Hamish Hamilton)

  • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

    Hilary Mantel's follow-up to her Man Booker Prize winning historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies is a collection of short stories (yes, one is about an imagined assassination of Margaret Thatcher) showing Mantel's trademark wit and flair.

    (Henry Holt & Company)

  • The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

    One of the sexiest books of the year, The Lemon Grove provided holiday reading of a different sort as it told the story of a married couple Jenn and Greg who return to the same holiday house each year. But this year Jenn's stepdaughter's boyfriend joins them, giving Jenn a sexual awakening.

    (Tinder Press)

  • Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

    This stunning debut novel was shortlisted for the Costa Awards and the National Book Awards. Its charming lead character Maud can't remember what happened to her friend Elizabeth - she just has a note that reads 'Elizabeth is missing' in her back pocket, but she wonders whether it has anything to do with the disappearance of her sister.

    (Viking)

  • The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

    Set in 1922, Sarah Waters' brilliant story of a family forced to take in lodgers after the World War I provides a backdrop for a murder mystery and a love story, as well as a compelling set of characters who have drawn in readers to keep it in the bestseller lists since it was released this summer.

    (Virago Press)

  • Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham

    Lena Dunham's collection of essays was released this September to great excitement. Lena guest-edited Stylist while promoting the book and proved to us all why she's such an important part in today's entertainment scene and an inspiration for women everywhere.

    (Fourth Estate)

  • Us by David Nicholls

    Following up the epic One Day was always going to be difficult, but David Nicholls did it perfectly with this charming family saga. Us, which depicts a middle aged man trying to save his marriage, flew off the shelves when it was released this September and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

    (Hodder & Stoughton)

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

    Part of the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize, this hilarious family story is narrated by Rosemary - an only child, whose parents conjure her a brother and sister, only to separate them from her. The truth about her siblings changes the course of the story in a way readers might not expect, resulting in an honest, heartbreaking, but funny novel.

    (Serpent's Tail)

  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

    The undeniable success story of the year, Jessie Burton's debut The Miniaturist won the Waterstones Book of the Year award. Set in 1686, Nella Oortman comes to Amsterdam to begin her life as the wife of a rich merchant, and is given a miniature of their house as a wedding gift. Nella comes to believe it holds clues as to what is going on, and will happen to her.

    (Picador)

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