ABA's Top Fiction Picks for 2014

The American Booksellers Association Winter Institute (WI9) is all abuzz for the 2014 crop of books. According to Shelf Awareness & Indie booksellers, the top fiction titles folks should be excited about this year are:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, May).

"The novel, which was 10 years in the making, is set during World War II and tells the story of a blind French girl whose father leaves her in Brittany with a shell-shocked uncle and a German orphan whose talent at repairing radio equipment makes him valuable to the Third Reich."

It is being compared to Anthony Marra's The Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

[No first print numbers]

Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth (Bloomsbury, June)

"Based on a tragedy in Howorth's family (the still-unsolved murder of her step-brother), the fictitious murder investigation heats back up when police unearth new evidence years later."

[According to PW, first printing: 60,000]
Ruby by Cynthia Bond (Hogarth, April)

"Of the many debut authors featured at WI9, perhaps Cynthia Bond and her novel, Ruby, is getting the most buzz.... she's being compared with Toni Morrison, though with a voice all her own.... Ruby is about the relationship between a young woman who feels like an outsider in her Texas community and an older resident who watches over her...."

[According to PW, first printing: 60,000]

Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks (Grove, July)

This debut is being compared to Cold Mountain.

"...a young archeologist is hired by a utility company; she has a summer to prove the canyon it wants to dam is of no historical value to the Native population, which is torn between wanting jobs and preserving its land. Horses and a man who handles them are also a big part of a story...."

[first printing: 50,000]

A Man Who Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun (Penguin, February)

Harun's debut novel.

"The novel, about girls who go missing in British Columbia, beautifully captures the 'mythological and magical aspects' of the area...."

[first printing: 50,000]

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin, April)

"Though it's not a debut, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin, April) has been described by many early readers as a 'love letter to booksellers and book readers.' Michael Link from Joseph-Beth Booksellers said it is already a hit with staff in his stores in Ohio and Kentucky. "The writing is top notch and the story, set in a small bookstore, is wonderful," Link said. "They are going to run out of galleys, I can almost guarantee it."

[first printing: 75,000]

Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo (Houghton, May)

"Now an accomplished novelist, D'Erasmo is generating a lot of buzz for her new novel, Wonderland, which is about a middle-aged female rocker; it's already gotten a blurb from REM's Michael Stipe."

[First printing: 40,000]

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness (Penguin Press, January)

"...based on a Japanese folktale. [The book is being compared with] The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Ness... is best known for his award-winning children's Chaos Walking trilogy...."

[no first run numbers]

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (Morrow, April)

"...the first in a new trilogy from the thriller master that early readers say is both ambitious and a step up for a writer already at the top of his game. Natchez Burning centers on Penn Cage's efforts to clear the name of his father, a family doctor accused of murdering a nurse who worked for him in early 1960s Mississippi. As Geoffrey Jennings from Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, Kan., observed, 'It's just not like anything else he has written before.'"

[first print run: 400,000]

The Kept by James Scott (HarperCollins, January)

"... about a midwife in upstate New York who comes home to discover that all but one of her children has been murdered.

"It's a literary page-turner"

[first printing: 75,000]

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