Best Crime and Mystery Books of 2014 from TheReadingRoom

Best Crime & Mystery Books of 2014

There were some great crime & mystery books published this year. We’ve rounded up our top fifteen. What are yours?

face off!

FaceOff by David Baldacci, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, and Lisa Gardner

To start off our list of the best crime and mystery books of 2014, we thought we’d mention this great collaboration from many of your favorite authors! Faceoff includes eleven stories in which your favorite characters like Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, and Lincoln Rhyme are up against each other. Read to see how it all ends—with great stories by Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner and more.


The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series #15) by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is back and this time they’re helping a woman figure out her own identity, as she has no recollection of coming to Botswana. The fast-paced detective novel also visits characters like Mme Makutsias and her new enterprise: the Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café. This book is perfect for mystery lovers and fans of the series.


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

The second novel in Robert Galbraith’s latest series, Cormoran Strike is back on the trail when a novelist goes missing. When Strike uncovers that the novelist has just finished writing a manuscript that would ruin the lives of many, he becomes increasingly suspicious. If you haven’t read Galbraith’s (aka J.K. Rowling’s) Cormoran Strike series—it should definitely be on your list.


The Cinderella Murder (Under Suspicion Series #1) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Laurie Moran’s new show TV series Under Suspicion is an instant hit! The series revisits unsolved cold cases and solved one in the first episode. The next case to feature is the Cinderella Murder of UCLA student Susan Dempsey who was found murdered with one shoe missing. With the help of lawyer Alex Buckley, Laurie dives into a world that includes Hollywood’s elite and tech billionaires as suspects.

flesh and blood

Flesh and Blood (Kay Scarpetta Series #22) by Patricia Cornwell

The 22nd Scarpetta novel meets up with Kay on her birthday as she’s about the head off to Miami on vacation with her husband. After finding pennies on the back of her house, she gets a call that there was a murder five minutes away. The novel follows a serial killer who leaves nothing but copper fragments behind. The victims have nothing in common and there is no pattern leading them to where the killer may strike next.


Betrayed (Rosato & Associates Series #13) by Lisa Scottoline

After the housekeeper and best friend of lawyer Judy Maverick’s Aunt Barb is found dead, she suspects foul play. Having to put aside her personal work and life issues to focus on the murder, the thirteenth installment of the Rosato & Associates Series touches close to home. Check out our interview with Lisa Scottoline here!

james patterson

Burn (Michael Bennett Series #7) by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

After the crime lord who forced Michael Bennett and his family into hiding is brought down, they are able to return to New York City. The day following Bennett receiving a bizarre call about well-dressed men holding a party in a condemned building, a charred body is found there—forcing Bennett to take the strange caller seriously.

jane and the twelve days of christmas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (Being A Jane Austen Mystery Series #12) by Stephanie Barron

As Jane Austen celebrates the twelve days of Christmas with her friends and family, one of the guests dies in a tragic accident—leading Jane to suspect murder. She knows that if it was murder, it must be someone at the holiday party. This exciting new Jane Austen Mystery will keep readers seeking out clues.

black ice

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Britt Pheiffer is a skilled backpacker who is thrown off when her ex-boyfriend wants to join her to backpack the Teton Range. Before she can decide what to think about this, a blizzard hits and she is forced to seek shelter in a cabin with two men who are fugitives and take her captive. As she guides them down the mountain, she finds evidence of murders that may make her the next target.


Revival by Stephen King

King’s latest thriller is said to have “the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written”. Revival centers on a small New England town, Jamie Morton, and a Reverend who curses God when tragedy strikes his family. The Reverend and Jamie meet later in life—causing Jamie to learn there are multiple meanings of revival.

john grisham

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

John Grisham’s latest legal thriller follows a young woman who is placed in the middle of a small town secret. Samantha Kofer has been fired from her NYC law firm when she is offered the opportunity to get her job back by volunteering at a legal aid clinic. In Brady, Virginia she enters the dangerous world of coal mining and learns that sometimes litigation can turn deadly.

mr mercedes

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Bill Hodges comes out of retirement to catch an unknown killer who drove through a crowd of people in his Mercedes, killing eight and injuring fifteen. Hodges must catch the killer before he can strike again.


The Burning Room (A Harry Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly

When a shooting victim dies ten years after the incident, Detective Harry Bosch and Detective Lucia Soto (with no experience) must determine what happened ten years prior. Pulling new leads from old evidence, they realize that it was not a random shooting. Their investigation leads to another unsolved case with very high stakes.


My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

Tracy spent twenty years questioning the disappearance of her sister, Sarah, and the conviction of Edmund House—a convicted rapist. Joining the Seattle PD to dedicate her life to this mystery, Tracy gets her chance to find out what really happened to Sarah when her body is discovered near their hometown in the Cascade Mountains.


Windigo Island: A Novel (Cork O’Connor Mystery Series) by William Kent Krueger

The body of an Ojibwe girl washes up on an island on Lake Superior, leading the residents of the Bad Bluff reservation to believe it was the work of the mythical creature Windigo or the spirit Michi Peshu. The girl disappeared with her friend Mariah a year ago. Her family asks for detective O’Connor’s help—leading him to investigate a possibly trail involving sex trafficking.

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Courtesy of Etsy

20 Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

stocking stuffers

The holidays are here! For all of your book loving needs, we’ve got plenty of ideas you can suggest to Santa.

Book Lover’s Necklace

i read past my bedtime necklace

Courtesy of Etsy

Don’t we all…

Sherlock Holmes Book Scarf

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Wrap yourself up in words this holiday season with a scarf. Options include Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, and Sherlock Holmes.

Personalized Stamped Bookmark 

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Say whatever you want with this perfect accessory.

Sherlock Holmes Candle


Who wouldn’t want their room to smell like Sherlock’s Study? If you’re not into chemistry experiments, you may want to try another variety, which includes the Headmaster’s Office, Oxford Library, or just the classic Old Books scent.

Vintage Book Page Candle Holders

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Don’t be put off by the “wedding favor” categorization. These candle holders are magnificent and a perfect fit for your stocking.

Wooden Book Rack

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Out of space? This adorable book shelf might stick out of your stocking a bit, but we think it’s worth it. Display your books in beautiful fashion.

Banned Book Socks

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

In case you actually want to see which books were banned–one side is unmarked.

The Great Gatsby Notebook

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

So Gatsby and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg will always be watching…

Library Coasters

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

These coasters make a perfect addition to one’s house–especially if you have friends who like to “borrow” wine!

Romeo and Juliet iPhone Case

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

Courtesy of Out of Print Clothing

Honor Shakespeare and his star-crossed lovers with this lovely gift, which is a perfect stocking size!

Grammar Teacups

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

For the grammar nerd in all of us: some teacups to remind you of the little things.

Golden Snitch Bracelet

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Perhaps this perfect trinket will help you finally get what you actually want for Christmas: your Hogwarts letter!

Library Card iPhone Case

Courtesy of Kate Spade

Courtesy of Kate Spade

Kate Spade + Books= A Perfect Match

Great Expectations Quote Print

Courtesy of Great Expectations

Courtesy of Etsy

We promise that the unframed version will fit in a stocking! We love this line from Great Expectations

Mockingjay Necklace

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

It’s a great time (with the release of the latest Hunger Games movie) to give someone this perfectly rebellious necklace.

The Fault in Our Stars Infinity Necklace

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

We can’t guarantee the gift receiver won’t get choked up at this The Fault in Our Stars quote, but we think it’s worth it all the same.

Alice in Wonderland Macbook Sticker

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

Learn to explore your curiosity like Alice!

Coming of Age Ideal Bookshelf

Courtesy of Ideal Bookshelf

Courtesy of Ideal Bookshelf

Ideal Bookshelf has numerous categories to choose from! Find your favorite here.

Harry Potter: Accio Tea Mug

Courtesy of Etsy

Courtesy of Etsy

All things Harry Potter. Need we say more?

A Book



We think books are the perfect fit.

Happy Holidays, everyone! 

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Happy Birthday Jane Austen Blog Post

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

The Jane Austen Centre, in Bath, has declared December 16 to be Jane Austen Day. Today also just happens to be her birthday! We’ve compiled a list of ways that you can celebrate this influential woman’s birthday (and now day of honor!). So sit back, relax, and behave naturally


Austen's books

Is there a better way to celebrate Austen than by reading her books? We think not. In Austen’s life, she wrote six full novels and was working on a seventh that was incomplete when she died in 1817. Her notable works include Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1814). Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published by her siblings in 1818. Her final and unfinished novel, Sanditon, was published and can be read. What’s your favorite Austen novel? Have you read them all?



There are numerous film adaptations of the Austen novels (because they’re that good). We chose one per book—except for Pride and Prejudice because we simply could not choose just one. What are your favorites? Watch one today to celebrate!

Sense and Sensibility

sense and sensibility movie book

The 1995 adaptation from director Ang Lee features Emma Thompson (who also wrote the script) as Elinor Dashwood and Kate Winslet as Marianne. After an unfortunate circumstance causes this wealthy family to seek financial security though marriage, Elinor and Marianne seek out suitors. Colonel Brandon (aka Snape—we mean, Alan Rickman) falls in love with Marianne at first sight, but she is more interested in the (evil) John Willoughby. Hugh Grant is also in this one—so that give this adaptation extra points.

Pride and Prejudice

pride and prejudice book movie

We picked the BBC miniseries from 1995 staring Colin Firth. The role of Mr. Darcy really helped Firth’s career take off—and deservingly so. This six-episode series did a wonderful job of adapting the book and even won an Emmy for costume design. We also chose the recent 2005 adaptation which features Kiera Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen in the roles of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The film was targeted towards a younger audience and was a great revamp of the previous adaptations.

Mansfield Park

mansfield park book movie

The 1999 film is a loosely based on the novel, but is still a great watch nonetheless. The movie incorporates much of Jane Austen’s life into the film—which is openly stated in the credits. Fanny Price somewhat resembles Austen (giving her a little more spark) throughout the novel as she is pursued by Henry Crawford but is truly in love with her childhood friend, Edmund.


emma book movie

This was a tough pick, and while the 1996 adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow is an exceptional version, we’ve featured the 2009 BBC miniseries. Romola Garai does a fantastic job portraying Emma, while Jonny Lee Miller (now playing Sherlock Holmes on Elementary) was a superb choice for Mr. Knightly. The four-part series gives Austen lovers a thorough adaptation.

Northanger Abbey

northanger abbey book film

The PBS film from 2007 genuinely portrays Austen’s novel. Felicity Jones is very relatable to audiences and it’s also an opportunity to see Carrie Mulligan pre-Gatsby and An Education. Northanger Abbey is a particularly influential novel for book lovers as it follows Catherine Morland and her blurred lines between fiction and reality. A true classic, this is a must-watch.


persuasion book movie

Apparently BBC does fantastic adaptations, because our final pick is also from the broadcaster. In 1995, there were four Austen adaptations including Persuasion. It was a notable part of increasing popularity for Austen’s novels. The story follows Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, nine years after Anne rejected Wentworth’s proposal. Amanda Root’s performance has been praised and it’s definitely one to watch.

Treat Yourself!

If you’re really looking to get into the spirit there are many gifts to honor Austen and her brilliant novels.



necklacemugideal bookshelfImages Courtesy of Etsy and Ideal Bookshelf 


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staff picks

TheReadingRoom Staff’s Book Picks!

Group of Business People Working on an Office Desk

We read a lot here at TheReadingRoom. To give you an idea of just what we are reading, some of our staff picked their favorite books they read in 2014. These are the books we loved—but what about you? Leave us a comment and let us know what you were reading this year!


Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

“My pick is Absurdistan—a novel by Gary Shteyngart. It touches on important subjects, but is hilariously entertaining. Shteyngart’s style is as someone said ‘socialist realism decaying into black comedy’”

-Sergey N.


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

“Amy Poehler is one of those hilarious, quirky women you want to be friends with. It was inspiring to read about someone who followed her passion regardless of monetary success and stayed grounded after achieving that fame. Her stories—ranging from childhood and professional experiences, to divorce and motherhood—are relateable and substantive, yet lighthearted. This is a quick, fun read from one of those celebrities who never fails to put a smile on your face.”

-Katie G.

Sarah's book picks 2

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

“I am not finished, but this is such a beautiful book. I am in love with the writing style. It’s truly stunning.”

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

“A great thriller; I really liked it. Kept me on my toes. Finished it in two days.”

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

“It was short, sweet, and deep. My kind of book.”

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

“This book tickled my soul.”

-Sarah H.

ben's picks  The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

“This year I really enjoyed re-reading Malcon Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. I also liked Unbroken. The thrilling tale was a real page-turner.”

-Ben A. 

kim's picks

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

“Murakami’s seemingly simple but elegant prose is harmonised by the nostalgic music of Liszt’s Le Mal du Pays. Tortured by the loss of his closest friends, Tsukuru begins a pilgrimage of healing and discovery: to understand why they rejected him. To say more would be a spoiler.”

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

“The ability to tell a story with 12 main characters is pulled off flawlessly by Catton. Not for reading late at night – you need to be alert in the first 100 pages to understand all the suspects in this colourful “whodunit”. You won’t be disappointed but you will be kept guessing to the very end.”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“Tartt has written the great American contemporary novel all over again. Some have said it’s 100 pages too long but like all destinations, at times the journey can seem too long. It’s only when you get to the end that you can appreciate the experiences along the way.”

-Kim A. 


Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day

“In terms of physical books, my favorite acquisition of 2014 is Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes. I definitely recommend getting the physical book. It’s beautifully crafted–much like the cocktails. You can really see the love and care that went into its creation. It’s also deep on content with detailed recipes presented in a way that don’t feel too intimidating to tackle.

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park and The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

In terms of books I enjoyed reading, Flat Out Celeste was an unexpected but entertaining follow-up to the Flat Out Love series. This was also the year I discovered the very readable and prolific Jojo Moyes. She put out a couple books this year. I read The Girl You Left Behind. She gets categorized as Romance but I recommend to Chick Lit readers looking for something new.

-Jin K. 

sarah's picksThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

“The best book I read this year was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s difficult to describe because there are so many moving pieces in this phenomenal work of fiction. The story follows Celia and Marco, two magically gifted people who train from an early age to eventually compete to destroy one another. They both end up being involved in a magical circus which is written so beautifully that it’s making me happy to just imagine it. Definitely a must-read.

I also enjoyed The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Although it was published a while ago, I finally read it in a book club this year and absolutely loved it. It’s definitely a book that makes you think in a wonderful and reflective way.”

-Sarah M.  

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Who Made the Cut? Book Adaptations Nominated for Golden Globes

cover photo

Last week, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the Golden Globe Nominations. Not surprisingly, nineteen of the films and television shows nominated are based on books. Check out the full list of nominations based on books here!

Olive Kittridge TheReadingRoom

Olive Kitteridege based on Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Nominated for:

Best TV Movie or Mini-Series

Best Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie (Frances McDormand)

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie (Bill Murray)

Why You Should Read It: Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories follow the residents of a small coastal Maine town. Olive links these stories together—and you’ll love her somewhat dismissive tone that actually is full of compassion.

orange is the new black

Orange is the New Black based on Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Nominated for:

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy

Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy (Taylor Schilling)

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie (Uzo Aduba)

Why You Should Read It: While you may be a big fan of the Netflix show, readers should definitely give Orange is the New Black (the book) a chance. The descriptive nature of Kerman’s memoir will give you a much deeper look into her life in a women’s prison.

House of Lies

House of Lies based on House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and The Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn

Nominated for:

Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy (Don Cheadle)

Why You Should Read It: Martin Kihn’s book on consulting argues that management consulting is all a conspiracy and that consultants are largely unqualified people solving problems that are probably not worth solving in the first place.

house of cards

House of Cards based on House of Cards by Michael Dobbs

Nominated for:

Best TV Series, Drama

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama (Robin Wright)

Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy (Kevin Spacey)

Why You Should Read It: This novel has now been made into two television series—the one we all know on Netflix, and a BBC version. Written by a British Conservative politician, the novel is thrilling and encapsulates the world of politics and one man’s unstoppable goal of becoming Prime Minister.

Game of thrones

Game of Thrones based on Game of Thrones (A Song Of Fire and Ice Series) by George R. R. Martin

Nominated for:

Best TV Series, Drama

Why You Should Read It: If you think the show is epic…just wait until you read the books. There are now five books in the fantasy series—which is planned to have seven books in total. The series follows many different people as they seek to claim the Iron Throne.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part I based on Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Nominated for:

Best Original Song—Motion Picture (Yellow Flicker Beat)

Why You Should Read It: While the movies are done well, there is nothing like getting all the action of the book. The third installment of The Hunger Games series (which you’ll only be seeing part of if you watch Mockingjay—Part I) follows Katniss in her final quest to defeat the Capitol.

the bible

Leviathan (Russian) and Noah based on The Bible

Nominated for:

Leviathan—Best Foreign Language Film

Noah—Best Original Song (Mercy Is)

Why You Should Read It: While both books are inspired by biblical events—we still think it’s worth noting. Leviathan is a sea monster referenced in the Old Testament, while Noah is mentioned throughout the bible (but predominately in Genesis) for building the ark.

the imitation

The Imitation Game based on Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

Nominated for:

Best Motion Picture, Drama

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Kiera Knightly)

Best Screenplay—Motion Picture (Graham Moore)

Best Original Score—Motion Picture (Alexandre Desplat)

Why You Should Read It: The intense true story of Alan Turing, the British man who is considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence which saved the Allies from the Nazis, also details his struggle as a gay man in a society where homosexuality was considered a crime.

the theory of everything

The Theory of Everything based on Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking

Nominated for:

Best Motion Picture, Drama

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Felicity Jones)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (Eddie Redmayne)

Best Original Score—Motion Picture (Jóhann Jóhannsson)

Why You Should Read It: Stephen Hawking’s first wife Jane gives readers an inside look at their marriage. Through her candidness discussing their complicated and at times painful relationship, this memoir exposes the personal life of the Hawking’s.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl based on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Nominated for:

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Rosamund Pike)

Best Director—Motion Picture (David Fincher)

Best Screenplay—Motion Picture (Gillian Flynn)

Best Original Score—Motion Picture (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)

Why You Should Read It: Gone Girl is thriller that will keep you up all night—in a good way. After Nick Dunne’s wife Amy goes missing, the police believe that he was involved. The fast-paced novel is well-written and very exciting through the last page.

into the woods

Into the Woods based on The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim

Nominated for:

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Emily Blunt)

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep)

Why You Should Read It: Into the Woods (the movie) is based on Into the Woods (the play); however, the play was inspired by Bettelheim’s Freudian analysis of fairytales. While seemingly an odd thing to do, his analysis was eye-opening as he suggested children interpret fairy-tales in their own way to get a greater sense of meaning.

big hero 6

Big Hero 6 (Disney) based on Big Hero 6 Comics by Marvel

Nominated for:

Best Animated Feature Film  

Why You Should Read It: The original Marvel comic books tell the story of a Japanese government-formed superhero team, Big Hero 6, who were created to be at their disposal. Thirteen-year old genius Hiro and his synthetic bodyguard Baymax join the team after Hiro’s mother is kidnapped. The adventure never ceases in this entertaining comic book.


The Boxtrolls based on Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Nominated for: 

Best Animated Feature Film

Why You Should Read It: This magical tale is perfect for children of all ages and follows Arthur and his adoptive grandfather William as they meet many boxtrolls who used to run a pet shop called Here Be Monsters!

how to train your dragon

How to Train Your Dragon 2 based on How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Nominated for: 

Best Animated Feature Film

Why You Should Read It: The fantasy series taking place in a fictional Viking world follows the extraordinary adventures of Hiccup as he and his tribe train Dragons as pets.

inherent vice

Inherent Vice based on Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Nominated for:

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Joaquin Phoenix)

Why You Should Read It: Inherent Vice follows Doc Sportello as he investigates the kidnapping plot against his ex-girlfriend’s love–a billionaire land developer. The story takes readers back to 1970 that will make many feel nostalgic and others immersed in the culture.

the hundred foot jounrey

The Hundred-Foot Journey based on The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Nominated for: 

Best Actress in a Feature Film, Musical or Comedy (Helen Mirren)

Why You Should Read It: This culinary tale follows Hassan and his love of food and family. After opening his affordable Indian restaurant in a small village in the French alps, he infuriates the owner of an esteemed French restaurant, Madame Mallory. After she wages “culinary war”, she agrees to mentor Hassan–beginning a delightful friendship and story.


Wild based on Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Nominated for:

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Reese Witherspoon)

Why You Should Read It: After her mother’s death, Cheryl Strayed sets out on more than a thousand mile journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In this funny and suspenseful memoir, Strayed recounts how her trek healed her.

still alice

Still Alice based on Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Nominated for:

Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Julianne Moore)

Why You Should Read It: At age 50, Harvard professor Alice Howland is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. This heartbreaking novel describers her desire to keep her life the same, while forgetting things in it.

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2014: Best Books in Nonfiction

Best Books in Nonfiction from TheReadingRoom

There were some great nonfiction books to choose from this year. Here’s our list of the best–which includes essays, biographies, and other books based on true stories. Check them out and add your favorites to your bookshelf!

"The Romanov Sisters" by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport

Rappaport continues biographing the Romanov family with her latest book focusing on the family’s four daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. The book entwines the love the family had for each other with the challenges of a falling Imperial Russia, World War I, and the Russian Revolution, to paint a picture of the events that led to their eventual death in 1918.

Guardian Book Review


The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs

Author Jeff Hobbs was Robert Peace’s roommate for four years at Yale University. This led to Hobbes becoming somewhat of a confidant for Peace—who revealed a troubling upbringing with a father in jail and a single-mother making less than $15,000 per year in Newark, NJ. The book focuses on many conflicts including race, class, education, love and family, along with the circumstances that led to his heartbreaking end.

Los Angeles Times Review


Updike by Adam Begley

The biography of Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike details his life and ambitions—from wanting to be the next Walt Disney to writing for The New Yorker, Begley has written a well-researched and extensive biography. The book includes interviews with colleagues, friends and family that will give readers an idea of how immensely Updike’s work was influenced by his personal life.

New York Times Book Review


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, tackles the question of medicine and its positive and negative effects. While medicine can save lives, Gawande comments on doctors confusing extending life with extending suffering. He explores the end of life and how to make the last months or weeks of someone’s life rich and dignified.

New York Times Book Review

all the truth is out

All the Truth Is Out by Matt Bai

Yahoo’s national political columnist hones in Gary Hart, the 1987 front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination until rumors of infidelity and photos of him with a supermodel surfaced. This led to the birth of politics being plastered on Page Six. Bai shows readers how Hart’s affair was the beginning of a candidates’ “character” drawing more attention than political experience in this memorable book.

New York Times Book Review


How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

Have you ever wanted to know how our brains really absorb information? Science reporter Benedict Carey has gone through decades of research to uncover how we really learn. According to his findings, research defies much of our “common knowledge” about learning.

New York Times Book Review


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

In Roxane Gay’s wonderfully funny collection of essays, she covers everything from culture in the last few years to the state of feminism today. Her topics include politics, criticism and feminism, and she’s able to successfully package her essays up to even sometimes revolve around her favorite childhood book obsessions like Sweet Valley High.

New York Times Book Review

how google

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

Written by Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenburg, How Google Works shares the lessons they learned while working to build the company. Since technology has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers, companies must create better products and attract a new breed of employees to succeed.

Wall Street Journal Book Review

© Disney • Pixar

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

The co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios gives managers insight about creativity in business. The book offers a look at meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films have been created.

Wall Street Journal Book Review

cant we talk about something

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

The memoir/graphic novel brings humor to the topic of aging parents. Told through cartoons, family photos and documents, this National Book Award Finalist shows what happens when adult children take on a parental role.

The Guardian Book Review

brown girl dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson’s collection of stories reflect upon her childhood and growing up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s. Her emotionally charged poetry is reflected beautifully as she searches for her place in the world.

New York Times Book Review

how i discovered poetry

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson

Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson explains how she developed as a young woman and an artist during the Civil Rights Movement through poetry. Readers are able understand the world around her—which included racial tensions, the Cold War, and the first instances of the feminist movement.

Boston Globe Book Review


Deep Down Dark: The Untold Story of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar

The gripping and terrifying story of the thirty-three miners trapped in a mine that collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chili in 2010 is finally being told. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Héctor Tobar was given exclusive access to the miners and their tale—creating a shocking and emotional account of the sixty-nine days they were stuck underground.

Washington Post Book Review

what if

What If? by Randall Munroe

Creator of the web comic that provides answers to even the most absurd questions now has a book. Questions from “How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?” to “If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?” are answered using everything from computer simulations to declassified military research memos.

Huffington Post Book Review

the opposite of loneliness

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Marina Keegan tragically died five days after graduating magna cum laude from Yale—leaving the world with her beautiful final essay for the Yale News Daily, “The Opposite of Loneliness”. The essay, together with other stories, have been compiled into a book that definitely deserves to be read.

Guardian Book Review

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Courtesy of The Huffington Post and Paramount Pictures

First Trailer for “The Little Prince” Movie Released

Le Petit Prince, known as The Little Prince to many, is coming to the big screen in 2015 with an English voice cast including Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, and Jeff Bridges. The French trailer has been released and you can watch it below to get an idea of what the movie will be like! Entertain This! has translated the trailer (which does not feature the English voice cast) as follows:

                Old man: Hey, I’m up here! Good evening.

                TEXT: Rediscover a timeless story…

                Girl: Once upon a time, there was a small prince who wanted a friend.

                TEXT: …Like you’ve never seen before

                Old man: I was traveling around the world, until one day a miraculous thing happened.

                Prince: Please, draw me a sheep.

Stay tuned for more news from The Little Prince. What do you think of the first trailer? Are you getting excited about the movie adaptation?

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2014: Best Books in Fiction

Check out our picks for the best fiction books of 2014! What was yours?

redeployment by phil klay

Redeployment is a collection of short stories dealing with the brutal aspects and aftermath of war—specifically the war in Iraq. Former Marine Phil Klay grips readers with tales that managed to win a National Book Award this year.

New York Times Book Review


Aspiring nine-year old singer Madeleine Altimari is determined to make her debut at Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas. The novel follows Madeleine, her fifth grade teacher Sarina, and the Cat’s Pajamas club owner Lorca as their lives intersect—giving readers a sense of hope through music.

NPR Book Review


lilaThe Pulitzer Prize winning author brings readers the third novel in her series which takes place back in Gilead, Iowa. The novel follows the John Ames’ wife Lila’s story from her first abandonment at birth to their meeting. This book tells Lila’s story of how they come together.

NPR Book Review


Jude gives off light, while Noah gives off dark—according to thirteen year old Noah. That is, until something happens that causes Jude to become the dark, unpopular one. This unique young adult tale is told from both siblings’ perspectives. The clever storytelling and dynamic characters get this book on our list.

New York Times Book Review


Anthony Doerr’s story focuses on two characters during the Nazi occupation of Paris—Marie-Laure, a blind girl who hides away with her father and Paris’ prized jewels, and Werner Pfennig, who serves as a technocratic private for the Nazis. The descriptive and realistic characters make this book one of the best of the year.

New York Times Book Review


The novel follows Ari, as she travels back to the Chinese orphanage she was adopted from and deals with feelings of confusion that provoke her to seek out her own identity. Kathryn Ma brilliantly examines the theme of identity—bringing in other parts of Ari’s adopted family who are also trying to find themselves.

New York Times Book Review

the paying guests

Sarah Waters takes readers back to London in 1922, where ex-servicemen are out of work and frustrated. In a South London villa, life is about to transform for widow and her spinster daughter Frances when they are obligated to take in lodgers Lilian and Leonard Barber. This work of historical fiction will keep you entertained as it is part love story, part crime story.

New York Times Book Review

nobody is ever missing

Catherine Lacey’s first novel follows Elyria who wants “a divorce from everything” and runs away from her husband and home on Manhattan’s Upper West side in search of a new life in New Zealand. The 28 year old woman trying to find her place in a world of mixed feelings is wonderfully executed by Lacey.

New York Times Book Review

the children act

In The Children ActFiona Maye, a British High Court judge, must rule on the case of a 17-year-old boy who has refused a lifesaving blood transfusion for his leukemia based on religious beliefs. Her ruling to grant the hospital permission or keep Adam’s wishes will not only change his life, but hers.

New York Times Book Review


Cadence and her wealthy family summer on a private island near Martha’s Vineyard. This is where she meets outsider Gat Patil—with whom Cadence immediately falls in love with. While her mother and aunts drink and argue over fortunes, Cadence and the “liars”—which includes her two cousins and Gat explore and swear eternal allegiance to each other. But when Cadence is fifteen, she suffers an accident that leaves her with amnesia—leaving her to seek out the truth of what happened. We Were Liars is a great young adult novel with a mysterious twist.

New York Times Book Review

gray mountain

John Grisham’s latest legal thriller follows a young woman who is placed in the middle of a small town secret. Samantha Kofer has been fired from her NYC law firm when she is offered the opportunity to get her job back by volunteering at a legal aid clinic. In Brady, Virginia she enters the dangerous world of coal mining and learns that sometimes litigation can turn deadly.

Huffington Post Review


Friendswood deals with multiple complex issues—like toxic chemical dumps and high-school sexual assault. However, Steinke manages to resolve both storylines—each finding their place is Friendswood. The theme of redemption shines through the end of this novel when each character finds a conclusion.

New York Times Review


Station Eleven is as much of a post-apocalyptic novel as it is a mystery. It follows Kirsten 20 years after a flu pandemic kills much of the world’s population. As one of the survivors, she travels around with a group performing Shakespeare to those who remain. However, when the group tries to reconnect with missing friends—only to find that a religious fanatic known as “the prophet” has taken over, things become quite dangerous.

New York Times Book Review

everything i never told you

The novel follows the death of Lydia Lee, a high school student found at the bottom of a lake. Besides the obvious mystery of how she ended up there, the book really tackles the issue of race in the 1970s. Celeste Ng shifts between Lydia’s story and family speculations until she finally reveals the devastating conclusion.

New York Times Book Review


Murakami’s latest novel follows Tsukuru through a life mostly spent feeling alone. While associating friends with “colors” (their surnames are Red, Blue, etc.), he becomes colorless by default. Pain and self-evaluation are major themes present as Tsukuru suffers through this intense and thought-provoking novel.

New York Times Book Review

Euphoria by Lily King cover

King uses the real life intersection of anthropologist Margaret Mead with her second and third husbands while in New Guinea as a starting point for her novel. Even though she changes the storyline of this tragic love triangle, their purpose to create a new social science discipline still rings true as they study a tribe along the Sepik River.

NPR Book Review

books10f-1-web (2)

Taking place in the mid-1900s, the novel follows Eileen Tumulty as she strives for the American Dream and desires to be immersed in the cosmopolitan New York society. After marrying Ed, who doesn’t seem to aspire for the same things, a darkness enters their lives as they try and hold on to ideas of the future.

New York Times Book Review


The story how of astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars, plans on surviving the next of 1,412 days until the next Mars expedition gets there involves a lot of arithmetic. This science fiction debut celebrates human ingenuity while also serving as a warning of problems that may arise when entering the unknown.

Wall Street Journal Book Review

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Fabulous Books for Fabulous Teens

Give the young adults in your life great books this holiday season! With many series like Isla and the Happily Ever After, the Mara Dyer Trilogy, and Pretty Little Liars wrapping up this year, now is the perfect time to catch up on everything you’ve missed. From popular picks like The Young Elites to a collection of holiday stories in My True Love Gave to Me, there’s something for every teen on your list!


Atlantia follows Rio—a girl who lives in the underwater city of Atlantia, but desires to live Above. Her plans are stopped, however, and she formulates a new plan that leads to treacherous questions.

For: Fans of all things fantasy and under the sea.

we were liars

The novel follows Candace and her cousins Johnny and Mirren who meet a stranger while summering with their family on a private island off of Martha’s Vineyard. After Candace suffers and accident that leaves her with amnesia, she returns to the island to figure out what happened.

For: Teens seeking a slightly dark mystery.


Stephanie Perkins collaborated with authors including David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, and Gayle Foreman to give readers twelve delightful holiday stories.

For: The ultimate YA fan who is looking for a little holiday magic.

the young elites

After an illness swept through Adelina Amoutera’s nation, she was left with strange markings and powerful gifts that make her part of the Young Elites. Believing the Young Elites will destroy the nation, the king has set out to destroy them first and Adelina will have to figure out who the true enemy is.

For: Adventure and fantasy lovers alike who are looking for a new spin on the genre.

girl online

YouTube star Zoella’s first novel follows Penny—a young blogger who anonymously blogs as GirlOnline. After she meets Noah in New York City and blogs all about her “Brooklyn Boy”, one secret threatens to ruin Penny’s cover.

For: Fans of Zoella and anyone who has had mishaps while blogging.

isla and the happily ever after

The third and final novel in Stephanie Perkins’ trilogy follows Isla as she falls in love with Josh—another student at the School of America in Paris. After meeting up for their senior year, they confront challenges like college and the very real possibility of being apart.

For: Teens who love a sweet and romantic love story—especially one that takes place in New York, Paris, and Barcelona.

ill give you the sun

This unique novel is told both from the perspective of Jude and Noah—twins who grow up close until something happens to wreck their relationship.

For: Teens who are fans of solid literature.


The best-selling book about Louis Zamperini’s riveting story after crashing into the Pacific Ocean during World War II has now been adapted for a young adult audience. The new version includes over 100 black and white photographs and “In Conversation” with Zamperini and Hillenbrand.

For: History fans—specifically World War II.


The conclusion to Sara Shepard’s thrilling Pretty Little Liars series covers the trial of Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily for the murder of Ali DiLaurentis. While they know they’ve been framed, they still have to figure out how to beat Ali at her own game.

For: Teens who love a good mystery…and girl drama.

retribution of mara dyer

Mara Dyer wakes up in the hospital after being in a car accident that killed her friends. She can’t remember anything and somehow escaped unharmed. The gripping conclusion to the Mara Dyer series finally reveals the truth.

For: Teens who crave the supernatural and mysterious book.

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Gift Guide: Holiday Books for Mom

For that special woman in your life, we’ve compiled a list of great holiday book gifts for mom! From popular fiction like Big Little Lies to helpful cookbooks like Make It Ahead, we’ve chosen a great selection of books to make her holiday season full of delight!

big little lies

Big Little Lies follows mothers, each at a crossroad, as their lives come together surrounding a mysterious death.

For: The PTA mom who just can’t deal anymore.

written in my own heart's blood

The eighth book in the Outlander Series continues the story after Jamie Fraser returns from his grave to discover his best friend has married his wife.

For: Lovers of the Outlander Series! (And the Starz Series)


Ina Garten’s latest cookbook is perfect for party hosting this holiday season. With everything from drinks to appetizers, this cookbook will help readers actually enjoy their party.

For: The mom who wears an apron throughout her entire dinner party.

liar temptress solider spy

Based on a true story, Karen Abbot’s book tells the story of four women who acted as spies in the Civil War. This fascinating and descriptive story will open reader’s eyes to lesser known facts surrounding that time period.

For: Mothers who love a good story about strong women in history.


Taking place in the mid-1900s, the novel follows Eileen Tumulty as she strives for the American Dream and desires to be immersed in the cosmopolitan New York society. After marrying Ed, who doesn’t seem to aspire for the same things, a darkness enters their lives as they try and hold on to ideas of the future.

For: Mothers who aspire to be (so we think everyone!)


Inspired by the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria tells the story of Andrew Bankson, who is studying the Kiona river tribe in New Guinea when he encounters Nell Store and her husband Fen. A love triangle forms between the three of them that quickly gets out of hand.

For: The mother looking for an adventure.


Lara Spencer shows readers how to create beautiful rooms with flea market finds that meet everyone’s budget. Focusing on nine different rooms, she takes readers through the design process—start to finish.

For: The mom who gets up early on Saturday mornings to hit the yard sales.

Prince Lestat The Vampire Chronicles (Anne Rice)

This novel picks up where The Vampire Lestat left off. Old vampires are being awoken and doing what a Voice commands them to. The book jumps between time periods as readers discover who or what the Voice is and what it desires.

For: Vampire-loving moms who are looking for something a bit more adult than vampire teen fiction.

the baking bible

This baking book has new recipes from every category that eliminate the guesswork! A great general baking book for every baker.

For: The mom who wants only one baking book.

What I know for sure

Oprah shares her intimate essays about joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power that are sure to please.

For: Mothers who want to be inspired.

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