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12/08/2014 10:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Prize-Winning Books From 2014 To Pick Up Now

'Tis the season for gold stickers on fresh book covers. Here's our lowdown on the best of the best of this year.

By Leigh Newman

  • The Winner in the Wrong Category
    <em><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/031628663X?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_bla
    I Am Malala
    By Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

    The Nobel Prize in Literature has gone to some pretty heavy hitters (think Alice Munro and Toni Morrison), but this year the Nobel Peace Prize winner also happens to be an author, whose memoir every American woman should read. The book's subtitle explains the main events of the painfully true story (The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban), but there are other compelling—and illuminating—reasons to pick up the book, such as the complex history of Pakistan, as lived by a seemingly ordinary family, and the relationship between a father and a daughter, both heroes for education and freedom in their own right.
  • The Winner You'll Be the First in Your Book Club to Read
    <strong><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-Sentences-Novellas-Margellos-Republic/dp/0300198051?tag=thehuffingtop-20
    Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas
    By Patrick Modiano, Mark Polizzotti (Translator)

    If you haven't heard of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Patrick Modiano, you're not alone. His books are relatively unknown outside his native France, but his portrayals of wartime France and the 1960s read like black-and-white photographs—haunting, wistful and unforgettable. Start with the prize winner's latest novel to be translated into English, Suspended Sentences.
  • The Winner with That Unexpected Twist
    <strong><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Godforsaken-Idaho-Shawn-Vestal/dp/0544027760?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_blank"
    Godforsaken Idaho
    By Shawn Vestal

    This collection of powerful stories, by the ex-Mormon Shawn Vestal, was called a "slam-dunk debut" that "casts a cinematic shadow on the American West" by O magazine last year. This year, it won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Why you'll love it? The mix of everyday people struggling through everyday life (e.g,, a teenager seduced into robbing houses with his father) and fantastical fiction (e.g., a heaven with a cafeteria that serves every meal you ever had in your life). Or, as the O magazine reviewer wrote, "The doubters in these stories lose religion, but find that 'nothing that happens has to be real, and anything is possible.'"
  • The Winner That Takes You to Another World
    <strong><em><a href="http://ninamcconigley.com/" target="_blank">Cowboys and East Indians</a></em></strong><br>By Nina McConi
    Cowboys and East Indians
    By Nina McConigley

    In Nina McConigley's winsome collection Cowboys and East Indians, expect characters as unforgettable as a tough, Western middle-aged man who dresses in drag and an Indian-born woman (from India) who feels more at home in a cowboy bar than at a Hindu festival. This smart examination at how two seemingly alien cultures mesh—or don't—won the PEN Open Book Award given to a writer of color. But the real achievement is the author's mix of hilarity and intelligence. A fresh and insightful read.
  • The Winner That Will Make You Weep
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  • The Finalist Too Compelling to Put Down
    <strong><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Station-Eleven-Emily-John-Mandel/dp/0385353308?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_blan
    Station Eleven
    By Emily St. John Mandel

    Though this novel begins with the death of a 51-year-old actor during a performance of King Lear, it quickly flips into a bleak, mysterious future in which most of the world has been killed off by a pandemic flu. Two young people, who now play instruments and act in the productions of a theatrical caravan called Traveling Symphony, walk from ad hoc town to ad hoc town, dodging doomsday cults and bandits, clinging to a certain comic book written by the actor's ex-wife—the last link to the civilization that vanished when they were almost too young to remember it. A finalist for the National Book Award, this imaginative, dazzling read is so eerily timely that it both terrifies and seduces.
  • The Winner the Whole Country Needs To Read (Right Now)
    <strong><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Redeployment-Phil-Klay/dp/1594204993?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_blank">Redeplo
    Redeployment
    By Phil Klay

    This "stunning, often brutal collection of stories that critically examine the complexities of war and the wounds inflicted both on the front lines and at home," won the National Book Award for fiction—an honor often considered the writers' writing award, or the most artistic of the national prizes. Phil Klay's spare, unflinching prose reflects his previous career as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran serving in Iraq. A fierce and heart-rending read.

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