Each year we wait to see which titles landed on the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books — and 2014's list is here. Let's take a look at the names picked, shall we? First, a zoomed out picture: At 50 out of 100 writers, women made up half the list — and that's a nice showing. (Looking back at 2013's 100 Notable Books, women landed 49 spots, so the Times has been good about celebrating female writers... at least over the last couple of years.) Now, let's take a look at some of the names who made the cut.
The list is divided into two sections, Fiction & Poetry and Nonfiction. On the Fiction & Poetry side, 25 of the picks were written by women. Some notables: Eimear McBride’s Orange Prize-winning A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing , Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You (which was also Amazon’s pick for Best Book of 2014), and Lorrie Moore’s Bark: Stories .
On the Nonfiction side, 25 of entries were penned by female authors. Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Jennifer Percy’s Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism, and Sandra Tsing Loh’s very funny memoir The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones are three of the fantastic titles.
Although many talented female authors were represented on the list, I was surprised to see some big female-written titles absent, including Merritt Tierce’s novel Love Me Back, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Roxane Gay’s essay collection Bad Feminist or her novel An Untamed State , and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl (which The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani called “as acute and heartfelt as it is funny”).
Still, women accounted for half of the list, and there were so many incredible books this year that it’s pretty difficult to fit them all into one list. We’ll see how women fare on the 2015 list. And until then, there’s still plenty of reading to do.