The Best “Best of” Lists for Writers from 2014

Writing – How to Write: A Year in Advice from David Mitchell, Yiyun Li, and More by Joe Fassler on The Atlantic

“Highlights from 12 months of interviews with writers about their craft and the authors they love” divided into sections for each point in the writing process; from getting started, to revision and productivity. Authors feature include a wide range of writers, such as Pulitzer Prize winning Jane Smiley, Wilco’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy, and poet Billy Collins.

Slam Poetry – Top 10 Slam Poems on YouTube by Joy Perrone on The Celebrity Café

OK, yes, this article was written early in 2014, but still provides some of the very best and moving slam poems on the YouTube. I’m adding my most recent favorite to this list as well… Jesse Parent’s more recent performance of “Replay,” featured here on DIGG as well as on Button Poetry.

Poetry Books – Goodreads’ Best Poetry of 2014

This list includes some of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou, Sarah Kay, Mary Oliver and more. A good place to start to read the contemporary poets being published today.

Books – The Definitive Reading List of the 14 Best Books of 2014 Overall by Maria Popova on Brainpickings

This list includes beautifully printed books from tattoos to spirituality without religion, to the oldest things on the earth. The articles also includes several links to other best of books lists, see below intro by the author.
Also, please consider a donation to help sustain Brainpickings. (Accepts Paypal, super easy!) It’s such a great resource and Maria does an impeccable job putting together articles of amazing literature and art.
“I consider my annual best-of reading lists a kind of Old Year’s resolutions in reverse — unlike traditional resolutions, which lay out an aspirational list of priorities for the new year, these represent a look back at the books that proved themselves most worth prioritizing over the setting year. After such reverse-resolution reading lists for the best children’s books, art, design, and photography books, science books, philosophy and psychology books, best biographies, memoirs, and history books, here comes the annual wholly subjective selection of the fourteen most rewarding books of 2014 overall, in no particular order.”–Maria Popova

Books – NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2014’s Great Reads by several NPR Books contributors

This guide includes several filters to sort the list of over 250 titles recommended by NPR staff and critics. You can filter by genre, staff picks, topic, poetry and short stories, and more.

More Books – My Year of Reading: Best First Lines of 2014 by David Abram from his blog The Quivering Pen

“Whether it was through startling imagery, clever grammatical construction or just plain oddness, these first sentences worked hard to get my attention.” –David Abrams
My favorite has to be “A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.” from Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty.

Film – The 11 Best Directorial Debuts of 2014 by Indiewire AND Our Favorite Films of 2014: Newsweek Staff Picks by several Newsweek contributors.

Second on both lists is a film I first saw at Sundance while volunteering last year. I was blown away by the originality, cinematography, and stylistic choices made by the director. Writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour also delivered the best Q&A I’ve ever witnessed at Sundance—she is down to earth, honest, and a pleasure to speak with. If there’s one film on this list you don’t want to miss, it’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” My plan is to see them all.
From the Newsweek article, Paula Mejia describes the film as “This feat from director Ana Lily Amirpour is part neo-noir, part Western, and simmers in long, black-and-white takes. This beautiful story is one of vengeance and love, which, as we learn, might be more perilous than death.”

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