Square Books' Annual Top 100 -- Part 1

2014 was a very good year for Square Books, with many strong new books and writers from near and far bringing you to us. Tasmanian Richard Flanagan and his Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North made # 13 on our list, just behind Let Me Be Frank with You (12) by Richard Ford, who was here December 11. Michael Pollan’s memorable appearance served up Cooked (37), as did Megan Abbott (The Fever93) and Mary Miller (The Last Days of California16), both Grisham writers-in-residence; and John Darnielle (Wolf in White Van20); Paul Finebaum (My Conference Can Beat Your Conference, 17); Elizabeth Spencer (Starting Over35); Greg Iles (Natchez Burning3); Susan Minot (Thirty Girls21); and Josh Weil (The Great Glass Sea, 99). 

Writers right here in Oxford contributed significantly: Ben McClelland (Lifesaving Labradors, 93); Curtis Wilkie (Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians and Other Persons of Interest, 10), and The Fall of the House of Zeus33); Ace Atkins (The Forsaken15); the King Twins (Our Josephine (61); Inside My Italian Kitchen by Luisa Arico (63); Tom Franklin, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (51) and, with Beth Ann Fennelly, Tilted World (39), Michael Henry, Finding Ishmael (78); Larry Brown’s timeless first book, Facing the Music (91), Neil White’s In the Sanctuary of Outcasts (41), Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth (2), and The Search for Good Wine by John Hailman (46). Dean Faulkner Wells’ great Oxford memoir, Every Day by the Sun (64), shines alongside her famouser uncle – As I Lay Dying (44) and Selected Short Stories (43) by William Faulkner.

Not that the author has to be from or come here in order for a book to do well – witness The Boys in the Boat (90), How Not to be a Dick (38), Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (50), Gone Girl (34), Killing Patton (55), and Rebecca Solnit’s book on New Orleans, The Unfathomable City (42), Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Golden Book (60), Wild (59) and Unbroken (56). And there were signed books we got from publishers whose authors did not come here – those by Jan Karon, George Will, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Donna Tartt, Haruki Murakami, Lena Dunham, and Amy Poehler all found a place among our top sellers, as did Carsick by John Waters, who did not come here this year but plans to this March immediately following the Oxford Conference for the Book.