Not that the books that they blitz (hey, now that sounds like a good jingle right there) are bad books. As I mentioned last time, most of the books the big publishers push on us are well-written and hold their own. But if you look close enough, those books didn't just become best-sellers and IT-books because they were decent reads. We were told they were awesome, amazing, super-wow books. By the publisher's ad campaigns. Ahem.
Anyway. The whole thing got me to thinking about some of the really, really good books I read this year that obviously didn't have big publisher media blitzes behind them. I'd love to ask the publishers why they chose to bypass these books and blitz others, but I doubt I'd get a satisfactory answer. Odds are, it was just some editor somewhere who liked a book enough and had the power to bestow the money.
If I were to play super-powerful editor for a day, though, here are a few of the books I would have media-blitzed the hell out of in 2014:
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. Described as a love letter to literature, Alameddine's novel about a reclusive aging woman in Beirut is brilliant, sad, and written for everyone who has ever loved books.
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. A debut novel set in rural Montana with a downtrodden social worker doing his best but fighting an uphill battle, Henderson hits all the right notes. And then some. Wow.
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. The author's second foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes secures him a place in the canon. No one writes Holmes this well. Except Doyle. Maybe.
Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican. A debut novel set in a Catholic school where student hazing and bullying spiral out of control. A tight, beautifully wrought novel that left me thinking about it long after it was over.
A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel (non-fiction). A brilliant narrative non-fiction that explores the effects of technology on our attention and the sometimes deadly results that can occur, Richtel may well be on track for another Pulitzer with this effort even if it wasn't heavily advertised by William Morrow.
So there you have it. What books did you run across in 2014 that slid under the radar?